Disclaimer: This article contains offers and affiliate links. Third Wave receives a small percentage of the product price if you purchase through affiliate links. Read our ethics and affiliates policy here.’ We test each product thoroughly and always provide our honest thoughts.
“Whether partying or studying, I can’t imagine a situation where this wouldn’t be the perfect addition.” – Jeff Kimes
Our motley crew of “experienced” psychonauts arrived at the alpine cabin late in the evening. It was pitch dark. The air was cold and crisp, rich with the smells of the deep forest.
Anticipation tickled our brains.
The four of us––a bioinformatics researcher, a UX designer, a landscape business owner, and me, a writer––unpacked, claimed beds, and began settling in for our annual winter gathering.
Exhausted from the drive, we wanted to relax, sink in, and connect. We wanted to “adjust our biochemistry,” but none of us wanted to pay the biological price of alcohol.
So I proposed an experiment (and as a rule, we are always up for experiments): a curious botanical “alcohol alternative” I recently discovered–Feel Free.
The Feel Free Experience
It took about 30 minutes for the effects to settle in.
A deep, radiating wave of relaxation began to pulse through our bodies. About an hour in, we were immersed in a remarkably pleasant experience of energized relaxation.
We felt present, at ease, with an open-heartedness that facilitated deeper connections. The conversations were on-point, meaningful, and hilarious. We floated in and out of the hot tub, swapped stories, made art, and pretended to be philosophers.
It was an uplifting, comforting, and lucid evening with none of the jittery anxiety of caffeine or the sloppiness of alcohol (not to mention the next-day sluggishness).
Getting Real About “Alcohol Alternatives”
If we’re being honest here, 99% of “alcohol alternatives” are either adaptogenic cocktails that don’t really do much or illicit substitutes that aren’t much better for your body or mind (looking at you, recreational ketamine).
Feel Free is different.
It has a real effect, and it is pleasant.
So what’s in this Strange Botanical Alchemy?
Feel Free is a unique combination of whole-leaf kratom and kava extract.
The founder, JW Ross, concocted it after struggling with alcohol use, hitting rock bottom, and going to rehab.
JW was desperately searching for an alcohol alternative that could still give a relaxing lift, but without the rat’s nest of negative psychological and biological effects.
After a lot of experimentation, he eventually landed on what he felt was the holy grail of alcohol alternatives:
- Feels amazing
- No refined sugar
- Lasts 2-3 hours per serving
- No hangover
- Functional in social and work situations
- Energizing AND relaxing
- Costs less than a cocktail
JW had discovered the recipe for Feel Free.
So let’s take a closer look at why it works.
Kava Kava: Euphoric Waves of Relaxation
The “main” active ingredient in Feel Free is kava kava extract.
Kava kava (Piper methysticum) is an entheogenic plant native to the South Pacific islands. In Polynesian cultures like Hawaii and Tahiti, it’s used for medicinal and ceremonial purposes.
In a traditional kava kava ceremony, the group shares a strong kava tea from a coconut bowl. It doesn’t taste very good. It numbs your mouth and throat and feels a little strange at first.
Kava kava, or simply kava, tastes a bit like a fusion of licorice tea, bitters, and novocaine. (Appetizing, right?) But then the effects set in.
And they are good.
Kava is known as a “euphoric.” It has properties that leave you feeling like a bowl of melting jello.
It’s so good, in fact, kava bars are springing up in many cities around the world. It’s a fun, novel experience for those interested in non-alcohol-fueled ways to unwind and connect.
There’s not much known scientifically about kava’s mechanisms.
The primary active compounds are known as kavalactones, and they appear to bind to GABA receptors and to a much lesser extent, dopamine and serotonin receptors which may account for the effects.
The extract is important because it balances out the sometimes hyper-stimulating effects of the formula’s kratom content.
Kratom: Clean Energy and Focus
Kratom is a plant in the coffee family native to Southeast Asia. Traditionally, kratom leaves are chewed or brewed into tea. It has been used for centuries in Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia.
There are different strains of kratom. In this respect, it’s somewhat similar to cannabis – different strains can have markedly different effects due to the difference in active compound composition.
Feel Free uses a sustainably sourced strain from high-quality growers in Indonesia that is useful for stamina, energy, and focus.
Kratom contains several active alkaloids, including mitragynine, speciogynine, speciociliatine, and paynantheine.
These alkaloids give kratom its effects and also create feelings of euphoria, relaxation, energy, or sedation (depending on the strain and dosage). In small doses, kratom can be a fantastic energy boost and focus aid.
