San Fernando Valley Coffeehouse is Trailblazer for CBD as Food, Drink Supplement

Riding on the cannabis legalization wave, retailers are seeing an opportunity to offer customers an ingredient offering many purported advantages without as much of the THC stigma.

CBD is popping up in food and drinks — from cocktails to coffee, and of course, brownies and more — in certain areas. Notably Los Angeles and New York City have had some activity on the CBD front.

One such shop is North Hollywood’s Joe Coffee, which opened three decades ago and is owned by husband-wife team Joe and Breanne Yarbrough. They added CBD for their menu offerings on April 20, 2018.

They answered some questions regarding their new menu item and the benefits of CBD.

Q: What made you decide to start a coffee shop in LA?

Joe Yarbrough: To be honest, it was a total impulse buy. I walked into receive a water, recognized the owner from a movie I grew up with, started a [conversation]with him. That was on Wednesday — he said he wanted out Saturday. I got the keys and we opened Monday morning for company … was definitely a whirlwind. [I] was going to turn it into a small dive bar, but after doing a coffee shop for a month or two, we decided it was a way better company.

Joe: The vibe of this place is that I guess ’80 to ‘90s hip-hop boy kinda vibe with superior customer support. We wanted something a little different than the cool things going on in LA right now.

Q: When and why did you add CBD into the menu?

Joe: I had the idea of CBD/THC coffee a couple years ago but just added it on 4/20 of the year. I’ve been a marijuana consumer for 20-plus decades. Living in both Africa and Amsterdam, it gave me a very good education on the plant. Well, I think in medicinal elements of this plant, the CBD, as far as the social and feeling aspect of the THC. And the coffee is an awesome vehicle for somebody wanting their medicine.

Q: What can clients add it to?

Joe: You can add it to pretty much anything we have, as the CBD we have is full spectrum, and tasteless, and odorless, so it ’t affect the flavor of the coffee –which is huge for us, as we believe we have the best coffee in LA..

Also it had to be water-soluble, which was a little bit of a challenge.

Q: What CBD brand do you use?

Breanne Yarbrough: We receive our merchandise from a company based in Colorado called Folium Biosciences.

Q: Since you additional CBD, have there been many requests?

Joe: Yes, because we added it, it has been explosive. Perhaps 20 to 25 percent of clients are adding it already, and that’s fairly massive.

Q: How much does it cost clients to add the CBD?

Joe: We are doing an add-on to any beverage — it’s 20 mg for $3.50. Every other spot I’ve seen doing it’s $4 for 10 mg and ours is full spectrum.

You really have to be careful out there in terms of what you’re swallowing and where you’re getting it from, like it’s not full spectrum, you won’t be getting all of the cannabinoids.

Q: What are the specific advantages of adding CBD to a beverage?

Breanne: There are too many advantages to name them all. CBD has been demonstrated to help with anxiety, depression, inflammation, chronic pain, and much more. We try to educate our clients and staff to its own benefits, but also encourage them to do their own study. It’s not something you can take once and you’re treated. CBD needs to be consumed on a daily basis to observe the results.

Q: Is this part of a growing trend in coffee shops and bars?

As of right now, there are only a few stores I know of that have it, but they are using CBD isolate oils. Those are the oils you can purchase at Whole Foods or a vitamin shop. Our CBD is a full-spectrum cannabinoid, ensuring our clients are getting the benefits of the entire plant. I haven’t yet found another shop that has taken the time or completed the research to fully understand CBD, and it looks like they offer it as more of a “gimmick” than a wellness additive.

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