Everything Kylie Jenner touches turns to gold, and the latest product to earn her Instagram seal of approval is Happy Tea, a CBD-laced drink that promises to relieve anxiety and promote mental health.
The social media star and cosmetics entrepreneur shouted out the tea brand in her Instagram Story this week, solidifying it as the Next Big Thing to take over Insta feeds everywhere.
Happy Tea is a product of Fit Tea, one of the many “teatox” products that have enjoyed widespread Instagram fame thanks to endorsements from the Kardashians, Cardi B and other highly influential Spandex-clad Instagram baddies. (Even former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin has posted sponsored photos of the stuff.)
However, these “detox teas” have come under scrutiny from health professionals. The US Food and Drug Administration does not regulate the ingredients in diet supplements such as detox teas, which is a big concern for doctors because some of the most popular ingredients, like garcinia cambogia and valerian root, can have serious side effects. Nutrition experts say the teas are essentially “a bunch of herbs” that, at best, will give you a boost via caffeine and, at worst, bless you with an un-photogenic case of explosive diarrhea.
This response to the teatox fad has led some celebrities and influencers to actively campaign against “poop teas” and their legion of contrapposto-posing, tumbler-clutching endorsers.
What’s in Happy Tea, and is it safe?
But anyway, back to Happy Tea. Naturally, two questions arise: Is is safe, and does it work?
Without official regulations or an abundance of clinical evidence, it isn’t really clear.
Happy Tea purports to contain “10mg natural hemp extract,” which is another name for cannabidiol, the non-psychoactive ingredient in hemp and marijuana. A release from the company says the drinks can “help alleviate stress, decrease anxiety, and minimize inflammation.”
According to Fit Tea founder Michael G., he created the drink as a solution for his own anxiety and mental health struggles.
“Many of the blogs and lists read wanted you to see therapists, chant mantras, and do guided meditations to help you stop stressing, ease your mind, and calm your anxiety,” he writes on Happy Tea’s website. “That wasn’t going to work for me. It’s not my personality to try something and HOPE that it would help. I needed something REAL.”
“Real” is a notable word. Although a few studies support CBD’s effectiveness for certain issues, like opioid addiction, there isn’t a whole lot of clinical research on the trendy ingredient.
Thus, Happy Tea’s claims run up against many of the same caveats as its “poop tea” sister. The FDA is scrambling to come up with a regulatory framework for the use of CBD in food, drinks and supplements. Without regulation, makers of CBD products can essentially claim that the substance does almost anything you want it to do. Several times this year, the FDA has had to issue warnings to companies claiming that their CBD products treated serious diseases like cancer and Parkinson’s.
Happy Tea makes no such claims. But in the absence of research and regulation, there’s no confirming what it actually does.