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Edible review: Flo Energy is too sweet but the high is just right 

click to enlarge The sweetness totally overpowers any herbal flavor. - NAT STEIN
  • Nat Stein
  • The sweetness totally overpowers any herbal flavor.
Most cannabis smokers are familiar with the Indica vs. Sativa distinction — Indica strains produce a heavier, body high while Sativa strains produce a lighter, head high. Now, if you add other uppers or downers to the mix, those effects increase accordingly. Like, if I smoke an Indica after having two beers, I’m gonna feel drowsy. So, what happens when you add caffeine, ginseng, taurine and guarana extract — the quintessential ingredients of an energy drink — to a zippy Sativa?

That’s what Keef Cola, one of the more long-standing Colorado-based edibles producers, sought to find out with their medicated drink, Flo Energy.

If you read reviews online, you’ll find it described as a “crisp and refreshing” beverage that’s gonna make you feel “uplifted and energized.” MassRoots.com and the Weedist.com say the 12 ounces of infused liquid contains 50 mg of THC, 90 mg of caffeine, plus all those other natural additives that you tend to see in gas station convenience stores and gym locker rooms.

That mix sounds like it would pack a punch, but Flo Energy has apparently since tamed the recipe a bit.

Fine by me, I think, as I pick it up for review. I’ve got lots to do this weekend — like help a friend move and cover a rally — so I want a high conducive to doing shit. For the bottle I buy, a single serving, contains 10 mg of THC (that’s the limit for all infused edibles sold on Colorado’s recreational market since 2015). Flo Energy still contains 90 mg of caffeine (about the same as a cup of coffee), but no ginseng, taurine or guarana extract. It’s also got 20 percent of your daily Vitamin B, if you eat a 2,000 calorie diet, and 37 grams of sugar (about the same as a soda).

As an aside: I had more than ample time to deliberate over this $8 purchase as it took about 15 minutes to check out at Emerald Fields. I thought I was sneaky making a lunchtime run, but it was absolutely packed at about 1 p.m. on a Friday. Budtenders say that major construction on Manitou Avenue hasn’t slowed the steady stream of customers who frequent the only two recreational pot shops in the county. Also, the solar eclipse was on the coming Monday and I guess people wanted to be stoned for that. Go figure.

On Sunday morning, I drink some Flo Energy, which lives in an opaque, metallic bottle (made in Denver) wrapped by a bright orange-and-pink label with a decidedly heady graphic of a weed leaf on a vaguely galactic, fractal background. Now, did I just describe the most generic type of marijuana packaging? Possibly, but in the context of Keef Cola’s full line of infused sodas, it fits with the brand’s classic ‘70s concert poster kind of aesthetic that makes you feel like you’re holding the craft beer of the future.

With my first sip, I beg to differ with anyone who has ever described this drink as “crisp and refreshing.” To me, and granted my bottle didn’t sit in the fridge for long, the liquid was overly sweet and syrupy. My comrade in this experiment says it tastes like “melted gummy bears.” No cannabis flavor detected by either of us. Sitting in the sharp sunlight of a crispy Eastside backyard, I’d say that Flo Energy would be more refreshing if it were watered down pretty significantly, poured over ice and maybe mixed with gin or vodka — this is an adult beverage, after all.

I drink about two-thirds of the bottle. The state-limited dose is the full serving, and I’m sure more-regular smokers would recommend the full bottle if not more, but I opt for less since I’m nervous the Sativa will make me more anxious about this already anxiety-provoking world and I wanna stay in “doing shit” mode for the day. Obviously, as with any edible, the answer to how much you should take is always “you do you.”

Upon slurping it down, the come up is pretty quick. I feel a bit lifted, noticing the physical effects first. It seems brighter out and my smile comes easier. I take out the trash and start some laundry. (Thrilling, right?) I may have contemplated the backyard chickens a little longer than I otherwise would have.

The high sets in more fully after about 40 minutes pass. It’s still a clear-headed feeling, though. This is the kind of edible that could also accompany an afternoon hike, casual socializing or even work (if that’s your thing). I opt for the latter and in about the time it takes to write a half-page column, the high has tapered off into a mellow buzz. Boom. Now, I need more coffee.

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