Khushbu Shah • Apr 20, 2016

The world of edibles is no longer constrained to your sketchy neighbor baking up a batch of “special” brownies that either A) have zero effect on your state of consciousness, or B) get you so stoned you call the cops on yourself. Over the past few years, thanks to ballot initiatives that have legalized medical marijuana in 23 states and recreational use in four states, the edible-marijuana industry has flourished, and innovation is at a new high. The edibles game has turned into its own culinary arms race, with companies crafting everything from cannabis-infused stroopwafels, to cotton candy, bottled chai, to entire marijuana-fueled dinners.

You know TCH treats have reached a new level of acceptance when celebrities want in on the action, too. In the past year alone, rappers Snoop Dogg and The Game both announced lines of edibles. Snoop’s line, called Leafs, features a slew of products including gummies and chocolate bars. The Game plans to sell the thirsty masses a range of weed-laced lemonade called G Drinks. And everyone from stoner legend Tommy Chong, to reality-TV star Bethenny Frankel, is getting in on the action. The excitement to engineer quality treats is also attracting the attention of people with serious food world cred: James Beard Award-winning pastry chef Mindy Segal is working a line that includes infused granola bites, brittle bars, and a take on a hot chocolate.

While they are becoming more popular, the key facts of edible consumption are still shrouded in haze. In Colorado, for instance, emergency rules were passed requiring edibles makers stamp or shape their products so that they can be identified as containing cannabis outside of its packaging. Because the federal government still classifies marijuana as controlled substance, it makes it difficult for labs to conduct controlled studies that could help set proper, agreed-upon guidelines. Plus, each state sets its own regulations—which are frequently subject to change—making it confusing for consumers. We turned to High Times Edibles Editor and The Official High Times Cannabis Cookbook author Elise McDonough for clarification about rules and regulations, and tips on how to how to seek out the best stuff.

Specialty edibles to keep on your radar.

The growing market for edibles means people can find everything from gluten-free, to organic, to vegan, to sugar-free options these days. McDonough notes, “I think that because cannabis is such a health-positive substance, you really should pair it with other ingredients that are nutritious and that will bring more healing benefits to your body.” As a judge of the annual Cannabis Cup, McDonough has developed a sophisticated palette for marijuana foods. Here, she breaks down a list of her favorites.

FRUIT SLABS

“It’s essentially a very adult take on a fruit roll-up that also happens to be made from all-natural ingredients.” fruitslabs.com

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