Cannabis-infused cuisine is an emerging trend in Canada, with chefs and restaurateurs experimenting with the plant to create new and exciting dishes. Anyone who’s watched an episode of Bong Appétit is probably just as eager as we are to see this more elevated version of cannabis edibles hit the mainstream. From THC-infused duck confit, to kush-infused kimchi, the promise of elevated cannabis cuisine has a lot of Canadians excited.
Could cannabis-themed lounges and restaurants become a reality for Canadians? We think so, but it might not happen right away.
Current State of Cannabis-Infused Cuisine in Canada
Since the legalization of cannabis in Canada, there has been a surge in interest in cannabis-infused cuisine. Many pop-up restaurants have started incorporating cannabis into their dishes, creating new and exciting options for diners. However, cannabis-infused cuisine was not something that Health Canada really accounted for and licensed restaurants aren’t allowed to serve cannabis to consumers; most of the events we do have now, are privately organized.
The laws vary by province, but in Ontario for example, only the OCS, or authorized retailers can sell cannabis. But in the last year or so, there have been growing calls to incorporate a framework in the Cannabis Act for licensed establishments to engage in the sale of infused-cuisine.
The Dosing Challenge
One of the other challenges facing the cannabis-infused cuisine industry in Canada is the lack of clarity around the dosing of cannabis in food. Health Canada has set limits on the amount of THC (the psychoactive compound in cannabis) that can be present in cannabis-infused products, but these limits do not account for the different cooking methods used in cuisine. You can imagine how well it would go-over if people were ‘greening-out’ on a meal because they didn’t realize how much cannabis they were consuming. A good chef needs to be careful to ensure that their dishes are properly dosed to avoid overconsumption by diners, and will generally follow the start low, and go slow mantra.
The Stigma Challenge
Another challenge facing the industry is the stigma around cannabis. Many diners are still hesitant to try cannabis-infused dishes, fearing that they will get too high or experience negative side effects. Chefs and restaurants are working hard to combat this stigma by educating diners on the benefits and risks of cannabis consumption and creating delicious dishes that showcase the plant in a positive light.
Potential for Growth in the Future
Despite these challenges, the future of cannabis-infused cuisine in Canada looks bright. In more mature markets like Colorado, there is a thriving cannabis-infused cuisine scene. As the regulations around cannabis-infused products become more established, chefs and restaurateurs will have more clarity around the dosing of cannabis in food, and regulations will likely evolve to permit cannabis-cuisine in some form — although we don’t expect to see the level of permissibility that places like Colorado have — not yet anyway.
In addition, as the stigma around cannabis continues to diminish, more diners will be willing to try cannabis-infused dishes. Chefs and restaurants can leverage the trend towards health and wellness to showcase the benefits of cannabis, such as its potential to alleviate pain and anxiety.
There is also a growing interest in sustainable and locally sourced food, which could benefit the cannabis-infused cuisine industry. Cannabis is a plant that can be grown sustainably and locally, making it a great option for chefs and restaurants looking to create more environmentally conscious dishes. As consumers become more aware of the impact of their food choices on the environment, they may seek out cannabis-infused dishes as a more sustainable option.
Finally, the legalization of cannabis has opened up new opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors in the food industry. Cannabis-infused cuisine is a new and exciting niche that has the potential to attract investment and generate significant revenue. As the industry continues to grow and evolve, we can expect to see more investment and innovation in this space.
As the regulations around cannabis-infused products become more established and the stigma around cannabis continues to diminish, we can expect to see more growth and innovation in this space. The future of cannabis-infused cuisine in Canada looks bright, and we can’t wait to see what exciting new dishes chefs and restaurants will create next.