As a nutritionist and the co-founder of the Holistic Cannabis Academy, I get asked a lot of unsolicited questions about food and cannabis. After all, we imbue all of our social interactions with food. As a society, we have become intrigued with food and everything that pertains to it including cooking and, of course, my favorite topic—nutrition.
Cannabis is a great conversation starter for so many reasons. For one, it’s not federally legal, yet it’s legalized by individual states for medical or adult use (aka: recreational) purposes in more than half the country. And, of course, the plant has literally come out of the closet, so cannaphobia is mitigating and it has become acceptable to talk about the plant. Combine talking about food and cannabis and you have a winning combination!
In that spirit, here are five winning combinations for food and cannabis.
Though thought of as a vegetable and often categorized as a fat, avocado is actually a large berry with a single seed. That means that avocado is a fruit, according to botanists. And, an amazing and versatile fruit it is. Of course, there’s the ubiquitous avocado toast found in hipster neighborhoods beyond Brooklyn. Guacamole was, of course, the first introduction to avocado to Americans. Though many add banana to smoothies, mostly to add sweetness, avocado is my #1 smoothie go-to because it’s an emulsifier. That means that it helps to blend the other ingredients together, creating a smooth smoothie. And, unlike banana, the avocado does not overtake the flavor of the smoothie. It’s a great match with cannabis oil because of its fat content and flavor profile.
Combining two cannabis plant ingredients together is a no brainer. Hemp as a food is from the seed portion of the cannabis plant and contains little to no THC. Hemp foods include protein powder, milk, hearts, flour, butter (which can also be used for skin), and pressed juice. Hemp oil as food from the seed of the plant is completely different from hemp-derived CBD oil processed from the aerial parts of the plant. Hemp seeds, which are marketed as hemp hearts, are an excellent source or protein, a vegan food, a wonderful source of fat (always good to pair with cannabis), and a great source of vitamin E and minerals, such as phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron and zinc. Sprinkle on basically anything from avocado (see above) to salads to smoothies or have alone.
Cacoa, also known botanically as Theobroma cacoa, is one of the most popular trees on the planet. Cacoa is the plant from which cocoa and chocolate is derived. Higher percentages on chocolate bars typically mean less sugar. Raw cacoa boasts 300 different compounds including antioxidants, which are vital to wellness. Anandamide, the “bliss” molecule that our bodies produce is one of the compounds found in small quantities in cacoa. More significantly, cacoa features two others chemicals in higher concentrations that inhibit the breakdown of anandamide, as well as phytocannabinoids in cannabis including THC and CBD, potentially intensifying their effects. On top of this is the is theobromine, which also amplifies the effects of anandamide. Talk about a match made in heaven!