Coca-Cola explores entering cannabis market with 'wellness beverage'

Global drinks giant 'watching closely' as it considers introducing non-psychoactive products

The Coca-Cola Company has revealed it is “closely watching” the development of cannabis drinks as it mulls whether to enter the market with a non-psychoactive product.

The beverage giant’s announcement came following reports it was in talks with Canadian marijuana company Aurora Cannabis to create drinks infused with cannabidiol (CBD).

Coca-Cola said it was considering a move into the market in order to use CBD as an ingredient in “wellness” products, but had made no formal decision on whether to invest.

Shares of Aurora were up nearly 17 per cent on the Toronto Stock Exchange on the report.

“We have no interest in marijuana or cannabis,” Coca-Cola said in a statement issued on Monday.

“Along with many others in the beverage industry, we are closely watching the growth of non-psychoactive CBD as an ingredient in functional wellness beverages around the world. 

“The space is evolving quickly. No decisions have been made at this time.”

Unlike other chemical compounds found in cannabis, such as THC, CBD does not cause intoxicating effects on users.

It can however be used for a number of medical purposes, including to ease pain associated with multiple sclerosis and in the treatment of various types of childhood epilepsy.

Coca-Cola’s interest in the cannabis industry is another indication of the growing acceptance of the plant by established companies. 

Additional reporting by AP