The edibles selection at most dispensaries tends to look like a confectionary shop. You can have cookies, brownies, s’mores, gummy treats—basically Willy Wonka’s entire factory infused with THC. But what about the savory stuff? Why can’t we find, say, weed deli meat?
It’s something we’ve been wondering about since seeing this tweet from writer Rax King in which she poses the question, “why are edibles always like cookies and candy and such. what if i want psychoactive ham.”
As a whole, edibles have become more and more popular, not only because of their increased legality nationwide but because of their benefits compared to smoking. An article titled “Tasty THC: Promises and Challenges of Cannabis Edibles” notes that people prefer edibles for three reasons: they’re more discreet and convenient than smoking; people say the “high” they get from edibles is calmer and more relaxing; and people consider edibles less harmful than inhaling the toxins in smoke.
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However, as King jokingly points out, for those without a sweet tooth but a desire to enjoy the benefits of infused treats, there’s a limited selection out there.
How foods are infused with THC
As explained by the authors of the “Tasty THC” article, edibles are food products infused with cannabis extracts. The process starts with heating the flower of the cannabis plant in an oil-based liquid. From there, the THC (and CBD) diffuses out of the plant and dissolves into an oily liquid. That oily liquid is what is then infused into the food products to make edibles.
Euphoria Wellness, a dispensary in Las Vegas, describes the extract as one usually infused with “a solvent of dietary fat, such as olive oil or butter, or alcohol.” For this reason, infused coconut oil or olive oil is often used for making edibles. And in the case of candies, the extract infusion would be in the form of corn syrup or a cannabis tincture (made by soaking in alcohol), explains Honest Marijuana Co., a brand based in Colorado.
Based on the process of how cannabis makes its way into a food product, it makes sense that sweets would be the more common route. Baked items like cookies and brownies tend to use butter and oil more heavily than non-baked goods. A “psychoactive ham” wouldn’t quite work, because no matter how well you inject the ham with infused oil, it simply can’t emulsify into its tissues the way that cannabutter can be incorporated into cookie dough.
However, although they are not as common, some brands of meaty edibles do exist. Stone Aged Edibles is a brand based in California that sells cannabis-infused beef jerky in both links and strips. Plus, there are a number of chefs out there (Chicago’s Chef Manny Mendoza is one) who are serving multi-course, 5-star meals infused with cannabis. There’s an entire Netflix series, Cooked with Cannabis, dedicated to the creative ways chefs are incorporating THC into their dishes, which are not all sweets. Perhaps it’s time for more edible brands to do some creative experimentation on the savory side.