new beverage called Mary Jane's Relaxing Soda -- billed by some as "weed in a can" -- is selling briskly in Los Angeles, yet another sign of pot culture going mainstream in America's largest state. The beverage, part of a emerging category of so-called "anti-energy drinks," doesn't actually contain cannabis, but promises similar effects of calm and relaxation from its "active" ingredient, a medicinal root from the South Pacific called kava. The FDA doesn't consider kava a drug, but "if there were not therapeutic effects, it would not be a 1,000-year-old folk medicine," says Boston University pharmaceuticals chemist Michael Pollastri. By making pot-like effects available from convenience store coolers, is Mary Jane's Relaxing Soda part of trend toward marijuana becoming a more acceptable part of everyday life in the U.S.?
We could all use a little relaxation: This sure seems like a drink for our times, says Ron Dicker in WalletPop. While Mary Jane's is the only brand "purposely using its name to equate it with the tranquility-bestowing properties of marijuana," they all promise to help us "mellow out." And hey, "with hard times and threatening skies raising our anxiety, we could use some low-cost relief."
"Put down the Red Bull and chill, dude, with Mary Jane's Relaxing Soda"
This has fad written all over it: It's great to have "an antidote to the overcaffeinated, stomach-churning energy drinks of the past few years," says Thomas Rogers in Salon. But while the growth of the anti-energy drinks has been steady since Malava Relax debuted in 2006 — and 2010 could be their year — once "the novelty wears off and, god help us, the economy improves, it's hard to imagine this trend lasting."
"2010: Year of the anti-energy drink"
Better drinking Mary Jane's than using dope: There's always going to be a market for mellowing-out products, says Peter Chubb in Product Review News, and "sadly drugs is the most popular one" we still turn to. So we're all for Mary Jane's and other such drinks — but "anti-energy drink" is sort of a misnomer. Because it promotes mental focus, Mary Jane's "is still a form of energy drink." Long may it run.
"Anti-energy drink, calming drinks made from plants"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like
- The Daily Show has some fun mocking the CPAC power players
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Here's proof that Justin Bieber is just as spoiled as you always thought
- Watch Zach Galifianakis get annoyed at President Obama on Between Two Ferns
- 10 things you need to know today: March 11, 2014
- Why I'm sick and tired of seeing naked women on HBO
- Why Ted Cruz is the real-life Frank Underwood
- Why is it so expensive to build a bridge in America?
- What the collapse of the Ming Dynasty can tell us about American decline
Subscribe to the Week