Take a look inside a new CBD oil cafe where even the pizza can be infused with the cannabis plant product
We take a first look inside the new CBD oil eatery, The Hemp Cafe, which has opened today in Seaham
The new cafe opened to the public yesterday and is offering food and drink infused with the cannabis plant derivative – as well as a health food.
The Hemp Cafe owner Matt Shepherd opened his first cannabidiol oil-infused cafe in Pennywell Business Centre last year and the cafe has proved a popular spot for health-focused foodies with professional boxers counted as customers.
In recent years, CBD oil has become increasing popular, but it’s not without a bit of controversy – as the oil is derived from the cannabis family of plants.
We headed down to the new cafe to talk about what’s on offer and find out more about CBD oil.
Following the success of the first cafe, Matt has opened a second eatery in Church Street, Seaham, and has already received an overwhelming response on social media.
Inside, the cool and chic cafe offers up an array of healthy foods including vegan and vegetarian dishes.
Before it reached lunchtime on opening day they already had a queue of people wanting to try what’s on offer.
Most food and drink available can be infused with CBD oil and there is a range of CBD products on offer to buy and take home – including vapes and gummy bears.
But manager Lyndsey Holmes says this isn’t a place to come and "get high” what the cafe offers is the legal and medical side of cannabis.
“Some people still think that it’s cannabis, but this is the legal side of it – there’s no THC in it so you won’t have the high associated with it,” said the 35-year-old, who says she personally uses CBD for back pain.
“It’s all to do with pain relief, it stimulates your appetite it’s been proven to reduce seizures as well.
“One of my friends is pain free off taking it - she has rheumatoid arthritis in her spine. More people are finding out about it and realising its working and are spreading the world.”
“We always ask to infuse, so we do smoothies, coffee, tea, oil that goes on pizzas, infused cheesecakes and the brownies – this is all optional. It’s not just about the CBD it’s about healthy eating.
“The cafe in Pennywell is really popular as well. We keep getting really good feedback and that’s why we’ve started to branch out. People come from across the region to try the products.”
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So what is CBD oil?
Cannabis oil and CBD oil are not the same. The former, contains a compound known as cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC) which is the psychoactive chemical commonly associated with ‘getting high’.
Cannabis oil is classed as a medicine and must be prescribed by a medical professional. But CBD oil on the other hand only has trace elements of THC (the bit that gets you high).
For years, it has been sold as a ‘food supplement’. In recent years it has been gaining in popularity with many users saying it is a good form of pain relief. Daily use of CBD is seen as a good way to support the body’s endocannabinoid system.
What are the health benefits of CBD oil?
Inscribed on one of the walls is a list of the healthy benefits consumers can gain from taking a daily dosage. These include help with sleeping problems, stress and anxiety relief, stimulates appetite, relieves pain, improves heart health, skin protection and it can help with epilepsy seizures.
Staff say they’ve had a lot of older people come in to find out more about taking CBD and having tried it they’ve kept coming back for more.
So what does it taste like?
“CBD doesn’t change the taste of the coffee,” said Lyndsey, “That is the flavour of the coffee, it’s infused in the coffee as is the oil which goes on the pizza. You won’t taste it but it absorbs into your body.”
What are the most popular dishes?
There’s a long deli counter filled with vegetables, salad, rice, chicken and more. One of the most- bought items is the Buddha Box – a box filled with a selection of anything in the deli counter and their healthy pizzas – which can be infused with CBD oil.
There are CBD-infused brownies and cheesecakes – and a selection of vegan cheesecakes too.
Breakfast wraps and omelette are another popular choice, with or without the oil.