Food News

Hemp Energy Drink? Try Chillo.

Hemp, that beloved fiber of the cannabis sativa plant, seems to be popping up in everything you buy these days. Look online and you'll find clothing, body lotion, paper, granola, milk, butter and protein bars all touting the benefits of this popular plant. But don't be fooled. You won't find your high by rubbing yourself down with some hemp-infused body oil or chomping on some Nature's Path hemp granola. There are three main varieties of the cannabis sativa plant, but only C. sativa secretes tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in doses worthy of recreational and medicinal drugs. Sadly, your T-shirt is made from another variety all together.

Yet we embrace this plant. Heck, the United Nations deemed cannabis the most widely used illicit substance in the world. So it's no wonder that Miami native Mark Levin, jumped on the bandwagon and launched Chillo earlier this year; it's , one of two energy drinks on the market to contain hemp. The other, 420 Hemp Energy, is a California company that hits you over the head with a marketing campaign suggesting the product is great for those looking for a little pick me up while enjoying a "420 lifestyle".

Chillo offers a more subtle approach by suggesting you remix your activity rather than adopting what the big name energy drink companies tell you to do. "We want our customers to take their everyday activities and do something unique", says Ilan Behar, Marketing Director for Chill Drinks, "Be it riding the bus to work or sitting outside in the rain." Not exactly what you associate with an energy drink campaign, but these guys are trying to carve a niche for themselves in a saturated energy drink market. Even their can, sleek, bright orange with a cannabis leave on the front is different, and even with no THC in the product it's hard to deny the not so subliminal message.

Ilan gave us a few cans to try. The hemp is added to enhance the flavor and help prevent a crash. So at 4pm we popped it open and guzzled the orange sparkly liquid. We tasted a hint of the "nutty" hemp flavor but there is no mistaking that it's an energy drink. The taurine, sugar and caffeine worked -- but at 6 p.m. we crashed and had to resort to a cup of java for the drive home.

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Christina Staalstrom