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Buzzed & Baked

Buzzed & Baked

If you’re looking for something beyond a simple sugar high, cannabis confections have you covered. 

Lez Get Baked, a female-owned and -operated, LGBTQ-friendly bakery in Phoenix, sells gluten-free, gourmet, vegan and custom desserts including blueberry coffee cakes and crumbles, cheesecakes and walnut Bundt cakes and cookies.

Upon request, an indulgent ingredient—20 mg of hemp-based nano CBD-infused upgrades—is baked into the treats.

“Quality is our focus as a business,” says owner Kaleigh Marks. “You can make really good money selling baked goods with cannabis, but I’m in it to offer natural-based products with health benefits. I’ve had people come in and ask specifically for products for family members struggling with cancer or other ailments.”

Dr. Joseph Rosado, chief medical officer at MarijuanaDoctors.com, credits cannabis edibles with alleviating vomiting, nausea and appetite loss caused by chemotherapy, and the potential of cancer prevention and cancer treatment through antioxidants. Medical content on his site asserts that the active cannabinoids in marijuana can restore your internal endocannabinoid system (ECS) that is responsible for keeping critical biological functions balanced. They can also “stimulate the apoptotic pathway in cells,” or stop cancer cells from maturing by signaling cancerous cells to die.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doesn’t discount cannabis’ salubrious effects on chemotherapy, but asserts “there is not enough evidence to recommend patients inhale or ingest marijuana as a treatment for cancer-related symptoms or side effects of cancer therapy.”

Marks’ boutique bakery and its theoretically therapeutic sweet treats are on-trend with similar businesses jonesing for their piece of the pie.

BDSA, a leading provider of global cannabinoid industry market research, predicts global cannabis sales will grow from $21.3 billion in 2020 to $55.9 billion in 2026. It found 70 percent of cannabis consumers ate edibles last year and 45 percent tried baked goods, with cookies and brownies rising to the top of the menu.

Bakeries around the nation are using cannabinoids like CBD (cannabidiol), a non-psychotropic botanical extracted from hemp plants, and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the primary psychoactive compound found in marijuana, to blend into their bonne bouches. These goodies may make you feel buzzed and, according to MarijuanaDoctors.com, THC and CBD can provide relief for anxiety and depression, arthritis, autoimmune disorders, cancer and chemotherapy, chronic pain and more.

Customers wait in hour-long lines to satisfy their munchies on Wake-n-Bakery’s dessert delights and drinks made with Delta-8 THC. Sweet Grass Kitchen in Denver infuses THC in its popular key lime pies and uses cannabutter in its cookies; Big Pete’s Treats in Santa Cruz, California offers a line of mini-cookies infused with either indica or sativa cannabis varieties; and Purple Reign in Atlanta sells items like CBD-infused cookies, cupcakes and frozen cookie dough.

As bakers capitalize on rehashing nostalgic themes, Black Dahlia showcases an upscale collection of elevated edibles, including velvety gelées, chocolate ganache bonbons and stimulating lollipops.

“We approach it from a place of luxury,” says Taryn Garcia, Black Dahlia’s head chef and product lead. “There is a lot of care and love and time we put into our confectionery and chocolate work.”

Garcia and Chef Greg Bernhardt’s joint efforts refine the Los Angeles label’s research and product development, incorporating sustainably cultivated CBD derived from all-natural, broad-spectrum hemp oil into their artisanal confections. Garcia says their European-style CBD gelées, available in elderflower and prickly pear or white peach and strawberry lemonade, melt in your mouth with a jelly textual experience. 

“CBD is a difficult flavor profile to work with, but chocolate is one of those things that pairs with it quite beautifully,” says Garcia of their grand cru, peppermint crunch and sea salt caramel CBD bonbons that are all-natural, vegan, gluten-free, THC-free, non-GMO and alcohol-free. 

Black Dahlia’s founder and CEO, Daniel Young, Ph.D., says his proprietary nano-technology distills the overall biological availability of active components of CBD providing his CBD-infused products with rapid absorption and efficacy and an unmatched experience that’s entirely restorative, effective and safe. 

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“Our products are designed for micro-dosing,” says Young. “Our gelées, bonbons and lollipops contain 20 mg of CBD, and you usually feel the full effect in one to two hours.”

According to Rosado, if edible cannabis products are absorbed gastrointestinally, the effects are delayed but provide longer periods of relief than if you smoked marijuana. If absorbed orally, like Black Dahlia’s sugar-free lollipop line, effects are felt almost immediately but dissipate more quickly. THC edibles can provide up to 12 hours of euphoric sensations.

But a legal haze casts a shadow on marketing, packaging and selling pot pastries. Recreational marijuana is legal in only 19 states, Washington D.C. and Guam.

“Each state’s regulations differ and are changing rapidly,” says Suzette Toledano, a New Orleans intellectual property attorney who has combined her music practice with cannabis, providing counsel for Willie Nelson’s cannabis companies Willie’s Reserve and Willie’s Remedy. “The best way to be in compliance is to retain an attorney familiar with cannabis regulations and to keep a reserve of funds ready in case changing regulations require the purchase of special equipment or additional testing.”

“It would be easy if cannabis products could be labeled like salsa: mild, medium or hot,” says Toledano. “Instead, each state has its own labeling requirements. And aside from state regulations, the FDA has jurisdiction over ingestibles. Marketing using health claims is prohibited.”

To be blunt, navigating the circuitous cannabis landscape can make you feel stoned, so why not whip up some dope delectables at home? Multiple books and websites offer DIY recipes, including those of Chicago-based James Beard award-winning pastry chef Mindy Segal. Her seasonal kale salad with citrus-glazed butternut squash, baked brie en croute with cherry compote and cranberry bread pudding with citrus eggnog custard are paired with her exclusive line of “deliciously dosed” gummies and chocolates that contain 2, 5 or 10 mg of THC apiece.

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