Sweet highs

One writer explores the differing highs among three cannabis-infused edibles to see which one strikes the perfect balance

These CBD-forward mini cookies by Big Pete’s Treats are great for hours of relaxation.

These CBD-forward mini cookies by Big Pete’s Treats are great for hours of relaxation.

Photos courtesy of Big Pete’s Treats

There’s scientific evidence that proves cannabis-infused edibles hit harder and last longer than smoking. But dosing with edibles can be tricky.

The breakdown of THC in the liver, where a more potent compound called 11-Hydroxy-THC is produced, is why your last experience with edibles went awry.

Coffee & Doughnuts is a nice pick-me-up, especially with a little THC.

Photo courtesy of Coda

Finding the right amount of THC to give you the right amount of high is enough of a challenge. Adding CBD to the mix only increases the difficulty of finding an edible that doesn’t result in a regretful experience because ingesting CBD can counter the psychoactive effects of THC.

While company reports and industry trends suggest that anywhere from 5 to 20 milligrams is the recommended amount of THC for safe consumption, it’s not uncommon to encounter higher dosage edibles at dispensaries. The task of figuring the right dosage amount for your lifestyle gets trickier as the available options only become more overwhelming, with each brand boasting its formula is “the best,” or each package claiming to achieve “the perfect high.”

In search of a true, balanced high, I tried three different edibles in cookie and chocolate bar forms. You know, for science. Besides, during the holiday season it’s always nice to stock up on a few trustworthy edibles to get you through the stress of it all. A little nibble here and there goes a long way between visits with the extended family.

NUG’s Matcha White Chocolate Bar blends earthiness and creaminess, with THC and CBD.

Photo courtesy of NUG

Coda Signature’s Coffee & Doughnuts chocolate bar, for example, is a nice little pick-me-up in the morning. The cinnamon and toasted milk flavors strike the palate like the aroma of brewed coffee or steamed eggnog fills a room. Plus, the 5mg of THC in each half of the bar’s 10 squares snap the brain awake. Its low dosage wrangles the mind into focus, providing the energy and clarity to see tasks through to completion—and then some. You may even find yourself multitasking with perceived greater precision while chewing the chocolate bar during the workday.

In contrast, Big Pete’s Treats’ classic Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies are great just before checking out for the day. Nothing prepares the body better for a few hours of relaxation like CBD, and the 10mg dosage of CBD to 1mg THC in each mini cookie sets the body and mind at ease for taking in the breeze or catching some ZZZs. The effects are calming and serene, like floating on a still ocean or sinking into a warm bed. Though they do go fast, the size of these mini cookies doesn’t cheapen their lasting effects.

But what if you want a combination? Say, an edible that provides both the psychedelic effects of THC and the soothing effects of CBD together in a satisfying package?

NUG, one of California’s most popular cannabis brands, answers with its Matcha White Chocolate Bar. It’s an interesting blend of matcha earthiness and chocolate creaminess, with an equal ratio of CBD to THC. Though there’s a subtle sweetness to the chocolate, the Japanese-imported matcha is dominant and the first flavor to hit the senses. It’s like coating a white chocolate Hershey’s bar in a matcha latte, which makes it a tough sell for those put off by that very prominent and very pungent earthy flavor.

The effects are a different story, though. Each square of the matcha bar’s 16 pieces contains 6.25mg of CBD and 6.25mg of THC. It’s a little bizarre that this bar is NUG’s first time dabbling in CBD, but the effects highlight a competent balance. Its effects are a dance between a delicate head high that mixes beautifully with a soothing muscle relaxation that captures that “flow state” feeling. The effect is meditative and clear, supplying focus and vigor to breathe even as that deadline looms above. Getting past the startling matcha flavor may be a hurdle, but the payoff is the head clarity and the body relaxation, which makes the initial shock worthwhile.

Matcha is also one of those trendy ingredients as the decade comes to a close, so it’s no surprise to see the Oakland-based company hopping on the bandwagon. It’s easy to peg the Matcha Chocolate Bar as being either an exploitation of the matcha trend or a tongue-in-cheek nod to cannabis culture because of the green color. Whatever it looks like on the surface belies what’s underneath: A wonderfully-tuned edible that offers clarity and energy in easy-to-dose cubes.