You can learn more about kratom on our Ultimate Guide to Kratom.
Balanced Synergy: The Best of Both Worlds
The ratio of the active compounds from kava to the active compounds from kratom in Feel Free is 10:1. I don’t know how they arrived at that number, but it works.
I’ve found that kratom alone can be a little “too uppy” and makes me feel scattered. I can get caught up in doing several tasks or have a dozen half-finished conversations on four messaging platforms.
I like kratom for high-energy tasks or being physically active, but it’s never been my first choice for connecting with others or being productive.
Kava, however, is so relaxing I rarely use it because all I want to do is lie around in a pile of blankets. Not to mention the huge variability in quality and potency of commercially available kava and kratom.
The combination, however?
Feel Free has a balanced synergy combining the best of both worlds – I feel present and energized, relaxed and open. With Feel Free I get guaranteed potency and pre-measured dosing – both really important for powerful plants like these.
Feel Free: The World’s Best Alcohol Alternative?
Obviously, alcohol has issues.
For one, it’s a broad-spectrum toxin. Not just for your liver but for every organ system.
Yes, it can lower your inhibitions, but it can also amplify what we could call “the less enlightened aspects of self.” A certain sloppiness and unconsciousness comes with alcohol that rarely creates meaningful connections or true intimacy.
It’s in this contrast that Feel Free truly shines.
The experience is uplifting and cheerful. I can actually pay attention to another human. Or even my work. I engage instead of checking out or numbing.
And then there’s the economic aspect.
Feel Free lasts three to four hours. In that same period, I would have had three to four alcoholic beverages. Depending on where I am, that can add up to anywhere between $15-50.
For the price of a single cocktail, I could consume Feel Free, feel amazing, have no hangover, AND have a more meaningful experience.
All in all, Feel Free makes a compelling case for the world’s best alcohol alternative.
Click Here to Try Feel Free Today and Save $40
Just use the code 3WAVE at checkout.
Feel Free is a great alcohol alternative for every reason I mentioned.
However, you should be aware that the potential for addiction and other negative side effects exists in anything that provides pleasure, including alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and even Feel Free.
There are two sticky issues to address here – one with kratom and one with kava.
Kratom contains compounds that have activity at opioid, dopaminergic, serotonergic, and adrenergic receptor systems.
But it has the potential for abuse and addiction. I know several people who have gotten addicted to kratom. This risk is very important to be aware of if you have addictive tendencies or previous history of substance use disorder. Please be mindful of your use.
For Kava, the issue is toxicity. The kavalactones in kava can be hard on your liver. In the same way that drinking several cocktails every day is not a great idea, taking kava extract every day is not either.
There’s not a lot of study on the timeline and dosage for liver toxicity or how that compares to alcohol’s effect on the liver, but it’s something to be aware of.
To ensure that you avoid negative consequences, only use Feel Free according to the recommended dosage and guidelines (no more than half a bottle at once or more than one bottle per day).
If you consume it responsibly, you should not experience significant physical or social harm.
Please note that this product is not intended for people under the age of 18 or, in some areas, 21. Before taking any dietary supplement, you must consult with a healthcare professional.
Do not drink If you are pregnant or nursing or if you are sensitive to kava or other active ingredients, Botanic Tonics does not recommend that
Afterward: Meanwhile, back at the cabin…
Set and setting are crucial aspects of any experience. But it’s not limited to “just” where you are and what you do.
How you feel physically, mentally, and emotionally are equally important factors. What you did in the days before the experience set the stage for the “main” experience.
In the words of a UX Design Wizard…
I climbed into bed and suddenly noticed my whole body felt amaaaaaaazing. Having the freedom and privilege at that moment simply to lie still and enjoy the simple animal pleasure of peaceful rest, embodiment, and relaxation was euphoric.
I lay there for what seemed like hours basking in a contented feeling of complete gratitude.
Final Verdict on Feel Free
Our psychonaut crew’s experience with Feel Free gave us a perfect platform of connection and good humor to build on the next day.
We had a great conversation and lots of laughs. We made art together, forged new memories, and deepened our bonds. And, perhaps more importantly, we didn’t feel like crap the next day!
In the end, Feel Free is perhaps the world’s best alcohol alternative.
Grab Third Wave’s Exclusive Discount on Feel Free Today
If you’re curious to try Feel Free yourself, click here and use the code 3WAVE at checkout.