THC edible options for every diet including keto, gluten-free, vegan and kosher
Back in the before times, cannabis-containing edibles usually meant one thing — a weed-flavored, dry-as-sawdust chocolate brownie that may or may not actually get you high. Today, three years after legal recreational sales of THC and THC-infused foodstuffs began in the Golden State, if you’re in the mood to ingest instead of combust, the world’s your oyster, with edible options for just about every palate and of-the-moment diet out there. (We haven’t found THC-infused oysters — yet — but it’s probably only a matter of time before there are bivalves that get you baked.)
How That High Couple used YouTube to turn a love of weed into a serious side hustle
Five years in, L.A.-based cannabis content creators Alice and Clark Campbell are just getting started.
The best way to figure out if a given cannabis comestible plays nice with your dietary preferences is to read the label, since all the ingredients and nutritional information will be there (along with the amount of THC), but if you’re new to the world of edibles — or new to a particular diet — even getting to that point can feel a little overwhelming. To help with that, we’ve narrowed the foodstuffs field for you. As you embark on your exploration of edibles, make sure you do so responsibly and slowly. Remember: You can always take more, but you can’t take less. Stocking dispensaries for the products listed below can be found at at the brands’ websites, unless otherwise noted.
Plus Products’ line of THC-infused infused gummies are among the gluten-free cannabis edibles options on the market.
For folks with celiac disease or nonceliac gluten sensitivity, consuming the protein gluten, which is found in wheat, rye, barley and spelt, can cause the kind of unpleasant side effects (stomach pain and bloating to name just two) that are even less fun to deal with when you’re stoned. Luckily, the gluten-averse have a wide range of options at their disposal, including the entire line of gummies offered by Adelanto-based Plus Products (3.5 to 5 milligrams per piece) in such fruity flavors as Concord Grape and Sour Watermelon and Kikoko’s line of botanical- and THC-infused Little Helpers mints in dosages that range from 1 milligram per piece (for the hibiscus-andorange-flavored Focus mints) to 5 milligrams (for the watermelon-and-basil-flavored Buzz mints).
Papa & Barkley’s Releaf gummies (5 milligrams THC per serving) are keto-friendly, gluten-free, calorie-free, sugar-free and vegan.
You probably decided to explore the ketogenic diet because it sounded like it was invented by a super-high dietician. I mean, who else could have come up with the idea of losing weight by focusing on foods high in fat and protein (eggs, butter, cheese, bacon) and avoiding carbohydrates to kick the body into a fat-burning state called ketosis? All you need to do — beyond bellying up to the never-ending breakfast bar — is be vigilant about the demon carbs and sugars that lurk everywhere. Pantry Food Co. is one of the brands that’s prominently courting the keto crowd with its Pantry Keto Bites, tiny chunks of chocolate that contain 5 milligrams THC and less than 1 gram of sugar each. (Bonus: They’re also vegan and gluten-free.) Another is Papa & Barkely (a label known for its topicals and tinctures), which launched a line of keto-friendly (as well as gluten-free and zero-calorie) Releaf gummies last summer(5 milligrams THC per piece) in four fruit flavors, two of which (Tart Apple and Berry Burst) are also vegan.
Fruit Slabs (10 milligrams THC per serving) are not only the rare certified-kosher cannabis-containing edible but they’re also gluten-free and vegan.
Are you hoping to take your edibles game to the next level without running afoul of Jewish dietary laws? L.A.-based Fruit Slabs makes that easy: Its five flavors of fruit leathers (each square is infused with 10 milligrams of THC) are all certified kosher in addition to being gluten-free, vegan and low-calorie. Additionally, reps for Plus Products (see above) note that the brand’s gummies use kosher ingredients but are not certified as kosher.
The Potli X Aster Farms extra-virgin olive oil (100 milligrams of THC per 250 milliliter tin) is an edible option that fits with the Mediterranean diet.
If you join Zoom calls with a cheery “Ciao,” make your own pesto and know 14 recipes for branzino, you’re either on board with the Mediterranean diet or you’re Stanley Tucci eating your way across Italy in that new CNN miniseries. Assuming the former, the most expeditious way to shoehorn marijuana into your meal plan is to go right to the very lifeblood of the Mediterranean diet — olive oil. Potli (which also makes THC-infused sriracha sauce and honey) has partnered with Oakland-based Aster Farms to create a THC-infused extra-virgin olive oil (100 milligrams THC per 250 milliliter tin) that was supposed to be a limited-edition holiday offering but reps say turned out to be popular enough to keep producing. Olive oil is gluten-free as well as keto- and paleo-friendly too. Mangia! (L.A. stockists include Sweet Flower, Sherbinskis Fairfax and delivery service Emjay.)
Hey, there, Whole Foods shopper. Your desire to treat your body like a temple by looking for an organic certification on the label may be laudable, but when it comes to finding it on THC-infused foods, it’s also futile. This has nothing to do with what’s in the product and everything to do with the fact that cannabis is illegal under federal law and that the federal government — in the form of the U.S. Department of Agriculture — oversees what gets certified as organic. (A California workaround to this may be coming later this year when the state establishes a “comparable-to-organic” standard. When that’s in place, you’ll just need to look for the designation “OCal” on the label.)
