Will Culinary Cannabis make Marijuana Mainstream?

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With very little exception, discussions about the relationship between the bar and nightlife business and cannabis tend to revolve around laws, infused spirits, and cocktails. Chris Sayegh (pronounced “sage,” which is apropos) is the owner and head chef of The Herbal Chef, and he wants to add edibles to the cannabis conversation.

I don’t mean edibles in terms of just cookies, brownies and CBD lozenges. The Herbal Chef takes edibles to an entirely different level. In fact, they’re the largest culinary cannabis company in existence. Sayegh’s curiosity motivated his culinary cannabis journey. He wanted to know and understand what was really going on inside his body when he consumed cannabis.

Why Dosage Matters

What he found is that humans and other mammals have an endo-cannabinoid system in their bodies. The endo-cannabinoid system is one of the largest receptors in the body, and mammals benefit from consuming THC (the principal psychoactive element of cannabis) if they do so properly. When it comes to cannabis, proper consumption of THC means understanding dosage. According to Sayegh and The Herbal Chef website, 1 dose equals 10 milligrams of THC.

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“Start with one dose and wait at least an hour and a half to notice any effects. Sometimes metabolizing THC through your digestive system will take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half. Find your perfect dosage one step at a time. I promise, there is nothing worse in the marijuana world than taking too much THC via digestion,” cautions The Herbal Chef.

Edibles are important to the cannabis conversation because learning about dosage helps people to understand the effects of THC on the human body. That understanding is what will help change the perception of cannabis users and the accompanying stereotypes, which in turn will (over time) lead to more states having real and rational discussions about recreational usage. Fail to understand dosages and the math involved and you run the risk of giving your guests too much THC; give people too much and their experience will be negative, and that will only further negative stereotypes and perception.

Ensuring a Positive Experience

Sayegh uses extracts in his edibles for several reasons: most of his creations are fat based, he can lab test his extractions, and he’s able to precisely calculate dosages. Because he understands extractions and dosages so well he’s able to teach other chefs how to calculate doses and cook with cannabis properly. Should you operate in a state, county, city or town that decriminalizes cannabis now or in the future and you choose to offer edibles, you will be responsible for your guests’ experience. Remember, this is a psychoactive product—your level of responsible service is automatically heightened, and your level of hospitality much rise to match.

This topic is not theoretical, by the way. The Herbal Chef is a very real edibles and culinary company. Decriminalization is a very real political topic. Bar, nightclub and restaurant operators will have to reckon with decriminalized cannabis. Edibles are important to this discussion because they may just be what pushes cannabis into the mainstream in a positive light. Sayegh’s approach to edible cannabis products is scientific, providing bar, restaurant and nightclub owners and operators with factual information that they can then share with their state and local government officials. He’s committed to educating the public and politicians alike, just as he’s committed to shattering stereotypes through the use of upscale branding and marketing, advocating responsible dosages and use of cannabis, and helping to bring forward-thinking entertainment to our industry.

At this point, our federal government classifies cannabis as a schedule 1 drug, meaning it is illegal on the federal level without exception. State, county, city and town laws differ from state to state, complicating the matter. It’s crucial to the cannabis business that operators seeking to get involved with this multibillion-dollar industry speak to local lawmakers, develop relationships and educate them in order to steer them out of old-fashioned views of cannabis. Edibles, it turns out, just may lead the way to change.

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