First of all, I want to apologise for what is about to turn into the world’s biggest blog post ever. But in order to give the best review of the MEDA CBD Drinks range, I decided to go into some great detail about each drink and their functional ingredients. If you’re into a certain function then just scroll down to the function that takes your fancy, and if you’re into it all then please feel free to read the whole post and gain some amazing knowledge on adaptogens, botanicals, CBD, and nootropics. As well as how you can stack them all to become a real-life superhero. Okay, maybe not a superhero but definitely a new and improved upgrade of your current self.
Disclaimer: Please note that this is a sponsored post and I have received monetary payment. I have been gifted product and compensated in return for an honest review. Any payment I receive goes to paying expenses, to keeping a roof over my head and this blog up and running, and most importantly to keep creating quality content for you all. I am not an affiliate of MEDA and any purchases you make via them I will not be compensated for. I am not influenced by the company in any way and all opinions, ramblings, and thoughts are my own and 100% honest. If you’d like to know more, feel free to contact me.
I know some of you will be a little confused as to the difference between adaptogens, CBD, and nootropics, as well as being new to these kinds of ingredients, so I’ve included a section about them before my review. I’ve also written about who MEDA is, their ethics, and their efforts on sustainability (which you know I’m big on!). You’ll also be pleased to know that I’ll be running an Instagram competition with MEDA next week so you can win a box of all 6 of their amazing drinks. Oh, and the lovely folk at MEDA have given my readers 20% off with the code ‘MEDAaware’, as well as offering free shipping during this difficult time – so get those orders in now!
Who Are MEDA?
I first stumbled across MEDA early last year, I think it may even have been when they first launched, and I’ve had my eye on them ever since. I was initially drawn in by the crisp branding but what really kept my interest going is they are the first brand in the UK to combine the benefits of adaptogens and nootropics with CBD – more on this later. MEDA is at the forefront not only of the UK CBD industry but the health and wellness industry too.
Unlike other CBD drinks brands I’ve come across, MEDA doesn’t rely solely on being the next hip trend on Instagram. Not that I have anything against a bit of over-sexualised branding – okay I kind of do… Pretty pictures are great and everything but I don’t think they send out any message other than if you consume product x you’ll be; skinny, ripped, tanned, blonde, sexy, have a man-bun, so on and so forth. MEDA is totally different – they educate, support, and empower their customers, helping them to take charge of their well-being. They also donate a portion of proceeds to local and national charities. So, basically, they actually care about their customers and not just their money or looking cool.
There are a lot of shitty CBD brands out there containing less CBD in their products as stated, and their CBD is sourced from unsustainable sources, sprayed with pesticides and often not organic. Why is organic important? Well, hemp is a bio-accumulator and draws heavy metals and other toxic contaminants from the soil. This process is known as bioremediation. MEDA being the smart bunch that they are, only use CBD extracted from organic, sustainably farmed hemp so you know you’re getting a clean product that will boost your wellness, not endanger it.
But, MEDA doesn’t stop there. They work with a UK based artisanal drinks manufacturer to ensure that all of their CBD products are ethically sourced and manufactured, thus reducing their carbon footprint and supporting local businesses. All of their drinks cans are fully recyclable too making them overall a pretty sustainable brand. Brownie points from me MEDA!
What’s the Difference Between Adaptogens, CBD, and Nootropics?
As promised, here I am with a little explanation because I know things are kinda getting confusing for the majority of you. Firstly I just want to make it clear that CBD coincidentally falls into both categories of adaptogen and nootropic, both of which affect our core physiology in a positive way, helping to improve several aspects of our health but also enhancing our bodies and minds beyond the norm.
I always think of adaptogens as being great for boosting my athletic performance and getting my zen on, and nootropics for boosting my ability to focus on work and research – or for when I want to get my creative juices flowing.
Nootropics were first researched in the 1960s and 70s and were found to have the potential to enhance cognition. Strictly speaking, nootropics are classed as brain-boosting compounds that have the potential to enhance both the health and performance of the brain. They can help with information recall, attention, mood, anxiety, and even encourage fluid and creative thinking. Some nootropics you may have heard of are; 5-HTP, caffeine, L-Theanine, creatine, L-Tryptophan, and GABA.
