I still remember the first time I ever walked into a dispensary—way back in my Boulder, Colorado days—to legally purchase some cannabis edibles. Still fresh out of college and a bit less health-conscious at the time, and I salivated as my hands groped at high-level doses of chocolate bars, watermelon gummies, and marijuana-infused soda pop. Now, as someone who has grown more conscious of what he eats, while still advocating for the legal use of cannabis, what really gets my stomach going are cannabis-infused smoothies, granola bars, and kale chips galore.
But, at first glance, it seems that cannabis edibles, whether sold legally or on the black market, are dominated by the idea of brownies and rice crispy treats. Fortunately, for those who wish to integrate cannabis-infused food into a more health-conscious lifestyle, an increasing number of edible companies. For instance, Om Edibles has been focused on producing topicals, tinctures, and ‘superfood’ edibles since 2008. Their menu is jam-packed with products you would expect to find at the Whole Foods version of a dispensary, from cinnamon maple and vanilla mixed nuts, which are also gluten free, paleo, vegan, and contains hemp seeds, to medicated epsom salt bath soaks.
I had the opportunity to speak with the creator and owner of Om Edibles, Maya Elisabeth, who discussed the importance of treating cannabis as if it were both a healing herb and superfood. She started by explaining where the idea for Om Edibles had come from, “It came from creating the type of products that I would like to use! We believe in treating cannabis as a superfood, and a healing herb,” Elisabeth explained. “We believe that when cannabis is combined with other superfoods and healing herbs it's medicinal value is increased and a superior medicine is made… That is the Philosophy behind Om!”
When we discussed what she thinks about the edibles market being saturated with sugary treats, Elisabeth didn’t completely attribute it as a health issue, but instead looked at these types of treats as cost-effective. “I feel like we normally generalize the typical edible eater of someone who prefers organic is willing to pay the extra, super educated well read consumer on what is the healthiest choice,” she said. “But after budtending for many years and having Om for just under a decade, I've learned that it seems like people actually prefer a high milligram for a low price point something that's easy and accessible and usually do like the sugary things…”
To me, this was an extremely interesting perspective, and one that completely demolishes the stigma that stoners eat weed-infused brownies and Rice Krispies treats solely for the reason that they’re perfect for the tastebuds of someone with an unhealthy appetite for the munchies. For Elisabeth and Om Edibles, sugar isn’t even the primary enemy, rather, it is those pesky ingredients that are completely unpronounceable (and also, high fructose corn syrup). Instead of shunning chocolate and other sweetened ingredients, Om Edibles instead creates edibles that act as both superfoods and satisfying sweet treats.
Take their CBD Raw Sipping Cacao for instance, a raw and organic superfood that contains six beneficial ingredients and organic ACDC flowers. Not only does the edible interact with your cannabinoid receptors to bring an effective elevation in your mood, it also includes a number of health-driven ingredients that work to make your physical body feel just as giddy. The CBD Raw Sipping Cacao has earned high praise from the marijuana industry, winning first place in the 2015 High Times Best THC Edible competition, which was held at the San Francisco-based Cannabis Cup.
Other edible companies have placed a major focus on cannabis as a superfood, too. Take the California-based Jambo Superfoods for example, an edible company that won third place in the ‘Best Edible’ category in the High Times Cannabis Cup San Francisco 2014 for their Cookie Dough truffle. I had the opportunity to speak with Jambo Superfood’s Kyle Brown, who described the company’s outlook on cannabis as an advocate for physical health.
“Over here at Jambo Superfoods we believe that cannabis is a superfood. Cannabis is one of few plants with a full amino acid profile,” Brown told me. “Healthy foods, oils, and minerals are also one of oldest forms of medicine to heal the body. Some people have chosen to use cannabis as a medicine and when taking a medicine for the best results it shouldn't be consumed with a bunch of processed flour, syrups, and sugars. When trying to become the best version of yourself, you should try and fuel your body with the best ingredients available.”
Brown also gave an adequate reason for the fact that the edibles market carries the sugary stigma that it does, and it goes back much further than you might expect. One of the oldest forms of edible is the famous Indian milk drink, Bhang Lassi, which is extremely sweet in its own right. So, as you can see, sugary edibles have a long-standing history, and is also an economically viable medium to medicate in. But, as companies like Om Edibles and Jambo Superfoods are proving, more and more cannabis users are looking to medicate themselves in a healthier way, bringing about a more wholesome experience for both the body and soul.
“The cannabis edibles industry is seeing the shift towards more conscious products as the general public is becoming more conscious of the things they are putting in their body,” Brown finished. “You can even see it at your local grocery store aisles. More products are advertising as Gluten-Free, Organic, Vegan, Paleo because more people are seeking it. Essentially what you seek is seeking you as well, and you can see it slowly creeping into the cannabis industry with more health conscious brands like us, Fruit Slabs, Om Edibles and more.”