Coca Cola is in serious talks to produce marijuana-infused drinks'

An employee sorts freshly harvested cannabis buds at a medical marijuana plantation in northern Israel

Coca-Cola says it is mulling beverages infused with CBD or cannabidiol, a nonpsychoactive substance in marijuana that is purported to have health benefits. "The space is evolving quickly".

However, he declined to specifically comment on Aurora Cannabis Inc, and stressed that "no decisions have been made at this time".

That makes such drinks a great opportunity for beverage makers to diversify their product lines and many have already begun to do so.

"We continue to expect to see more deals between Canadian cannabis companies and the larger players in the global alcohol market who have yet to gain exposure to the category", she said.

Cowen analyst Vivien Azer cited growing consumer interest in CBD and said its properties lend the ingredient well to a sports recovery drink.

Coca-Cola is considering developing a range of marijuana-infused beverages to help ease physical problems such as inflammation, pain and cramps.

Cannabidiol is a chemical in marijuana that does not have the intoxicating effects of THC, the major active ingredient that causes the "high".

Coca-Cola Co. spokesperson Kent Landers issued a statement on the reports confirming the company's monitoring of CBD.

A partnership between Coke and Aurora would mark the first entry of a major manufacturer of non-alcoholic beverages into the market for cannabis-related products, up till now a hunting ground nearly exclusively for the alcohol industry.

According to Business Insider, shares of Aurora jumped 15 percent during early Monday trading after the Coca-Cola report broke.

The move, however, comes as other big beverage makers announced similar partnerships. The company last month said it would acquire the Costa Coffee chain for $5.1 billion.

Although Canada is gearing up to legalize marijuana for recreational use on October 17, beverages infused with the plant's active ingredients won't be legal until sometime in 2019.

"We have no interest in marijuana or cannabis", Coca-Cola said in a statement.

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

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