Adaptogens tend to be toted in the Ayurvedic medical community because they have the potential to stabilise the body’s physiological processes. They’re big with Chinese herbalists and are often sold in herb format. They can help reduce stress and increase the body’s resistance to stressors too. Nootropics however only reduce stress rather than fight against it. Adaptogens are also thought to boost both mental and physical performance. Popular adaptogens are; ashwagandha, Rhodiola Rosea (which can also be classed as a nootropic), Schisandra, tulsi, curcumin, cordyceps, and reishi.
CBD (cannabidiol) works with the body’s Endocannabinoid System (a.k.a. the ECS) to help achieve homeostasis (balance) within the body. That’s right your body actually produces cannabinoids because it’s freakin’ awesome. Although it’s thought that CBD can help to level out our nervous, endocrine, and immune systems but it has the largest effect on our adrenal system. (Your adrenals are responsible for how your body deals with stress.)
I always think of adaptogens as being great for boosting my athletic performance and getting my zen on, and nootropics for boosting my ability to focus on work and research – or for when I want to get my creative juices flowing. Having said that nootropics are also great for hand-eye coordination and fast decision making so if you’re competing at a sport, or partake in something like BJJ, they’d be ideal too.
When you combine adaptogens and nootropics together it’s known as ‘stacking’. You can stack two or more together – like ashwagandha, CBD, and L-Theanine – thus staving off anxiety with CBD, reducing your stress and cortisol levels (and improving your focus) with ashwagandha, whilst L-Theanine promotes relaxation and improves cognition.
So, hopefully, it’s kind of obvious to you all now as to why MEDA combine these nifty compounds together and as to why all 3 work synergistically to potentially help you to become the most superhuman version of you.
MEDA CBD Drinks Review
Every single one of MEDA’s drinks contains 100% natural ingredients and zero refined sugars. They are, however, sweetened with maple syrup so they technically aren’t sugar-free and therefore not great if you’re keto. I loved seeing water listed as the first ingredient on the ingredients list though! They’re low calorie and suitable for gluten-free, Paleo, and vegan diets.
MEDA’s innovative CBD-infused drinks range comes packed with a whopping 15mg of fast-acting liposomal full-spectrum CBD as well as adaptogens, botanicals, nootropics, and nutrients. Liposomal CBD is essentially CBD that has been encased in very tiny, fat-like particles. This allows the CBD to pass straight into cells, crossing the blood-brain barrier and nourishing cell membranes which is why it is so fast-acting. On average it takes a mere five minutes to take effect which is similar to the timeframe for vaping. When using CBD oil tinctures it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 6 hours to absorb.
There are 6 variety of drinks that each uses a well thought out stack to cater to serve a specific function; Calm, Glow, Recover, Sleep, Focus, and Defence. Let’s take a little look at each one in further detail.
MEDA’s Calm is a lavender and chamomile flavoured drink that will help you de-stress in a matter of minutes. It’s the kind of drink you would want to guzzle down after a long hard day at work, or in my instance homeschooling the kids whilst working during the quarantine. Not only can Calm, well… help keep you calm, it also contains plenty of ingredients to send you to the land of nod. In fact, I made a pretty similar CBD drink myself which used liposomal CBD, butterfly pea tea, lavender and chamomile. If you want to give the recipe a go and find out more on how CBD can help you sleep then click here.
Let’s take a look at these exciting stress-busting ingredients in more detail:
- L-Theanine – Is a compound found in abundance in green tea. It helps to reduce stress and anxiety, lower resting heart rate, and increase your sense of relaxation all without making you drowsy.
- B Vitamins – It’s a well-known fact that B vitamins are natural mood boosters, MEDA’s Calm contains s vitamins B3, B6, B7, and B12. B3 stabilises your mood, B6 makes mood-boosting neurotransmitters such as serotonin, B7 prevents fatigue and mood swings, whilst B12 boosts both melatonin and serotonin production which is essential for both mood and sleep.
- Lemon Balm – Is thought to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. One study found that lemon balm can make the neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid) more readily accessible in the brain. GABA reduces the activity of neurons in the brain and central nervous system, leading to the body being in a more relaxed state, thus alleviating stress and anxiety.
- Lavender Essential Oil – Lavender has to be one of the most popular essential oils in the aromatherapy scene. It helps to calm anxiety by working with the limbic system, the part of the brain that controls emotions.
