With the prediction that CBD foods could make up a $3 billion industry by 2021, it’s no surprise that the food and drinks industry has caught up with the CBD craze, tapping into this flourishing market in a big way. You can now find CBD infused menus across London in many of the trendiest restaurants and bars. The endless list of CBD infused foods and drinks includes kombucha, cold brew, cocktails, and desserts. Although you can find many of these products in shops, you can get creative with CBD at home and use it as an ingredient in various dishes from salad dressings to curries. When experimenting in the kitchen make sure you are clued up on dosages and use a high-quality product that has a verified CBD concentration.
CBD owes much of its popularity to the hype over its seemingly endless health benefits. CBD infused food and beverages are heavily marketed as “health foods” and, in some cases, as natural alternatives to a host of things like sugar, alcohol, and even opioids because of the natural-inducing “feel good” effects.
The regulation for CBD is still at an early stage and differs depending on location. In the UK, CBD food and drink products are legal as long as there are no claims that they can treat diseases, and only if they have 0.2% THC or less. In America, laws are stricter and appear to be in a state of transition as more research is undertaken. The US Food and Drug Administration ‘recognizes the potential opportunities that cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds may offer and acknowledges the significant interest in these possibilities’, but currently considers CBD as a food additive to be illegal. CBD recipes have popped up in states where recreational cannabis is legal, even though the laws around it are murky. As we see laws and regulations around the use and distribution of cannabis continually progress, the availability of CBD products is almost certainly going to keep increasing as businesses tap into this ever-expanding market.
The history of cannabis and food
Cannabis has been used since 400AD for medicinal purposes, but it may come as a revelation to many that Cannabis has been used as an ingredient in recipes since the 10th century. This goes back to popular recipes in 10th-century India such as “bhang” – the heady cannabis-infused drink. Bhang is made by grinding up leaves and buds into a paste, and adding a mixture of spices, ghee and milk. It was used mostly to aid sleep, and also drunk regularly throughout the spring festival of Holi. However, before this special shake was invented, eating cannabis dates even further back to Neolithic times when communities cultivated cannabis as a crop to eat. It was during the Middle Ages that cannabis was put to use in kitchens across Europe and the first ever recipes including cannabis were published. In 1474, Italian scholar Bartolomeo Platina wrote the first printed cookbook called ‘On Honorable Pleasure and Health’. The book featured a recipe ‘health drink of cannabis nectar’ which describes how to make a modern-day hemp CBD oil. Translated from Latin, it reads:
“To make cannabis yourself more commonly used as flax for thread, use a mallet to crush clods [buds?] collected after a good harvest. Add cannabis to nard oil in an iron pot, crush together over some heat and liquefy into a health drink of cannabis nectar. Carefully treat food and divide for the stomach and the head. Finally, remember everything in excess may be harmful or criminal.”
The most famous cannabis cookbook is undoubtedly the recipes published by Alice B. Toklas in 1954. Tolkas was an American-born member of the Parisian avant-garde of the early 20th century. She would host dinner parties for guests such as Picasso, Ernest Hemmingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and her partner Gertrude Stein, where she would hand out her now-famous hash brownies. Her cookbook included her recipe for “haschich fudge” which is a sort of granola bar made with dates, dried figs, almonds, peanuts, spices and cannabis.
Nowadays there are hundreds of recipes you can find in books and online to help you get inventive in the kitchen.
CBD in your kitchen
If you have CBD ingredients, why not try adding it to a favourite recipe or coming up with a new one? Cooking with CBD is a great way to incorporate it into your lifestyle and diet if you don’t like other CBD products or the taste of raw CBD oil. When cooking with CBD oil, make sure you don’t cook dishes that require you to cook them at above 180 degrees Celsius as this is cannabidiol’s boiling point. When cooking with CBD, try to use fresh, organic ingredients if you can.
As it’s National Curry Week, why not get into the spirit and try out a CBD-infused curry? Using CBD oil in curry is probably the best way to disguise the strong taste! Indian and Thai curries typically have strong spice flavours so they make the perfect dish to spice up with some CBD. Remember that it is important to cook curry with CBD oil at low heat so as not to evaporate the CBD. This is also a great way to make sure all of the flavours blend together well.
If you’re looking for inspiration, why not try this delicious CBD superfood Thai Curry recipe created by Blue Ridge Hemp CBD Company:
3 cloves garlic
1 pack organic tofu
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 head of broccoli
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 can full fat coconut milk
1 tbsp Thai red curry paste
Juice of 1 lime
Your favourite CBD oil
Gently fry chopped onions, carrots, and crushed garlic until the onions turn translucent. Add chilli paste, ginger, tofu, and the remaining chopped vegetables. Stir to coat vegetables with the paste then add coconut milk and water. Bring to a boil then let simmer for 20–30 minutes. Finish with a few drops of CBD oil, coriander, and salt and pepper to taste. Pair with a serving of rice and enjoy!