Tinctures and topicals, vape pens and edibles, patches and capsules — it’s not easy to keep up with the seemingly never-ending array of ways to use CBD oil. That list just got a little longer, too, because CBD stir sticks are here. But are they a gimmick like CBD energy frequencies and bed sheets, or a legitimate product that’s worth your money?
The concept is not exactly a new one. You might be familiar with the hot chocolate stir sticks that can be found at popular coffee chains like Starbucks every fall and winter. But while these employ a solid glob of chocolate (which is then stirred into a glass of hot milk), most CBD stir sticks function more like instant coffee mixes — each stick contains a small amount of CBD-infused powder, which can then be stirred into beverages either hot or cold.
These stir sticks aren’t a vastly popular way to use CBD yet, but that hasn’t stopped a growing number of brands from releasing their own takes on the product, with a few notable variations in design, ingredients, and effects.
Perhaps the most noteworthy examples come from the New Jersey-based CBD company Holistik, which recently released a line of stir sticks aimed at addressing specific conditions. Inside each of the straws is 10 mg of broad spectrum CBD powder, as well as a number of other ingredients depending on which stick you’re using.
For instance, their Recover Stik contains a blend of ginger and tumeric “to aid muscle recovery.” In their Beauty Stik you’ll find added collagen “to promote healthy hair, skin, and nails.” They also sell a Stress Stik, Sleep Stik, and Digest Stik, all of which have been developed with unique ingredients that (in theory) support their intended purposes. The beautiful, colorblocked packaging is sleek, minimal, and kind of sexy — but at $13.99 for a pack of three, it needs to be.
A slightly more affordable version is available from Cannastir, a Colorado hemp brand that offers a “premium CBD coffee enhancer that doubles as a sucker.” These come in three flavors: French Vanilla, Hazelnut, or Irish Cream. In appearance, they resemble Starbucks’ hot chocolate sticks more than Holistik’s offerings, but they contain the same amount of CBD at 10 mg per stick. At $9.95 for a pack of three, they’re a bit more budget-friendly, though frequent coffee drinkers are likely to still find them pricey for everyday use.
If you’re looking for a new way to work CBD into your daily routine, a stir stick has some clear advantages. They’re super convenient, quick and easy to use at home, and portable (if you like the idea of bringing yours to the office to impress your colleagues at break time). The fact that they come in a variety of flavors adds a fun factor, and the range of products offered by Holistik in particular means that you can choose which stick you use based on how you’re feeling on that particular day. All of this adds up to an interesting, if slightly gimmicky, product that is accessible to CBD novices.
However, if you’re intent on finding a CBD product that works, the stir stick might not be the best option. One reason for this is the fact that most of the stir sticks available right now use broad spectrum CBD oils. These oils, which have had all traces of the intoxicating compound THC removed during the distillation process, can be an enticing option for people who are concerned about avoiding any contact with THC. Unfortunately, the lack of this compound also makes CBD less effective.
Another downside to these stir sticks is their affordability, or lack thereof, at least in comparison to other CBD products. Let’s use the example of the Holistik stir sticks. At $9.99 for a pack of three, this works out to $3.33 for every 10 mg of CBD. By comparison, 10 mg of CBD oil in tincture form from Hemp Bombs costs as little as $1.24. So, if value for money is what you’re after, then CBD stir sticks might not be worth your while.
The biggest problem with CBD stir sticks, though, is the same one faced by all CBD beverage products: the cannabinoid doesn’t dissolve in water. Instead, it’s fat-soluble, meaning that its molecules must be immersed in a fatty substance like coconut oil to break down their bonds and make them small enough to enter your bloodstream. This is one of the reasons that eating a high-fat meal before taking CBD can make it more effective. A number of companies are working on developing technologies to make water-soluble versions of CBD, but these efforts are still in their infancy, and until they yield fruit, you should probably steer clear of CBD stir sticks.