Stoned Age Edibles’ line of THC-infused beef jerky (10 milligrams THC per 4 gram stick) are a paleo- and keto-friendly cannabis edibles option.
Eating like a caveman to get a caveman’s body totally makes sense because, honestly, when was the last time you met a fat caveperson? This means you go all hunter-gatherer, favoring lean meats, nuts, berries and vegetables and steering clear of the grains, legumes and dairy that came with the advent of farming 10,000 years ago. Carnivores in this camp might enjoy hunting down a THC-infused beef jerky like the six flavors offered by Stoned Age Edibles (10 milligrams THC per 4 gram stick, a few of the flavors are also gluten-free), which claims to be the Golden State’s first licensed manufacturer of cannabis-infused meats. (A company rep calls the jerky “paleo-ish” due to small amounts of soy sauce and other non- Stone Age ingredients but also notes that the jerkies are keto-friendly as well.) If you’re on team herbivore for this one, consider Kaneh Co.’s Chocolate Paleo Bites (also vegan and gluten-free), which contain 100 milligrams of THC per package. Kikoko’s mints (mentioned above) and cannabis-containing teas (see below) are also paleo-friendly.
Rose Delights’ Autumn Bright Nectarine and Juniper Berry edibles — a seasonal flavor in collaboration with Aster Farms (5 milligrams of THC per piece) — are a viable gummy option for the vegan diet (they’re also gluten-free).
In the candy store of THC-infused edibles, hidden dangers lurk everywhere for the diehard friends of the animal kingdom; baked goods may contain eggs or butter, chocolate could contain milk and gummies — one of the most popular infused-edibles categories might get their gumminess from animal-derived gelatin so tread (and chew) carefully. Rose Delights is not one of them, though the 4 gram cubes dusted with powdered sugar and tapioca starch (each containing 5 milligrams of THC) have a consistency closer to Turkish delight than a Haribo gummy bear. Infused with single-strain flower rosin, flavors include Rose Hibiscus, Alphonso Mango and Nectarine Juniper Berry (the last one is a seasonal collaboration with Aster Farms), all of which are also gluten-free. Other animal product-free options include the above-mentioned Fruit Slabs, Pantry Keto Bites and a cannabis-infused peanut butter by Zendo Edibles (100 milligrams of THC per 5 ounce jar).
Zero-calorie / low-calorie
ALT (an acronym of Advanced Liquid Technology), which launched in December, is a THC-infused liquid designed to be added to other beverages. It is gluten-free, calorie-free, vegan, keto-friendly and is available in 5 milligram and 10 milligram doses.
Maybe you’re a militant calorie counter. Or maybe you know that once you’re high, the munchies that follow will have you tearing through your pantry like a bear in a campsite up to — and most likely beyond — your suggested daily caloric intake. Either way, there are options for those who don’t want what crosses the lips to linger on the hips. Since the rest of this list is filled with riffs on old-school edibles, this might be a good place to explore pot-infused potables. Emeryville, Calif.-based Kikoko, which has been on the SoCal scene since late 2017, puts the T in THC — and THC in tea — with cannabis-infused herbal teas that range from 1 to 10 milligrams per serving and clock in at just four calories per cup — a level that also make it keto-friendly. (The teas are all gluten-free and vegan as well.)
Getting high with strangers on Zoom didn’t sound like fun. Then I did it
Original launch plans stymied, local cannabis brand Drew Martin turns to Zoom smoke-ins.
If you want to dial the calories all the way down to zero — and endlessly expand your beverage options at the same time — a product called ALT (short for Advanced Liquid Technology), that launched in December (and is currently available at Sherbinskis Fairfax and via the Emjay delivery service) should be on your radar. Each 5 or 10 milliliter vial is filled with a clear, water-compatible odorless and (mostly) tasteless liquid contains 5 or 10 milligrams of THC, respectively. It’s designed to be mixed into whatever beverage pleases your palate from your morning cup of coffee (Hey, it’s a pandemic. You’re not driving anywhere) to that hard-earned end-of-the-day mocktail. (Pro tip: Adding it to a straight-up cocktail might not be advisable, unless you’re well-versed in the art of the crossfade.) The best part? In addition to being calorie-free it’s also gluten-free, animal-product-free, sugar-free and keto-friendly, which makes it a good option for all but two of the above diets — and very frustrating for the kosher-eating caveman.
Get The Wild newsletter.
The essential weekly guide to enjoying the outdoors in Southern California. Insider tips on the best of our beaches, trails, parks, deserts, forests and mountains.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.
Senior features writer Adam Tschorn writes about a range of style-centric pop-culture topics for the Los Angeles Times. Holding a B.A. in philosophy and an M.A. in journalism makes him well-qualified to look at something and ask: “Why?”
Can Cannabis Be Kosher?
If you look closely at a package of Wana Brands fast-acting cannabis gummies, you’re likely to notice that the product is certified as kosher. In fact, all of Wana’s products that are manufactured in Colorado have been certified by Whole Kosher Services, a company based in Houston.
