Coca-Cola Reportedly Interested In The Cannabis Drink Industry

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The company said Monday that it's "closely watching" the use of CBD in "functional wellness" beverages.

If the report is true, it would be the latest move by Coca-Cola to diversify its offerings, after the beverage giant bought Costa Ltd, the UK's biggest coffee retailer, for $5.1 billion at the end of August.

Regardless, Coke's interest in the marijuana industry is significant.

Coca-Cola is one of the most recognized brands in the world, but it could soon be known for more than just fizzy drinks.

Another company, Constellation Brands (which makes Corona beer and Svedka vodka) announced in August it is investing $4 billion in Canadian cannabis company Canopy Growth. With Canada legalizing recreational use of the cannabis drinks, the Coca Cola Co.

The CBD products likely would be different from those produced by alcohol makers, which would likely give drinkers a buzz from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive chemical in marijuana.

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Both companies in separate statements said they were interested in cannabidiol-infused beverages but refused to comment further.

"The space is evolving quickly", Coca-Cola said.

While recent events have seen adult-beverage makers jump into the infused-beverages space, some believe the non-alcoholic infused-beverage markets may hold the key. The new beverages will be pegged to drinkers who suffer with inflammation, pain or cramping.

CBD has been used for medical purposes to ease nausea and pain and does not produce a high for users. Aurora shares were up more than 16 percent on the news at close of trading on Monday and Coke's share price was slightly up as well. "It's going to be more of the "recovery drink" category", they added of the beverage.

However, US corporations remain cautious about taking steps into a business that remains illegal under US federal law. She estimates that cannabis-infused drinks could become a $50 billion annual market in the United States - almost half the size of the $117 billion market for U.S. beer sales.

In June, America's medicines regulator approved Epidiolex, a British-made epilepsy treatment that contains cannabidiol.