Higher Education: Holidays and Edibles in 2020
By: Tony Robertson, Community Outreach Coordinator
A creative streak runs through every cannabis enthusiast. It expresses itself in different, sometimes odd ways, but it’s in there. It’s part of why many of us feel so passionately about the hobby; it exercises a part of us that doesn’t see enough use during everyday adult life.
We also tend to get entrenched in our preferences. A flower smoker is a flower smoker. Someone with a head for concentrates will extol the virtues of a perfect dab to anyone who will listen. Edibles can a be a divisive topic; everyone has an opinion on edibles. Everyone has an edibles story. Strangers will debate the pros and cons of a longer effect time versus the time it takes to “feel it”.
The common ground consumers find most often: recipes. Everyone has a recipe, or they know someone who has a recipe, or they have an idea for a recipe.
That creative streak manifests as a flash of gastronomic brilliance, at least once, for everyone who partakes in the body. We want to put cannabis in our food and we want to share it with our friends.
This isn’t a new, Instagram/Millennial food blogging trend. People were mailing their recipes to High Times all the way back in the long-ago era of Print Media and physical mail, and it’s one of the ways connoisseurs can bond. Take a recent work experience for example:
On November 1st, I took a trip north to our Reno, NV store because we’d just opened up. A mix of new faces and others I haven’t seen in a year greeted me as soon as I walked in. The staff is great: friendly, astute, model coworkers. Within the first half hour, someone shared a homemade edible experience they had on Halloween.
I followed up a comment about my own homemade disaster. Someone else followed with theirs. And then these people weren’t model coworkers. They felt like friends. By the end of my week in the store, I’m drooling over pictures of infused cheesecake and jotting down notes for things I want to try the next time I bake.
Why edibles? Because it’s part of the culture; part that comes with face-palm stories, commiserating eye-rolls, and stumbled-upon successes. Edibles discussions are forums for wizened veterans to pass down their field-tested experience; and don’t forget the act of eating itself.
Our bodies love fat and sugar. THC is fat-soluble and must be heated to activate, which is why it goes hand in hand with baking. A full belly makes us feel satisfied. It’s hormonal. Cannabis tells the brain to produce similar sensations through hormone regulation.
Cannabis and food are a good fit; mutually benefiting from lipids, heat, and time. Also, Edibles contributes to an overall culture which helps us fit with each other. These types of fitness are really the only types the Holiday Season will comfortably allow.
How To Edible
Paradoxically, one of the factors which makes Edibles a unifying theme among cannabis people is the opportunity for uniqueness and individuality. The choice of strain, choice of lipid, the form of the cannabis, times to eat, pairings, and a hundred other things all factor into someone’s perfect edibles experience, and the truth is there’s no one right answer. For those new to edibles, the most daunting question is, where do I start?
My answer? Know thyself. Before you figure out what edibles to make, know what works for you—how many milligrams does it take for you to feel it? Do you want to consume that many milligrams in a single serving or twelve? How do you feel about that “green” taste cannabis brings to the party? There are recipes for every answer, but it’s best to know where you’re aiming.
Second, Know your audience. Can you make infused beef jerky? Yes. Should you serve it to vegans? No. Is the peanut butter in No-Bake Cookies great for carrying THC? Yes. Should you bring them to Food Allergy Guy’s house? No. If Mom gets silly after half a gummy, we shouldn’t offer her a 100mg marshmallow cereal treat.
Lastly: Consider Form and Function. Some edibles are cute—beyond cute. Some are works of art. Bonbons and macarons are high end treats even when they’re not infused with cannabis, but not all of us have the eye, the talent, or the patience to be fancy. How much effort do we want to put into the aesthetic? To the cooking process?
In some situations, squirting a 800mg syringe onto a fast food burger patty is the absolute best means to achieve a goal. For some of us, a single 10mg square of white chocolate pressed into the icing on a cupcake is the (literal) sweet spot. Other times, baking from scratch is worth just as many warm fuzzies as the cannabis-infused butter we made from scratch.
The “How To” of edibles is simple. With so many options for ingredients, so many methods up to us, the key to being an edibles hero is consideration. Showing up to a cannabis enthusiast’s house with an infused version of their favorite treat is a special kind of excellent. It’s a worthwhile use of our effort during the Holiday Season, but whether we buy it or make it, we must know the person’s favorite treat before we begin.
Know your strengths and limits. Think about who will be consuming your finished product, when and where. Adjust expectations to match your timetable and available effort, then match the result to the simplified scale below.
For funsies, we’ll make the spectrum cannabis themed with our values being effort-based. Relying entirely on stereotypes, we will define Indica as: Lazy, seeking the path of least possible effort. By the same logic, we will define Sativa as: Super extra, requiring an amount of effort which makes others tired just listening to the story.
