Kava, the South Pacific plant, is being touted as the “new alcohol” in groovier New York neighborhoods, according to the New Yorker. Kavasutra, a new booze-free bar, specializes in drinks made from kava. It looks and feels like a regular bar, but there’s nary a chardonnay in sight.
Kava drinks have been used for centuries in ceremonies in the South Pacific and are made by grinding the root of the plant and mixing it with water. Fans say the effects are similar to alcohol. The drink relieves anxiety and relaxes muscles, but doesn’t mess with cognitive abilities or give you a hangover, fans say. It is legal and unregulated.
Heightened interest in the cognitive effects of chemical compounds, reminiscent of drug culture, follows the elevation of cannabis as an ingredient in new snacks, confectionery, coffee, and more. As our Future 100 report charted, marijuana startups such as Dixie Elixirs are taking cues from specialty food and prestige beauty products, designing sleek and childproof bottles for beverages infused with THC, the active chemical found in cannabis.
Meanwhile, High Times magazine is transitioning into a mainstream lifestyle brand, and this April 20th, the upscale gym chain Equinox even pondered whether marijuana could help people work out better.
With more mainstream discussion of psychoactive substances in general, there’s also greater interest in optimizing these substances for self-improvement.