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Want less energy? Meet kava, the 'anti-energy' drink

December 29, 2009 | 10:26 am

In Los Angeles, where medical marijuana dispensaries outnumber Starbucks and McDonald's restaurants combined, a mood-altering beverage with a cannabis-oriented marketing campaign is gaining traction.

Southern California has become the bestselling market for Mary Jane's Relaxing Soda, a sugary drink laced with kava, a South Pacific root purported to have sedative properties.

Matt Moody, a Denver nutritional supplement developer who created the beverage, said the name was an unabashed reference to weed, though the relaxant compounds in kava are chemically unrelated to those in marijuana.

Along with drinks like Slow Cow and Ex Chill, Mary Jane's is part of a new group of so-called slow-down or anti-energy drinks, which are expected to be among the top food trends of 2010, according to advertising agency J. Walter Thompson. Read more from Times staff writer Jerry Hirsch.

Photo: Matt Moody, chief executive of Mary Jane's Soda, seen in November at a 7-Eleven store in Los Angeles. About 70% of the company's retail sales are in Southern California, said Moody, who plans to move the business from Denver to the Inland Empire. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times