Our edibles expert, Elise McDonough, author of The Official High Times Cannabis Cookbook, rates her favorite cannabis-infused treats at the San Bernardino Medical Cannabis Cup.
As cannabis use becomes increasingly accepted across the United States, more people are trying edibles for their relaxing, euphoric effects. At HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cup events, judges test products and evaluate them for excellence in appearance, taste, potency, originality and healthiness. Labeling information, presentation and packaging are also considered when deciding on which company should take home the coveted HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cup trophy.
Competitors who tend to focus only on creating the strongest products often overlook originality, but one of the missions of this cannabis food contest is to encourage innovation and creativity. Judges hunger for savory products, as well as new ideas for edibles that haven’t been seen before. The products that garnered the most attention at this contest included a drink, gummies, and high-CBD items.
The field of entries this time around was extremely strong, and every product that placed in the top 10 could have won easily in a weaker market. This industry continues to grow more professional and competitive every year, and the improvement over last year’s field of entries has been immense. Products entered in the San Bernardino HIGH TIMES Medical Cannabis Cup represent not only the best edibles cannabis items in California, but the best in the world.
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.
Strawberry Banana Cream
This product was a pleasant surprise from a new upstart company, Kushie Kandy, who create candy bars with bold, original flavors. This bar was created using high-quality organic ingredients, and the banana-strawberry flavors came through beautifully for a very different and interesting edible that wasn’t too sweet. Each package contains 100 mg of THC divided into two 50mg THC pieces. Label says to “eat half of one piece and wait 30 minutes to see how it effects you,” which is sound advice. Judges were very excited about this product, making Kushie Kandy a company to watch!
Buds and Roses
Cherry Cannabis Quencher
This cannabis-infused beverage from Venice Cookie Company is dangerously delicious! After winning a Third Place prize with Strawberry Lemonade in 2013, the crew from venerable L.A. dispensary Buds and Roses hoped this product would place again, but it was just narrowly edged out of the winner’s circle.
It would be easy to drink the whole 72 milligram bottle immediately because it tastes so great, with fresh cherry flavors and no hint of cannabis. The packaging exclaims, "Finally, life really is a bowl of cherries -- a tart and delicious bowl that doesn't require the use of a lighter." This innovative infused drink is made from nice healthy ingredients, and is a low fat, convenient way to medicate. Try an ice-cold Cherry Cannabis Quencher today!
Another favorite of the judges, this multiple-Cup winner was poised to win again, but the very competitive field of entries in San Bernardino pushed these excellent high-CBD chocolates out of contention for top honors. Precise dosing plus pharmaceutical-grade packaging make these chocolates the cutting-edge in edibles manufacturing, but the high-tech side of the business is balanced by a counterculture sensibility.
The chocolate is crafted from organic cannabis grown outdoors in Santa Cruz, and grower Andy Genovese is committed to developing high-CBD strains like the AC/DC used for this bar. High-CBD edibles have been increasing in popularity as more people discover the unique healing benefits and reduced anxiety. Each chocolate segment contains 30 mg of cannabinoids, 15 mg of THC and 15 mg of CBD, totaling 180 mg over 6 segments. The healing 1:1 ratio of THC to CBD creates a perfectly balanced medicine with maximum relaxing effects.
Sweetstone Candy / Gold Coast Extracts / Booku Collective
CBD Cherry Chocolit Covered Gummy Bears
Another previous Cup winner and leading candy maker, Claude the Candyman created two special gummy bears for this competition, one flavored with strawberry and containing THC, and another with cherry flavors and infused with a high-CBD extract. These unique gummy bears smell sweet and delicious when you open the package. Judges were pleasantly surprised by the unexpected flavor mash-up of chocolate and cherry gummy. However, judges noted that trying to cut the 75 milligram THC bear into three equal 25 mg servings can be difficult and imprecise. It would be better to have three smaller bears, with each bear making a single serving.
Auntie Dolores Co-op
500 Bite Chocolate Fudge Cake
Auntie Dolores has dominated the San Francisco area dispensaries with her highly-potent treats that include sweets as well as savory pretzels and spiced nuts. The 500 Bite Chocolate Fudge Cake packs a lot of medicine into a small package, perfect for chronic pain patients and those who are seeking to replace pharmaceutical drugs with 500 milligrams of THC. The fudge cake arrives nicely decorated in a tamper-proof package with excellent label information and lab-tested results.
Angel Baby’s Gourmet Treats & Eats
MediZen Space Worms
Judges really enjoyed these fun gummy worms! They tasted really good, with only a very small hint of cannabis flavor. It was slightly confusing that there's no THC info for individual worms, just 300 mg for the whole package, so you need to be careful not to eat too many! These worms are infused with a Co2 concentrate, and have a nice consistency.
Natural Peanut Butter
This is a high-quality, healthy, discreet product that can easily fit into an on-the-go lifestyle. Tastes like delicious artisan peanut butter with no discernable ganja taste, nice consistency, and a little crunchy texture from the nuts. Dosage amount is 60 milligrams of THC per package, but label could use more advice about how much to eat. One judge remarked, "This would be really cool for going camping!"
Kelly’s Collective / Goodies by Ma Gooch
Ma Gooch’s Gravity Lock Olive Oil
This herbaceous olive oil comes in a tiny bottle and is very potent, with 180 mg per tablespoon (700 mg per bottle). It’s a great way to integrate cannabis into a healthy lifestyle, simply sprinkle a little into salad dressings, pesto or pasta sauce. Judges liked the oil, but felt that it was more of an ingredient and less of a cannabis-infused food item that could stand-alone.