Cannabis infused foods and beverages

Cannabis-infused foods and beverages - cover photo

We have known the traditional joint and bong, with evolution in the industry we now have cannabis vaporization. But have you tasted cannabis infused foods and beverages?

Cannabis infused foods

Cannabis infused foods which are also known as cannabis-edibles, are food products that contain cannabinoids like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

Another term for cannabis infused drink is drinkable cannabis. However both foods and beverages with cannabis flavor are usually termed as edibles.

Most edibles contain considerable amount of THC that give sensation of ‘high’ and effects like relaxation, fatigue, euphoria and anxiety. The consumption of this category of foods are for recreational and medical purposes.

However the consumption of edibles containing smaller amounts of THC but higher CBD are for medical purposes only.

Foods and beverages infused from non-psychoactive cannabis are also termed as hemp foods.

Cannabis infused foods and beverages in the Indian Culture

Cannabis has been present in culinary culture since a long time ago, more prominently in India. Around 1,000 BC the Hindus in the Indian subcontinent prepared foods and drinks with bhang (a cannabis infused Indian beverage like bhang lassi and bhang thandai).

 The consumption of bhang is especially during the Hindu festival ‘holi’. As per the sanskrit recipes before mixing the cannabis with other ingredients it has to be sautéed in ghee .
Traditional bhang shop in India
The cannabis infused mixture was used for both medicinal and spiritual purposes.  If bhang was taken in proper quantity it was believed that it could help to cure fever phlegm, digestion problem and alleviate Arthritis.

Modern culinary culture and cannabis

Alice B. Toklas, with the contribution of her artist friend Brion Gysin introduced cannabis infused foods in modern culinary culture in her publication The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book

In this book she shared the recipe of a haschich fudge. However the cake was more a sort of smashed raw ball than a baked fudge. To prepare the mixture you had to mash cinnamon stocks, coriander, black peppercorns, almonds, peanuts, dried figs and cannabis sativa.

It was then mixed with butter and sugar and cut into pieces, hence giving it the texture of a traditional brownie.

The hippie culture accentuated the misunderstanding of brownie pot through the movie I Love You Alice B. Toklas by actor Peter Sellers. He played a lawyer who after eating haschich brownie on his wedding day, left his bride to run away with a hippie girl.

The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book
The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book

This is how the ‘pot brownie’ erroneously became notorious in counterculture and hence as the ideal food to add cannabis. 

It is difficult to estimate if eating cannabis edibles provide the same effect as smoking. There is a process known as decarboxylation, where Tetrahydrocannabinol (THCA) is converted into THC through heating. Decarboxylation can happen both while cooking or smoking cannabis .

It is interesting to note that  natural(raw) cannabis does not contain a consequent amount of THC.

Cannabis cooking in gastronomy

Nowadays cannabis infused foods are not only the ‘pot brownie’ or gummies, but it has also moved onto dinner tables.

 Many gourmet chefs have mastered the concept of cannabis infused foods and the process of decarboxylation. This resulted in cannabis present in gastronomic foods like in lamb with Bordelaise sauce or a carpaccio of charred octopus.

 

Cannabutter
Cannabutter: Blend of cannabis and butter used to make edibles

The presence of cannabis in mainstream cooking has led to many cannabis infused foods derivatives like the cannabutter, sugar, cooking oil, chocolates, hot sauce and honey. We also have it in beverages like sparkling waters, beers and even coffee.

It is important to note that cannabis cooking requires a good knowledge of the decarboxylation process. This is because if there is a wrong dosage or an inadequate temperature when heating the cannabis flower, it will not unlock its psychoactive elements. At worst it will damage the bud completely.

Sales of edibles has impressive increased in U.S states where cannabis has become legal. The growing concern is that children and unknowledgeable consumers can easily eat/drink too much edibles without knowing they are ingesting cannabis infused foods and beverages. 

Furthermore there have been many claims since 2008 of dog poisoning due to ingestion of edibles.

The future of cannabis infused foods and beverages industry

Cannabis infused foods and beverages are gaining popularity as they are a new way of exploration for recreational users. The pleasure that gourmet foods provide is being magnified with the cannabis flavor and its ‘high’ effects. It is obviously a potential billion dollar industry which is luring many multinational companies to invest heavily in research and development.

