CBD-infused beer is taking over. Learn which companies are pioneering it, and see why it's generating so much buzz among connoisseurs. Alcohol and CBD affect your body in different ways. Learn more about each product and what happens when they're mixed here.
The 411 on CBD-Infused Beer
Is CBD-infused beer the next big thing? It just might be. A range of new CBD infusions have been hitting the market in recent years thanks to changing legislation and new research into the benefits of cannabidiol. Although many people use CBD to address specific health conditions, CBD is also popular for recreational use, which is part of what makes it a perfect solution for beer enthusiasts who are curious about the potential health benefits of cannabidiol.
What Is CBD Beer?
CBD beer has come about as a result of the growing demand for non-alcoholic beverages with CBD and advances in nano-emulsification technology. Previously, the hydrophobic nature of CBD oil would have made it impractical to create cannabis-infused beers. Now, beer lovers can enjoy a low alcohol drink with all of the benefits of CBD use.
CBD Beer’s Uncertain Beginnings
While the CBD industry has had a lot of success with CBD-infused products such as CBD oils, CBD balms, CBD e-liquids, CBD edibles, and CBD beverages, CBD-infused beers have taken longer to hit the shelves due to red tape constraints and legal uncertainty. Most of the pioneering brands in America—including Coalition Brewing Company and Longtrail Brewing Co.—have had to halt production at some point or even shut their doors. At present, there are only two or three companies making CBD-infused beer in the United States.
Why There’s So Much Confusion about CBD
Because CBD has not been approved as an official food additive or dietary supplement by the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the federal government prohibits its use in foods. This has resulted in several states banning CBD-infused edibles and beverages.
Nevertheless, THC-infused edibles and beverages (including THC beer) are sold without any qualms in many states that have approved recreational cannabis. This is another area where state and federal laws remain at odds.
How Is CBD-Infused Beer Made?
CBD beer is made by infusing a non-alcoholic flavor base made with hops and barley with CBD oil. To make it, breweries use a traditional brewing process, remove the alcohol, and then add a nano-emulsified form of CBD. The result is a non-alcoholic product with a pleasantly hoppy aroma and the wellness-promoting effects of CBD.
What Kind of CBD Extracts Are Used in Beer?
Most CBD beers make use of hemp extracts. Some use full-spectrum extracts, some use broad-spectrum extracts, and others utilize pure CBD isolate. From a legal standpoint, hemp is any Cannabis sativa plant that contains .3% THC or less. So it contains the cannabinoids you need, but there’s not enough THC to have a psychotropic effect.
Interestingly, cannabis and hops come from the same plant family—Cannabaceae—so it’s a nice twist that the two might be combined. Some brands, like Humboldt, even brew with toasted hemp seeds for a fully aromatic brewing experience, while others are content with the time-tested formula of hops and barley, infused with a hemp extract at the end.
Does CBD Beer Contain Alcohol?
CBD beer is usually a non-alcoholic beverage, so it shouldn’t contain any alcohol at all. It does, however, have ingredients that enhance the flavor of the beer and help to make CBD more effective, including terpenes—the naturally occurring compounds in cannabis that give the plant its signature aroma (and some of its therapeutic effects).
Due to the brewing process, some CBD beers contain low levels of alcohol, so be sure to check the product label before buying. In any case, CBD beer doesn’t contain enough alcohol to make you tipsy. At the most, a CBD beer will contain 0.5% alcohol, which is the same as a standard non-alcoholic beer.
What Are the Benefits Of CBD-Infused Beer?
There are a number of benefits to drinking CBD beer, not the least of which is the possibility of driving yourself home. Consider some of the research-based benefits of CBD:
Cannabis-Infused Beer Is Great for Socializing
There’s nothing like enjoying an ice-cold brew, but CBD makes the social experience even better. The reason that most people drink beer is that it makes them feel more relaxed and comfortable in social settings, and CBD-infused beer may offer similar benefits.
