Full-Spectrum Cannabis Edibles

New techniques for incorporating pot into food make for a more consistent and controllable experience for consumers.

Do you remember edibles in the pre-prop 64 days? Often plagued by a distinctly earthy flavor, eating an edible felt like playing the lottery. One could split a rice crispy treat with a friend and find themselves transported to outer space, while the other would claim they never felt a thing. Ah, the good old days…

The reality is, the vast majority of edibles were made very differently pre-Prop 64. Often cooked with cannabutter or low-quality oils, dosing wasn’t closely regulated, and an unevenly mixed batter could result in baked goods with drastically variant effects. Since Californians voters approved recreational cannabis in 2016, dosing has become much more precise, and an influx of new customers were resistant to edibles that tasted like eating a nug. Now, most edible makers use distillate, a clean, tasteless oil made by stripping isolated cannabinoids from the cannabis plant with chemical solvents. 

Though the research is still developing, common consensus is that the body absorbs distilled, isolated cannabinoids much less efficiently than the extracts we used to make edibles with. That’s because these extracts include a “full spectrum” of cannabinoids other than just THC that fit securely like a key in a lock when they reach our body’s endocannabinoid receptors. While edibles have become much more consistent and tasty in recent years, they also get consumers a lot less high than they used to. Distillate also delivers fewer of the less-known and less-psychoactive cannabinoids, like CBG, CBN, and CBC, that are believed to have subtle health benefits. 

In the last year, however, consumers have started to catch on. Demand for potent, full-spectrum edibles is on the rise again, and companies have started to put in the time and resources to meet demand. It’s a labor-intensive process, and while a handful of passionate, small operators have made full-spectrum edibles for years, today industry powerhouses are throwing skin in the game. It’s a net-benefit for consumers, who have more options than ever before. 

If you need help deciphering what’s on the shelves, here’s a quick list of the best full-spectrum edibles on the market right now.

Space Gem SpaceDrops
Pack of 10 10mg THC or 5mg 1:1 CBD:THC gummies
$22
spacegemcandy.com

Space Gem was making high-quality full-spectrum edibles before it was cool. Established in 2013, Space Gem’s flagship products are vegan, dye- and chemical-free gummies infused with genuinely Humboldt-grown ice water hash. They come in a face-puckering “sour” flavor and a milder (but still a little sour) “sweet” flavor, with each handcrafted gummy individually couched in a mini tissue cup that ensures they never melt together. They pack a potent punch, too: Most people find them to be a touch stronger than the average 10mg gummy, and they have trace amounts of the rare cannabinoids CBG and CBC. This is probably because they’re made with a solventless extract that captures the widest possible range of cannabinoids in a plant. 

Rose Delights
Pack of 20 5mg THC delights
$27
roselosangeles.com

Rose Delights might just be the most luxurious edible product on the market. The delectable turkish-delight style edibles are each made with single-source rosin from highly coveted cannabis brands like Pure Beauty, Ironside Farms, and Royal Key. Better yet, they actually print the exact strain and cultivator on the package, so customers can pick out a flavor with the same preciseness as they would shop for flower. The mild fruity treats are also crafted by award-winning chefs, like Michelin Chef Dominique Cren of Atelier Crenn in San Francisco. That means these edibles suit those with both the pickiest taste buds and cannabis senses alike.

Mellows
Single 100mg THC Supermellow or single 5mg THC marshmellow
$17 or $5
getmellows.com

Opening up a mellow is like picking out a gourmet confection at your favorite bakery. Coming in flavors like Brown Butter Sage & Smoky Vanilla, Strawberry Shortcake, and Peppermint Bark, each handcrafted marshmallow is encrusted with a delicious layer of textured topping. They’re also infused with a homespun coconut oil infusion with hash in the strain Red Congolese, a coveted energetic and euphoric sativa. Slice up a supermellow or a drop a 5mg mellow in your coffee for a blissful kickstart to the day. 

Papa & Barkley Chocolate
100mg THC chocolate bar split in 5mg THC pieces
papaandbarkley.com

Papa & Barkley Releaf chocolates give off a soothing, mellowed-out high ideal for customers managing pain, anxiety, or insomnia. The 100mg chocolate bar is broken into approachable 5mg pieces made with fresh-pressed rosin and both non-GMO and 84 percent Fair Trade Certified ingredients. Though the fact that Papa & Barkley don’t list the strain they use is a considerable drawback, their use of fresh-pressed rosin — a particularly labor-intensive infusion for a chocolate bar — earns them props. Even better, the chocolate itself is so rich and velvety it gives Ghirardelli a run for his money.

Kiva Lost Farm Gummies
Pack of 10 10mg THC gummies
$22
kivaconfections.com

Perhaps one of the most widely-accessible full spectrum gummies on the market, Kiva’s new Lost Farm gummies are a great on-the-go pick. Packaged in a compact tube, each variety is made with fruit terpenes that are intended to compliment the specific strain listed on the package. Each is made with live resin, a potent extract made by fresh freezing flower and processing it through a solvent. Though this means Lost Farm gummies don’t have quite the same expansive range of cannabinoids as a hash or rosin-made edible, it also means the cannabis flavor is pretty much undetectable. 


Veronica Irwin is a contributing writer. Twitter @vronirwin

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