Here we are in month 11 of quarantine, with the percentage of Americans who have received their COVID-19 vaccines inching upward at such a slow pace that I feel like my gaze is fixed on a comically massive pot of water, begging for it to boil. In Los Angeles, where I live, the last two months have been truly horrific in terms of the pandemic's spread, infecting tens of thousands per day for much of December and January, and the number of public activities that feel safe has shrunk and shrunk. There is one thing, and I mean literally one, that I can reliably do outside of my home every day to get fresh air and clear my mind of all of the oppressive mental clutter of social isolation, and that is hiking.
I guess the interchangeability of the terms “hiking” vs. “walking” depends only on the sloping grade of the street and the ground's composition of dirt versus concrete. Hiking has always been a way of life in LA, but now it's a mental welfare exercise. Sometimes I'm dripping sweat on the dusty final climb to Griffith Observatory; other times, strolling through the tree-lined, Adventures of Pete & Pete-esque streets that somehow exist in nooks of LA and Pasadena. No matter where, I've just got to keep putting one foot in front of the other until I finally get the endorphins poppin' and that slight numbness in my legs that signifies that I can go back home and, now guiltlessly, lie in repose with my surly cat and watch Dave Navarro thank Taco Bell for its sponsorship of Ink Master in episode after cursed episode, or maybe call my mom and ask her to talk about partying in the 70s so that I can live vicariously through her stories. This is all to say that, like all of us, I'm doing my best, but feeling motivated to exercise is not always easy.
In addition to endless strolls, something else I've taken to over the past year is CBD, which I sometimes consume in the final stages of my evening in the form of an overpriced, dubiously flavored beverage—likely purchased from Erewhon, the most LA of all LA grocery stores, known for its $29-a-jar buffalo chili, the strangely influential fashion of its customer base, and a recent incident in which a domme brought in a sub on a leash. Formerly a smoke-a-joint-while-listening-to-Sabbath Bloody Sabbath type, I initially didn’t expect much from CBD when it became white-hot in the wellness landscape. But it was through these terrifyingly priced and beautifully branded adaptogen drinks like VYBES and Recess that I came to realize that CBD is not merely Goop-y snake oil, and actually does make me feel some type of way, as long as I consume at least 20 milligrams of it in a sitting. Less that that: nada. More: floating on a cumulus without a care in the world!
So I was intrigued when I caught wind of OFFFIELD (yes, with three F's), which purports to be the first "plant-enhanced sports drink" on the market. Squinting, I tried to figure out whether I was correctly understanding that this product is essentially weed Gatorade,* which sounded like a dreamy supplement to my afternoon constitutionals. So, naturally, I decided to give it a shot.
OFFFIELD comes in little powdered packets that you stir or shake into a drink or your water bottle before cranking up your heart rate doing, you know, whatever—running, Jazzercise, MMA, jumping on a tiny trampoline in your home. Once mixed, it tastes like a slightly salty, lemony sports drink—sort of like heavily watered-down neon-green Powerade. Each packet contains sugar, lime juice powder, and sea salt; 100 percent of your daily vitamin B12 quota; a hefty sprinkle each of magnesium, zinc, sodium, and potassium, better known collectively as "electrolytes"; 20 milligrams of CBD; and 400 milligrams of cannabigerol, or CBG. It also contains L-theanine, an amino acid best known as the stuff in tea that gives you that cozy and chill feeling when you're halfway through a cuppa. Numerous studies have shown that L-theanine can “lower post-stress cortisol levels and also reduce subjective feelings of anxiety and stress,” and when combined with caffeine, it has demonstrated the ability to improve mood and focus. In recent years, the stuff has been popping up in more and more potables, from Karma "Wellness Water" to the "meditation drink" Moment to Pepsi's "relaxation beverage" Driftwell to Kin Euphorics' Dream Light, a non-alcoholic spirit.
Back to CBG for a second—yes, unfortunately, this is yet another acronym for all of us to learn. You may wonder, like I did, oh great, what is CBG? While CBD has long been the non-psychoactive cannabis extract du jour, CBG is its flashy cousin who just moved to town when it comes to the world of weed news. In the process of all the cannabinoid extraction and isolation processes that have been developed post-widespread-legalization, CBG has emerged as another beneficial compound. It is the base molecule from which CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids form, and, like many bougie wellness things of the modern era, we are not totally sure what it does. But industry proponents and New-Age-of-cannabis devotees think—and many anecdotally say—that it reduces anxiety and offers feelings of mental clarity and well-being. It is also supposedly the strongest glaucoma-fighting compound of cannabis; could potentially combat inflammation and neurodegenerative diseases; and, perhaps more realistically, increases appetite. That's right: it just might be the munchies compound.
