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Coke Eyes Cannabis-Infused Drink Market

As its fast dance with soda slows to a sway, Coca-Cola is eying a new partner in the form of cannabis, which would be infused into its drinks in the form of cannabidiol (CBD), the nonpsychoactive form of marijuana. If they can manage it, the new drink will allow the company to play off new trends leaning toward CBD as a health aid, Reuters reports.

Putting aside the CBD connection for just a moment, even though they don’t admit it, Coke knows soda is solidly connected to obesity, diabetes and heart disease, so it’s not a surprise they’re looking for something new to add to the mix. That it’s CBD that they’re wanting to switch to, though, is concerning, as there couldn’t possibly be anything healthy about that — unless they’re planning to go through the entire U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) new drug approval process.

But then, again, nothing could be beyond the realm of imagination because, as you know, it’s only been a few months since we learned that Coke and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were in collusion to skew public health campaigns in Coke’s favor. For example, Barbara Bowman, former CDC director for heart disease and stroke prevention, reportedly aided a Coke representative in efforts to influence World Health Organization (WHO) officials to relax recommendations on sugar limits.

She wasn’t the only CDC official looking out for Coke: Uncovered emails also suggest that Michael Pratt, senior adviser for global health in the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the CDC, has also promoted and led research for the soda giant.

When you add in the $1.1 million that Coke pumped into the CDC Foundation, perhaps you can forgive me for being a little cynical when it comes to thinking that similar collusion could happen with the FDA.

Getting back to the CBD, it makes me wonder why it’s still being used as a pawn by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in a game with U.S. states that are, one by one, legalizing it. Despite the fact that CBD doesn’t induce a high, despite the fact that it’s been shown in dozens of studies that it can help with numerous health conditions, from pain control to seizures and more, and despite the fact that our neighbor, Canada, has finally legalized it, the DEA has stubbornly refused to remove it from its Class 1 narcotic list.

When you consider that pharmaceutical companies are quickly lining up to cash in on CBD’s health benefits, and then think back to the collusion that Coke was caught in with the CDC, you can’t help but wonder where the chess pieces will move as the soda giant joins the CBD game from the FDA side.

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