The Rise of Cannabis Cuisine

100815_The Rise of Cannabis Cuisine 

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Cannabis is on the rise, as well as everything that goes with it.

With more and more states decriminalizing marijuana, many cannabis businesses are entering the mainstream market. Just recently, rapper Snoop Dogg announced that he would be launching a marijuana-based company called Merry Jane, which will provide news, information, and entertainment about hemp. But the drug is also getting popular as a culinary ingredient, as people are looking for a sugar-free and lower-calorie alternative to alcohol.

According to Matt Gray of The Stoner’s Cookbook website, the legal marijuana industry might be worth $10.2 billion within the next five years, with the edible marijuana market accounting to as much as 40 percent of that. With 111 million Americans believed to have used cannabis, these figures just might be on the mark.

It also helps that attitudes regarding cannabis are changing rapidly. According to a survey published in The Future of Food and Drink, 58 percent of millennials—comprising 74 percent of survey participants—believe that weed will eventually become socially acceptable within the next ten years.

“With changing legislation, interest in potential uses of cannabis in food and drink is growing fast,” said Lucie Green, worldwide director of ad agency J Walter Thompson’s futures-focused Innovation Group. Examples of marijuana edibles already in the market include soft drinks by Dixie Elixir and chocolate and hash oil by Hubby Bars.

Many of these products are marketed for medicinal use, thanks to their tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content—the one responsible for cannabis’ medical properties. However, those who simply want to experience the flavors of recreational marijuana also have choices.

Thanks to culinary creativity and connoisseurship, cannabis advocates are able to produce the best effects by combining weed with fats like olive oil, butter, and cream—pretty much like any other herb in the market. This produces an aroma and taste unique to each strain.

There’s one caveat though: marijuana is still illegal on the federal level. “Legality will dictate, of course,” Green said. “But, category by category, every food is being reinvented. Two years ago, many people would have said they were not keen on sour, yet now products like Nordic fermented butter are taking off. You just can’t future-proof how people’s future palates will change.”

While it is still too early to say that cannabis cuisine will become the next frontier in food and drink, one thing is for sure: there will be more experimentation and debate among foodies and legislators as the whole marijuana legalization drama continues to unfold.

What are the trends that you foresee for the marijuana edibles market? Voice your opinions in the comments section below – your opinion matters to the nation.

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