- Some people who use CBD say that it helps to calm their racing thoughts. In other words, it might help you relax and enjoy the party. , CBD has anxiolytic (anxiety-relieving) properties. In other words, if you’re nervous, anxious, or generally stressed, CBD might help you chill out. also suggest that CBD may also have antidepressant properties. In other words, it might boost your mood.
In short, CBD beer offers the same benefits that normal beer does, with zero alcohol.
Cannabis Beer May Help with Social Anxiety
One of the reasons that people drink beer is to help calm their anxiety when faced with social situations. Fortunately, CBD seems to be especially helpful for social anxiety and—better yet—won’t lead to alcohol addiction like alcoholic drinks can do.
CBD Beer Could Help You Sleep
According to research, CBD may help you get a better night’s sleep—especially if you can’t sleep because of anxiety or chronic pain. Instead of opening the fridge to drink alcohol and relax in the evening, pop out a cannabis-infused beer and enjoy the calming properties of hemp.
CBD Beer Is Good for Your Health
CBD cannabis beer is also great for your health in general because it helps to modulate the endocannabinoid system—the network of receptors responsible for keeping your other bodily systems in balance. People often use CBD for pain relief and mental health issues, and taking cannabidiol in a beverage is just as effective as ingesting it in edibles or oils.
CBD Beer Is Perfect for Designated Drivers
Being the designated driver is an important role, but it can feel frustrating. Everybody else is out enjoying a few drinks and letting loose, and you are stuck with soft drinks for the night. The great thing about CBD beer is that you can still enjoy a drink that helps you relax and enjoy the evening like everybody else, but you are still fit to drive.
Where Can You Get CBD Beer?
If you’d like to try CBD-infused beer for yourself, you’ll most likely be able to purchase this from dispensaries in states where CBD-infused beers are legal. Although there are some legislative barriers that prohibit the use of CBD in food and drink, these only exist in certain states and the law is always changing. As a result, CBD beer is more widely available than ever before.
At present, the main brands that make CBD-infused beers are Outbound Brewing in San Diego, Coalition Brewing Company in Oregon, and Ceria Brewing around the United States. If you’re ever overseas, be sure to check out Green Times Brewing in the UK. While their CBD beers are widely advertised, Outbound Brewing is not yet offering its products for sale. Keep an eye out for this brand in dispensaries in the future.
Best Flavors of CBD-Infused Beer to Try
To tantalize your taste buds, these are some of the flavors of cannabis beer that are currently available (or coming soon) in the United States:
Grainwave Belgian-Style White from Ceria Brewing
Ceria Brewing’s specialty is Grainwave—a classic Belgian-style white ale heightened with the flavors of blood orange peel and coriander. These spices add the aromatic terpenes limonene and linalool that have been associated with anti-inflammatory and anxiolytic effects. This brew pairs perfectly with chicken, Mexican food, salad, seafood, and vanilla-based desserts. It’s available in dispensaries around the United States.
Two Flowers IPA from Coalition Brewing Company
Coalition Brewing has launched its first CBD beer in Oregon with Two Flowers IPA. This craft beer is described on their site as “a west coast IPA that is light, crisp, bitter, and refreshing.” And the two flowers? Well, they are naturally hops and hemp!
The trio of Brews from Outbound Brewing
While not yet available on dispensary shelves, the three flavors coming from Outbound Brewing are already causing a sensation on the net:
Grapefruit Haze is a pale golden brew with a refreshing citrusy aroma and tangy grapefruit zestiness. The brew is perfected with a flurry of small bubbles with each and every sip.
For those who appreciate a subtle flavor, Pale Haze is a mild-tasting CBD-infused beer with a hazy amber hue. The effervescent texture carries citrus and floral flavors with a pleasantly hoppy aroma.
Blood Orange Haze
Blood Orange Haze is a tan-colored beer with the refreshing taste of blood orange peel. The fizzy texture goes perfectly with the citrusy zestiness and earthy notes of this CBD brew.
Join the CBD Beer Revolution
CBD beer is changing the way that people enjoy recreational drinking. It’s the norm for people to go out to bars and drink beer or relax in the evening at home with a few cold ones.
