Watching the dramatic expansion of the cannabis-infused foods industry in 2014 has been incredibly gratifying. On New Year’s Day last year, my husband and I stood in line at 3D Cannabis Center in Denver to legally purchase cannabis, which was the most exciting and historic experience I’ve ever enjoyed. With legalization, the market for infused foods has exploded, as people averse to smoking embrace discreet, tasty highs.
Maureen Dowd’s infamous freakout drew attention to the need for businesses to throughly educate their customers about eating edibles, and a focus on preventing children from ingesting edibles led to a high-profile Halloween campaign aimed at raising parental awareness. While no children were “tricked” into receiving look-alike pot candies in their annual haul, the hysteria around kids and cannabis has prompted legal states to consider new regulations on dosage and packaging. Groups like Colorado’s Cannabis Business Alliance have distributed hundreds of thousands of brochures to purchase points so every consumer receives commonsense tips on how to correctly imbibe pot foods. My new book, Marijuana for Everybody!, shares tips on creating pot foods at home as well as how to read labels, and choose the right edible for any need.
For better or worse, alcohol is ingrained in American social life, and initiates learn by example, watching the adults around them to learn how much to drink and how to act. Outside of the cannabis subculture, no social rituals are commonly observed about how to consume edibles, so younger people haven’t been learning by example. This lack of “cannabis customs” is quickly being rectified, as the adult-use industry takes hold in the West, and as cannabis use becomes more socially acceptable, it becomes safer. Just as a college student learns about their tolerance for alcohol by going overboard, new initiates to pot food will test their limits as well, resulting in some difficult, disorienting experiences. The difference is that cannabis—even potent pot foods—won’t result in fatal poisonings.
Each one of these products exemplifies each judging category at the High Times Cannabis Cup, with excellent taste, consistent dosage, correct packaging and labeling, and original new ideas. While these products were all 2014 Cannabis Cup winners, these are also my personal favorites which I’ve tried again and again. When there’s nothing but pot food in your freezer, the stuff you run out of first is always the best!
G Pharma Labs
Liquid Gold Delights Mint Meltaways
These beautifully decorated truffles were favored by all of the judges for their taste as well as their mellow dose. Each truffle contained 25 milligrams of THC for a relaxing treat that won’t send you into the stratosphere, unless you eat all eight! Very professionally packaged and presented, this box of truffles is appropriately dosed for the occasional edible-eater and makes a wonderful gift. The chocolate is delicious and contains no overt cannabis taste.
This is another low-dose treat that judges unanimously loved! Multiple Cannabis Cup winner Kiva Confections returned to the competition with an original, innovative product that wowed everyone who saw it. These chocolate-covered, cannabis-infused espresso beans kept people going throughout their busy days while also delivering small amount of medication. Popping a 5mg espresso beans throughout the day is a great way to stay medicated and upbeat. Judges were very appreciative of having some caffeine to balance the cannabis. Each bean contained approximately 5mg of THC, and the entire tin of beans averaged about 180 milligrams. This was an original product that tasted great and used high-quality ingredients such as Tanzanian coffee beans. Packaging and label information was also top-notch.
Reef Jerky from Badfish Extracts
This jerky was an extremely tasty, healthy option that scored big on originality. With 150 mg of THC per package, it’s important to monitor your dosage carefully, especially with a product that’s so delicious! We look forward to seeing more from Badfish soon, along with upgraded packaging and labeling. BONUS RECIPE: Badfish teaches you how to use BHO to create a precisely dosed barbecue sauce!
One Eye Open Sativa-Based Lemonade / Black Tea from MarQaha
This product scored high for healthiness, with all natural, gluten free, high quality ingredients, plus inventive, competent packaging and dosing information. With 110 mg of THC per bottle, MarQaha has developed an original method of keeping track of how much you’ve consumed, with helpful dosage demarcations along the side of the bottle. An amazing medicated Arnold Palmer, perfect to accompany any meal or to replace alcoholic beverages.
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.
Jambo Cannabis Super Foods (Jambo Direct)
40 mg of THC
After being narrowly edged out of contention in Denver this year, the Jambo crew came back, taking a third place award in Seattle 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!
Margarita Truffle with Lime, Tequila and Sea Salt from Chefettes
Created by a self-described “total lightweight,” Marla Molly Poiset designed her low-dose truffle to appeal to older women and straight-laced types who would be unlikely to start smoking cannabis. With only six milligrams of THC and three milligrams of CBD, these gourmet truffles are perfect for first-time users, while those of us who are more experienced with cannabis can feel free to consume a whole box of four. You can recommend these delicious truffles, crafted by a classically-trained pastry chef, to your grandma! BONUS RECIPE: Chef Poiset teaches you how to make a delicious marijuana madeleine!