There are approximately 1 billion CBD products on the market right now, with new ones coming out daily. Figuring out which ones work and which are total BS can be overwhelming, especially since these products aren’t cheap. (A CBD hand cream can run you $40+ for just a couple of ounces!) So when we heard about a new CBD sparkling water from Recess, we considered it with a healthy dose of skepticism. It’s so millennial, though—minimalist, pastel packaging, stylish, handwriting-esque font—we kind of couldn’t resist. We basically saw Recess as weed LaCroix, and who could say no to that?
Recess, which contains 10 milligrams of CBD hemp extract per can as well as the adaptogenic herbs ginseng, L-theanine, and schisandra, hit digital shelves October 23rd, and it’s already backordered online. Some flavors, including peach ginger, are completely sold out, and the company’s six-pack sampler will take four to five weeks to arrive. A single can costs $5, an eight pack of one flavor is $40, and the six-pack sampler is $30.
Lucky for us, the HelloGiggles staff got to try all three flavors—peach ginger, blackberry chai, and pom hibiscus—and we all had different experiences. Check out our honest reviews below.
“While I’m generally not a fan of sparkling water (it’s pretentious, Susan!), I actually enjoyed Recess’s sparkling water; the pomegranate hibiscus was a pleasant flavor. However, I didn’t really feel the ‘calm, cool, collected’ effects that would improve my focus or lower my stress. Meaning this would so not suffice as an alternative to caffeine for me (as marketed). I am, in the sublime words of Lorelai Gilmore, constantly in need of coffee in an IV. Would I drink Recess again? Sure, why not! The taste is infinitely better than LaCroix. Plus, the pastel packaging speaks to my soul.”
— Jessica Wang, editorial assistant
“If I’m being honest, I went in thinking this CBD drink was a bunch of hocus-pocus. Instead, I found that it relieved my stress. I chose a day to drink it when I was overwhelmed with deadlines, both for work and freelance projects. After drinking a quarter of it, I noticed that my stress level had gone down, and I immediately felt relaxed. If anything, I was powering through my writing and I ended up finishing my stories. Normally, I’m so stressed that I can’t concentrate. All in all, I feel like it worked for me, especially during a time when I needed it to.”
— Alyssa Morin, beauty editor
“The blackberry chai CBD drink had a very unexpected but very positive effect on me. I intentionally drank it while I was catching up on work at home one evening. I’d never actually ingested CBD before, having only used balms and other topical treatments that were somewhat hit-or-miss for me. Shortly after finishing half the can (I really liked the flavor, btw, though it is more like juice than sparkling water), my focus became unbreakable. I often struggle to complete some of my job’s more logistical tasks in a timely manner (decluttering inbox, etc.), but I cannot emphasize enough how easily and quickly I cleared up much of my inbox. I’m not sure what that says about my usual easily distracted, mile-a-minute brain activity (lol), but I was so calmed by the CBD that I had no problem sitting at my laptop and getting work done with tunnel vision. And your girl does not do tunnel vision.
Was this placebo? I don’t know. Do I want to try it again so I can find out? Absolutely. One thing I need to remember: THIS DRINK MADE ME SLEEP HARD. Maybe I shouldn’t obsessively answer emails until 1 a.m. next time? I’ll move my whole CBD work sesh to the early evening so I’m not panicked and late the next morning.”
— Rachel Sanoff, features editor
“I’m a major CBD non-believer, to the point that I almost passed on Recess when the company emailed me about its sparkling water. But I’m glad I ultimately said yes, because this bevvie made me feel great. It’s not what I’d call ‘sparkling’—it seemed pretty much flat to me, which was fine because I don’t love water con gas anyway—but the blackberry chai flavor was delish. I mean really, I thought at first that I could skip the CBD and adaptogens and just drink this flavored water all day. But then I experienced the full-body calming effects of the CBD and, wow, consider me a convert (or a Recess fan, anyway). I was cooking dinner while sipping this can and I suddenly found myself smiling more and dropping my shoulders from my ears—the surest sign that my stress has melted away. Ahh, bliss.”
— Stephanie Hallett, senior lifestyle editor
“I’m an avid user of CBD, whether it’s topical, edible, tincture, or via vape pen. I LOVE IT! So I was more than excited to try out this fizzy CBD drink. I was first impressed by its minimalist packaging. Those soft, muted pastels? So chic, amirite? The flavor I tried was peach ginger. It was delish, and not too sweet, similar to a LaCroix vibe. I’ve tried CBD drinks before that used stevia, which I hate, so I was pleased that this drink uses actual cane sugar. As for the CBD effect, I definitely felt more chill, which is great since my anxiety is through the roof lately. It’s a great after-work beverage if you don’t want to drink wine, but still want something that will help you chillax.”
— Marie Lodi, senior beauty editor