By GILLIAN FLACCUS
The Coca-Cola Company says that it’s “closely watching” the growth of the use of a non-psychoactive element of cannabis in wellness drinks.
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.
Coca-Cola and Aurora Cannabis Inc. both declined to confirm the reports by BNN Bloomberg.
Shares of Aurora were up nearly 17 percent on the Toronto Stock Exchange on the report.
Coca-Cola says it’s eyeing the growing market for health drinks infused with cannabidiol — or CBD — but has made no decisions.
The beverage giant’s interest is another indication of the growing acceptance of cannabis by established companies.
Spirits maker Constellation Brands bought a minority stake in a Canadian marijuana producer last year.
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Although the company has always closely guarded the original Coca-Cola formula, it was initially associated with the Coca leaf used to make cocaine.
Inventor John Pemberton was a civil war veteran who developed an addiction to morphine from a war wound.
He tinkered with a drink that would act as a substitute for the powerful narcotic.
He called the original formula a coca wine, similar to the popular French cure-all Vin Mariani.
But his did not have alcohol in it.
Pemberton claimed his “nerve tonic” cured indigestion, nerve disorders, headaches, addictions and even impotence.