What Makes Pepsi's New Rockstar Unplugged An Anti-Energy Drink

It feels like a million energy drinks have hit the market over the years. Brands that constantly reinvent their products, like Red Bull, Monster, and Celsius, seem to have fared well in the crowded market (via The Manual), while others, like Pepsi's Josta or Coca-Cola's Vault, couldn't cut it, despite what Insider describes as an apparent cult following.

With such dense competition, any new energy drink might have a problem finding its niche. Perhaps that's why Rockstar, which is owned by Pepsi, has decided to buck the trend with a new soft drink that might turn the entire energy drink market on its head.

At first glance, however, Rockstar's new product doesn't seem so revolutionary. Sold for $1.99 and available in Blueberry, Passionfruit, and Raspberry Cucumber flavors, Rockstar Unplugged has no sugar, and contains many of the usual energy drink ingredients, like B vitamins and caffeine, per Food Dive. Sounds like just another of the many, many sugar free energy drinks on the market, right? Wrong. Rockstar Unplugged, as its name denotes, is flipping the entire script on the energy drink game with at least one ingredient that's guaranteed to turn some heads. 

A nice can of Rockstar to help you ... relax?

According to Food Dive, Rockstar Unplugged contains hemp seed oil, spearmint, and lemon balm. Pepsi promises that despite the drink's caffeine content (80 milligrams, down from the 300 milligrams of its most potent products), its added supplements should act as a relaxation aid. According to Medical News Today, hemp oil may help ease pain and might serve as a way to release tension due to its supposed anti-inflammatory properties. This additive combines with spearmint, an ingredient that Healthline says "may help promote relaxation and reduce stress" thanks to the menthol found in its leaves, which delivers a "sedative effect on the body." 

Lemon balm rounds out Rockstar Unplugged. The ingredient has appeared in folk remedies that trace back centuries and some say it helps promote relaxation while decreasing stress (via Mount Sinai). While most studies linked lemon balm's supposed anxiety-reducing properties to a topical application, one can hope it works the same way when you drink it.

Pepsi also got out ahead of any potential consumer hesitation about ingesting hemp seed oil, which general manager and chief marketing officer Fabiola Torres told CNBC "doesn't have any functionality," because "it comes from an herb." CNBC further explained that this oil contains "little to no CBD" or cannabidiol, which is another extract derived from hemp that is still the subject of much debate on its merits and subject to strict federal regulation. Basically, all of that is to say that this "anti-energy drink" shouldn't come with any legal restrictions.