Toking could become passé as edibles and vaping grow in popularity among marijuana users and THC concentrations increase. As potheads celebrated 420 Thursday, attention was turning from weed’s flowers to the oils and concentrates as the future of the industry.
Medical-grade marijuana is three times as strong as that smoked by hippies in the ‘60s, and that pan of brownies is more likely to be infused with concentrates now than buds.
"The vape oils, the vape cartridges, the edibles -- it's the base, essentially, for all of these products," Michael Kay, co-founder and executive director at Bloom Farms, a San Francisco medical cannabis company, told Engadget.
The amount of THC — tetrahydrocannabinol, the principal psychoactive component of marijuana — in concentrates can be as high as 90 percent and distillates can exceed 90 percent. Hash, on the other hand, is 20 to 60 percent THC.
But Holli Bert, human resources director and community liaison at San Francisco's Green Cross dispensary, told Engadget the potency measurements can be misleading because lab tests have yet to be standardized.
Not everyone prefers off-the-charts potency, however. Bert said many people prefer the weaker products, especially people who are new users.
Edibles typically are prepared with concentrated cannabis oil or butter, and to enjoy them, people are advised to consume them slowly.
“A lot of people have had a very bad first edible experience [because they ate too fast] and then – bam! – you can’t move,” Stephanie Lamb, a marijuana-infused edibles chef, told the Spokane (Washington) Spokesman-Review.
“I wanted people to be able to eat a plate of food,” said Lamb, who microdoses her foods. Her approach also cuts down on the “weedy flavor” and makes it less likely someone will overdose.
The wine industry is taking note of marijuana’s growing popularity and is planning a symposium in California on the impact, as well as looking for ways to collaborate.
“There are levels of socializing that can be enhanced or inhibited [by consuming both wine and weed], depending on the strength and the amount you smoke,” Robert Mark Kamen, who wrote the script for “The Karate Kid,” told the New York Times.
Marijuana also has cut into beer sales in Colorado, Oregon and Washington, where recreational pot is legal.