Back in the before times, cannabis-containing edibles usually meant one thing — a weed-flavored, dry-as-sawdust chocolate brownie that may or may not actually get you high. Today, three years after legal recreational sales of THC and THC-infused foodstuffs began in the Golden State, if you’re in the mood to ingest instead of combust, the world’s your oyster, with edible options for just about every palate and of-the-moment diet out there. (We haven’t found THC-infused oysters — yet — but it’s probably only a matter of time before there are bivalves that get you baked.)
The best way to figure out if a given cannabis comestible plays nice with your dietary preferences is to read the label, since all the ingredients and nutritional information will be there (along with the amount of THC), but if you’re new to the world of edibles — or new to a particular diet — even getting to that point can feel a little overwhelming. To help with that, we’ve narrowed the foodstuffs field for you. As you embark on your exploration of edibles, make sure you do so responsibly and slowly. Remember: You can always take more, but you can’t take less. Stocking dispensaries for the products listed below can be found at at the brands’ websites, unless otherwise noted.
For folks with celiac disease or nonceliac gluten sensitivity, consuming the protein gluten, which is found in wheat, rye, barley and spelt, can cause the kind of unpleasant side effects (stomach pain and bloating to name just two) that are even less fun to deal with when you’re stoned. Luckily, the gluten-averse have a wide range of options at their disposal, including the entire line of gummies offered by Adelanto-based Plus Products (3.5 to 5 milligrams per piece) in such fruity flavors as Concord Grape and Sour Watermelon and Kikoko’s line of botanical- and THC-infused Little Helpers mints in dosages that range from 1 milligram per piece (for the hibiscus-andorange-flavored Focus mints) to 5 milligrams (for the watermelon-and-basil-flavored Buzz mints).
You probably decided to explore the ketogenic diet because it sounded like it was invented by a super-high dietician. I mean, who else could have come up with the idea of losing weight by focusing on foods high in fat and protein (eggs, butter, cheese, bacon) and avoiding carbohydrates to kick the body into a fat-burning state called ketosis? All you need to do — beyond bellying up to the never-ending breakfast bar — is be vigilant about the demon carbs and sugars that lurk everywhere. Pantry Food Co. is one of the brands that’s prominently courting the keto crowd with its Pantry Keto Bites, tiny chunks of chocolate that contain 5 milligrams THC and less than 1 gram of sugar each. (Bonus: They’re also vegan and gluten-free.) Another is Papa & Barkely (a label known for its topicals and tinctures), which launched a line of keto-friendly (as well as gluten-free and zero-calorie) Releaf gummies last summer(5 milligrams THC per piece) in four fruit flavors, two of which (Tart Apple and Berry Burst) are also vegan.
Are you hoping to take your edibles game to the next level without running afoul of Jewish dietary laws? L.A.-based Fruit Slabs makes that easy: Its five flavors of fruit leathers (each square is infused with 10 milligrams of THC) are all certified kosher in addition to being gluten-free, vegan and low-calorie. Additionally, reps for Plus Products (see above) note that the brand’s gummies use kosher ingredients but are not certified as kosher.
If you join Zoom calls with a cheery “Ciao,” make your own pesto and know 14 recipes for branzino, you’re either on board with the Mediterranean diet or you’re Stanley Tucci eating your way across Italy in that new CNN miniseries. Assuming the former, the most expeditious way to shoehorn marijuana into your meal plan is to go right to the very lifeblood of the Mediterranean diet — olive oil. Potli (which also makes THC-infused sriracha sauce and honey) has partnered with Oakland-based Aster Farms to create a THC-infused extra-virgin olive oil (100 milligrams THC per 250 milliliter tin) that was supposed to be a limited-edition holiday offering but reps say turned out to be popular enough to keep producing. Olive oil is gluten-free as well as keto- and paleo-friendly too. Mangia! (L.A. stockists include Sweet Flower, Sherbinskis Fairfax and delivery service Emjay.)
