Cannabis edibles have created a buzz in the food world. That’s a good thing, and it’s a bad thing. Cannabis edibles, including candies, cookies, brownies, lollipops, and more, are made with cannabis strains or cannabis by-products like oil and butter. They are manufactured and prepared by vendors to medical and recreational dispensaries. And, more and more people are making and baking their own. There’s nothing new about this, so what’s the buzz?
With the expanding legalization of grow, sale, and possession of marijuana, new customers are flocking to the stores. This is a “white market” of people who have not tried cannabis since their youth, a more affluent demographic, a group that prefers not to smoke or fuss with the paraphernalia of other consumption methods. They want the medicinal or recreational benefits without the negatives attached to smoking blunts, joints, bongs, pipes, and so on.
This is a market that uses only occasionally and often in a social setting where sharing treats is a social circle game, something to giggle and joke about.
As more people recognize the medicinal benefits of cannabis, they are opting for edibles as their go-to use. They are looking for relief from anxiety, chronic pain, depression, menstrual cramps, migraines, PTSD, and more. And, convenient, discreet, and effective edibles fit the bill.
There are also those who because of advanced illness, age, or chemotherapy appreciate the ease of use. Caregivers, for example, can administer the health benefits in lozenge or lollipop form.
People are learning to prepare their own edibles. Using cannabis strains from dispensaries, farms, and their own grow rooms, users have become cannabis bakers and candy makers. Some like to cook with classic recipes or their own creations. They do it just for the fun of it or to compete with the contests that have been popping up like home cooking at local fairs.
Others do it to build a supply of medicinal edible goods for themselves or others. This saves them money almost immediately. Now, this may start with something as simple as preparing canna-butter useful in countless recipes as a substitute for butter in baking. You can spread it on toast, add it to mash potatoes, or put it on the table as a condiment.
When you purchase edibles, you know the dosage, strain, and THC: CBD ratio. Managing the dosage is a little harder for home cooks, but with enough cooking practice, you can control consistent dosing as well.
What to look for?
Lord Jones offers dozens of CBD products including the very tasty CBD Dark Chocolate Espresso Chews. They are made with high-quality dark chocolate and a real punch of espresso flavor. Each chew in the nicely packaged product contains 20mg of CBD and 0% THC. These are really tasty, but at $30 for 5 chews, they’re a little pricey.
• Kiva Confectioners know what they are doing, producing high-quality items in a variety of modes. Their richly crafter Kiva Bars are touched with flavors like tangerine, ginger, mint, and more. Divided into segments, each bite has 5mg of THC/CBD for a properly balanced experience.
But Kiva also produces a variety of Camino Gummies (5mg THC per gummy), Petra Mints (2.5mg THC per mint), Terra Bites (5mg THC per bite), and more.
• Dragon Originals offers a most unusual product in its flower Caviar. They infuse a top-shelf strain specific flower with their signature black oil, rolled in Kief, then hand trimmed again to create the final product.
You can buy Dragon Caviar in bulk ounces, single gram packages, long-lasting 1.5-gram cones, and .75 gram cones.
• Stillwater makes Ripple Dissolvables, single-serve powder packets filled with perfectly precise portions of odorless, flavorless, calorie-free THC and CBD. You can put it in anything that will dissolve it from protein shakes to salad dressings. You can mix it into your water, juice, coffee, soups, or other recipes. It’s convenient and discrete enough to take to work.
• Plus™ comes in little tins, small chewy gummy bites. These are THC and CBD-infused flavor rich candies. The convenient container fits pocket or purse in blackberry and lemon (90mg THC/ 10mg CBD), sour watermelon (100mg THC), sour blueberry (100mg THC), and rainbow sorbet (100mg THC). PLUS™ gummies are perfect for microdosing because each bite contains only 5mg. Image from Plus Products
What’s the downside?
Hemp-based edibles are available everywhere, but marijuana-based products are not officially available online. That means they tend to be craft produced in local markets in states where sale and possession are legal.
With no quality standards or enforcement, the public should be wary. You’ll want to verify the product has been tested by third-party labs. And, you should check the ingredients and THC: CBD ratio because you must avoid overdosing. These edibles taste so good, you can’t eat just one, but you shouldn’t.
The bigger issue today is the FDA’s interest. There have been so many claims of health benefits, the FDA and other attentive agencies are starting to question claims to a “miracle cure.” U.S. Food & Drug says, “FDA is aware that some companies are marketing products containing cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds in ways that violate the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and that may put the health and safety of consumers at risk.” They held a public meeting in May and invited submission of comment through July 16, 2019.
They have, therefore, set in motion a drive to standardize production, packaging, and labeling. In February, California clarified its regulations saying that individual edibles could not exceed 10mg. But they also allow a slight variance when testing. This, however, as to do with potency and not with claims of health benefits.
The hemp market has ridden on the coattails of the cannabis momentum by making large and broad claims of medical effectiveness. You must assume that any FDA ruling on hemp claims will extend to cannabis edibles, and that could turn this market around.