In future prestige dramas about the years surrounding this one, set designers will scatter evidence of CBD around apartment spaces as an easter egg for eagled-eyed viewers. “Did you notice how all of the products in the apartment said ‘CBD’ on them?” one such viewer will ask a friend. “It stands for cannabidiol, a chemical compound derived from hemp that, during that time period, everyone was eating and putting on their bodies and feeding to their dogs.” “Oh,” the friend will say. “No one knew why they were ingesting the CBD or putting it onto their skin or in their dogs, they just did it.” “Cool.” “They maybe thought it would enhance something.” “Okay.” “Or dehance it, so to speak, if that was the desired effect.” “Huh.” “Sigur Rós even made CBD products at one point.” “The Icelandic band Earth Grandma liked?” “Yeah.” “Huh.”
Yes, it’s true — Sigur Rós, in partnership with CBD-focused artist collective Vona, has released a duo of 1000mg broad spectrum CBD tinctures. The tinctures are called “Sleep” and “Wake” and are said to, respectively, “support your mind and body as you drift off into the ethereal” and “help you align with the physical world.” They are $58 separately, or $99.95 for the duo.
It of course makes sense that Sigur Rós would release a line of CBD tinctures. Their music, both in its post-punk and ambient forms, is the aural equivalent of CBD — or, more specifically, the aural equivalent of claims related to the anxiety reducing effects of CBD. (Though there are many CBD products claiming to do essentially anything you might want a product to do — ease your sore muscles, cure your cancer, make your hair shiny — only one has so far been approved by the FDA: a prescription drug used to treat two severe forms of epilepsy.) Yes, it is as natural a product and band pairing as, ah, if, um … Spoon sold spoons, or Ice Cube sold ice cubes, or Cake sold vibraslaps.
But does it work?
For the sake of background, I’d like to say that I have at points, primarily in high school, been an active fan of Sigur Rós. In fact, while CBD is non-psychoactive, the band led to one of my most naturally psychoactive high school memories. During sophomore year, I had music class on a rotating schedule with speech and art. It comprised not music but screenings of Amadeus and guided meditations during which the majority of the class fell asleep on the floor. I was a music obsessive who hated school in general and my school in particular, where I had no one to talk to about the music I loved. I deeply resented the musiclessness of “music class.”
During one music class, my teacher (who also taught speech and art) was talking about I don’t know what, when she brought up a band from Iceland she’d just heard of: “something … rose?”* From what I remember, the thought was tossed into the classroom contextless. For a moment the world stopped. My interior life and my exterior life collided with the level of intensity that if performed between two ultra-dense stars might result in a black hole. My vision narrowed. My breath caught in my chest. My heart pounded in my ears. “Sigur Rós?” I offered. Yes, that was it.
It was extremely insane. But let’s see how the CBD is.
I’d like to say immediately that these are the best tasting CBD products I have sampled, and I have sampled several. As a writer, PR companies sometimes reach out to me to see if I’d like to try out their CBD-related wares, and typically I do, because who am I to say no, save for the dog-related CBD products, which I uniformly refuse out of fear. I’ve tried several edible CBD tinctures, only one of which — labeled “EXTRA STRENGTH” — had a noticeable effect, when I accidentally took four times the recommended dose and later attempted to walk my dog. I thought I was dying. My legs were close to nonfunctioning. I was intensely sleepy.
Most of the tinctures taste like weed and dirt, or something like weed and dirt and mint. This one tastes a little like that, but mostly like rose and lemon, which is its stated flavor. A nice flavor for sleep. But, unlike the EXTRA STRENGTH brand of which I accidentally ingested a ridiculous amount, “Sleep” does not reliably make me particularly sleepy. I took each of the tinctures regularly for about two weeks, and the results of Sleep were mixed. Sometimes I felt sleepy; other times I felt restless.
It is nice, though, to have another step in the sleep routine. Oops, have to take my sleep oil! It’s good to give yourself little tasks, especially now. It’s also nice to have a small bit of hope that something might make anything even slightly better. This is, of course, why scams work. Unfortunately probably nothing will ever make anything better. This is, of course, life.
Wake is also delicious, as far as CBD oils go. The flavor is “fresh citrus pine,” and it tastes like orange blossom. Again, it’s nice to pretend you’re in Alice In Wonderland and you have to take your little wake-up medicine to aliven yourself to the day. (Not that this is something that happened in Alice In Wonderland.) Cross it off of your to-do list. Ah yes, I’ve taken my dropper. But I was not able to record any noticeable effects. Sometimes I would feel energized and optimistic. Sometimes I would instead feel reality. The tincture did not seem to reliably alter my body or outlook.
Maybe it’s more like Peter Pan, and I just didn’t believe enough. Or maybe the world is too heavy to be lifted by the promises of CBD. But listening to Sigur Rós’s music in preparation for this piece did inspire a visceral experience within me, transporting me directly back to my early teen years. And I did in fact feel this in my body and mind. So maybe the tinctures are superfluous anyway.
I have since concluded that because this happened around the time of the release of ( ), NPR must have done a segment about them. Actually, after some Googling, I am willing to say she potentially heard this.