June 9, 2020 - Cheers! A toast to being on the precipice of a huge shift in the way America socializes. The way we drink is changing, and our tastes for alcohol are on the decline. For millennia, alcohol has been the mood-changing tool of choice. Excavations revealed that ancient Egyptians brewed beer and wine, ancient Chinese made wine from rice and grapes, and we all know that wine was a diet staple for the ancient Greeks.
Sharing a drink is a deeply ingrained social ritual that sanctifies special moments and celebrations, both large and small. It’s a part of our everyday celebration that work is over, leading us on our five o’clock pilgrimage to the local watering hole (or our at-home bar in recent weeks). As much as alcohol is heralded as a pillar of celebration, it also has a dark side and for many does more harm than good. While we are big fans of the social lubrication provided by alcohol, we silently suffer alcohol’s negative effects -- the hangovers, the liver toxicity, the brain-busting headaches, and the relationships we forge over a martini can break down over one too many.
Americans have recently started to look for alcohol alternatives, for the first time asking if there is something better out there that can substitute for alcohol’s social buzz without the toxicity. With rising wellness trends (e.g. yoga, meditation, exercise, mindfulness), alcohol consumption is quickly losing its leading role as wellness takes center stage. While alcohol is a $1.3 trillion industry globally and approx $253 billion in the US, we’ve seen alcohol sales decline for three years straight according to IWSR Drinks Market Analysis.
By contrast, the broader wellness industry dwarfs alcohol at a staggering $4.2 trillion globally. The media has picked up on this wellness trend with a “flurry" of stories about the way Millenials and Generation Z are leveraging the wave of sober curiosity and significantly reducing their alcohol intake. It’s clear we care a lot about our health, so what do we do when we want to relax and socialize without the hangover?
With healthy options available to us in every other aspect of our lives, we are demanding another way to drink. The problem has been the only option for those who want to participate in the social ritual of drinking without imbibing have to drink water or club soda and lime. New York Times best selling author and human performance expert Jamie Wheal notes the crucial element is missing from these options, “I’d rather be hydrated than hungover, but [club soda] is not fun.”
Enter CBD beverages. The reason the hemp plant offers the newest and best alcohol alternative is that cannabinoids (of which CBD is one) play a natural role in our bodies. Our bodies have an endocannabinoid system that regulates essential functions our bodies need to operate, including appetite, sleep, mood, neuro-protection, and immune function. But what makes the hemp plant a perfect source to turn to for alcohol replacement?
Humans produce a cannabinoid called anandamide, better known as the bliss molecule. The name anandamide originates from “Ananda” in Sanskrit, which roughly translates to “bliss” or “joy,” signifying the cannabinoid’s mood enhancement properties. Hemp-derived drink options loosen up our social nerves and offer the buzzy feeling of an adult beverage without any of the negative effects of alcohol. For Wheal, the power of hemp drinks and elixirs presents “a very strong calculus,” because, “you are celebrating the day you’re in, you’re not borrowing from the day to come.”
The issue to date with the CBD drinks currently on the market is that “[c]annabis is notoriously difficult to effectively infuse into beverages.” CBD is fat-soluble and so does not easily mix with water. This is why most tinctures on the market are oil-based. Consequently, most beverages currently available either suffer from a strange consistency, separation of the CBD from the drink itself, or they simply aren’t effective at delivering the mood-enhancing effect consumers are looking for.
Thankfully, a new technological process called nano-emulsification offers a better and even delightful way of sipping your CBD. Through nano-emulsification, the cannabinoids are broken down into microscopic particles and then mixed with an emulsifier, a substance that allows the cannabinoids to mix completely with the beverage. Brands like AMMA Healing have crafted hemp elixirs like ELEVATE that are nano-emulsified and can be added to virtually any beverage to transform hydrating into an engaging adult drinking experience. This powerful beverage mixer elevates your drink with all the bliss, all the buzz, and none of the booze.
Another bonus from the nano-emulsification process is the hemp elixir starts working right away. With standard hemp oils and tinctures that are ingested by placing a dropper under your tongue, the consumer must wait hours before knowing how it will make them feel. With products like ELEVATE, consumers report feeling the effects immediately. “I actually received this product as a gift so I really did not have any expectations. Within minutes I could feel a huge difference!” says Hannah. She remarks that the product has “[a]n overall calming effect on my body and mind. Zero tension and light as a feather!”
Drinking is a social experience and beverage options like ELEVATE show us what the future of drinking may look like. Just as people know their alcohol tolerance and how many mojitos they can order in one night, CBD drinks offer the same experience. Because drinks with CBD offer a similar state change, a shift in consciousness, those who partake will find their new sweet spot and must continue to drink responsibly. It’s no wonder that hemp has become hip to sip and we will see bottles of alcohol alternatives like ELEVATE in bars and restaurants as well as everyone’s at-home bar cart.
Part of our mission at AMMA is to provide education about the latest scientific research and discoveries in health and wellness. The content provided is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. You should consult with your healthcare provider before taking our products, especially if you take other medications, have certain medical conditions, or are pregnant or nursing.