“You’re going to want to get those today, if you really want them,” *Jane tells me. “We sell out of most of our edibles pretty quickly, but those in particular have been going really fast.”
Jane is a budtender at Hollywood High Grade, a medical marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles. I’m being indecisive on an edibles purchase. To my credit, she was referring to a 4-pack of peanut butter cookies infused with 25 mg THC in each one. But the choices were seemingly limitless: Cookies, crackers, cereal, chocolate bars.
“I’ll go with the brownie bites,” I say.
Most of us have a curious relationship with edibles. Some cannabis enthusiasts prefer almost exclusively to eat their bud. For others, any munching associated with weed normally follows a hearty smoke sesh. Where baking and cooking calm the nerves and offer a sense of tranquility, the routine methodical preparation involved in smoking cannabis—grinding up the flower, rolling a joint, loading a dab, torching the nail, packing a bowl—is a seemingly therapeutic part of the process.
Image via Wikimedia Commons
Delicious and divisive, for some purists, “medicating” with food that would otherwise be classified as junk, if not for the presence of THC, is just too much of a stretch.
It is possible to manufacture edible forms of THC and CBD to aid in various treatments without any psychoactive effects. To a lesser degree: one could certainly craft healthy dishes infused with cannabis. However, by-and-large, “medicated Chex Mix,” “Weetos,” (keep scrolling) or just good old fashioned weed brownies are far more likely to be sold at a dispensary than a fresh kale salad, served with hash-oil vinaigrette.
One cause for edibles aversion is an inconsistency in potency among the myriad forms of chewable cannabis on the market. In Vancouver, British Columbia, the sale of them has been banned entirely. And earlier this year, after eating too many edibles, an Ohio man phoned the police fearing for his life. That is some intense internal conflict to face after snack time.
Bob Eschino, of Denver-based edible brand Incredibles, told NBC News that his concentrates regularly test at about 99 percent THC. Traditional flower comes in somewhere between 15 and 20 percent. This leaves interpretation for expected outcomes. The consumer can anticipate anything between a Snoop-Dogg-state-of-mind and losing their sanity and clothes in public—like that dude who put out the KONY2012 videos. Heavy dice to roll.
Like all aspects of the quickly-becoming-legal cannabis industry, this uncertainty is expected to clear up as innovations enter the infused foods sector. As lab-testing of cannabis products becomes the norm, mass-produced edibles, no matter how unhealthy, will come with labeling indicating just how high you’ll get—if you’ll get high at all.
Dixie Elixirs, a Colorado-based organization, develops THC-infused products that establish standardized and repeatable results. This approach likens cannabis consumption to coffee or spicy foods: Measured amounts of caffeine and capsaicin deliver predictable effects each and every time. It’s much more aligned with any “medicinal” processes than say baking Rice Krispies treats with cannabis butter in high school with your friends. Which, don’t get us wrong, is awesome.
I digress. The inconsistency and unreliability in potency and abundance of sugar has me concluding that edibles just aren’t for me, for now. Which is why naturally, like any inquisitive journalist on the weed beat, I decided to eat a meal composed entirely of cannabis-infused food.
To shop for such a feast, I visited a local dispensary and picked up edibles offering a “medicated” twist. What I found was plentiful, branded with cleverly worded weed puns, and likely to give me the ability to feel colors.
7:30 PM: Snacks
I’m a snacker. At family gatherings, as I inhale hors d’oeuvre, I’m reminded by my relatives that, as a child, catching me without a bag of Goldfish or pretzels in hand was a rare sighting. Always having something savory on deck has carried over into early adulthood. I didn’t want to dig into any of the main event while I was “cooking;” so I knew I would need something to nibble on in the meantime. Enter: Flaming Hot Weetos. These guys taste just like traditional Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, but with a hint of weed; delicious in the way that only something so terrible for you can be. The bag even resembles the Frito-Lay produced original, with the exception of a green (and presumably stoned AF) version of Chester the Cheetah belching flames. Classy. A serving of eight Weetos delivers 150 mg of THC, with three servings per pouch. I put down about 10 Weetos as I prepared the rest of the meal.