With all of this in mind, a long Saturday hike seemed like just the appropriate physical activity for testing out OFFFIELD's powers. I would like to be up front about the fact that I was, and maybe still am 1) skeptical about virtually all of the health claims above, and 2) at this point in my life, am incredibly sensitive to virtually anything druggy or medicinal. I can’t even drink coffee, lest I be stricken with psychosis-like jitters, and I haven't ingested any form of weed edible since whenever that live-action Aladdin came out, which I unfortunately attended in-theater whilst on a single 10-milligram weed chocolate-covered coffee bean and promptly became terrified of the Will Smith genie, then curled up and fell asleep in my chair, the human version of that "oh no, oh no no no no no" song that's popular on TikTok. So I did have some minor concerns that the weed Gatorade* stuff—sorry, OFFFIELD—would either do absolutely nothing OR had the potential to cause me to fall asleep in a bush mid-hike. I knew the 20 milligrams of CBD would probably bliss me out a bit, but having no experience trying concentrated CBG, I wasn't sure what to expect.
On first try, I emptied the packet into my Nalgene (as did my hiking companion) and we began a seven-mile hike in the Santa Monica Mountains. For the first hour of the hike, it was just business as usual. But then, a couple of miles in, we realized we were a bit lost, after taking a weird turn that somehow took us from the top of a mountain into an incredibly quaint suburban neighborhood that apparently lies outside the bounds of Verizon’s coverage area.
Normally, I am not a fan of being lost with no phone service, but instead, I turned to my friend and, apropos of nothing besides some metaphysical sunglasses, said, "I think maybe I feel amazing?" And I meant it! "I do, too," he agreed. "Is it the stuff?" we wondered.
The verdant green of grassy lawns looked painterly; the gentle breeze felt like a caress, as did the beams of sun forming freckles on my arms. I felt like I could hike forever, trekking endlessly without a care in the world. We carried on for another couple of hours, including on a very long climb with a pretty steep grade, but I felt no exhaustion. Of course, it could all just be that I was in a good mood for other reasons of unclear origin. But that's the bargain you make with any of this stuff—maybe she's born with it, maybe it's psychosomatic, or maybe, just maybe, it's the CBD and adaptogens and electrolytes. The hard science… [shrugs] still waiting.
After our hike, we absolutely wolfed down several menu items each from a delightful vegan taqueria in the Valley, El Cocinero. Once again: Was it the OFFFIELD and the magical munchies powers of CBG, or are we just gluttons? Hard to say, but I did feel that slow-mo stoner pleasure while demolishing those seitan carne asada mulitas. Even having fallen into a period of emotional numbness this deep in quarantine, I still couldn't shake the feeling that the day was just… really good. Like a montage from a TV show with carefree young people laughing and playing volleyball at the beach or something.
The next day, I gave it another shot. This time, another friend and I hiked to Griffith Observatory—a significantly shorter hike than the previous day's—and once again, I felt unmistakably calm but present, like this route I’d completed a hundred times before was somehow more beautiful than ever. We concluded that trek by trying to get the Everything Bagel ice cream at Jeni's (it was sold out, so no dice), but we did still heartily enjoy some double scoops of less garlicky flavors, anyway. The CBG? My sweet tooth? The steep hike? Who's to know? But it all felt just swell.
So, am I a believer? At this point, I'll take anything that gives my mood a lift, whether it's a placebo or not—and anything that motivates me to go outside and stretch my limbs. At $39.99 ($29.99 if you subscribe to regular deliveries) for 12 packets, it's a little pricey for using every single workout, especially if you're a big-time home yogi or one of those masochistic people who insists on doing long strenuous runs every day. But for a few hikes a month, I found it to be a worthwhile accoutrement. Plus, that's still considerably cheaper than my fancy Erewhon drink habit—those can run $5-$7 a can or bottle. Less than a Negroni: yes. Enough to make Boomers want to shake their fist at my self-indulgent Millennial ass? Certainly.
OFFFIELD is available for purchase at OFFFIELD.com.
*OFFFIELD has no relationship with Gatorade to my knowledge, I just can't shake the mental idea of it as "weed Gatorade" and I apologize for any confusion that this description creates.
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