- Chamomile – Chamomile is a mild tranquilising herb that induces sleep. Its calming effects are thanks to the antioxidant apigenin. Apigenin binds to specific receptors in your brain, helping to decrease anxiety and initiate the sleep cycle.
- Ashwagandha – Helps to lower levels of cortisol, the hormone produced by your adrenal glands in response to stress. It can reduce anxiety and stress, help fight depression, and even boost brain function.
The overall taste was more refreshing than I was expecting, although it wasn’t carbonated, the flavour was very heavy on the lemon balm and there was a little hint of lavender sneaking through. I really enjoyed the taste and was expecting something a little more floral but was pleasantly surprised. Did I feel calm after? Pretty much yes, but then I found with all drinks I felt pretty chill after getting some CBD into my system.
Glow is formulated to nourish and strengthen your skin from within. Flavoured with refreshing yet gentle elderflower extract and lime juice Glow made me want to sit out in the sunshine whilst drinking it. Instead, I decided to give myself some sort of spa treatment. I slathered on some of my favourite Flower and Spice Beauty Masquerade (review here), followed by a DIY mask of raw honey and propolis, then whacked back a can of Glow in the bath like the dame that I am. Ya know, self-care and all that jazz.
Anyway let’s take a look at the functional ingredients contained within the beauty elixir that is Glow:
- Biotin – Also known as vitamin B7, it is found in foods like eggs, almonds, avocados and sweet potatoes. Biotin produces skin-nourishing fatty acids making it great for dry skin conditions, as well as strengthening the infrastructure of keratin, the key protein found in both hair and nails. It’s worth noting that biotin is water-soluble meaning you’ll pee out whatever your body doesn’t use. Also, nutritionists believe that if you aren’t deficient in biotin you probably won’t notice any difference in your skin, hair, or nails at all.
- Olive Leaf Extract – This naturally antiseptic herb has the unique ability to stimulate cells in connective tissue and is naturally antioxidant-rich which means it will leave you with firm and supple skin, reducing the signs of ageing.
- Aloe Vera – Aloe vera is fantastic when applied topically but when taken orally it will hydrate from within. It is thought to help with skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, and dermatitis due to the high antioxidant, mineral, and vitamin B, C, and E content. It is also thought to neutralise the effect of UV radiation thus preventing fine lines and wrinkles.
- Vitamin C – Vitamin C is a super potent antioxidant that neutralises free radicals and helps your body repair damaged skin cells. It also regulates the synthesis of collagen, the structural protein that keeps your skin young and firm. Once you hit 25 your body’s collagen production begins to decrease which is why when you hit 30 you start to see fine lines.
Glow was really easy to drink – it was mildly carbonated and wish it was a little fuzzier than it was. But, it was definitely refreshing and not too sweet but sweet enough that the bitterness of the olive leaf and CBD combined wasn’t too much. It tasted pretty much of elderflower and the olive leaf extract was lingering in the background. My 15-year-old daughter even liked it which was a bit of a surprise!
MEDA’s Recover is formulated to reduce inflammation within the body and aid recovery – be that after a workout or bout of severe stress or illness. As someone that suffers from a rare autoimmune disease, now in remission thanks to my super controlled diet, I know the importance of anti-inflammatory ingredients. It uses natural orange and pineapple flavours to take away from the heavy kick of the ginger root infusion and bitterness of the CBD.
Let’s check out what MEDA threw into the mix:
- Turmeric – By now I think we are all too familiar with the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric’s super compound curcumin. Used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine it’s great for reducing inflammation and pain within the body.
- Ginger – Ginger is great for boosting immunity, aiding digestion, and possesses the same properties as turmeric. Its bioactive compound gingerol can actually help with the absorption of several drugs including antibiotics.
- Piperine – Piperine is the main bioactive compound found in black pepper and again has similar properties to both turmeric and ginger. It also increases the bioavailability (absorption) of other supplements and compounds such as curcumin and CBD.
- Vitamin D – Something that every Brit is deficient in and should be supplemented from September to the start of summer. Vitamin D is naturally produced by your body when the skin is exposed to sunlight. It helps your body to absorb calcium and is important for regulating mood. It’s worth noting that if you’re a person of colour you should really supplement all year round at a high dosage because your body will require more vitamin D.
