PepsiCo takes a leaf out of Coca-Cola’s book and explores the world of weed-infused beverages

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PepsiCo takes a leaf out of Coca-Cola’s book and explores the world of weed-infused beverages

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

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While it might have been dismissed as a rumor, word of Coca-Cola discussing “dope” deals with cannabis companies has spread like wildfire. It seems that a competitor of the fizzy drink’s producer could also be joining the bud bandwagon.

Last Tuesday, PepsiCo joined the ever-growing list of prominent beverage brands to validate their interest in joining the legal cannabis space.  

Chief financial officer (CFO) of PepsiCo, Hugh Johnston, disclosed details of the company’s desires to produce cannabis-infused drinks during an interview with CNBC.

“We will look at it very critically,” Johnston told CNBC. “But I am not prepared to share any plans that we may have in the space right now.”

The CFO didn’t forget to mention the fact that cannabis remains a schedule 1 drug under federal law, despite the fact that 30 U.S. states have legalized the plant for medicinal use, and a further nine states and Washington D.C. have legalized it for recreational purposes. However, Johnston claimed that PepsiCo will “turn over every stone to look for growth.”

PepsiCo’s cannabis interest may be stimulated by Coca-Cola cannabis rumors

It seems like a bit of a coincidence that we are hearing about PepsiCo’s cannabis interest. After all, the beverage producer’s rival Coca-Cola has also been in the news lately for its rumored interest in CBD-containing “wellness beverages.”

Aside from PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, a handful of other drinks brands have actually announced partnerships with Canadian cannabis companies. For example, Molson Coors just began developing non-alcoholic weed-infused drinks with Hydropothecary Corp. Meanwhile, Constellation Brands took the cannabis industry by surprise in August when the beverage producer revealed it had invested $4 billion in Canadian cannabis producer Canopy Growth. For this price, Constellation scooped a 38 percent stake in Canopy.

While $4 billion might seem like a colossal amount of money to invest in the cannabis-infused drinks concept, the trend is set to sweep across the Great White North once cannabis legalization goes into effect on October 17.

How do cannabis drinks differ from alternative methods of weed consumption?

Consumers don’t have to worry about inhaling harmful contaminants when they ingest cannabinoids in drinkable form. Devoid of carcinogens, irritants and toxins that are commonly found in tobacco and cannabis smoke, edibles and drinkable weed products ensure a longer-lasting effect, due to the fact these products take longer to digest inside the body.  

In many cases, cannabis-infused drinks will take between 30 minutes and a few hours to fully kick in. Weed-infused drinks may contain psychoactive or non-psychoactive cannabinoids that can produce effects for hours.

The effects caused by psychotropic cannabis-infused drinks are usually more intense because THC turns into the metabolite 11-hydroxy-THC inside the liver once it has made its way through the stomach. As a result, the cannabinoid becomes up to five times more potent than it is in its original form.