Competing this year just north of San Francisco in sunny Santa Rosa, the field of entries for the fifth annual Bay Area HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cup consisted of very professional, high quality culinary creations, infused with marijuana’s active ingredient. Judges always look for “the Holy Grail,” a food item with an appropriate dose of cannabis in a satisfying portion size. Let’s face it: most people do not want to eat one-sixth of a cookie, or use a razor to shave off a quarter of a cannabis truffle. Also considered are the appearance, taste, potency (determined by independent lab testing), originality and healthiness of the competing item.
The market for edibles is rapidly changing as a result of legalization in Colorado and Washington State, and more newbies who have never eaten pot before are getting into the mix, demanding weed food that will be pleasantly inebriating without getting them too “Dowded.” Previously, medical marijuana edibles markets were dominated by a niche group of patients who use cannabis edibles as a replacement for dangerous, addictive pharmaceutical drugs intended to treat chronic pain or insomnia, and these folks require very strong dosage levels, to which they quickly build up a tolerance. This is why brownies with 500 milligrams of THC exist.
As the wave of cannabis law reform sweeps the nation, the industry will quickly adapt to serve the preferences of all consumers, whether young, old, male, female, rich, poor, seeking 999 milligrams of relief or a introductory dose of just 10mg, with a diversity of products designed to fulfill different desires.
Always make sure whatever edibles you choose plainly state lab-tested results for THC content, and be sure never to leave edibles where an unsuspecting person could eat them. Start with a low dose of 10 to 25 milligrams of THC and wait two hours for effects to fully kick in. If you’ve never eaten pot foods previously, seek out the Artisanal Cannabis Macarons or Herbsmith Crowns, which carry lower doses of THC. If you’re looking for the most potent pot chocolate, invest in Hashman’s Infused for a 420 milligram bar that will blast you into the stratosphere! If you’re looking for something “just right,” browse the Top 15 Cannabis Edibles list below and choose your own adventure.
First Place Winner
Artisanal Cannabis Macarons (Madame Munchie)
100mg of THC per package, with five macarons at 20mg each
This product blew the judges away with its high-end presentation, gorgeous appearance and high-quality ingredients. Five different flavor combinations await inside: Hazelnut Mocha, Citrus a l’amande, Tropical Jungle, Green Gold, and Grilled PB&J, and each one is executed perfectly. A moderate dose of 20 milligrams of THC per macaron made these treats easy for everyone to enjoy. This upstart company out of San Francisco has burst onto the scene with a splash! These highly in demand cookies can be found at Barbary Coast, SF Fogg and Jolly Green Giant Delivery Service.
Second Place Winner
Hazelnug and Grub (Organicares Collective)
80 mg of THC in a hazelnut spread
This innovative mash-up consisted of a small package of unmedicated crackers paired with a small tub of hazelnut spread (much like Nutella) containing 80 milligrams of THC. Each tablespoon equals a 20 milligram dose, so patients can decide how much to consume. “Handcrafted by patients for patients,” this product captured the imagination of the judges, who love Nutella and cannabis, so why not a combination of both?!
Third Place Winner
Jambo Cannabis Super Foods (Jambo Direct)
40 mg of THC
After being narrowly edged out of contention in Denver this year, the Jambo crew is back, taking a third place award for their healthy “playa-ready” superfood concoction. Containing cashews, honey, raisins, cacao, almonds, coconut, medical grade cannabis and himalayan sea salt, the “world’s healthiest edible” pleased judges with its high-quality ingredients and organic mission. Look for more great things coming from Jambo soon!
Crowns by the Herbsmith (Organic OC)
120 mg THC spread over three pieces at 40 mg each
These caramel truffles were topped with a candied almond, making a beautiful presentation. However, the packaging was a bit too subdued, and could have used more overt cannabis warnings to prevent accidental ingestion by an unwitting guest. Each truffle is well dosed at 40 milligrams of THC, and complete ingredients lists and nutrition information is provided. These truffles were very much enjoyed by the judges for their delicious taste and harmony of flavors.
Reef Jerky (Badfish Extracts)
100 mg of THC
The boys from Badfish were back again after scoring a third place win in Denver, only to be narrowly edged out of the winner’s circle. Their tasty, high-potency jerky is available at many dispensaries throughout the Bay Area, so be sure to check them out for a healthy dose! Starting out as primarily an extraction company, Badfish prides themselves on the 100 percent activation of their oil, creating consistent, strongly infused edibles.
