Understanding the Complex Business of Cannabis Edibles

Chocolate infused with cannabis.

Cannabis edibles vary widely in quality and taste. Image Credit: cannabisMD.

As a cannabis chef, I hear a recurring complaint from friends and industry colleagues: sourcing quality and properly-dosed edibles is a real challenge. The conundrum is as layered as a Southern-style lemon cake, but it often begins with the sky-high THC content. It’s common to find chocolate bars lining the shelf space of your local dispensary that boast 25 mg of THC per serving — for the sake of comparison, a typical joint contains around 12 mg — with a recommended ten servings per bar. This begs the question: When was the last time you nibbled the corner of a candy bar and put away the rest for later? 

Doing the dosage math can be a chore even for cannabis edible experts, let alone novices. The latter demographic includes a growing number of senior citizens who wouldn’t dream of smoking or vaping cannabis, but who are open to edibles as an alternative way to alleviate pain or simply relax. For the most part, they’re not interested in carefully monitoring calories, nor are they interested in calculating how many bites of an edible will give them relief from chronic pain. And to be fair, they have a point: whether or not your chocolate bar is infused with cannabis, a single square is but a tease. 

Not All Cannabis Edibles Are Created Equal

All cannabis-infused foods are not made with the same quality standards (or priced the same, for that matter). The low-cost Nestlé bars of the cannabis chocolate world are an easy find at most dispensaries, where they can be spotted among the ranks of gummies, cake pops, Rice Krispies treats, and chocolate brownies. However, other products from high-brow brands cater to the most elite of cannabis consumers, with hefty price tags of $40 per bar and up. This marginalizes a sizable amount of new consumers who would otherwise comprise a large and viable market. Sadly, the price points of quality products are not as accessible, nor do they cater to the consumer who would prefer something savory as opposed to the sugary treats that are readily available. 

To make it easier (and more affordable) for people to access quality cannabis edibles, there’s one major move that could change everything: the federal legalization of cannabis. Barring that, here are some suggestions for smaller, more manageable ways to create positive change. 

First, we need to establish accurate dosing recommendations for cannabis edibles. Cannabis consumers aren’t stupid — they are your neighbors, your attorneys, your doctors, and even (sometimes) your mother — and they know that these guidelines are in their best interest. Like prescription medications, the recommended dosages for cannabis edibles should be clear and easily understood by any adult who wishes to use them.

Second, we need to make low-dosage cannabis edibles more readily available. People have made it clear that this is what they want — that’s why microdosing (consuming extremely small amounts of cannabis to take advantage of its various benefits without causing intoxicating effects) has become so popular. You wouldn’t make a customer deshell their own beans at a restaurant, so why make them work so hard to get the dosage they want from their cannabis edibles?

Finally, we can expand upon the savory products already showing up on the market, like infused pizzas, olive oils, nut butters, salad dressings, and savory soups. Many chefs and companies are already rising to the challenge, and it would seem that the future of edibles is promising. But until the industry and the laws catch up to our refined palettes, it seems that we’ll just have to eat (infused) cake — or these products from burgeoning cannabis entrepreneurs. 

Shavasana

Named for the relaxing yoga asana that typically concludes a session (often known as “corpse pose”), these tasty delights won’t render you motionless. Instead, they offer a perfectly dosed product to promote relaxation with 25 mg of CBD per bite — plus they’re vegan-friendly.

Somatik

These craft cannabis edibles are a great option for those who want to know exactly how much CBD they’re putting in their bodies. They come in various forms, including “sparks” (which are chocolate-covered beans or berries) and infused coffee beverages. Some of them contain THC, but the company provides recommended dosage guidelines to help beginners avoid bad experiences.

Choose the Love

The baklava cookie bites might be the star of the show, but all of Choose the Love’s products are made with all-natural and locally sourced ingredients. These treats in particular do contain 10 mg of THC each, though they’re so rich and filling you’ll probably only need one. 

All products featured on cannabisMD are independently selected by our editors. But, be advised that when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Andrea Drummer
Andrea Drummer
Chef Andrea Drummer began her career as a youth advocate and anti-drug counselor before attending Le Cordon Bleu to pursue her passion in food. Since then, Chef Drummer has been a pioneering force in the culinary and cannabis industry, starting her cooperative, Elevation VIP in 2012. She is the author of the book Cannabis Cuisine: Bud Pairings of A Born Again Chef and has partnered with The James NoMad Hotel in New York to create an in-room-dining, CBD-infused menu which is currently available for guests. Chef Drummer's work has been featured in Marie Claire, Vogue, Forbes, Bon Appetit, the Los Angeles Times, among many others.

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