But CBD beer is also offering a great alternative for a healthy lifestyle, with the same relaxing effects of an alcoholic beer plus the therapeutic effects of CBD. Have you ever tried cannabis-infused beer? Tell us what you think.
CBD And Alcohol: What Happens When You Mix Them?
Lenore Cangeloso is a board-certified acupuncturist and herbal medicine practitioner based in Oregon.
Commissions we earn from partner links on this page do not affect our opinions or evaluations. Our editorial content is based on thorough research and guidance from the Forbes Health Advisory Board.
Table of Contents
- CBD and Alcohol in the Body
- What Can Happen When You Mix CBD and Alcohol?
- CBD as a Potential Treatment for Alcohol Addiction
- Is It Safe to Consume CBD and Alcohol Together?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a popular compound found in hemp plants that can potentially help alleviate anxiety, improve sleep and relieve pain, along with other purported benefits. In a recent Forbes Health survey of 2,000 U.S. adults conducted by OnePoll, 60% of respondents said they’ve tried a CBD product, and 64% think CBD is safer than alcohol.
CBD can be derived from both hemp and cannabis sativa plants, the latter of which also contains detectable amounts of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9 THC). Delta-9 THC is the main component of cannabis that causes intoxicatingly psychoactive effects.
Research regarding what happens when humans consume CBD and alcohol together is sparse. As a result, consumers generally have access to limited information when deciding whether to mix CBD and alcohol.
You May Also Be Interested In CBD Gummies From Our Featured Partner
CBD & Melatonin Sleep Tight Gummies
On Medterra’s Website
CBD Keep Calm Gummies
On Medterra’s Website
CBD Stay Alert Gummies
On Medterra’s Website
Clinical Immune Boost CBD Gummies
On Medterra’s Website
True Full Spectrum™ Deep Sleep CBD Gummies
On Medterra’s Website
True Full Spectrum™ Original CBD Gummies
On Medterra’s Website
(Note: Product details and price are accurate as of publication and are subject to change.)
CBD and Alcohol in the Body
Alcohol and CBD affect your body in different ways, although consuming either substance can result in similar effects, such as sleepiness or sedation.
When you drink alcohol, it enters your bloodstream quickly, and its effects can occur within ten minutes. Alcohol affects the way your brain functions, potentially impairing coordination and your ability to think clearly and altering both mood and behavior.
Depending on the amount you consume, alcohol can affect your speech, memory and judgment. Drinking alcohol can also affect your balance, raising the risk of falls and other injuries.
Unlike alcohol, CBD doesn’t contain intoxicating properties. Instead, CBD interacts with your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which comprises receptors throughout your body—particularly the central nervous system—to produce a variety of potential effects, including:
- A calming of the central nervous system
- A reduction in anxiety symptoms
- Improvement in sleep quality
- A decrease in chronic pain symptoms
With that said, some of the effects can be less desirable, including:
Charlotte’s Web CBD Oil
Charlotte’s Web CBD Oil
- Approx. 60mg of CBD per 1-milliliter serving
- Certified organic, USA grown and U.S. Hemp Authority Certified
- Full-spectrum CBD oil is derived from premium hemp extract
What Can Happen When You Mix CBD and Alcohol?
With limited research available on potential interactions between alcohol and CBD, the effects of mixing the two substances is unclear. Potential interactions are also subject to variables, such as how much of each you consume and the amount of THC present in the CBD product, says John Mendelson, M.D., chief medical officer and founder of San Francisco-based Ria Health, which offers a medicine-based approach to drinking moderation and alcohol abstinence.
Depending on the amount, THC may interact with alcohol when you drink, says Dr. Mendelson. However, not enough research exists to know how THC in CBD products may interact with alcohol.
“The 0.3% THC allowed in hemp-derived CBD products can go up to amounts in the final product that may cause an interaction,” says Eloise Theisen, a nurse practitioner and the chief nursing officer at Leaf411, an online consumer resource on how to use cannabis safely and effectively. “We see levels of 1 to 4 milligrams of THC in some concentrated hemp CBD products.”
