The UK seems ahead in many ways with CBD readily available in the main shops and online in places like CBD Village. CBD water has yet to make the “splash” we expected. A major factor is the selling price is high but also CBD white sellers did not take into account the clear bottles so often used in the UK means the CBD degrades, leaving very little effect on the client once the UV has done its natural job through the clear packaging, aluminium is likely the preferred choice.
The US may have embraced CBD-infused water but the product is not getting the same positive exposure in the European Union Brussels has held up progress of the drink with regulatory barriers amid the context of a deep cynicism towards CBD water generally, namely that the benefits being touted don’t add up.
Scepticism about the science
CBD water is usually made using nanotechnology to produce CBD particles one-millionth of their original size so they can be evenly encapsulated and infused into water. In theory, these nanoparticles move through cells quickly and provide high bioavailability. Proponents say this means a large proportion of the CBD that’s in the water makes its way into the drinker’s body rapidly and enters the digestive tract more effectively.
“This process homogenises the mixture effectively to produce water that acts like a bioavailable CBD source,” says Farma Health. “In some cases, up to 90% of CBD consumed can be lost because of poor bioavailability. Since CBD water has high bioavailability, healthy users will be able to receive the maximal benefit of CBD in less quantity.”
However this is not the consensual view in Europe at the moment with Joscha Krauss, chief executive of Berlin-based MH medical hemp telling market intelligence agency, CBD Intel, most CBD water contains a minuscule amount of cannabidiol in the first place, and much of this is rendered ineffective because of storage issues.
CBD products destabilise when exposed to light or oxygen, which means the water in many of the bottles sitting on brightly lit supermarket shelves has lost many of the reported benefits. The Berlin-based Krauss says it amounts to a ‘marketing scam’ for that reason.
How expensive is CBD water?
Despite the negativity in the EU, the US has presided over a surge in popularity of the drinks, even though the drink is not cheap.
CBD Living Water charges $10 for a 500 ml bottle of water that contains 4 mg of CBD. A 12-pack of Quantum CBD’s water sells for $75; each 500 ml bottle contains 10 mg of hemp-derived cannabinoids. “It’s more for the US, but it’s too expensive for Europe,” Krauss said.
Apart from price and concern about the benefits, there is also Europe’s Novel Foods rules to contend with. Boris Baňas, founder of CBDepot.eu, says, “If done properly, I mean using proper carriers, CBD can become solubilised in water – not soluble, however,” he explained. “As, usually, isolate is used for this process, it blocks entry into the EU drinks market due to conflicts with the novel foods regulation.”
That regulation considers all hemp extracts as novel foods, requiring them to undergo stringent and costly authorisation processes. Softgels, on the other hand, are becoming more popular in Europe. But “bioavailability is lower compared with the sublingual route using oil with droppers”, according to Baňas.
Novel food barriers persist
The capsules may also face regulatory hurdles, Krauss says. They are a food supplement, which counts as a food for regulatory purposes – meaning many of the same regulations, such as novel food authorisation, apply. “Theoretically it could take off, but due to the regulatory issues, I don’t see that happening in the next two to three years,” he said.
One trend that is taking off among European consumers – especially middle-aged women with high disposable incomes and concerns about the effects of menopause – is CBD cosmetics and skincare products. CBD topicals and cosmetics are relatively easy to formulate and are far less regulated than pharmaceuticals.
So to conclude, CBD-infused water is having a rough ride in Europe in terms of acceptance, with scepticism about its qualities, the price and compliance with Novel Food rules all taking a toll. CBD cosmetics for acne, however, appear to have a brighter immediate future.