As laws around the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana begin to open up in the United States, the industry around cannabis is growing as if grow lights were shining on it. The legal market for marijuana in the United States hit $2.7 billion last year, according to ArcView Group—that’s an increase of 74 percent from 2013.
Medibles, or marijuana-infused foods, are just one sector of the legal marijuana industry, but they’re a significant one. Some people who use marijuana for medicinal reasons prefer medibles, from whole foods to tinctures and oils, because they allow them to avoid smoke. Medibles like gummies and mints can also provide a degree of discretion that a joint or vaporizer doesn’t. And for recreational uses—and recreational use of marijuana is currently legal in Colorado and Washington—medibles are just another option, one that is sometimes legitimately delicious.
Regulation hasn’t necessarily kept up with the sector’s growth. The disconnect between state and federal laws keeps the medibles industry as a wild west of sorts—for example, a 2011 bill in Washington state that would have regulated medibles was vetoed by the governor after passing in the state legislature because of fears that mandatory site inspections would put state employees in federal jeopardy. That is because regardless of how the laws change state by state, whether it relates to medical use of marijuana or recreational, marijuana is still classified as a Schedule 1 drug by the feds.
Some medibles manufacturers are taking the issue into their own hands by doing their own testing for everything from contamination to potency. They’re also devising labelling standards and working to be able to advertise their products as safe, consistent, and appealing. Here are four medibles companies with particularly interesting—even sophisticated—offerings.
At first glance, this website looks like it belongs to a quirky bakery—the regular kind, not the medicinal kind. Cannabis or not, all of the offerings from Ettalew’s Medibles look legitimately delicious: brownies with peanut butter and white and milk chocolate chips, red velvet mini cupcakes, and party mix are among them. Along with their medicated line, this Seattle company also offers unmedicated treats, including gluten-free options.
Colorado’s largest medibles manufacturer promotes the safety of its products, referring to triple testing and publishing recent test results online. Dixie offers a wide range of products covering edible ground from chocolate bars and sodas to mints and tincture. They also sell topical products like lotions and salves meant to relieve pain in particular areas of the body.
This is the place to go for those looking for high-tolerance medibles, via its Worlds Strongest line. Each of the snacks in the line—which includes brownies and lemon bars—has 170mg of active medical marijuana. The Colorado company also sells a Twice Baked pizza with cheese and pepperoni, whipped butter infused with marijuana, and low-dose gummies that have no discernible cannabis taste or smell.
This Oregon company creates edible products made with marijuana-infused olive oil, and boasts that its products don’t actually taste like they contain pot: the website promises they have “no earthy taste, not too dry or greasy.” Products like Hard Candy and Coma Truffles are rated by tolerance level, from low to high, and the company’s head chef brings 25 years of experience in fine dining kitchens.
Terri Coles is a freelance writer living in St. John’s, Newfoundland. She’s a recovering picky eater.