Acai Retreat By Field Trip

from Level Up Infusions under Agripharm Corp.
4.3 out of 5 stars4.3

Conclusion

Surprisingly smooth effects of Acai retreat’s 10:1 ratio hits a sweet spot for me. Balancing the relaxed CBD glow with just enough THC for a highly functional buzz. Nice treat that may accentuate a sense of fun adventure, deepen certain sensibilities, or revitalize the mundane.

Taste is berry nice. One of the few beverages I’ve come across that is enjoyable in it’s own right. I like the glass bottle packaging. I also like the small 60ml shot format. It’s convenient to be able to access the effects without needing to commit to drinking a full can of something.

While Quatreau boasts 0g of sugar in an apparent attempt to position their product as healthy, Field Trip uses terms like ‘functional ingredients’, and ‘elixir’ in their web marketing. Realistically, if a product’s second ingredient is refined sugar(more on ingredients below), I am going to find it difficult not to see it as an indulgent treat rather than a health product. Though I do wish they had used a local raw honey, I’m not against the occasional indulgence. Particularly if the taste and effects are better than the alternatives

Overview

Taste

This actually tastes pretty great. No small feat for a cannabis beverage. It smells and tastes sweet. Berries are at the forefront of the flavour profile.

The cannabis beverage taste is still detectable here, but very much in the background of the fruit cocktail mix (natural acai flavouring is actually only listed at the tail end of the ingredients list.).

Effects

Found the effects really enjoyable. Fun while still pretty functional. Great for social outings. It also seemed to amplify my emotional sensitivity. Like I was more tuned into feeling what I was experiencing on a deeper level.

Effects also seemed particularly smooth compared to other CBD beverages with less THC. The flip side of this is it lacks the mentally clarity of CBD beverages with minimal THC. I definitely feel the difference the 2mg of THC makes. There’s a lightly trippy spaciness about it.

I found it to be an ideal level of buzz to add to a relaxed carefree day where you desire to be active and reasonably coherent.


Onset

As with other nanoemulsified beverages the onset can be very quick. I typically started to feel effects within 10 minutes of starting the drink. With effects feeling strong within 30 minutes of finishing the drink.

Session 1
Dose: One 60ml shot.

3:00pm
Fruity. Slight aftertaste but quite nice.

3:30pm
Decent CBD strength. Little floaty

4:52pm
On a walk adventure with family.

Water flowing in the creek was distinctly beautiful. Fun on swing. Subtle trippiness. Fun smooth effects.

Milder and more clearheaded now

7:30pm
Faint effects remaining.

Session 2
Dose: One 60ml shot.

3:05pm
Comes across as predominantly berry sweet, but there’s a slight bitterness in the mix gives it a vaguely grapefruit like feel.

Enjoyable fruity taste. Taking sips to enjoy the flavour rather than taking it as a shot.

3:11pm
Finished the drink.

3:14pm
Starting to feel effects

3:29pm
Been watching videos. Relaxed and prone to zoning out now that I’m attempting to write this log entry.

4:26pm
Got my thing together to run some errands. Headed out on my bike.

Somehow forgot my helmet. Majestic lightly trippy quality to the flowering pear tree. I would have gone back to get my helmet if I wasn’t travelling mostly by trail. Maybe a poor decision?

Getting the heart beating on the bike definitely created a nice adrenaline tinged sense of elation.

Once I hit the city cor I walked up the hill. Found myself slight overwhelmed by the monumental starkness of the 6 story car garage and concrete walls of the underpass. Was delighted by mural I had not seen before.

Mural with long lines of colour dripping down onto a skyline silhouette of the Basilica of Our Lady. On Norfolk Street underpass in Guelph. Signed by Lionel.

Grabbing rubbing alcohol from the pharmacy was simple. Picking up a book from the library felt distinctly bureaucratic. Maybe even slightly or dehumanizing. I didn’t feel this so much with the door greeter as I did getting to the counter inside while giving my card to the Liberian, face obscured by the frame of the plexi glass screen. Longing for a more personalized connection than I might have had pre pandemic. Or maybe something even more. To ask them about their fav books or something…

By the time left library Not really feeling so high now. But serene.

Nice early summer like weather. Lot of people in the park. Fun to people watch all the activity as I rode by.

Stopped a spell at bench once I reached a quieter part of the trail. Away from the street. Wanted to take a minute to enjoy the moment and write this.

5:40pm
I probably would have enjoyed the moment longer but I had an appointment to meet a honey customer at home.

Got change and product ready and started making a  pizza while I waited.

In the old days I did a lot tasting events. I was actually fun to see people’s reactions to tasting all the different honeys. The customer had ordered each of my honey varieties. They told me they were excited to taste them today. I’m still happy for them but the human interaction was still all over a little quickly. I want to follow up with them. Hear about their experience.

Had a little bit of a happy accident measuring out the dough ingredients. Last year when it was harder to get the bread I like I would make an extra crust on pizza night so I’d have some bread through the week. Ever since I’ve kept following my same recipe but halving it. I forgot to halve the milk. Since I was going to be able to make it to the market for bread tomorrow, I decided making an extra crust would be a good thing.

