Is there a better way to complement a nice weekend wake-and-bake than with some sizzling bacon fresh out of the frying pan? There is, by combining your favorite plant and favorite breakfast food into one tasty concoction. It may not seem like an obvious pairing, but bacon and cannabis actually go together quite well. Bacon works as a fatty attractant that soaks up THC, and cannabis may also enhance the taste of your bacon before it ever leaves the pig.
With many people using edible forms of cannabis to lift their spirits, select farmers have started utilizing the plant matter as a main source of feed for livestock. The trend was started by Washington state butcher William von Schneidau, former owner of BB Ranch in Seattle’s Pike Place Market. With the prices of corn and soy inflating, he began feeding his pigs scraps from cannabis plants instead.
After feeding his “potbelly” pigs leaves, stems, and root bulbs from the local non-profit organization Top Shelf Organic, von Schneidau noticed that his livestock became more red and savory than ever before. According to the butcher, the cannabis-based feed didn’t heavily affect the flavor of his prosciutto, but the feed did make his pigs plumper and happier.
Susannah Gross, a farmer who adopted von Schneidau’s method, claimed that the special cannabis-infused feed made her pigs about 20–30 pounds heavier than those that weren’t on a marijuana-based diet. Customers who purchased the cannabis-infused prosciutto from von Schneidau reportedly praised the meat for its fattiness and terrific marbling.
Despite some following the trend, the practice of utilizing cannabis plant matter for pig food is not without its problems. The lack of research has left many farmers skeptical, and one recent study conducted by the European Union Food Safety Authority showed THC in the milk of dairy cows fed cannabis, which led scientists to recommend not using it for farm food.
Von Schneidau’s opinion is that more research will likely lead to a wider implementation of his feeding process. “If we had a vet that stepped up to the plate and wanted to check out their joints and mood, and what drugs make pigs happy, that would be great," he told NPR in 2013. "But me, I just get out there, and cut them up, and put them on a BBQ, and eat them."
The relationship between bacon and bud is deeper than just feeding pigs cannabis plant matter on the farm. Bacon itself has become an extremely popular asset for edible chefs. For instance, in Colorado, cooking classes are popping up aimed at teaching both locals and tourists how to cook with cannabis beyond the typical brownie or cookie. Whether it’s candied bacon or cannabis-infused pork, there has been a definite rise in utilizing this meat for higher-grade edibles.
“Bacon is a huge trend right now, from desserts to candy bacon and throughout the whole process,” says Heather Schallert of My 420 Tours, a Denver-based cannabis program with a cooking class where students learn to decarboxylate cannabis and cook themed meals like spicy chicken tacos and cannabis-infused flan. “We’ve done that in the past, but we do winter-based foods in that season and then more summery things, which works because the customer can come back to the class several months later and have a brand-new experience.”
As cannabis becomes more widely accepted and cooking with it becomes a more viable and profitable option, you can expect to see even more edibles involving pork and other cannabis-infused foods. Whether it’s being used to make a heartier and happier pig or human being, rest assured that the relationship between bacon and bud will continue to grow.