MEDA’s Recover was hands down my favourite drink out of the bunch. It was super fizzy, and the overall taste was like ginger beer crossed over with orange soda. Mmmmm… The ginger definitely came through, I didn’t even notice the turmeric too much within the flavour either. It was fairly sweet but again not so sweet that it left me gagging. I can see this one definitely having some post-workout benefits and would love grab some more!
Sleep, what the hell is that I hear you ask? Or at least I hear myself ask. Recently I’ve been supplementing with melatonin as well as my usual CBD and magnesium citrate combo. I’ve been a self-confessed insomniac since early childhood and after having kids I sometimes find actually switching off in order to sleep the hardest part. MEDA’s Sleep uses some pretty innovative ingredients, some that you might already be familiar with, especially if you’ve been a long term reader of my blog. Let’s take a look below:
- L-Theanine – As I mentioned before it’s a compound found in green tea that reduces stress and anxiety and leaves you feeling calm and relaxed. It also helps you to produce the neurotransmitter GABA to switch off both your brain and body.
- Valerian Root Extract – Dating back to Greek and Roman times valerian root is thought to help you fall asleep faster, increase sleep quality, and provide relief from restlessness and anxiety. Scientists are still on the fence on this one and many studies are weak due to varying factors such as undefined variables and small participant numbers.
- Morello Cherry – Cherries have been found to be a natural remedy for healthier sleep. They are one of the very few natural sources of melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone responsible for the regulation of our circadian rhythms and sleep-wake cycle. And with the amount of blue light we are exposed to daily our circadian rhythms are severely out of whack. (To find out more on how cherries can help you sleep check out my blog post here.)
- 5-HTP – Increases both your melatonin and serotonin production keeping your circadian rhythm in check.
- Schisandra Berry – One of my favourite adaptogens that is also well-loved in Chinese medicine. It helps lower cortisol, thus lowering stress and anxiety levels.
Containing cherry juice and cherry and hibiscus extracts this drink hits you with quite a sweet flavour and then a nice tartness comes in thanks to the hibiscus. I’m a huge fan of hibiscus tea and drink it regularly so I enjoyed this drink a lot. It was mildly effervescent like Glow – I like my drinks fizzy so would have liked a little more carbonation but overall I really enjoyed the flavour combo. I’m not so sure having something so tart at night would be the best but I love the idea behind all of the ingredients.
Focus was probably the drink I got the most excited about, and not just because of the coffee. These days I get up at 6am and start working before the kids wake up and the homeschool/work juggle-a-thon runs its course until 10pm. I also do PE with the kids twice a day and I am left feeling like an extra from The Walking Dead. I’m no stranger to the CBD coffee combo so I know how well it can work but MEDA goes the extra mile and throw in a couple of extra-functional ingredients for good measure. Let’s check them all out below:
- Organic Espresso – Not only does it taste great but it’s a natural source of everyone’s well-loved stimulant – caffeine. If you suffer from caffeine jitters, worry no more because CBD will cancel those bad boys out straight away.
- Panax Ginseng – not to be confused with Siberian Ginseng (a.k.a. Eleuthero) it reduces blood glucose levels and fatigue thus improving overall focus and cognitive performance.
- Rosemary – Rosemary is thought to enhance memory and concentration but also the contains a compound called beta-caryophyllene (BCP) which has been found to interact positively with cannabinoid receptors. BCP helps regulate immune function and inflammation and may even relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety. For this exact reason, I used it in my CBD Hot Sauce Recipe.
Focus was a real pleasant surprise for me. I’ve tried so many different CBD drinks and this by far is my favourite. There’s a slight sourness from the malic acid that MEDA has added, a trick I often use in a lot of things I make at home to detract from the bitterness (science bitches!). The ginseng imparts a unique flavour layer, as does the rosemary which is fairly mild. Overall this drink is as smooth as cold brew and has a really unique flavour. Next to Recover this is my second favourite and I definitely felt the energising effects of the ginseng.