Sampling the sharp cheddar felt like a notable experience.

Feel a nice relaxed subtle glow. Listening to the cat purr beside me. Cerebral lightness

7:28pm
A bit of cerebral elated glow remains. 

Not the most focused .

Pizza with red Thai curry paste sun dried tomatoes and olives was awesome.

Next morning – Fell asleep with little one at bedtime. Seems like there’s a pattern emerging with me sleeping easily on the tail end of a CBD experience.

Cannabinoid Synergy and ratios

I was a little daunted about taking 20mg of CBD in a shot format. In the past I’ve felt some discomfort when quickly drinking stronger CBD beverages. As Acai Retreat is only 60ml, I was obviously going to be ingesting this dose of CBD much faster than I was with other beverages, yet I felt the effects were actually perfectly nice and smooth.

With Hemplixir, a 30:1 oil, I felt the potency of a given dose had a stronger CBD effect than when taking the equivalent milligrams of CBD with a 17:1 oil. I toyed with the idea that lower proportion of THC somehow raised the intensity of the CBD. Perhaps the secret to the smoothness of Acai Retreat somehow lies in that extra THC? Looking back at my review for Sugarleaf’s 5:1 oil, I noticed I also used the word smooth a few times to describe its effects. I’ve tried asking all over the internet to see who else might be thinking this way about CBD:THC ratios but I’m feeling somewhat like I’m on my own with this theory.

With all of the above in mind, I asked field trip for any insights they could share about their thought process in developing a 10:1 product?

We’ve noticed, anecdotally, that certain ratios of CBD:THC seem to bring about certain experiences. We believe a 10:1 ratio in Acai Retreat matches with the rest of the ingredients to provide the kind of experience we wanted to develop.

Cannabinoids interact with the human endocannabinoid system in interesting ways and it’s possible that the ratio of different cannabinoids impacts these interactions.

Some people believe that having a bit of THC improves the effectiveness of CBD via the entourage effect. That said, please note that we’re not aware of any hard data that supports this within the context of a recreational cannabis beverage and we don’t want to be misunderstood to be claiming that this is necessarily the case.

As you likely know, we have to be cautious of how we advertise and promote our products to be sure that we do so within Health Canada’s regulations.

Field Trip Botanicals

Another, perhaps more obvious factor, that might explain why 20mg of CBD in a beverage can feel very different depending on the brand, may lie in the particle sizes used in the nanoemulsion formula.

Safety of nanoemulsion beverages

I’ve been getting a lot of question about the safety of the nanoemulsion technology used in cannabis beverages. As I don’t have a perfectly clear answer to offer, I asked Matt Cherkas of Level up Infusions if there was anything he would like to offer to address safety concerns:

We are keenly aware of the ongoing discussion around nano emulsion safety.

Personally I’m kind of astounded that most infused beverage companies are using incredibly small emulsion droplet size as a selling point when the scientific jury is still out on how particles this small can affect the body as they essentially skip the digestive system and the filtration / sterilization our liver provides.

We chose to use a larger droplet size (100 + nanometers) for a variety of reasons:

  • Achieving smaller droplets always comes with the tradeoff of negative taste impact. We think a great tasting drink is more important than shaving off 5 minutes of arbitrary onset time and a little better clarity.
  • Most emulsions achieve tiny droplet size with chemical surfactants and require additional preservatives / stabilizers which we are happy to avoid if possible.
  • We wanted to err on the side of caution while science catches up with nano emulsion technology. The safety of our customers is of paramount importance.
Matt Cherkas – Sales Manager – Level Up Infusions

I came across a Vancouver Sun article which suggests Dr. Pratap-Singh, Professor in Food & Beverage Innovation at UBC, is also concerned about smaller droplet sizes. I reached out to him to confirm if consumers should be comfortable consuming formulations with nanoparticle sizes above 100nm where it’s easier for beverage producers to avoid chemical surfactants, and less preservatives / stabilizers are required:

Yes, you are correct to make those assumptions. If particle size is above 100 nm with minimal surfactant/stabilizer usage, consumers should have little to worry about. That being said, such a determination is always made on a case to cause basis, depending on the nature of nano particles/emulsions and the associated surfactants used.

See these two papers for better info – 

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41538-017-0005-1
https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlehtml/2017/ra/c7ra07804h

Dr. Anubhav Pratap Singh – BC Ministry of Agriculture Endowed Professor in Food & Beverage Innovation

Ingredient Confusion

At the time of purchase there is a notable discrepancy between the ingredients listed on the bottle and what is listed on ocs.ca. The honey, blueberry juice, ginger, and green tea listed on ocs.ca are all missing from the actual product label.

Acai Retreat ingredient list from the bottle label as of June 2021
Ingredient list for Acai Retreat as posted on ocs.ca as of June 2021

I asked Field Trip if they had any insights into this mismatch:

We have also noticed the discrepancy with listed ingredients on OCS.ca and have flagged this to them. We are anxiously awaiting their e-commerce team’s update to correct ingredients.
What you see listed on the label and nutritional facts panel are correct!

Matt Cherkas – Sales Manager – Level Up Infusions

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