In a city where cannabinoids are still very much associated with intoxicating recreational — and highly illegal — usage, there’s a vacuum in the popular imagination for the many therapeutic benefits of these naturally occurring compounds that are being embraced elsewhere in the world
Hong Kong (CNN) — On a rare pedestrian-only corner of Hong Kong’s Sheung Wan area, hidden deep within a heavily gentrified maze of sleek micro roasters and dusty Chinese antique shops, there’s a stylish, unassuming shop with a few tables out on its terrace.
Is it a boutique? Is it a bar? Does it even sell anything?
It’s hard to tell on the surface, but with its vanilla-chic aesthetic of unfinished wood floors, blank white walls and a few nondescript plants, it’s hardly the place you go to whisper “weed, please.”
Mini boxes of powders allow buyers to add CBD to foods, sprinkling some into oils and butters will infuse dishes with cannabinoids.
There are also CBD products for pets to support with joint inflammation and other conditions.
A cozy seating area in front of Found’s beverage counter offers customers a space to relax with a beer or coffee, both tinged with just enough CBD to take the edge off of the drinks.
Currently in its soft-opening phase, the owner hopes to fully open next month with a facelift and full cafe menu.
How is this legal?
Apart from CBD, there is a range of other compounds available in cannabis plants, some illegal and some not depending where you are.
In Hong Kong, the CBD extract is technically legal, but its sister compound THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), responsible for the “high,” is strictly illegal.
In the United States and Europe, CBD products can carry up to 0.3% — a trace amount — of THC, but even that is not acceptable in Hong Kong.
Any CBD product sold here must have entirely undetectable amounts of THC.
Sounds easy enough to get around — just use a pure form of CBD.
But most manufacturers produce the extract with a trace amount of THC and other compounds from industrial hemp. This broad spectrum mix of compounds is known for having a higher efficacy than any of the single compounds just on their own.
Educating the public
While Hong Kong has a deeply ingrained culture of taking herbal remedies for health conditions and general wellness, there is mostly a stigma against anything related to cannabinoids.
Source: CNN Travel