With more countries gradually legalizing cannabis, it is certain that edibles will become presents further than in the counterculture. Maybe it can be the catalyst that will make cannabis more acceptable in different cultures as a soft way for therapeutic and recreational usage.



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12 thoughts on “Cannabis infused foods and beverages”

  1. Interesting! I never knew that cannabis was part of ancient Indian cuisine! Do you know if any other ancient cultures used it?

    1. Hi Andrea!
      Yes the bhang and cannabis foods are very present in the spiritiual life of Indians. There are some rumors that in Georgia’s Caucasus region, the Svans- an ancient community used to eat a sort of cheese bread which was filled with cannabis.

      Thanks for your interest 🙂

      Cheers

  2. Hey,

    This is such an interesting article. I have been to India and I have eaten a lot of Indian food. But I didn’t realise that cannabis was included in so much of the food. IS this just in India, or is this in the UK Indian restaurants and takeaways too?

    I see a lot of websites and blogs who promote cannabis vaping and the health benefits. I have not tried it myself, but the more I see it, the more I may be persuaded.

    Thank you for sharing and keep up the great work.

    All the best,

    Tom

    1. Hi Tom!

      Yes the cannabis is popular in Indian foods but not in all dishes, they are some main dishes which are prepared specifically with these weeds and in some specific regions of the country.
      I don’t think you will find them in the Indian fast-foods in the UK.

      As cannabis is gradually being legalized more and more researches are showing that unaltered (natural) cannabis products have many benefits and can be also used for culinary, theurapeutic and in some cases even for beauty purposes!

      You will see that in some years it will not be only known as the soft drug taken for recreation.

      Thanks you for your interest
      Cheers:)

  3. Wow! Thanks a lot for sharing this post. I knew there are product, foods and beverages that ate infused with cannabis and could be eaten but this particle opens a whole new world to me.

    Thanks for sharing. I’ve learned a lot from your post. I like the most the part about Cannabis-infused foods and beverages in the Indian Culture. I knew they use it, but I just learned how and when.

    Overall, I’m glad that I’ve stumbled across this post. Do you have any recipes or something like that to share?

    1. Thanks for your interest Ivan! In fact there are more and more foods that are being cooked with weeds flavor. Just visit us from time to time as we will be posting some easy yummy cannabis flavored dishes!

      Cheers 🙂

  4. Hey there,

    I’ll admit it’s been a few years now, but I did spend most of late teens and 20s mainly smoking weed, although I’ve also partaken in the odd-bong or two.

    Back in the day it was was all about hash cookies, so obviously the solid version, as opposed to weed.

    I remember many a day that friends and I would look up some cookie recipe and literally crumble a quarter of an ounce of hash in and hope for the best.

    Actually, come to think of it, I’m surprised I remember anything at all, LOL.

    It was certainly a potent mixture.

    Funnily enough, you mentioning bhang reminds me of a trip I took to Kolkata, India in 2008 (one of many trips I should add, as that’s where my mum originates from).

    It was actually during Holi and I was with an Uncle and a few friends and there was a large gathering around a “Man of God” who was giving some type of sermon.

    He basically took a large gulp from a glass filled with liquid and then spoke to everyone around, various chants, and gifts to the God, Vishnu.

    My friends were chuckling and telling me to go over and get involved, as I would probably enjoy the drink as well.

    They were of course, joking.

    This is the first time I knew of the existence of bhang, but have certainly learned much more about it since.

    A fantastic read I should add, it reminds me of some very funny days from my past.

    Partha

    1. Thanks a lot for sharing your personal experience with us Partha! It looks like you have already experienced culinary cannabis with the cookies:)

      Cheers

  5. I believe if you consume/eat things in a certain limit it never is a problem. The same principle I would apply when it comes to cannabis infused foods. It does have its benefits but then one should not condone the effects of overconsumption.

    You did mention about some potential threats of overconsumption and the fact that it is easily accessible to children and even animals have become affected by it is a matter of concern.

  6. Hi, I was interested in your site because I have never had Cannabis in food and have gone unnoticed. I was interested to see that the information was about India. It surprised me because I never knew where cannabis came from. Thank you for sharing this information.

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