It is commonly understood that kosher refers to food products that are permissible under Jewish law. Well-known provisions of the laws regulating what is kosher (referred to as kashruth in Hebrew) include prohibitions on pork and shellfish. Other rules prescribe conditions for the ritual slaughter of livestock and prohibit the comingling of meat and milk products.
But kosher certification goes beyond ensuring a product does not contain ingredients that are not allowed. Rabbi Yaakov Cohen, the kashruth administrator of Whole Kosher Services, explained in a telephone interview that the designation also means that the product has been produced in a clean facility under hygienic conditions.
Rabbi Yaakov Cohen of Houston’s Whole Kosher Services.
Courtesy of Rabbi Yaakov Cohen
“When something has a kosher certification, it means there’s another pair of eyes that are watching on this product,” says Cohen. “Kosher basically, in its broad definition, means fit, fit for consumption.”
The Jewish community in the United States makes up about only 2% of the population and those who follow the kosher rules constitute a fraction of that group. However, Cohen notes that up to 60% of the food and beverage items in a typical grocery store have a kosher certification.
The Making Of New York’s $150 Million ‘Cannabis Campus’
Blackstone To Sell The Cosmopolitan Of Las Vegas For $5.65 Billion
The Feds Are Coming For Delta-8 THC
The apparent disparity is indicative of how many people outside the Jewish community find value in kosher certification. For example, vegans and vegetarians can be assured that packaged goods do not contain meat products. And because kosher rules are more strict than halal, Cohen explains, Muslims can also be assured that a certified kosher product is acceptable under the dietary rules of their faith.
Joe Hodas, the chief marketing officer at Wana Brands, says that kosher certification is a clear indicator to consumers that the company’s products are made in a clean and well-run facility. And because many certifications such as USDA Organic are unavailable for cannabis products and facilities, kosher certification illustrates the care that Wana takes to provide premium products to its customers.
“We pride ourselves on making our products accessible to as many people as possible, so the kosher designation fits right in line with other call outs such as vegan, gluten-free and organic sweeteners,” Hodas writes in an email. “For those who keep kosher, the ability to access a premium edible that can become part of their regimen is a game-changer.”
What Is Kosher Cannabis?
But how does a kosher certification apply to cannabis products? In the plant’s unadulterated form, no animal products are involved so it’s pretty straightforward.
“There are insects in the flower buds, but because you smoke it, you smoke the buds then it’s no problem,” Cohen told The Cannigma earlier this year, adding “if you put the plants or leaves in your salad, say, that would be a problem. But most people don’t do that, so there’s no problem giving kosher certification to the flower tops.”
Processed cannabis products are a bit more complicated, however. Manufacturing facilities are inspected four to six times per year to make sure they are clean and well-maintained, and all ingredients added to cannabis must be kosher. Oils used for infusions, for example, must be kosher, and gummies must not contain gelatin because it is made from animal bones.
All Wana Brands products manufactured in Colorado are certified as kosher.
Courtesy of Wana Brands
Although he does not promote the recreational use of cannabis, Cohen provides kosher certification for producers in consideration of patients who use the herb medicinally. He now has about a dozen businesses from coast to coast that take advantage of his services, including clients such as Curaleaf, Charlotte’s Web and California’s Utopia Farms in addition to Wana Brands, providing certification for tinctures, vape carts, edibles and other cannabis products.
“There should be kosher options available for those people who need it medicinally,” Cohen says.
Man On A Mission
Cohen knows all too well of the need for clean and safe cannabis products. At the age of only five years old, his son Elisha was diagnosed with brain cancer. An aggressive treatment plan of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation appeared to be helping initially. But when Elisha relapsed a year later, a new round of chemotherapy was ordered.
Chemo was hard on the young boy, and Elisha suffered debilitating side effects. Cohen and his wife had just begun researching medical cannabis and wanted to try treating their son with it to help stimulate his appetite. But the family lived in Houston and Texas had no medical marijuana program. After weighing their options, they traveled to California in 2012, met with a doctor, and got a recommendation for Elisha to use cannabis medicinally.
Cohen also contacted a California cannabis grower, who agreed to provide medicine for Elisha. When the family had to return to Texas, the grower agreed to ship cannabis oil to them in Houston. The first shipment came through fine, but the next package was intercepted in transit by the authorities and the California cultivation operation was shut down by the feds.
“So, Elisha didn’t get the medicine,” Cohen somberly remembers. Sadly, the boy died in 2014.
But that was only the beginning of Cohen’s relationship with cannabis. After hearing of his experience, friends came to him seeking advice on a host of maladies including cancer, arthritis, lupus and insomnia. Cohen had already launched Whole Kosher Services, serving more traditional clients such as food producers and restaurants. So, sensing the need in his community, he began providing certification services for cannabis companies as well.
Cohen is proud that his company is able to provide services that help patients obtain the medication that they need. But he also has a higher purpose in mind. He knows that the fact a rabbi has certified a cannabis product as kosher can help open minds, particularly among the older or more conservative members of the Jewish community, and dispel the misperceptions surrounding cannabis.
“We’re on a mission to go ahead and remove the stigma and help it to be available for people” who need it, says Cohen.