Hey, there, Whole Foods shopper. Your desire to treat your body like a temple by looking for an organic certification on the label may be laudable, but when it comes to finding it on THC-infused foods, it’s also futile. This has nothing to do with what’s in the product and everything to do with the fact that cannabis is illegal under federal law and that the federal government — in the form of the U.S. Department of Agriculture — oversees what gets certified as organic. (A California workaround to this may be coming later this year when the state establishes a “comparable-to-organic” standard. When that’s in place, you’ll just need to look for the designation “OCal” on the label.)
Eating like a caveman to get a caveman’s body totally makes sense because, honestly, when was the last time you met a fat caveperson? This means you go all hunter-gatherer, favoring lean meats, nuts, berries and vegetables and steering clear of the grains, legumes and dairy that came with the advent of farming 10,000 years ago. Carnivores in this camp might enjoy hunting down a THC-infused beef jerky like the six flavors offered by Stoned Age Edibles (10 milligrams THC per 4 gram stick, a few of the flavors are also gluten-free), which claims to be the Golden State’s first licensed manufacturer of cannabis-infused meats. (A company rep calls the jerky “paleo-ish” due to small amounts of soy sauce and other non- Stone Age ingredients but also notes that the jerkies are keto-friendly as well.) If you’re on team herbivore for this one, consider Kaneh Co.’s Chocolate Paleo Bites (also vegan and gluten-free), which contain 100 milligrams of THC per package. Kikoko’s mints (mentioned above) and cannabis-containing teas (see below) are also paleo-friendly.
In the candy store of THC-infused edibles, hidden dangers lurk everywhere for the diehard friends of the animal kingdom; baked goods may contain eggs or butter, chocolate could contain milk and gummies — one of the most popular infused-edibles categories might get their gumminess from animal-derived gelatin so tread (and chew) carefully. Rose Delights is not one of them, though the 4 gram cubes dusted with powdered sugar and tapioca starch (each containing 5 milligrams of THC) have a consistency closer to Turkish delight than a Haribo gummy bear. Infused with single-strain flower rosin, flavors include Rose Hibiscus, Alphonso Mango and Nectarine Juniper Berry (the last one is a seasonal collaboration with Aster Farms), all of which are also gluten-free. Other animal product-free options include the above-mentioned Fruit Slabs, Pantry Keto Bites and a cannabis-infused peanut butter by Zendo Edibles (100 milligrams of THC per 5 ounce jar).
Zero-calorie / low-calorie
Maybe you’re a militant calorie counter. Or maybe you know that once you’re high, the munchies that follow will have you tearing through your pantry like a bear in a campsite up to — and most likely beyond — your suggested daily caloric intake. Either way, there are options for those who don’t want what crosses the lips to linger on the hips. Since the rest of this list is filled with riffs on old-school edibles, this might be a good place to explore pot-infused potables. Emeryville, Calif.-based Kikoko, which has been on the SoCal scene since late 2017, puts the T in THC — and THC in tea — with cannabis-infused herbal teas that range from 1 to 10 milligrams per serving and clock in at just four calories per cup — a level that also make it keto-friendly. (The teas are all gluten-free and vegan as well.)
If you want to dial the calories all the way down to zero — and endlessly expand your beverage options at the same time — a product called ALT (short for Advanced Liquid Technology), that launched in December (and is currently available at Sherbinskis Fairfax and via the Emjay delivery service) should be on your radar. Each 5 or 10 milliliter vial is filled with a clear, water-compatible odorless and (mostly) tasteless liquid contains 5 or 10 milligrams of THC, respectively. It’s designed to be mixed into whatever beverage pleases your palate from your morning cup of coffee (Hey, it’s a pandemic. You’re not driving anywhere) to that hard-earned end-of-the-day mocktail. (Pro tip: Adding it to a straight-up cocktail might not be advisable, unless you’re well-versed in the art of the crossfade.) The best part? In addition to being calorie-free it’s also gluten-free, animal-product-free, sugar-free and keto-friendly, which makes it a good option for all but two of the above diets — and very frustrating for the kosher-eating caveman.