We’re currently witnessing a marijuana gold rush, with companies betting huge amounts of money on the industry.
In 2012 the first states, Colorado and Washington, legalized recreational marijuana for adults. This was the beginning of a steady movement that now has over 50% of states in the USA (currently 29) legalizing recreational marijuana use in some form.
In this modern day marijuana gold rush, companies are betting huge amounts of money on the industry. These investments have resulted in a new understanding of the marijuana plant itself, its many chemical varients and how they can be used for a wide range of purposes.
Food products are just one of the most interesting, and potentially profitable applications of marijuana. The most common and well known form of food product associated with marijuana is the edible—often a sugary treat that gets you really, really high. While most people probably think of brownies when talking about marijuana edibles, there are endless ways marijuana can be infused into food and not always in a way that gets the consumer—‘high’.
THC is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana but there are also CBDs, the group of chemicals used for most of the medicinal applications of the plant. Any dispensary in a state with medicinal or recreational marijuana laws will have a wide range of edible products from baked goods to candies, sodas and other snack foods, not all of which are solely meant to get you ripped.
Infusing food with cannabis has left the dorm room and entered the American kitchen.
Most people probably think of brownies when talking about marijuana edibles but there are endless ways marijuana can be infused into food.
Apart from THC and CBD, scientists have also started to extract aromatic terpenes from the plants. Terpenes are the fragrant oils that give cannabis it’s pungent smell and taste. Just a few drops of terpene concentrate can add tremendous and unique flavor to foods.
Bong Appetit, a show on Viceland, explores how chefs can incorporate various parts of the plant into traditional dishes. The show invites professionals and famous chefs from around the country to cook a marijuana infused meal from their weed kitchen in California. These high-end meals use THC, CBD, terpenes and raw plant matter to create balanced and delicious meals that just happen to include marijuana.
The trend is also penetrating far beyond the traditional food market, influencing more unexpected markets such as pet food and treats. CBD, the non-psychoactive element in marijuana is being used to treat canine anxiety. Instead of feeding your dog Xanax or Prozac (yes, that’s a thing) you can feed them low-dose marijuana treats, tested to achieve the same calming and anxiety reducing effect as a wide range of pharmaceuticals and narcotics, all while boasting fewer side effects and no risk of addiction.
The monetary and technological investment in marijuana based products has resulted in new uses for a plant that was once considered a ‘gateway drug’. These advances are demonstrating that marijuana can be used and consumed in myriad ways.
With today’s consumers taking a more open minded approach to the plant, its use in food products is driving innovation, creativity and revenue for a new market estimated to be worth $31.4 billon by 2021, according to a report by Brightfield Group, a cannabis market research firm.
Photo by Matthew Brodeur on Unsplash