Sober Curious? Us Too! Here's What We've Learned

Alcohol Use Is a Social Construct

When you live in one of the heaviest drinking states in the country, the idea of not cracking a beer at a birthday party or family gathering becomes almost taboo. A declaration that you are “sitting this one out” is met with disapproval and eye rolls. Alcohol is ingrained in everything we do here, without question. But are the tides turning? It certainly appears that way. Kicking off the year with Dry January, a growing number of sober curious people are questioning their habits surrounding alcohol consumption, and the effects that it has on their physical and mental health. Being sober curious does not require that you abstain from alcohol completely, just that you examine your motivations and make more conscious decisions about when, where, and how you consume. Many who find themselves going down this path never look back, and when they do, it is not often fondly.

But this is far from an easy thing to do. Especially when trying to abstain in social settings. Do you need alcohol to have fun? We have certainly been led to believe that this is true. And if you have ever been stone cold sober in a room full of intoxicated people, it is a hard point to argue. While everyone around you sways, laughs, stumbles, and dances, it is easy to feel alone. It’s easy to cave to the pressure and ignore the voice in your head that knows there must be a better way. There must be a middle ground.

Sober Curious Movement Grows Seeds Of Change In the Market

And the good news is, there is! With the sober curious movement gaining momentum, we have seen an influx of alcohol alternatives hit the market. Teetotalers are no longer relegated to nursing watered down club soda and lime and pretending to like it. In fact, many of these new non-alcoholic beverages are formulated with adaptogens, nootropics, hemp derivatives, and botanicals specifically formulated to boost your mood and even give a subtle buzz. You can sip alongside your friends, feel great, and feel even better in the morning when you wake up fresh and ready for the day. Sounds too good to be true? Stick with us for a rundown on what makes these alternatives worth their salt around a (n/a) margarita rim.

But First, A Disclaimer

We’d like to start by addressing this point: We realize that not everyone is looking to replace one substance with another. For those seeking to get to the root of the issue and tackle daily anxiety and stress, Canni Coast tincture is among the best-selling products in our Signature Line. This full spectrum targeted formulation blends naturally occurring terpenes and organic hemp, providing a subtle yet potent calming effect. Hemp derivatives are a popular solution for everyday stressors that might otherwise cause you to engage in unhealthy habits. 

Coast 600mg anti anxiety blend sublingual

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What Makes a Great Alcohol Alternative?

Now on to the fun stuff. We mentioned above that many companies are using adaptogens and nootropics to boost the effects of their products. You might be wondering what they even are, and more importantly, are they actually effective?
  • Adaptogens are botanicals used in herbal medicine that have a balancing effect on the body. They are often used to combat stress and anxiety. Think: ashwagandha, cordyceps, turmeric, ginseng. All used as natural remedies for thousands of years, though the term adaptogen is much newer.
  • Nootropics are used to enhance cognitive function, the most widely used of them all being caffeine. Nootropics are generally safe and come in many different forms, both naturally occurring and synthetic. They are meant to be stimulating and are mostly responsible for the “buzz” associated with these non-alcoholic alternatives.
A deft concoction of both, mixed with fragrant botanicals, makes for a fine cocktail indeed. No alcohol necessary.

Another alternative we have been exploring quite heavily is kava kava. A root native to the Pacific Islands, ground and dried, it is historically used as a ceremonial drink. But kava is growing increasingly popular across the States, with kava bars popping up to offer a relaxed, social environment to sip these bitter, intoxicating brews. And while you feel the warm unmistakable buzz wash over, you can enjoy your evening knowing you will wake up hangover free. Some findings have shown that kava may affect your liver and should be avoided by those with liver problems. For that same reason, it should also not be mixed with alcohol. A personal favorite among our staff and customers is Kava-based Psychedelic water. Psychedelic Water is a sparkling beverage that mixes kava with damiana leaf and green tea for a tingly buzz you can feel right down to your toes. If you are interested in trying your hand at shaking up your own kava concoctions, powdered kava paired with an Alu Ball shaker gets you a perfect cup in 60 seconds. Bula!

Cannabis vs Alcohol

This leads us to an area where things become a little grayer when we start talking about sobriety or sober curiosity in more black and white terms. The idea of replacing or reducing your alcohol consumption with cannabis is not new. When you put them head-to-head, it is clear to see which drug is more dangerous, and it is not the one still subject to modern-day prohibition. For some, many of our customers included, using cannabis has helped significantly reduce or in some cases even eliminate their alcohol use completely. And that comes as no surprise if you’ve been paying attention. According to researchers at the University of Washington, "implementation of legalized non medical cannabis coincided with decreases in alcohol and cigarette use and pain reliever misuse." Still not convinced?

Consider why Wisconsin remains one of the last remaining states without so much as a medical marijuana program, let alone hopes of recreational marijuana any time soon. What kind of special interest group has a vested stake in keeping this state plied with alcohol? (Hint: it begins with Tavern and ends with League).

So, what do we recommend? Recess sparkling water boasts a mood enhancing blend of CBD + adaptogens in a variety of tasty flavors that leave you feeling clear-headed and relaxed. Canni Signature Whole Spectrum Fruit Chews are also a great alternative. They pack just enough of a punch to feel, but not enough to leave you feeling impaired. 

Canni 30mg Fruit Chews

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For those looking to turn up a little more, Weed Water has become wildly popular at our flagship Walkers Point location. With 20mg of THC per can, you can pop a cold one and vibe at a higher frequency. Edibles also do the trick, but we advise that you spend some time honing in on what dose works best for you in different settings. What feels good at home might not feel good when you are out on the town.

The growth of the sober curious movement has made room for nuance in this whole conversation. Is it sobriety we seek, or is it alternatives that aren’t going to at best make us feel like crap, and at worst kill us? That answer is different for everyone. Ultimately, the journey is yours and we are here to help guide you along. Interested in a one-on-one with a specialist who can go into a little more depth and make personalized recommendations? Book a consultation with one of our team members here!