Mint Irish Cream (Kiva Confections)
180mg THC spread over four servings of 45 mg each
A proven leader in the California edibles industry, Kiva divides its bar into four equal servings of 45 milligrams each, making it extremely easy for patients to decide on a correct dose. High-quality chocolate with delicious flavors and top-notch packaging continue to be a consumer favorite. However, judges wanted to see more original and interesting new innovations from the winners, so some stalwart competitors were left out of the awards.
Hashman 420 Cherry Bomb (Hashman Infused)
420 mg of THC divided into four servings of 105 mg each
Judges praised the “highly original” and “delightfully surprising” addition of pop rocks to this high-quality confection, but also felt that dividing the bar into four demarcated servings of 105 milligrams of THC each provided too strong of a dose, particularly for a novice. But if you’ve got a high tolerance, or need large doses of THC to treat chronic pain without pharmaceuticals, that same high dose might be just what the doctor ordered.
Canna Crisp Bar (Canna Grow Consultants)
160 mg of THC divided into four doses for 40mg per serving
From Edibles Ideas, this is a fantastically delicious product with a crunchy texture contrasting with gooey caramel, with comforting, classic flavors of chocolate and peanut butter. Judges felt the packaging could be more clear, with the small type it’s tough to distinguish the dosage information, especially if you have old, tired eyes! Two pieces per package contain 80 milligrams of THC each, for about 160mg per package.
Day Dreamers Chocolate Blueberry Sativa (San Jose Patient’s Group)
180 mg of THC divided into six individual servings of 30 mg each
Day Dreamers is back, after winning multiple Cannabis Cup awards in 2013 for their perfectly dosed, individually encapsulated chocolates. The new Blueberry flavor wowed judges, but this product was edged out of the winner’s circle due to the extremely high quality of the field of entries. Day Dreamers is a great product for novice users because each dose must be popped out of the package, making it less likely to overdo it! With a commitment to environmental sustainability and organic, sun grown cannabis, Day Dreamers is a company to watch.
Caramel Corn (Goodies by MaGooch)
107 milligrams of THC in each serving for over 321mg total
This package of caramel corn arrives with three individually wrapped portions, each containing 107 milligrams of THC. With the label advising “eat half of a bag and wait thirty minutes,” judges felt the recommended dosage to be too high for first-time or novice users. However, this treat is tasty and well-executed, just make sure to enjoy in moderation!
Caramel Apple Crisp (Kushie Kandy)
100 mg of THC over 4 servings of 25 mg each
For a novice wishing to try edible cannabis for the first time, Kushie Kandy is worth recommending. With 100 milligrams of THC spread over 4 servings, it’s easier for a newbie to understand how much to eat. Recommended dosage advice on the back of the package states, “Cannabis affects everyone differently, until you are familiar with the effects of this product, start with one 25mg piece and wait an hour.” The label goes on to advise beginners to start with 10 to 25 mg, the average consumer to start with 25 to 50mg, intermediate users to consume 50 to 75 mg and the advanced to eat 75 to 100 milligrams of THC or more. With the intense flavor of apple and caramel, it may be too easy to eat more than you bargained for!
Eden’s California Honey (Eden’s Elixirs)
1000 mg of THC per container, 8 servings of 1 tablespoon at 35 mg dose per serving
This product makes teatime a delight! Medicated honey is simple to dose and easy to add to tea or any dish in a healthy lifestyle. Judges loved this product, but felt the packaging didn’t have an overt cannabis warning, making it easy for accidental dosage to occur.
Mint Chip Ice Cream (Cannabis Creamery)
60 milligrams of THC per container
This creamy, light concoction carries virtually no cannabis flavor, and the package boasts that “way back, we were asked by the Grateful Dead to make a ‘special’ ice cream for a dance party,” and now that psychedelic dessert can be enjoyed by all California patients. Judges loved this ice cream, but shelf stability and melting concerns edged it out of the winner’s circle.
Gluten Free Pecan Tartlet (Stoned Edibles)
90 milligrams of THC
This lovely tart contains no gluten, a protein found in wheat that some people cannot tolerate. You won’t miss it, however, since this mini-pie is packed with flavor. Stone Edibles also entered a very sweet and sticky baklava that failed to place due to packaging illegibility, but we’re looking forward to their next effort!
Cannabucha (Green Goddess, Venice, CA)
This was the most intriguing of the entries, but it lacked any lab results or dosage information so patients didn't know how much to drink. Kombucha is a healing tea that utilizes beneficial fungus to create a fermented beverage that acts as a health tonic. It’s not immediately clear how cannabis would be infused into the beverage, perhaps a tincture is mixed into the tea? After drinking about half a bottle, no noticeable effects manifested, so possibly activation of the psychoactivity isn’t occurring efficiently.