Taste the Rainbow
Indica: Our flag is a warm blanket, and all roads lead to the couch. We mean well, don’t we Indica? But it’s 2020. Who knows what Thanksgiving will look like, and are we really expected to keep track of everyone’s allergies and preferences? What’s the perfect edible for those of us whose spirit animal is the sloth? A tincture.
Yes, I’m serious. Good tinctures come in a variety of strengths and, if unflavored, are probably just cannabinoids and coconut oil. You don’t even have to chew. A tincture can be placed under the tongue and will diffuse sublingually. If swallowed it will continue to diffuse like a normal edible.
Seemingly made with the lazy-hearted in mind, they even come with their own serving utensil. Is this family gathering a one-dropper affair, to two-?
Hybrid-Indica: The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. You want to bring a sweet home-made edible to your festive gathering, but cooking is hard and you’re busy. Even going to the store is a hassle; you’re still not sure if an Ugly Christmas Mask is in poor taste. That’s okay. Try this syringe.
Don’t look so shocked. It’s distillated, activated THC in a plastic applicator. Simply squeeze out the volume that’s right for you. A package of everyone’s favorite sandwich cookie can be a fun time here. Pop the top off your cookie. Squeeze 5mg worth of distillate onto the creamy side for our lightweight friends or 50mg for the veteran. Experiment with double-decker and club sandwich variants as necessary.
If you’re a little more active, a small dot under a chocolate square pressed into a warm cookie still has a homemade touch, or feel free to warm your applicator and drizzle like it’s caramel sauce.
Hybrid: You’ve got something to prove. I respect that. Maybe you were a 90’s punk rocker with a hardcore DIY ethic, or just someone who won’t be foiled by their own inability to bake. Or maybe your time is limited because you’re suddenly homeschooling your children and sharing office space with your partner. May I suggest: The Chocolate Bar.
Chocolate bars are easy to incorporate into most baked goods. Smash them up and use them in place of chocolate chips. Melt them (at a low temperature) and add them to brownie batter. At normal baking temperatures, you may lose a little potency, but you should stay within 10% of the original milligrams. This means a 100mg chocolate bar will add roughly 90mg to a finished batch of baked goods.
This allows for minimal math and very precise dosing. Plus, you choose the amount of effort you put in. Chocolatey goodness exists at every rung of the culinary ladder.
Hybrid-Sativa: Okay. You’ve got the fire and some skill to back it up. Start with the butter. Brownies are a classic; using infused butter as part of your fat content is the absolute best way to ensure even diffusion.
If your store-bought butter isn’t as potent as you’d like, hike up the THC with one of those distillate syringes while you’re melting that butter down.
Again, baking from scratch means you’ll lose some of the potency from the activated ingredients, but don’t overcompensate.
The same method can be used outside of classic brownies and cookies. Popcorn balls are relatively simple and endlessly customizable for holiday themes, but I think the crowning achievement at this tier is a pie crust. It hits the classic dessert vibe the holidays seem to demand without being a rehash of the same old thing.
Sativa: This is it: the apotheosis. There’s no stopping you. You’ve mastered your milligrams and you show a real flare for all things culinary. You have a knack for presentation too. I only ask that you use the lesson we learn here for the side of good. Should you wish to test yourself, I offer the following paths:
- The Distillate Path: Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. The only limit is your imagination. Honey glaze? Infuse it with distillate. Ambrosia? Infuse it with distillate. Toothpaste? Infuse it with distillate (This will encourage you to brush longer and more thoroughly, but be careful not to swallow).
- The Savory Path: Perhaps it was the butter. You realized the cannabis taste would complement your crab meat. From there it was only a short step to Buffalo sauce. Or maybe you kept thinking how cannabis and oregano maybe look kind of similar and you ended up making tomato sauce. Now you have this notion that your kief will go pretty well in lemon pepper seasoning, and the temperature for beef jerky is almost perfect for activating THC.
- The Quilted Path: You’re an artist. You threw chunks of infused chocolate in with the brownies we made. You used the pie crust for cheesecake, and put an infused espresso bean on each slice, then drizzled the whole thing with infused melted chocolate. Next, you’ll be pairing your creations with beverages: homemade smoothies blended with infused fruit drinks, or floats with infused root beer. With distillate and simple syrup, a clever mixologist has no limits.
Wherever you land and however you holiday, appropriately used cannabis can enhance the mood and encourage good cheer. Whether you’re in need of comfort, commiseration, or celebration, Cannabis and the Holiday Season are better together.
Order all of your infuse-able needs here.
More questions? Email Tony directly at firstname.lastname@example.org