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Carl’s Jr.’s First CBD Burger Hits on 4/20 in Denver

April 17, 2019
New High: Carl’s Jr.’s sells a CBD-infused “Rocky Mountain High: CheeseBurger Delight” on 4/20. (Courtesy of Carl's Jr, Leafly)
New High: Carl’s Jr.’s sells a CBD-infused “Rocky Mountain High: CheeseBurger Delight” on 4/20. (Courtesy of Carl's Jr, Leafly)
Has the craze in cannabidiol—or CBD—finally jumped the shark?

The latest evidence comes from fast food leviathan Carl’s Jr., which announced Wednesday it will sell hamburgers in Denver, CO, on April 20 featuring CBD in the sauce. That’s right, the 4/20 special sauce at Carl’s Jr. includes CBD!

A Carl’s Jr. spokesperson told CNN today that the CBD burger is not a stunt. Rather, it’s a test of demand that is limited to one Carl’s Jr. in Denver on one day, April 20—which has become a cannabis holiday of sorts worldwide.

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“It is something that feels right for the brand,” the senior vice president of brand marketing told CNN Business. “We are all about innovation.”

Carl’s Jr. and sister brand Hardee’s has 3,800 locations in 44 states. It hopes to attract younger fast food eaters with novelties like meatless burgers—and now a CBD burger, CNN reported.

Cannabidiol is the second most common active ingredient in cannabis. It does not cause euphoria but can reduce pain, inflammation, and anxiety. Those pharmacological properties have made it the subject of renewed FDA scrutiny. The FDA holds that CBD is legal so long as it comes in the newly approved prescription drug Epidiolex.


CBD (cannabidiol): What does it do and how does it affect the brain & body?

However the FDA and many state health agencies disallow the sale of foods with added CBD, which the FDA has not yet deemed “generally recognized as safe.” The recent US farm bill added legal complexity to the issue. The bill legalized hemp—defined as cannabis with less than .3% THC. That move seemed to open the door to hemp-derived CBD, though agencies such as the DEA maintain that cannabis extracts, including CBD, remain Schedule I controlled substances. Hemp farmers also need state and federal sign-offs on legal hemp, and those don’t exist yet.

Carl’s Jr. is not the only company forging ahead by offering CBD to the masses. Major drugstore chain CVS already stocks hemp-derived CBD products. So do many smaller health food stores. Carl’s Jr. is getting its CBD from Bluebird Botanicals in Colorado — a state where cannabis, hemp, and CBD are all legal. The product is also not crossing state lines, which decreases legal risks a bit.

The cheeseburger includes two beef patties, topped with pickled jalapeños, pepper jack cheese, fries, and a CBD-infused “Santa Fe sauce” with 5 milligrams of CBD.

Would you take a bite of Carl’s Jr.’s “Rocky Mountain High: CheeseBurger Delight?” It’ll cost $4.20 and goes on sale at 6 a.m. Saturday at the Carl’s Jr. at 4050 Colorado Blvd. in Denver, CO. Limit two burgers per person, ages 18 and older.

Initial reactions have been mixed, but in terms of press—it’s already a coup for Carl’s.

David Downs's Bio Image

David Downs

David Downs directs news and lifestyle coverage as the California Bureau Chief for He's written for WIRED, Rolling Stone and Billboard, and is the former cannabis editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, as well as the author of several cannabis books including 'Marijuana Harvest' by Ed Rosenthal and David Downs. He co-hosts The Hash podcast. TW: @davidrdowns | IG @daviddowns

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  • Highway 69

    Lol! Why not!?

  • maia

    So what is the point, though? Health benefits from eating a CBD burger once in awhile surely can’t amount to very much. Or is it just a trendy way to sell more meatburgers?

    • Sky Has Claws

      Marketing. I’m not sure that 5mg of CBD on its own is effective for anything. Make it 100mg and maybe you’d counteract that icky feeling you get later from all the grease and sodium, though.

    • Sandra M Croft

      Maybe its just a very simple introduction to CBD in the way of enjoying an already good burger with a little pain free stuff. Lighten up ya grumpy negative soul

    • TheDarKnight

      You completely missed the point. This is part of an effort which is attempting to normalize the use of CBD. If big companies such as Carl’s Jr. begin selling products which include CBD in them, then maybe other companies will attempt to do the same; Coca-Cola is currently in the process of creating a drink with CBD in it. I’m not saying that it’s healthy to drink Coca-Cola, but I am saying that any sort of positive and supportive assistance towards the use of CBD will help everyone.

    • John Kempf

      If you are eating that burger it wouldn’t matter how much CBD is in the sauce. How many calories are in that burger.

  • Tim Kirby

    Wow, 5mg of CBD for $4.20 seems like a bargain. The CBD oil is very expensive.

  • Blake Boczkiewicz

    Why can’t they offer this in washington state?

  • Accordion Granny

    I use CBD for severe joint pain and it works great, but eating the occasional burger…. sounds like a promotion to sell burgers to me…HOWEVER… I’m thinking more like…. if they put CBD in burgers, sooner than later they are going to get the bright idea to put other “controlling “ substances in our burgers, just like the GMO’s already there. To me, i see it as a way to get their foot in the door to OTHER substances.


    Think I’ll just have the CBD and forget the burger.

  • Austin Rode

    Why not CALI!?!?!?

  • Saundra Renee Saileau

    We have an italian restaurant in St. Louis that you can get CBD in your foods. The restaurant is called Lou Boccardi’s. I don’t know if they have a website, but I saw it as bright as day the other day. I used to go there 30 years ago and they had the best anchovy and celery salad dressing.