A sidewalk sign with a big green marijuana leaf now stands in front of Hamilton's on Broadway near 146th Street, announcing that cannabis coffee has finally arrived in Harlem.
Inside the coffee shop, a more detailed notice spells out everything: its special coffee is made with cannabidiol (CBD), a legal substance derived from cannabis that actually won't make you high (it lacks the psychoactive compound known as THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol). But CBD is meant to relax you–it is often used to relieve pain, reduce anxiety, and help with insomnia, among other benefits.
Hamilton's suggests ordering the CBD with one of its "lattes, cortados, Americanos or cappuccinos to be, like totally chill"–so that is what I did. Using a dropper, the barista added what is actually CBD oil to my coffee ($4 for 1 mg), which gave it an unexpectedly minty (and greasy) taste.
As someone who is not a big fan of flavored coffee, I probably would have preferred to pair the cannabis oil with hot chocolate (for that Thin Mints taste) or some sort of green or herbal tea. Maybe next time.
How did I feel? I would say the rest of my weekend afternoon was spent in a relaxed, yawny state, with an inability to focus on more than one thing at a time.
I had an errand to run, and as I walked from Hamilton's to the subway I found myself softly humming–which I continued to do throughout the afternoon. When I got off in midtown, I spun around for a while and then headed in the wrong direction–even though I soon realized that Times Square, indicating south, was staring me right in the face. Oops.
I finished what I had to do in midtown, but couldn't wait to get back home to Harlem and relax. At no point was I high, but it wasn't easy to multi-task or walk at a fast clip, for that matter. Next time, I will try my CBD-laced drink toward the end of the day–and skip the caffeine while I'm at it.