Unsurprisingly, Carl's Jr. chose to test its Rocky Mountain High: CheeseBurger Delight in Denver, Colorado, where marijuana consumption is legal. The CBD-infused burger will be available only on April 20, aka 4/20 — slang in cannabis culture for the consumption of cannabis.
The burger will include cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive hemp derivative, which will be tested to determine if the CBD burger should be a part of the chain’s permanent menu, said Patty Trevino, senior vice president of brand marketing for Carl's Jr. "It is something that feels right for the brand," she told CNN Business. "We are all about innovation."
Numerous consumer goods companies have been capitalizing on the growing interest in CBD, which is said to increase energy and improve intestinal health. CBD has also been shown to treat inflammation, pain, anxiety, and seizures. Despite its purported health benefits, Carl's Jr. doesn’t suggest that consuming the burger will enhance wellbeing.
According to Trevino, the burger just hopes to keep up with current trends by appealing to a new generation of consumers. "They are more open to different flavors of products," Trevino said.
The chain first began considering CBD in January after they presented a plant-based alternative to its signature burger in partnership with Beyond Meat. "I was sitting down with our head chef Owen Klein, and we were talking about trends," Trevino said. "We looked at ourselves and said, you know what, let's try."
Though CBD-infused products provide companies with a new marketing strategy, the use of the ingredient is still not well defined. In the US, hemp was legalized last year as part of the Farm Bill, but the Food & Drug Administration still hasn’t issued guidelines for regulating CBD products.
In a March, former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb told the Brookings Institution that it could take years before the agency fully sanctions CBD for use in food products and dietary supplements. By starting in a small, hemp-friendly market, Carl's Jr. hopes to figure out how to go forward.
Given that most of its locations are in Western states, where recreational cannabis is legal, Carl Jr.’s could obtain a competitive edge over rivals. The chain has partnered with Bluebird Botanicals, a Colorado-based company that markets CBD oil and capsules, to develop the Rocky Mountain High: CheeseBurger Delight.
The burger, infused with five milligrams of CBD, will be sold exclusively at the Carl's Jr. on 4050 Colorado Boulevard in Denver and will retail for $4.20. Each customer will be limited to purchasing two burgers, and it will only be available to those 18 and older.