By Roland Sebestyén
Hong Kong has welcomed its first CBD café, despite the city’s ongoing strict cannabis laws. While, according to the reports, some think ‘Found’ is some Amsterdam-esque coffeeshop, its owners stress that there will be no ‘high’-inducing products available.
In the former British colony, the possession, sale, transportation, and cultivation of cannabis are prohibited. In fact, cannabis is still listed among the most dangerous and addictive drugs, alongside heroin, opium, and methamphetamine, and, in some cases, offenders might face life in prison if caught manufacturing and trafficking the drug.
On the other hand, some cannabinoids are legal in Hong Kong – such as cannabidiol – otherwise known as CBD. This is what the owners of the newly established ‘Found’ café are bringing to the city, with the first establishment of its kind.
As CBD is one of the most common compounds in the cannabis plant, people are often confused about whether it is a drug or not.
Fiachra Mullen, co-owner of Altum International, a cannabinoids supplier for businesses and consumers in the Asia Pacific that owns and operates Found, told CNN that they were trying to move away from stoner culture and create a new conversation in the area. He said:
“Most people are seeking help with sleep; we also have parents with children with epilepsy or cerebral palsy here who are using our products.
“Much of it is driven by the year that Hong Kong has had with the protests and the pandemic. A lot of the customers take it first thing in the morning with their coffee before they leave the house, it helps with mindfulness and makes them a bit more resilient to whatever happens that day.”
CBD is a naturally occurring cannabinoid that has become increasingly popular thanks to its potential health and wellness benefits. Unlike its fellow cannabinoid, THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD doesn’t create the so-called ‘high’ feeling that most people associate with cannabis.
Among its reported benefits are its ability to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, its anti-inflammatory properties, and its ability to ease the symptoms of spasticity-related conditions and diseases.
A growing body of research is revealing how CBD interacts with our Endocannabinoid System (ECS). The ECS is thought to play a crucial role in many bodily functions, including brain functions. Interactions between endocannabinoids and receptors are thought to influence mood, emotions, appetite, pain-sensation, and memory, among other critical physiological and cognitive processes.
‘Found’ CBD Cafe
Although Hong Kong has a zero-tolerance policy on THC, the CBD market and the parties dealing with it might prevail in the long run. The existence of ‘Found’ might just be a stepping stone, but it represents a huge step forward for CBD consumers and businesses in Asia.
With or without THC, it doesn’t really matter; this café could be the first of many.