With the current risk of catching Covid-19, we’re all scrambling to boost and strengthen our immune systems and MEDA’s Defence pulls out all the big guns to help you maintain that goal. Please don’t read this and think you’ll somehow become immune, instead recognise that improving your overall health will always lower your risk of major complications in any disease. This won’t however, happen overnight, but instead after at least a few months of regular supplementation and a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Anyway, enough of my disclaimer, let’s check out the exciting ingredients within:
- Vitamin C – Okay, we all know this one – it’s great at boosting your immunity and collagen production.
- Zinc – This is something I supplement with regularly in order to regulate my body’s immune function.
- Cranberry – Super rich in antioxidants and great for staving off water infections, lowering cholesterol, and improving digestive health.
- Echinacea – I feel like this is such an old school supp that it no longer gets the attention it deserves. It has been used for centuries in order to help fight infection and reduce the symptoms of cold and flu. With Covid-19 about this is definitely something I take regularly take to keep my risk of catching it lower.
- Aronia Berry – Also known as chokeberry it helps to reduce inflammation and its high antioxidant content boosts your immune system too.
I didn’t know what to expect from Defence’s natural cranberry and lime flavour, cranberry can be a pretty overpowering flavour but MEDA got the balance right on this once. It had a great fizz similar to Recover and was really pleasant to drink. Sweet and tart and the kids kept on stealing this one too.
MEDA certainly exceeded my expectations in not only function and their crisp branding, but flavour too. It’s hard to get flavours right, especially when working with CBD due to how bitter it is, but to be able to combine other herbal extracts and adaptogens and mask those strong flavours is commendable. Every drink tasted amazing although my only complaint is that some of the carbonated ones were a little on the flat side and left me feeling like I was drinking something mildly syrupy.
MEDA doesn’t only seem to be at the front of the CBD drinks market in the UK, they’re also right up there for sustainability and ethics too which is an absolute winning combination for me.
The price is well, pricey, but it is reasonable considering you’re getting an ample 15mg dose of liposomal full-spectrum CBD which usually comes with a hefty price tag, as well as nootropics and adaptogens. You can’t purchase individual cans of MEDA, but rather packs of 6 x 250ml cans for £18 which means you’re paying £3 per can. There is an option, however, for a monthly subscription which brings the cost down to £16.50, which is £2.75 a can. But, as you guys are super lucky you can also grab 20% off bringing the overall cost to £2.40 per can without the subscription and £2.20 with. As I mentioned before, MEDA is also offering free UK shipping due to the current coronavirus situation which is a relief considering the cost.
As far as function goes it’s hard to say whether or not the drinks do as they say on the tin. In my experience, adaptogens and CBD are about gradual supplementation, with some nootropics giving almost instant effects. With Focus, I definitely felt an instantaneous difference in how my brain was working, and of course, with all of the drinks, I did feel pretty chill after having the CBD in my system. If I had to hazard a guess I’d say you’d be looking at waiting a month of continuous consumption of both Glow and Defence to see any real major changes.
The concepts on function are fun and I’m not fully writing them off. But, I guess the real question is, would I buy MEDA’s products again? Yes, absolutely. I’d definitely buy more cans of MEDA’s Recover due to the fact that I work out a lot and would find it beneficial. And I’d be quite tempted to get in Focus too. The products are of high quality and have a really well thought out formulation. That being said I wouldn’t be able to justify paying out £72 for a full month’s supply of cans without the 20% off. I guess what I’m trying to get at, is that MEDA’s drinks range is amazing as a treat but probably not as a permanent way to dose CBD. Unless you’re minted of course, in which case just buy the whole bloody lot!
MEDA doesn’t only seem to be at the front of the CBD drinks market in the UK, they’re also right up there for sustainability and ethics too which is an absolute winning combination for me. It’s something I often look at in brands and I’m really looking forward to their new mixer drinks range which is due to be released any time soon.
If you’d like to buy from MEDA’s amazing range of drinks then head over to their online shop and don’t forget to enter the code ‘MEDAaware’ for 20% off! For more CBD reviews click here and CBD recipes here.
DISCLAIMER: Please note that I am not a qualified health care professional or nutritionist, I only write about my experiences and sometimes include information from scientific studies. CBD products are food supplements, not medicine. They cannot diagnose, treat, or cure diseases. Please consult your GP before taking CBD if you are pregnant, lactating, or taking any medication. Please note that CBD is not intended for children under 18 years old.