I recently had the honor of being a judge for the Edibles competition at the 2012 San Francisco High Times Medical Cannabis Cup. I also spoke on the Edibles panel during the event and we raised funds for the NORML Women’s Alliance by selling the Cannabis Gourmet Cookbook and Eat Your Weed Aprons. It was an amazing event at a gorgeous waterfront venue in Richmond, CA (why this event was billed as the San Francisco and not the Bay Area Cannabis Cup I don’t know).
I got to catch up with lots of old friends, meet many new ones, and hang out with the High Times staff for much of the week while sampling some of the finest cannabis edibles on the planet. Life is good!
Testing so many edibles (20) in a short time (less than a week) was a challenge, but lots of fun. There were lots of fabulous entries, beyond the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners. And some not so fabulous ones. I knew I had a high tolerance to cannabis when I accepted this project, and am happy to say it served me well during the marathon testing of edibles.
One topic that kept coming up again and again over the course of the week was people bemoaning the fact there are so few healthy edibles in the marketplace. It’s true that all but one of those submitted for the competition were sweet foods. But it seems we have a Catch-22 in that I also talked to many collective operators who bemoaned the fact that when they do stock savory edibles, they just don’t sell well. One solution is to make your own (I know a VERY GOOD cookbook with LOTS of savory cannabis infused recipes, wink-wink).
It’s also good to note that sweet doesn’t necessarily have to mean unhealthy. The top two winners were a vegan truffle and a sugar-free chocolate respectively. The flavor on these two entries was so good, I didn’t even realize these qualities until I read the label after tasting them. That’s right, a vegan and a sugar-free edible competed head to head against more traditionally prepared treats and won hands down!
Each entry was rated for appearance, taste, potency, originality and healthiness. They also received extra points for professional packaging that included dosage and serving size information, and a clear indication that product was medicine.
I am not going to go into each and every entry (some still need serious work), but I am going to cover the ones I liked most and let you know why I liked them so much. All the edibles were lab tested for potency. Assume if it’s on this list, it has substantial potency and positive medical effects. Let’s start with our winners:
1st Place – Eleve Gourmet Veganic Medicated Truffles, Hills Farmacy – These amazing truffles came in two varieties: Espresso Sativa, and Honey Coconut Indica. Both are covered in dark chocolate and have fabulous flavor. The Honey Coconut Indica variety was my absolute favorite of all many edibles I tried all week. I loved the sweet filling offset by the deep dark chocolate. I loved that it was a perfect small bite treat to have before bedtime. While I am not a vegan, it doesn’t hurt that this product is vegan (and how about that a vegan product winning for flavor head to head against more traditional edibles). Most of all I especially loved how well I slept after eating one (I am a hard core insomniac who almost NEVER sleeps well, but I did after the Indica truffle). The truffles come in elegant little brown paper boxes tied up with string that let you know something special and artisnal is likely to be inside.
2nd Place – CannaChocolate 44/8mg THC/CBD, Tea House Collective (made from Humboldt Medical Cannabis sustainably grown in the sun) – I tasted this small bit of chocolate before reading the label. I loved that it had a wonderful, deep, dark chocolate flavor and smooth creamy texture, without being overly sweet (when judging a competition such as this, you will go on sugar overload). I also liked that, like the first place truffles, it packed a potent punch in a small bite. I was so surprised to look at the label and discover this tasty chocolate drop is sugar free (gluten free too).
3rd Place – Spice Orange Drops, Greenway Compassionate Relief Inc.
I loved these frosted orange spice cookies – and I don’t normally care for spice flavored sweets or drinks. There was a nice combination of bold flavors that make a great backdrop for the slight flavor of the cannabis to meld in with. Since I prefer bold flavors and less sugar, these cookies were a big winner for me and a nice alternative to a lot of the cloyingly sweet edibles on the market. You could actually taste the various spices and the orange. Another nice touch, the cookies come in both indica and sativa varieties and are packaged in a nice little brown gift boxes tied up with sting (much like the 1st place truffles).
Cheri’s Personal Honorable Mentions
Even though the edibles below did not take one of the top three prizes, they were still darn good and most deserving of praise:
Edible Ideas Chocolate Peanut Butter Canna Crisp
Texture is what makes this edible so outstanding, in addition to flavor of course. When contemplating the package of this chocolate covered rice crispie treat, topped with a chewy peanut butter flavored caramel-like layer, I didn’t think I would like it. It seemed like it would be too sweet, I’m not typically a huge peanut butter fan, and it was rather large. Boy was I wrong. I now find myself craving these. The mixture of crunchy and chewy textures proves irresistible and the flavor is fantastic! Each bar contains 81.6 mg THC.
Alta California Healing Tincture
It’s tough for a straight tincture to compete head to head with prepared foods, but that’s how High Times handles the edibles category. That said I (and the other judges) LOVED this tincture. It contains 20% THC, and 80% CBD, which means it’s great for pain, and I again found help with my insomnia here. The box makes an appetite suppression claim that, while I haven’t tested extensively (I intend to) I can preliminarily agree with. I just don’t seem to want much other foods when using it. The tincture is made with neutral grapeseed spirits and honey and has the flavor of a liqueur with a slight alcohol burn.
Green Ticket Bakery 6 Dose Lemon Cheesecake w Organic Raspberry Jam Infused with Space Queen Sativa Dominant Hybrid
If you’re craving cheesecake, this fits the bill. It has a nice flavor and satisfying creamy consistency just like most restaurant style cheesecakes, with the added benefit of being medicated. Green Ticket Bakery makes good use of the lemon and raspberry flavors in that they are strong enough to defend themselves against the cannabis flavor, which makes for a great tasting edible over all.
Dabba Premium Medicinal Chocolate, Mint Flavor
This was a nice creamy chocolate with a strong minty flavor, sort of reminiscent of an Andes after dinner mint (it was also a winner at the Denver Cannabis Cup). While the flavor was terrific, this innocent looking chocolate also packs in a lot of potency. However, since it comes in a bar that is easily separated into 40mg THC doses, it’s easy to eat just the right amount for your needs.
Cheeba Chews Mint Hybrid
I liked the small size of this mint flavored chocolate tootsie-roll type candy. Despite it’s small size, a single serving Cheeba Chew packs in 112 mg total cannabinoids, although you barely taste it behind the intense chocolate mint flavors in this chewy candy. Cheeba Chews were a winner at the Los Angeles High Time Cannabis Cup earlier this year.