CBD is a naturally fat-soluble molecule, meaning that it needs to be specially emulsified before it can be properly incorporated into liquid beverages, explains Chin.
Through this process, there is a chance that the plant compound loses some of its potency and absorbability. “[CBD] is going to be more easily absorbed by the body when it is found in, for example, a tincture with a fat-based carrier oil such as MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) or olive oil,” says Sasha Kalcheff-Korn, executive director of the cannabinoid research nonprofit Realm of Caring.
Echoing this preference for lipid-soluble delivery, mbg’s vice president of scientific affairs Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN, shares that “In addition to a traditional tincture, CBD-containing hemp extract found in a gelcap that contains a fat-based carrier oil, such as organic virgin hemp seed oil, is readily bioavailable for the body.”*
For these reasons, there are better ways (than drinks) to reap the benefits of hemp cannabinoid compounds (more on those below). That’s not to say that beverages containing CBD won’t do anything to calm you down.* While there’s no scientific proof to point to, plenty of people anecdotally find them helpful for unwinding and managing stress.*
Whether or not they work for you will likely depend on the amount of hemp extract and CBD in the product, how it is prepared, and how your body responds to this particular plant.