The world’s largest beverage company may be the next industry giant to jump into the cannabis drinks business.
Coca-Cola says it is monitoring the nascent industry and is interested in CBD – the non-psychoactive ingredient in marijuana – for beverages as soda consumption slows.
The soft-drinks maker is in talks with a major Canadian marijuana producer Aurora Cannabis to develop the drinks.
“We are closely watching the growth of non-psychoactive CBD as an ingredient in functional wellness beverages around the world,” Coca-Cola spokesperson Kent Landers said in an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg News.
Coke’s possible foray into the marijuana sector comes as beverage makers are trying to add cannabis as a trendy ingredient while their traditional businesses slow.
Coca-Cola has already been diversifying as consumption of soda continues to decline. The company, with its iconic brands ranging from Coke and Sprite to Powerade, announced it would acquire the Costa Coffee chain for $5.1bn in August, and has expanded into other products including juice, tea and mineral water over the past decade.
The discussions with Aurora are focused on CBD-infused drinks to ease inflammation, pain and cramping, according to the BNN Bloomberg report. CBD, or cannabidiol, is the chemical in the pot plant often used for medicinal purposes, and does not produce the high that comes from THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol.