Cannabis containing THC may not yet be legal in Hong Kong, or in most of Asia, but there is already a CBD cafe up and running in the Sheung Wan district. Currently in the soft-opening phase, the cafe will be fully open next month with a complete menu of CBD offerings.
Chic and stylish, Found, the region’s first CBD cafe, sells a full range of CBD-based cannabis products, including vials of CBD oil for personal use, powders to be added to foods such as oil and butters, and other products, including products for pets who need pain relief. They even sell CBD-infused beer and coffee for those who want to stay awhile in the cafe.
The staff are said to be caring and compassionate, happy to help everyone from the seasoned CBD user looking for a specific product to tourists and folks who have no idea what CBD is or what it can be used for.
“Most people are seeking help with sleep; we also have parents with children with epilepsy or cerebral palsy here who are using our products,” says Fiachra Mullen, co-owner of Altum International, the cannabinoids supplier in the Asia Pacific area that owns and operates Found.
Like many parts of the world, CBD has become trendy in Hong Kong with groups who practice yoga, mindfulness, and other self-care. Mullen also feels that CBD has become helpful for dealing with all the issues that come along with 2020.
“Much of it is driven by the year that Hong Kong has had with the protests and the pandemic. A lot of the customers take it first thing in the morning with their coffee before they leave the house, it helps with mindfulness and makes them a bit more resilient to whatever happens that day.”
Still, while the shop is doing well and CBD is popular, partially because herbal remedies have credibility in Hong Kong, there is still a stigma against cannabis, even non-psychoactive cannabis, that is not easy to shake, and Mullen fears not being able to reach a full spectrum of customers.
“There’s a large part of the population that I’m not reaching,” says Mullen.
Still, there is hope for CBD use in Hong Kong to grow. All across Asia, cannabis is often part of ancient traditional, herbal remedies from throughout history. However, all the cannabis criminalization from over the years has taken its toll, and now, like in North America, many people are sceptical of it having any benefit at all. This is especially true with the older generation, but Mullen aims to change that.
“My dream profile customer is a 65-year-old Hong Kong woman,” confesses Mullen. “If I can have her and her husband walk in and learn about, or even just hear the word ‘cannabis,’ and not run a mile, then its mission accomplished.”
Hong Kong, and the rest of Asia, will be watching to see how this CBD cafe is received and what the future of CBD and cannabis will look like in the East.