Welcome to Baked Science, a new series of cannabis-infused edible reviews featuring test results from SC Labs.
It’s surprising that cannabis-infused food producers with the most basic packaging and label information, creating medicated versions of simple baked goods, with no web or social media presence can still dominate the market and be touted as a bestseller at Harborside, the Bay Area’s biggest and most prestigious dispensary. Retailing at $7 for “two doses,” customers are reportedly snapping up cannabutter-laden cookies from Butter Brothers with four flavors available, including chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal raisin and ginger snaps.
Patients should demand more information and accountability from infused food companies, and as cannabis goes mainstream, many producers are seeking to step up their game by using brand redesigns, educational campaigns and social media outreach to engage with their patrons. All of these efforts would benefit a company like Butter Brothers, which has a satisfactory product with a loyal customer following, but badly needs to revamp their branding and packaging.
While the label claims “2 doses of medicine,” and approximately 0.4g dry weight of cannabis, no THC content is listed in milligrams and no lab-tested results are displayed. Do the cookies contain 400 milligrams of THC? No, because the “dry weight” means cannabis in the form of flower or trim, and 100 percent of a bud is not composed of THC. If the 400 mg of cannabis used contained 20 percent THC, then there could conceivably be 80 milligrams of THC inside these two cookies, but how are we to know?
With state regulations looming in the near future (hopefully), most edibles-makers are working to make sure products are lab-tested with concise dosage information, encased in tamper-proof packaging and ready for compliance with standard commercial food industry hygiene and safety guidelines. It is vital that the industry create standardized language for describing what a dose is, because right now, Butter Brothers telling me “2 doses” doesn’t really mean anything unless paired with lab-tested information displaying THC content in milligrams.
Likewise, there’s an ingredients list but no nutritional facts or allergy notifications, and only the barest minimum of warnings indicate that this product contains cannabis. A re-sealable package would also be appreciated to help keep that second dose fresh for later.
Without a clear idea of how much to consume to reach my desired state of highness, I ate one whole cookie at 8:45 p.m., saving the second for another time. While you can definitely taste the cannabis, the cinnamon is also very pronounced, and the peanut butter cookie has a sugary, rich taste with a round mouthfeel indicating that Butter Brothers probably uses a lot of butter! It’s a very straightforward, tasty peanut butter cookie, executed well, but nothing too special or different.
One hour later, I was noticing that I was a little high and starting to feel somewhat distracted from my work. By 9:54 p.m., my limbs were getting heavier, and I felt slightly uncoordinated, so I put on a movie and settled in for some couchlock. Two hours after ingestion, at 10:53 p.m., the cookie had fully kicked in, and my muscles were relaxed, my mood was chill, and my vision was affected, but I was feeling great. At 11:30 p.m., almost three hours after ingestion, I was extremely relaxed and getting sleepy. When I woke the next morning, I had overslept and was pretty groggy, meaning the dose was more than I usually would have consumed to achieve my goal of help with sleep and relaxation.
Cannabinoid testing conducted by SC Labs determined that the package of two cookies contained 76.72 milligrams of total THC, with 1.46 mg of THC per gram and 0.12 mg of THCa per gram, so the infusion process at Butter Brothers could be a bit more efficient. At $7 per package, that’s about 9 cents per milligram of THC, which is a good deal for patients who don’t mind taking a gamble with their dose.
With about 38 mg of total THC per cookie, saying “2 doses” on their packaging means California-based Butter Brothers is recommending four times the amount that the state of Colorado has determined a “dose” should be. Whether or not you agree that 10 milligrams of THC is an appropriate dose for you, it’s important to have a set amount that producers and consumer can agree upon.
A better, safer strategy would be for Butter Brothers to upgrade their labeling to explain “Each cookie contains 35 – 40 milligrams of THC. Start with no more than one-quarter and wait for two hours for the full effect of this product to take place before consuming any more.” State that your package contains “8 doses of 10 mg THC each,” and then newcomers can better navigate their experience, while experienced ganjatarians will know that they can eat one whole cookie or more.