Coca-Cola looking at cannabis health drink

Cherry Coca Cola are stacked behind a fence in Beijing. Andy Wong  The Associated Press

Cherry Coca Cola are stacked behind a fence in Beijing. Andy Wong The Associated Press

But iconic soft drink producer is "closely watching the growth of non-psychoactive CBD (cannabidiol) as an ingredient in functional wellness beverages around the world".

Shares of Aurora were up almost 17 percent on the Toronto Stock Exchange on the report.

Coke and Aurora would likely develop beverages that will ease inflammation, pain and cramping, the BNN report said, citing sources familiar with the matter.

The statement Monday came after reports that the beverage giant was in talks with a Canadian cannabis company to create a cannabidiol-infused infused beverage.

"The space is evolving quickly", the Coca-Cola spokesperson added.

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"We have no interest in marijuana or cannabis. No decisions have been made at this time", stated Ken lander for the BNN Bloomberg.

Coca-Cola's potential foray into marijuana beverages follows a two investments by Constellation Brands, the conglomerate behind drinks like Corona and Svedka, totaling more than $4 billion, into Canopy Growth, the largest publicly traded marijuana firm.

In addition, a number of Canadian cannabis companies, including Cronos and MedMen Enterprises, now trade on USA stock exchanges, and some American companies have taken stakes. Cannabidiol or CBD is one of hundreds of molecules found in marijuana plants, and contains less than 0.1 percent of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component that makes people high.

While marijuana remains illegal at the national level in the USA, there is growing acceptance of the use of CBD derived from marijuana to treat illnesses ranging from chronic pain to anxiety and epilepsy.

Canada is the first major economy to legalize recreational marijuana, and shares in cannabis producers have rallied in anticipation. The first-ever medical treatment derived from a marijuana plant will hit the USA market soon, after regulators in June gave an epilepsy treatment by GW Pharmaceuticals the green light.

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