Cannabis-infused foods reached new heights in 2013, with creative chefs in state-legal business ventures unleashing all sorts of delicious delights designed to get you incredibly high. As pot use becomes increasingly legalized and socially acceptable in states like Colorado, Washington and California, we can look forward to even more medicated foods on the market in 2014. Growing demand and investor interest means the industry is poised to grow dramatically in the next few years.
One of the objectives of the HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cup competitions has been to raise the bar for makers of infused products. In the edibles category, judges reward not only the competitors with the most professional packaging, but also the tastiest and most innovative new items. As policymakers in Colorado and Washington establish new rules about how to legally produce, label and sell infused products such as salsas made with kief, smoked salmon glazed in hash oil, and cookies frosted with cannabutter cream, the consumer will be rewarded with an ever-increasing variety of medicated foodstuffs.
When shopping for edibles, it’s best to find a treat that is dosed appropriately for you, meaning the recommended serving size should deliver your desired amount of THC in a portion that will satisfy a sweet tooth. Avoid the super-strong tiny truffle that needs to be sliced into razor-thin pieces for a decent dose, along with the huge slice of cheesecake that only delivers a small THC payload. The ideal edible is something that will neither get you too high or too fat, but please your palate with a dose that’s “just right.” Start with 20 to 50 milligrams if you’re a seasoned smoker, and nibble only 10 mg of THC if you’ve never used the herb before.
The treats featured here delighted me personally with their originality and quality, and they represent a unique moment in time for an industry that is still barely legal. So raise a glass of hot pot-buttered rum to your favorite stoner chef, and prepare to chow down on my recommendations for the best edibles of 2013.
Beverly Hills, CA
Scoring a third-place win in the edibles category at the San Francisco Medical Cannabis Cup, these treats were beloved by everyone who encountered them. Small egg-shaped truffles topped with toffee crumbles contain caramel and cookie within, and the dose of 40 milligrams of THC is perfect for the two-bite size of the candy. Created by Todd Shapiro, these gourmet confections originated as a seasonal item at Whole Foods, but when infused with cannabis, the Toffee Turtles were elevated to a divine dessert.
Original Bhang Infused Tonic (Chai Flavor)
Super discreet, portable and healthy, this is an edible for a new type of health-conscious consumer! Created by a young man named Madhu, who spent much of his life living in India, this medicated powder can be added to water, coffee or smoothies. With more than 80 milligrams of THC, this is a “potent, energizing array of Ayurvedic, Chinese and Amazon herbal tonics” that contains caffeine-free adaptogenic herbs such as maca, cocoa, chicory, dandelion root, and chai spices. This is a modern twist on an ancient healing cannabis tonic, and can definitely be recommended to any patient.
Ettalew’s Medibles Sampler
Containing a whopping total of 5 delectable treats, this sampler pack was composed of a chocolate-dipped peanut butter cookie, a snickerdoodle bar, a seven-layer bar, a PB n’ Jay Bar and a gluten-free Fig Bar. All five treats were delicious and perfectly executed. Beautifully packaged in a wooden box, this collection from one of Seattle’s premiere edibles makers is something every connoisseur should experience!
Day Dreamers High CBD Medicinal Chocolate Bar
Santa Cruz, CA
With two Cup wins in 2013, this very medicinal, professional product tastes great and has very effective labeling. A mom-and-pop edibles company out of Santa Cruz, California, Day Dreamers intends to start "Improving Your Everyday" with precisely dosed chocolate high in CBD for a relaxing, sedative effect that calms anxiety and restores balance. Using a one-to-one ratio of THC to CBD is supposed to confer a balanced synergy of healing benefits. Another unique innovation used by Day Dreamers is their pharmaceutical-grade packaging that encloses each 30 milligram segment of chocolate in a blister pack, so freshness is preserved and dosage is consistent.
Morsel Bakery Hearts of Hemp "Medicinal Hempseed Granola Bar”
San Francisco, CA
This granola bar is focused on health, and arrives in beautifully designed, professional packaging, with excellent lab-tested information on dosage and potency. There's 125 mg of THC, with two to four doses per bar. That makes a recommended dose of 62.5 mg to 31.25, which is within a realistic range for a patient.
Labeled as "100% gluten-free / 100% vegan friendly" with an ingredient list that reads like a yogi’s pantry, including rolled oats, flax, chia and hemp hearts. The packaging says this treat was "created with the vision of a tasty, gluten-free medicine that also contains other edible components of the Cannabis Sativa plant to create a complete "cannabis edible" experience." This reviewer appreciated seeing an edibles maker using hemp and promoting its healthful qualities of being rich in omega-6s and amino acids.
Walnut Joy by Mountain Medicine
Inspired by the flavors of an Almond Joy candy bar, this treat from Mountain Medicine is a coconut filled, chocolate covered patty, topped with a walnut and executed wonderfully. This is a near-perfect product, with excellent packaging and label information. Active cannabis is listed at 224 mg, and dosage advice is given as "1/2 unit to start and as needed," but be more cautious and start with a quarter or eighth of a piece and enjoy! Mountain Medicine also creates high-quality pie bars, peanut butter cups, and drinks like coffee and lemonade, making them a company to watch!
Venice Cookie Co. Cannabis Strawberry Lemonade
Los Angeles, CA
Nothing beats an icy cold cannabis-infused lemonade on a hot day, and this innovative drink is a wonderful option for patients who are seeking variety in their edibles. Nicely packaged with a professional label stating 72 milligrams of THC per bottle, be advised that the lemonade hits fast since the liquid is absorbed into the body faster than digesting a food item. The label advises consumption of "half a serving... until you know the effect of this product, wait a minimum of 35 minutes before consuming another portion.”
Greenway Compassionate Relief & Rare Candy
81% Orange Raw Cacao
Santa Cruz, CA
This amazing raw cacao chocolate set contained one indica and one sativa truffle, and the packaging provides an education about the healing powers of cannabis and cacao, with tidbits like “an incredible synergy exists between raw cacao and cannabis. Cacao is the only known food source of endogenous cannabinoids. It also contains nutrients which amplify and prolong the effects of cannabis.” Tastes amazing with an orange flavor, and medicates with a nice relaxing effect balanced by a cacao buzz. Judges definitely felt a nice boost of energy which helped us power through our busy day.
Made with high-quality amazing ingredients, this raw and handmade chocolate is full of antioxidants, 100% gluten & dairy free. Plus it’s diabetic friendly, since the sweetener is coconut nectar, which is low on the glycemic index. So rejoice, you can get a chocolate fix that won't spike your blood sugar!
Bhang “Ice” Peppermint Chocolate Bar
Master chocolatier Scott Van Rixel scored another big win this year in Colorado with the Bhang bar, which is tasty, consistent and easy to titrate for any patient. The 180 mg dosage spread out over multiple servings and the complete nutritional information on the package make this one of the most professional products widely available to patients. High-quality ingredients and excellent flavor combined with cannabis create a confection that is a must-have for any chocolate lover. Bhang Chocolates has expanded to meet growing patient demand, with franchises operating in Colorado and Washington.
Sweet Stone Gummy Bears
Los Angeles, CA
Now this is a fun idea for a ganja treat! Sweet Stone Candy “Rasta Style Giant Gummi Claudie Bears” come complete with lab-tested information that states 100 mg of THC, with a serving size of “one bear” with two bears per package. A 50 mg bear is a large dose, so perhaps a half-bear would be more appropriate for a cannabis-naive person. The gummies are sweet and fruity, with a texture that’s a little bit softer than the average gummy candy.