Cannabidiol, the non-psychoactive yet potently therapeutic chemical in cannabis, has been enjoying plenty of good press lately. Though CBD has been widely available and a staple in health and wellness circles for decades, it has been the broader legalization of its illicit cousin, the psychoactive and euphoria-inducing THC, that has made CBD so suddenly popular. Cannabis legalization brings more knowledge about the plant and its many qualities and effects into the mainstream. And what people are learning about CBD is generating a ton of enthusiasm. No wonder so many restaurants in major cities are adding CBD to their menus. From Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine, from Los Angeles to New York and everywhere in between, chefs aren’t just putting CBD on the menu, they’re also putting it on the map.
Cannabidiol Is Sparking A New Generation of Culinary Creativity
Just take a look at the offerings at a couple of chic New York hotels, the Ace Hotel and the James New York NoMad. Chefs are infusing CBD into every course on the menu. In appearance, these look just like any other dish. But they contain CBD infusions in their oils and fats. Cannabidiol, like THC, binds to fatty substances, making oils, butter and cream the ideal way to add some therapeutic benefits to a meal. The James NoMad even has a fully-infused CBD room service menu. Guests can enjoy a light salad with a nice 20mg dose of CBD infused in the creamy pear vinaigrette. That pairs nicely with the CBD-infused meatballs on the menu with 15 mg CBD. In fact, why not top it all off with an ice cream sundae drizzled with a caramel sauce with 20 mg CBD?
But you don’t have to go to the big apple to take a bite out of the growing excitement around CBD-infusions. At the rustic fine-diner Monarch and Milkweed in Burlington, Vermont, cozy up with a “Little Chocolate Smoke Toke” for your fix. It’s a crunchy praline and cinnamon-filled dark chocolate truffle. And it packs 50 mg of CBD. Or for more Vermont flavor, pop a couple “Evergreen Buddies”. These dark chocolate-filled pine needle fondants are infused with 50 mg of CBD.
In the Pacific Northwest, of course, chefs have been at the cannabis-infused food game for a while. But their drive for the first and the best has created some epicurean epiphanies. If you’re in Portland, check out the Two Flowers IPA, Oregon’s first commercial CBD-infused beer. A single 16-ounce draft offers 5 mg CBD. And if booze isn’t your thing, there’s always CBD-infused smoothies, like the “Dream” collection at Philadelphia’s Fuel chain of health restaurants.
Marijuana Legalization is Boosting the Hemp Economy is Boosting the Service Economy
It’s something of a chain reaction. Marijuana legalization has created entire new domains of consumer products and services, and especially for CBD. Two factors are at play. First, there’s the basic psychology of wanting what you can’t have. Cannabis isn’t legal everywhere, and legal CBD (i.e., derived from hemp) makes it possible to enjoy some of that cannabis lifestyle, to experiment with a still-“taboo” substance. And second, there’s the fact that now, more people know about the benefits of cannabis. Likewise, they know the differences between THC and CBD. And they understand that cannabis has a lot to offer, even to people who aren’t interested in the high.
It’s not just restaurants and chefs making the most of the CBD renaissance, either. Spas, cosmetics manufacturers, health and wellness businesses: all of them are finding a new audience and a new market for products those in the cannabis community have stood by for years. And that is driving incredible growth in the hemp economy and the legal CBD market.