So you’re thinking about attending a cannabis dinner, where canna-chefs infuse food with trace amounts of cannabis for a lovely, buzzy experience. But you might be thinking about the first time you ate a pot brownie.
You innocently ate that edible completely unaware that the strength varies according to potency and concentration. When the high hit you, one of three things happened. One: The amount was perfect and you had a great experience. Two: Your heart started to race and you could not recall basic communication functions. Or three: You felt nothing after 30 minutes and ate more. Which most likely led you to No. 4: on the couch in a fetal position pondering the profound meaning of dustbunnies.
In January, California will legalize adult recreational use of marijuana. And edibles are the wave of the future. Los Angeles is the unofficial center of the cannabis universe and has some of the best food in the country, creating an environment where countless companies can fulfill the demand for those edibles, as well as cannabis-infused meals.
To ensure a great cannabis/food experience requires some education. Creating — and enjoying — this type of meal requires sophistication and nuance. Smoking is not the same as eating cannabis, and a simple misstep can end up with everyone getting too high.
Los Angeles has countless specialists who can provide a delightful cannabis meal. But ask yourself five questions before taking the leap.
Do you have a cannabis recommendation? You’ve seen ads for them all over the city: billboards telling you where to get your "recommendation," or prescription, for medical cannabis. And until next year, you need one to participate in a weed dinner. Some canna-chefs may not require a rec, but to be in compliance with California law, take yourself to a clinic where an actual doctor can issue a recommendation. Then enjoy your cannabis-infused meal in non-paranoid peace.
What are your expectations? If you’ve read this far, you’re asking the following: How high will I get? Will I be able to get up in the morning? Can I get as high as possible? Do I have to eat marijuana if I go with my friends? What kind of food will they have? Canna-chefs are a patient bunch, so you can show up with a list of questions — or better yet, email ahead of time. With some dishes, you can ask for extra-small, or even nonexistent, doses.
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What do you know about your canna-chef? There are many chefs jumping on the bongwagon. But be wary, as some have limited experience combining food and cannabis. Knowing where they procure their cannabis is also key. PopCultivate’s L.A.-based creator and canna-chef, Chris Yang, knows all of this, and takes his role very seriously. He’s a biochemist with a specialty in organic chemistry who sets up his kitchen similar to a scientific lab. His experience translates into a better adventure for you. “It’s tricky with food and cannabis. So it requires constant monitoring. We are here to create a bridge so people have an entry-level experience,” Yang says. If you’ve taken too much, the best canna-chefs know what to do, “There is CBD (which counteracts the psychoactivity of THC) on hand for anyone who gets overly high. We don’t want anyone passed out in a corner.”
What is your cannabis tolerance level? Regardless of where you are in the cannabis-tolerance spectrum, there’s little to worry about when you have an experienced canna-chef supervising. And Yang has a careful plan. “We provide a light, baseline high. We’re aiming for the drunk you get from one or two beers. If you’re new to cannabis, we’ll hand you a drink to get things going. It’s a mocktail that we treat like a beer’s worth of a high. We wait 30 minutes, and understand which (dosage) you are good with for the rest of the night. The drink gauges how much (cannabis) you can have.”
Do you need a wingman? Most cannabis dinners are set up to encourage a social experience. There are communal tables and everyone is joyful. Combine this with staff that regularly checks in on your state of mind, and the odds of having a bad night are entirely up to you. Yang says, “People usually come with a friend or a group. It’s not necessary. It’s communal, and by the end of the night you’ll leave with a couple of new friends.”
Now that you’re aware, have a good adventure.