Weed Edibles, Brownies and Other Ganja Good Time Treats
It wasn’t long ago that the topic of weed edibles elicited controversy from both sides of the cannabis debate. These marijuana infused treats would summon strong images of either an unpredictable high or caricature of a criminal. Where do these thoughts come from? And what kinds of edible innovations emerged since the decriminalisation of cannabis? Join us this 420 (it’s always 420 somewhere!) as we explore the origins of weed brownies, pot protests, and the health benefits of marijuana!
Significance of 420
As you might know, the term “420” has become iconic counterculture slang for the consumption of marijuana. It began in 1971 with five students in San Rafael, California. The original usage was “4:20 Louis”. This referred to the time and a Louis Pasteur statue where they would meet after school to smoke up. Several years later, one of those students, Dave Reddix, worked as a roadie for the American rock band Grateful Dead. He brought the affectionate term with him and let’s just say, it kind of caught on with fans and the band.
Today, 420 is an umbrella term for more than just the act of smoking weed. The health and mental health benefits of CBD and THC are protested internationally; with many countries making great strides to provide medical access to it. The date of 4/20 (April 20th) has become an international day of protest and celebration for this increasingly appreciated herbal remedy.
Starting from left, Mark Gravitch, Larry Schwartz, Dave Reddix, Steve Capper and Jeffrey Noel in front of the Louis Pasteur statue where 420 all began. (NBC News)
Before we get into all the health benefits being advocated, let’s break marijuana down into its two most popular forms: CBD and THC. Cannabis has 113 compounds, and in many ways is still a mystery to scientists. But the benefits of CBD and THC have been the most researched. They have been found to give relief to many illnesses.
CBD is the lesser understood of the two, but certainly is the compound that is the most socially accepted. It is used to soothe anxiety, but also has been found to help with chronic pain, heart health, and PTSD. These are just some of the health benefits that are making CBD such an intriguing resource.
On the other hand, THC faces more of a difficult character makeover. Between the two, it is the compound that conjures the image of Shaggy from Scooby Doo. It definitely can get you giggling and reaching for some scooby snacks. THC is also known for its lesser desired side effects, which include anxiety, and increasing heart rate. However, its benefits can’t be ignored! THC is widely prescribed for helping with conditions like insomnia, nausea, inflammation, as well as PTSD and other mental health struggles. It even has been found to protect brain cells in the event of brain damage.
Because of marijuana’s possible side effects, we absolutely recommend consuming it responsibly. Speak with a physician if it seems like something that may benefit you. It’s exciting to think of what kinds of health benefits will be found in the coming years!
Why Marijuana Needed a Makeover
You may now be wondering: If marijuana is so great, why does it have such a bad reputation? Many sources (including CNN and Business Insider) point to the United States government’s War on Drugs as a major perpetrator of weed’s bad name.
During the Vietnam War protests in the 1960’s and 70’s, the government was in a tough spot. They couldn’t shut down these protests because free speech was important to the constitution. Instead, they launched their War on Drugs campaign (1971). It reiterated unsupported claims about marijuana previously made during the early century. With a public focus on criminalising pot, they were free to arrest protestors and people of colour en masse under the guise of drug use. This may sound like an outlandish claim, but President Nixon’s own advisor came out in 1994 admitting that this was the intent of the War on Drugs.
Legal talks about decriminalising weed started in the 1970’s. But the War on Drugs effectively kept them under wraps. It was only in 2013 that Uruguay became the first country in the modern era to legalise recreational use of marijuana. Canada was the second in 2018. Today, over fifty countries have made the decision to legalise the use of medical marijuana, and many are proposing recreational legalisation. Acts like the yearly dedication to 420 protests, and the insistence of marijuana’s health benefits, are to thank.
As it becomes more regulated and less stigmatised, ways of consuming marijuana are also changing. Weed edibles are increasing in popularity because portioning them is simple, they don’t require the inhalation of smoke, and it’s easy to find them online through reputable vendors. Let’s now dive deeper into our favourite part: the desserts!
Weed Brownies as the Spokesperson for Edibles
The first mention of weed edibles goes all the way back to 2000 BC. However, it was really in the late 1950’s that its consumption became infamous recreationally. In 1954, Gertrude Stein’s partner, Alice B Toklas released a now famous cookbook, The Alice B Toklas Cookbook. It boasted a delicious “haschich fudge” recipe, that really was more similar to brownies than fudge. It was very quickly adapted, and brownies were popularised as the weed edible of choice.
Toklas’ cookbook is regarded as the origin of modern weed edibles. But we can’t talk about brownies without bringing in another notable character: American activist, Mary Jane Rathbun. Known as “Brownie Mary”, Rathburn baked weed brownies throughout the 80’s and 90’s for people with HIV and AIDS. Any time “Brownie Mary” was arrested at protests, she would fight her legal charge. She was known to appear in court adorned with pro-weed pins, advocating for the use of medical marijuana.
Following in the weed brownie’s footsteps, chocolate with cannabis promises a delicious foray to the dank side of life. Weed chocolate has truly become a popular edible through the years. There are even variations of the classic chocolate bar, like CBD energy balls! Its popularity is in part because chocolate masks the taste of marijuana (similar to brownies!). And also because one of the chemicals in chocolate, anandamide, has been found to have similar effects to THC. When the two are paired together, they are said to enhance and prolong benefits of pain relief, euphoria, and relaxation.
Weed Gummies are becoming increasingly appreciated as the top edible of choice. Part of their allure is that they are very easy to portion (think vitamin gummies!). But they also taste delicious and come in many fun flavours: like strawberry, blueberry, watermelon, and peach! Whereas some edibles, like brownies, require the mood for that dessert, gummies are light and can be consumed discretely and easily. They’re simply un-be-weed-able!
In the early 2000’s, marijuana infused Girl Scouts Cookies were making their way around the rap music scene. The Girl Scouts of America put an end to this when they sent a cease-and-desist. But cookies have remained another easy to portion treat that’s beloved. And let’s be *blunt*, you really just can’t go wrong when it comes to cookies.
Marijuana infused beverages actually experienced a difficult path to their creation. Because the carrier liquid of edible weed is oil, its combination with water was a recipe for disaster. It was only recently that technology facilitated the incorporation of marijuana in drinks. Now, you can get all sorts of beverages infused with weed! Whether you’re enjoying soda, mocktails, or sparkling water, these weed infused drinks will keep you high-drated for the whole afternoon!
Edibles allow for a safe and fun way to consume marijuana, both medically and recreationally. Although weed brownies are tried and true, there are so many sweet and savoury weed edibles to check out. Just remember: if you don’t feel the effects of them right away, you might mariju-wanna wait a bit. Happy 420 and bong appetit!