It’s close to 6 p.m. at work and I wish I was back on vacation with the energy that long weekends bring. When I had cool sand sifting between my toes and the air was a warm mix of afternoon sun and ocean chill. Where I felt centered and alert, a feeling I find difficulty defaulting to at work.

And believe me, I’ve tried numerous apps, downloads, and handwritten notes to help keep my focus — yet none of those worked.

After years of fast-passed attention switching, the only things that have sincerely worked for my productivity is being left alone.

And sometimes CBD (cannabidiol).

Fortunately, as of last year, CBD has become much easier to come across — although not as easy to understand.

The whole picture behind the efficacy of CBD, especially hemp CBD, still needs a lot more research to be treated as a legal medicine, panacea, or remedy. And in areas where CBD visibility is rampant or in your “digital” face, you may have to check whether or not your product skirts the legality of it all. For example, hemp CBD is legal, according to the FDA.

So the question stands: Though hemp CBD is much easier to get, will a product you buy from your local bodega or an Instagram ad really work?

The answer isn’t as simple as “science says” — and the results are more personal than that.

Having tried Vybes (it worked, but I found it too sweet) and CBD candies (which did not work) for several months, I got the chance to try Recess, a sparkling water drink infused with CBD and adaptogens.

(Disclosure: My coworker is friends with Benjamin Witte, the founder, and got me a can of Recess for free.)

A CBD beverage is totally about the feels

When trying the drink, I knew what to expect — or at least the feeling I wanted. And Recess gave it to me.

As John Green wrote about love, productivity hit me like that. Slowly, then all at once.

It’s the same feeling that develops when I’m at the beach. Sat between the afternoon sun and firm, wet sand, I slowly become very aware of my body’s movements but not the aches. It’s the same understated feeling I get when I’m looking at the ocean, lost in a wave of momentum.

Or as Recess puts it on their can: calm, cool, collected.

I felt that.

But as an editor immersed in supplement information, I was also interested in the reasoning behind the brand adding adaptogens to its formula.

Adaptogens, herbs that help your body balance and counteract stress, have been a “thing” with functional health for a while, but as a collective, they’ve never become as mainstream as their hype.

I imagine for people with chronic illnesses, they’re one less pill you want to take for “maybe” reasons. And for healthy folks, they can be an expensive hassle for something that needs to be taken for months before you “feel an effect.”

As a naturally wired, hyper, and anxious person, Witte had been experimenting with CBD and adaptogens prior to making his CBD drink. When he started incorporating both, he felt — not relaxed — but balanced, centered, and more productive.

But he found taking multiple pills, capsules, tinctures, and oils a nuisance.

This inspired him to look for another way to get CBD and adaptogens in one fell swoop.

“No one was combining the ingredients together,” he tells me over the phone. “They work well together and we’re used to drinking functional beverages, so why not a CBD drink?”

Nine months of experimentation, formula- and taste-testing later, he developed Recess. The same beverage that was responsible for my sudden, one-day, 9-to-5 function, where I got through three edits in one day and still had the energy to respond to the news that my boyfriend’s car was totaled.

And that was only after one can.

Each can has 10 milligrams (mg) of hemp CBD. Though research hasn’t yet been done on how effective exactly 10 mg is, research from a variety of studies does show that the lowest CBD (not hemp) dosage that’s had effectiveness is about 300 mg.

Witte also tells me that they’re in the process of creating a powder that will be available in early 2019. A powder I can whip out anywhere? That’s CBD productivity at its peak, really.

“It’s not for anxiety — not at night or before bed. It’s meant to be uplifting and inspired.”

Recess will also expand beyond New York (currently it’s available online) to the West Coast and the rest of the country later this year.

According to Witte, there’s no personal limit on how much he drinks

“I drink four to five [cans] a day. It’s a personal thing,” he says. Witte also believes his product to be something that can be consumed in the office or while working.

If you’re concerned about dosage, talk to a medical provider.

“It’s a day time drink,” he explains.

He uses the word balanced a lot, and emphasizes that it’s not about relaxation. “It’s not for anxiety — not at night or before bed. It’s meant to be uplifting and inspired.”

With the added adaptogens, specifically the ginseng, L-theanine, and schiandra, the drink did seem to have an effect on my stress levels. And for caffeine defectors, CBD may be a potential replacement.

“[I] think of it like caffeine,” Witte says, “except CBD has less of an acute effect.”

So does Recess stack up to its claims?

As someone who enjoyed customized vitamins but hated taking six “maybe they work” pills, LaCroix’s much cooler sister is far more fun to chill with. However, with about $40 for an eight pack, I’m not sure my wallet can keep up.

But the idea of Recess? That alone has gotten me through writing this piece in just under an hour.

Is CBD Legal? Marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level, but are legal under some state laws. Hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal on the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws. Check your state's laws and those of anywhere you travel. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved, and may be inaccurately labeled.


Christal Yuen is an editor at Healthline who writes and edits content revolving around sex, beauty, health, and wellness. She’s constantly looking for ways to help readers forge their own health journey. You can find her on Twitter.