Cannabis sugar sprinkled on doughnuts, weed mixed into milkshakes or infused into Olive oil, it has certainly never been this popular, and there are so many ways to make these infusions, so make no mistake: Cannabis is coming to a kitchen near you.
Chefs across the country say cannabis-infused food and drinks are the top two dining trends they expect to see unfold in 2019.
We are talking mostly of products made with CBD, a non-psychoactive compound extracted from cannabis plants that offers a whole list of health benefits.
The survey of chefs was part of an annual poll for the National Restaurant Association, which checked with more than 650 professional chefs. Of those, 77 percent said CBD drinks are the No. 1 trend they see for 2019, followed by CBD foods.
“I’m telling you, 75 percent of my clientele is doctors, nurses and lawyers,” said Josh Schwab, 45, whose Denver-area doughnut shop, Glazed & Confuzed, makes a CBD-frosted doughnut topped with a candied hemp leaf and sells more than 30 each weekend day. “You get all the relaxation without the head high. It kinda just takes the edge off.”
Jonathan Eppers, 35, has seen the rocketing CBD interest firsthand: Launched a year ago from Los Angeles, his CBD-infused Vybes drinks are available in 19 states, including New York and Florida, in flavors such as blueberry mint and blackberry lavender.
“I was tired of living every day anxious. I wanted to be more present and calm. That’s what CBD does for me,” said Eppers, whose fledgling company sold more than 1.1 million bottles last year.
What about THC infused food and drinks
Because CBD products are often derived from hemp, which legal nationally, diners can expect to see CBD on menus across the USA. THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis remains illegal in a lot of states. In the states that it is legal, it can usually be purchased in dispensaries.
THC is heavily regulated when it comes to mixing with food or drinks. However, there are still a handfull of THC infused dining events across the US and Canada that offer so called “invitation only events”.
Marijuana research firm Greenwave Advisors predicted the CBD industry could reach $3 billion by 2021 and eventually more than $200 billion a year in the USA. A farm bill that legalized U.S.-grown hemp could fuel CBD industry growth in the coming years.