Stoned Level: Could reasonably write and deliver a speech on behalf of the D.A.R.E. program.
8:15 PM: Appetizer
At this point, the only noticeable sensation I experienced was a tingling tongue. To quell the flames, I knocked back a 16 oz. bottle of Venice Cookie Co’s Cannabis Quencher—a fruit punch that contains 72 mg of THC. Unfortunately, the stuff tastes much like Kool Aid made from bong water and NyQuil. Can’t say I was much of a fan of the flavor, but at that point, I knew I had crossed over a cannabis-infused threshold and became fully invested in this article.
Now, I’m a connoisseur of chicken wings: Never have I met one that I wouldn’t at least try. I knew these wouldn’t be legendary, or even as good as the shitty wings you buy from chain pizza restaurants; so I limited myself to three. The oil-infused sauce tasted only faintly of the herb, and stuck nicely to each wing. But I still felt nothing. This is part of the reason why I rarely enjoy edibles: Where smoking cannabis or taking dabs offers instant gratification, eating it kicks off a long period of anticipation.
Stoned Level: Mostly just full.
9:30 PM: The Main Event
Still not feeling much, though determined to eat a dinner composed entirely of edibles, I removed my personal-sized Stoned Oven OG Pepperoni Pizza—infused with 250 mg of THC—from the oven and cut it into four slices. The cheese was bubbly, the crust golden brown: This looked like your average frozen pizza. I applaud its makers on presentation and assembly. This thing could be sold on grocery store shelves if it wasn’t loaded with bud. And it wasn’t bad.
In today’s ubiquitous pizza terrain—where it comes on bagels that can be eaten anytime, and also as chips and from Subway—I’d rank this particular pizza somewhere between a delivery chain and the stuff that was served in my high school cafeteria. It was edible. And also, an edible. Which reminds me: About halfway through my second slice, I began to notice it. Just a creeping buzz at first, nothing too intense. There was no doubt in my mind that this pizza was giving me the feels.
Stoned Level: Would be down to watch any and all episodes of Discovery Channel’s Planet Earth.
10:30 PM-11 PM: Dessert and After Glow
After finishing the pizza in its entirety, I put on some music and washed my dishes. I was definitely feeling groovy, but I wouldn’t necessarily say I was “high” just yet. I knew the edibles were taking effect, but I began experiencing more of a stomach ache from the greasy pepperoni and salty Weetos than any sort of enjoyable buzz. I touched up the photos that accompany these words and powered through the final course: A 50 mg THC brownie bite. Cute, sweet, delicious, and again: kissed by cannabis.
Stoned Level: Sophomore year of high school, shitty weed, beneath the bleachers with your buddies.
Up until this point in the day—in the name of science—I hadn’t yet smoked any flower cannabis. I wanted to be completely sober when the effects took hold so I would actually notice them. Now, a few hours in, I assumed the worst was over, chalked it up as another case of unpredictable edibles only taking me to second base, ditched my scientific method, and sparked up a bowl.
I woke up the following morning to a notification on my computer screen from Hulu, asking If I’d like to continue watching Adult Swim’s Metalocalypse. I don’t remember turning it on. I haven’t overslept, in fact, I’m up earlier than usual. And I don’t feel hazy or stoned, just tired. My stomach is no longer in knots: I made it out alive.
I'm still not the biggest fan of edibles. As I scan my room and take in the day, I see the half eaten bag of Weetos open and exposed on my desk. I don’t think I’ll be pitching any stories involving edibles in the near future and, for the most part, I probably won’t eat any. But I can’t pretend that my aura wasn’t purple as hell the entire time I was asleep. Whatever that means. . .. Am I still feeling it? Are those new shoes? Are we still in L.A.?