There has always been a history of social gatherings and alcohol. You could say where there were people, there was booze. And, according to Drug Rehab, it has been this way for “thousands of years”. You can see it in religious texts, literature and art, which all show people communing in taverns and bars, talking over a tankard or goblet of wine. Alcohol has always been the heart of people’s socialising, until now.
People are becoming more aware of the health benefits of sobriety and the ugly truth about alcohol and addiction. As scientists find more of prolonged alcohol drinking and governments begin to crack down on prices of alcohol, people are clueing up to the positive steps of sobriety and non-alcoholic drinks. But what’s better, is the number of CBD and alcohol-free drink alternatives that are now on the market for those that still want to have a good time on a Friday night, with friends and family or in a social gathering, but don’t want to drink alcohol.
So, what are people turning to that can still help ‘take the edge off’ without the consequences of a hangover? CBD. Cannabidiol has become so much more popular in recent years and CBD drinks are really beginning to flourish in the beverage industry. Today, I want to discuss whether CBD is becoming more popular than alcohol and if it could potentially replace alcohol in the future.
Sobriety and alcoholism
Sobriety and alcoholism can be said to work closely together. They are two sides of the same coin, and as some strive for sobriety due to alcoholism, others have begun to choose sobriety for wellness. And yet, the scales are tipping as Glamour magazine published that “38% of the population went sober at the start of 2020”. This is due to the rising number of people who are more aware of their mental and physical health. Glamour magazine calls them; a new breed of sober curious folk - those who drink less or not at all” and their numbers are growing.
But sobriety’s narrative is beginning to change for the better. Nowadays the word is not as stigmatised, as it once was. In an article with BBC, Scott Pearson, a turned-sober influencer, explained how "The only narrative I knew around sobriety in the media was that it was for recovering alcoholics”. Scott has now been sober for over a year and sees the benefits of sobriety after revealing he was drinking for the wrong reasons.
Is CBD situational?
With the rise of dry bars in cities like Liverpool and London, there is an argument that in some situations CBD could replace alcohol. There will always be some situations where alcohol will likely reign, as the effects are different and more potent to those of CBD. However, dry bars that provide CBD mocktails and alcohol-free alternatives are beginning to crop up everywhere. An independent study by the Wine Industry Advisor found that “32% of independent retailers said that CBD-infused beverages stand a chance to meaningfully grow business, while 22% see them as a possible niche”.
One situation where CBD could be welcome to replacing alcohol is the work lunch meetings situation. There has been a long-standing tradition of having meetings over lunch and a beverage, mainly in high paid city jobs. However, with more information coming out about alcohol abuse and the negative opinions towards drinking on the job, even at lunch, CBD could be a great alternative to unwind and break the ice with co-workers while in a meeting due to it being a relaxant.
Another situation is after exercise. Avid gym goers are known to suffer from ‘muscle doms’ after an intense workout, and it’s no secret that some people live by a ‘no pain, no gain’ regime at the gym. However, with results showing that CBD can be used as a muscle relaxant, more and more people are turning to it for a post-workout remedy. Researching into the effects of CBD before and after working out, Remedy Review found that “as CBD becomes more widely recognised as a pain-relieving substance, more people are starting to use CBD oil for inflammation after physical activity to counteract exercise-induced muscle soreness”.
There are, however, still a lot of situations where CBD might not be able to replace alcohol and that’s in places like nightclubs, where people have the intent to drink alcohol. This can be seen in generations such as the ‘baby boomers’ rather than younger drinking generation as The Daily Mail found that “Baby boomers are drinking more than previous generations did, but also seem to not be aware of the health impacts of that drinking”.
Reasons for replacing alcohol
There are many reasons for why people are replacing alcohol with CBD. For one, drinking CBD has no hangover effects, a major reason people ditch alcohol to begin with. No matter what CBD you’re taking, you won’t get the dreadful hangover in the morning. If anything, you’ll have a better night’s sleep with CBD.
Another point about CBD is that it is not addictive like alcohol is. In a 2011 study, results showed that no high or continuous levels of CBD could be addictive and that they were in fact “well tolerated in humans”. This is because CBD doesn’t contain THC, the psychoactive element of cannabis, and so there is no danger of becoming addicted to it unlike other substances such as alcohol. If you do want more information on CBD and whether it is addictive, check out our article: Uncovered: Is CBD Addictive?
Lastly, CBD isn’t as expensive as alcohol is over time. This is because when using CBD, you don’t need as much to have a good time and to feel a buzz, unlike alcohol. This way, CBD, whether in your drink or in an oil, lasts much longer than alcohol and you will not have to purchase it on a regular basis. CBD is an investment, whereas alcohol has a reputation for being ‘downed’ or ‘chugged’ in short periods of time.
Because of these reasons, CBD might offer the perfect solution to those wanting to avoid alcohol, if the situation allows it. Lisa Gawthorne from Bravura Foods comments on this. “In a stressful modern world, we’re changing the way we manage our health and well-being. The market for CBD products is set to boom in the coming years as more and more people look for products that can help with natural calmness and tranquillity”. This idea that people are happy to switch to CBD not only for the reasons mentioned but also for wellbeing is a positive step in the sobriety direction.
CBD may not be able to replace alcohol in every situation, and neither should it, but it can offer much-needed respite for those who are looking to cut down and take control of their health. If you’d like more information about CBD and being ‘sober curious’, check out other articles on the Kolibri website.
About the author:
Kamila is a bestselling author of Bespoke. How to radically grow your bar and restaurant business through personalisation”, and passionate trend-spotter for the UK Eating Out market with thousands of followers on her widely popular blog www.KamilaSitwell.co.uk.
With a decade of hands-on experience collaborating with hospitality influencers and insight experts and background in setting strategies for leading brands, Kamila has become the industry champion for truly bespoke and guest-centric experiences.