Today’s April 20 aka 420 aka the unofficial holiday of weed lovers across the country. The origins behind this date are murky -- what started as the result of a half-hearted treasure hunt for a crop of cannabis plants created by a group of friends in the early 1970s has turned into the closest thing the weed industry has to a corporate holiday. Regardless of the history, states are slowly legalizing recreational use of the plant and it’s more common than not to walk past a waft of that distinctive smelling smoke while walking on the street.
That said, while cannabis is legal on most of the West Coast as well as other states across the country, it’s still federally illegal. Which is where CBD comes in: CBD aka cannabidiol is a cannabinoid that doesn’t have psychoactive properties unlike THC, which is the cannabinoid in cannabis that gets you high. CBD derived from hemp plants must have less than 0.3% of THC in order to be sold federally. Even though it doesn’t get you high, hemp-based CBD has been found to be helpful by its fans for everything from stress relief to pain relief to helping with sleep.
Just like its THC counterparts, you can smoke it in a pre-roll (the new way to call joints), try it in a tincture, or eat an edible. Some taste better than others but regardless of what you choose, look for something that says “full spectrum” or “broad spectrum” because that means it has all of the other cannabinoids and terpenes found in the plant. You want it all because CBD works best in tandem with the other compounds: it’s known as the entourage effect.
After working in the cannabis industry for a year and trying out a lot of both CBD and THC products, I like to recommend edibles to a beginner. But before you go popping the entire thing into your mouth, go slow, try half an edible, and wait an hour to see if you feel anything before adding on more.
Read on for my picks of the best tasting and actually effective CBD edibles.
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Wyld makes one of the best tasting THC gummies and their CBD version is just as delicious. With a texture and flavor like sour Haribo gummy bears, you’d be tempted to pop them by the handful, except I don’t recommend that: one goes a long way if you’re new to edibles.
Rose Los Angeles collaborates with chefs on their CBD and THC edibles. They have a texture like Turkish delights and feature unique flavor combinations. Their latest, with pastry chef Natasha Pickowicz, is a delicious blend of kiwi, grapefruit, and celery that’s infused with Hudson Hemp Kush.
If you’re looking for something to help you with sleep, try these blueberry flavored gummies. They have 20mg of CBD and another 5mg of melatonin. Pop one an hour before bedtime and you won’t wind up scrolling through TikTok until midnight.
Despite recreational cannabis being legalized across the country, Black and Brown communities are still being negatively impacted by law enforcement regarding marijuana possession. While there are social equity programs and expungement clinics, the reality is that the industry has a long way to go when it comes to reparations. That said, one of the best ways to ethically support the cannabis industry is by buying from BIPOC owned brands.
Brown Girl Jane, founded by Malaika Jones, Tai Beauchamp, and Nia Jones, is a personal favorite of mine and their tinctures are made with high quality hemp-based CBD. Add a few drops to your smoothie or simply place it under your tongue. Their Rest features both CBD and CBN, which is another cannabinoid that’s known to help with sleep.
Noire Bud is another Black-owned brand, founded by Carolyn Gray, that you should support. You can get CBD-infused chocolates, hard candies, and muscle relief balms but their teas are a standout. Made with vanilla, lavender, and CBD oil, the caffeine-free herbal blend is a nice way to unwind at night.
Before you moan about that bad weed brownie that gave you the worst trip back in college, don’t panic: these are not the same. Unlike that questionable dessert, the new wave of edibles are carefully dosed so you know exactly how much you’re consuming. Each of these bites has 25mg, which is just enough to make you feel relaxed. If you’re the type to want something sweet before bed, this is a good option.
These mints are similar to Altoids: discrete, fresh tasting, and dissolve quickly in the mouth. At 5mg they’re super low dose and ideal for beginners.
This multipack is handy if you want to try an array of options. There’s the daytime use one (uplift), nighttime use (sleep), and evening relaxation/stress relief (balance).
If you’re looking for a nice gift, Lord Jones makes these CBD edibles that resemble fancy boxes of French jellies. They also have a similar texture and flavor as well.
For those who miss cocktails or just want something in the evening that is not booze, these CBD-infused sparkling beverages offer a light buzz. In flavors like pomegranate hibiscus, blueberry chai, and peach ginger, they’re refreshing and easy to drink.
Founded by Christine Yi and Felicity Chen, the Asian American-owned cannabis brand offers both THC and CBD versions of their olive oils, hot sauces, and honey. For those who like to drink tea in the evening, this raw honey (made from Chen’s family bees!) is a sweet and relaxing way to enjoy the beverage.
For those who like spicy foods, the brand makes a CBD-infused chili oil that has just enough heat and tastes especially good over scrambled eggs or with dumplings.
Yes, CBD-infused chili crisp oil does exist and it’s delicious. Made by Calvin Eng, the former chef de cuisine of Win Son and founder of the soon to launch Cantonese restaurant Bonnie’s, the name is a clever nod to that iconic sauce, but his version combines the mala flavor of Sichuan peppercorns with the herbaceous funk of hemp for a really good sauce you can use to kick up dumplings and noodles.
Made with ashwagandha, maca, dark chocolate, and cherries, these CBD-infused truffles are rich and earthy tasting. Each piece has 20mg, ideal for popping in the evening.
If you’re looking for another Latinx and Black-owned brand to support, this is another great one. Founded by Karina Primelles and Mennlay Golohkeh Aggrey, the brand offers tinctures for calm, mood, menstrual relief, and more. This one is targeted for sleep but they’re all a solid purchase.
Non-alcoholic spirits use all sorts of botanicals so it makes sense that there’s one derived from hemp. With citrus, rosemary, and ginger flavors, this lightly flavored drink is best served on the rocks with a bit of soda.