Long gone are the days when cannabis edibles were limited simply to sweets like brownies or gummies. Brands like Potli are bringing cannabis into daily meal routines with infused kitchen pantry staples, making cannabis consumption more welcoming and accessible to consumers of all ages and experience levels.
Potli was co-founded by CEO Felicity Chen, along with her college roommate Christine Yi, with a goal to bring cannabis-infused ingredients into the kitchen. The company began with selling infused raw honey (the “Dream Honey” won first place in the CBD category at the 2021 Emerald Cup), followed by other unique cooking ingredients such as a cannabis-infused extra virgin olive oil, as well as a cannabis-infused sriracha (which also won first place at last year’s Emerald Cup in the Edibles/Savory category). More recently, the brand has begun an expansion of ready-to-eat products with its cannabis-infused shrimp chips as well (made with Potli’s infused olive oil), which won first place in the Edibles/Savory category at the Emerald Cup in 2022.
Potli products offer a fresh new way to use cannabis as a condiment.
From Pot to Potli
Chen, a Bay Area-native, met her Potli co-founder Christine Yi when they were randomly paired as roommates during their freshman year of college on the East Coast at Boston University. During that time, Chen recalls experimenting with cannabis in their dorm room, causing the hallways to smell strongly of herb. But ultimately, she discovered how cannabis helped her on a more personal level.
“I have always been someone that has been you know, a more anxious teen and going into my college years to someone that just had a lot of energy and didn’t really know how to calm my brain,” Chen says. “It just was something that was interesting to me and calmed me.”
After graduation, Chen returned to the Bay Area and Yi remained on the East Coast, and their transition from consumers to entrepreneurs began as they worked together to develop Potli.
Although Potli became a way to keep Chen and Yi connected remotely, it was also founded as a method to help treat Chen’s mother’s asthma and allergies. When Chen returned home, she discovered that her father had learned how to keep bees in order to harvest honey for her mom.
Chen explains that her mom’s daily routine usually starts with honey and lemon. Raw honey can be added to a variety of different dishes, such as tea, oats, or smoothies, and contains beneficial antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Add cannabis into the mix, and it becomes even more useful as part of a healthy regimen.
While Chen’s mother was not interested in smoking cannabis, adding it to her honey allowed her to partake in a format that she found more familiar and comfortable.
“I’m a second generation Chinese American, meaning that like, there’s no way my mom would ever smoke weed with me. That was just a given, right?” Chen says. “But she understood the benefits of cannabis. And all of its anti-inflammatory effects through the lens of ‘This is medicine.’ And so, medicine typically is consumed with edibles. And it’s also truly the healthiest way to consume cannabis, through an edible.”
One of Potli’s main goals is to create and promote food as medicine, a philosophy that has led the company to create its best-selling infused honey products. The company’s honey harvest operation includes anywhere between 30 to 50 hives, depending on the season (honeybees are more active in spring and summer). Currently, Potli sells different infused variations of infused raw honey, such as one that contains THC, CBD, and CBN, while another contains just CBD.
Cannabis as a Condiment
The company has continued to expand its line of pantry essentials to include other useful ingredients as well.
Potli’s Cannabis Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil is sourced from the same region that the company gets its cannabis—Lake County, California. Their olive oil comes from Campodonico Olive Farm, among a few other local olive farms, while their cannabis comes from Aster Farms, which is well-known in the region for its dedication to transparency and organic growing practices that produce high-quality sungrown cannabis flower.
Chen believes it’s crucial to promote and work with local producers in order to spotlight some of California’s agricultural products.
“That’s the reason why we create what we create, because our products are pretty much products that you can only find in California. And it is grown with such intention, and created with such care, and it tells a story about all of these different farmers that make it and are behind it,” Chen says.
Following the success of Potli’s cannabis-infused extra virgin olive oil, its cannabis-infused sriracha took the stage, offering a spicy kick to a variety of meals.
Between offering infused honey, olive oil, and sriracha, Potli already covers a wide base for experimentation.
“But these are the types of things that [you] really can make any recipe with it, right? And that’s what I love, is that you can make a salad dressing to like, fried chicken, and you can use every single ingredient and make wildly different products. You can make a soup that’s really Chinese style, so like [with] tofu. So all of these things are just really, really different,” Chen says.
Chen explains that she personally enjoys experimenting with different cannabis-infused dishes in the evenings.
“I love making food. That’s also one of my ways that I de-stress,” Chen explains. “And part of that journey is also making food with Potli goods that get me high, and then I have the best sleep ever.”
In the past, Potli carried infused chili oil and apple cider vinegar products as well. Chen shared that there are plans to re-release these products soon. Chen also hinted at a new, exciting product coming in the near future. While she couldn’t divulge the details just yet, she explains that it’s something she’s confident that the Potli community is going to love.
In the meantime, Potli’s dedication to creating versatile food items will continue to lead the way in infused home cooking and healthy eating.
“We really think that through edibles and through things that you eat, health is just something that is based on what you eat. And, you know, that’s the age-old adage,” Chen says. “And that’s really what the company’s main values are, is that we’re correcting people’s health and helping people feel better through the foods that they eat.”
This article was originally published in the November 2022 issue of High Times Magazine.