THC amounts in CBD are limited by the federal Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (Farm Bill of 2018) to 0.3% by dry weight to avoid being classified as cannabis, a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act. THC levels are often listed on a CBD product’s certificate of analysis (COA), which is typically made available on the manufacturer’s website.
However, CBD products are not regulated by the FDA, so you’re relying on the manufacturer’s claims and third-party laboratory test results to determine amounts of THC present in specific CBD products. Only Epidiolex, a prescription drug used to treat certain types of seizure disorders, has been approved by the FDA.
Ideally, it’s best to buy CBD that contains the lowest amount of THC to avoid alcohol and THC interactions, says Dr. Mendelson. When choosing a CBD product, check the label and the lot number’s COA to find the amount of THC present in the product.
“Dose will be the most important thing,” says Dr. Mendelson. “If someone stays within the recommended alcohol consumption amounts of one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men and a small dose of CBD at the manufacturer’s recommended level, there should be no significant reactions one way or another.”
Potential Harmful Effects of Using CBD and Alcohol Together
“I strongly advise my patients against consuming alcohol and cannabis together, whether it’s CBD or THC, since you can feel a stronger effect from both when using alcohol,” says Theisen.
Side effects depend on several factors, including the amount of alcohol, the CBD dose and the amount of THC present in the CBD product. Combining alcohol and CBD may cause drowsiness, impaired coordination and, in rare cases, vomiting, says Theisen.
Combining CBD and alcohol could also potentially increase the effects of the alcohol, causing the person to feel drunk or impaired faster, says Theisen.
“If someone took CBD in the morning to help with their anxiety and wanted to have a drink or two in the evening, that [combination] hasn’t been shown to be problematic,” says Theisen. “Taking them concurrently is where I get concerned because of potential side effects—whether from the alcohol or even the CBD.”
CBD as a Potential Treatment for Alcohol Addiction
So far, studies on CBD use with the goal of reducing alcohol cravings and relapses are based mainly on responses or interactions in rodents rather than humans, says Theisen.
“That doesn’t mean we haven’t seen some observational case reports where people have been able to use cannabis successfully to reduce their alcohol intake, cravings or relapses,” says Theisen. “However, in terms of actual data, it’s only in animals. But that data is promising.”
One study in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research used rats bred selectively for high alcohol preference and consumption and found that when the rats received a low dose of CBD, the number of times they pushed levers that delivered alcohol decreased  Maccioni P, Bratzu J, Carai M. Reducing Effect of Cannabidiol on Alcohol Self-Administration in Sardinian Alcohol-Preferring Rats. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. 2020; 7(2):161-169. .
Meanwhile, consuming CBD alone may help alleviate the reasons some people drink, such as anxiety, insomnia, pain and post-traumatic stress, says Theisen.
“When I’m assessing a patient who is drinking a lot of alcohol, I always want to know why that is,” says Theisen. “Is it because they’re anxious? Are they using it to help with their pain or sleep? Sometimes we can reduce their alcohol intake by treating those conditions with CBD instead.”
Build Better Drinking Habits
Sunnyside uses a psychology-based approach to help you drink more mindfully, no matter what your goal is. You’ll get a 100% custom plan, then use daily texts to track your progress and help you stay on target.
Is It Safe to Consume CBD and Alcohol Together?
Moderation is key to safety when consuming both CBD and alcohol, says Dr. Mendelson, who doesn’t recommend mixing the two substances due to the possible side effect of drowsiness, which could create a safety hazard while driving, operating machinery or working with kitchen equipment.
With that said, what little research exists on mixing alcohol and CBD is based mainly on studies of rodents rather than humans. As a result, it’s still unclear whether it’s safe to consume CBD and alcohol together.
Forbes Health covers CBD and cannabis products in accordance with FTC guidelines. Learn more about Forbes Health’s practices and policies regarding how we cover CBD and cannabis as a publisher.