One of the unexpected side effects of the new legal marijuana era is that the most popular products are getting weaker, not stronger. A growing number of cannabis users are realizing they don’t really want to get that high, and a few East Bay edibles brands have become the biggest names for small doses.
Low dose products, or microdoses, are increasingly in demand in the cannabis community in part because of horror stories about pot brownie panic attacks, but also because many people just prefer a more manageable, active and social buzz.
Edibles are an attractive method of microdosing because you don’t have to smoke anything and the potency is reliably precise. Microdose edibles generally pack just 1 to 5 milligrams of THC per bite, whereas a typical store-bought joint could deliver 100 to 150 milligrams of that same psychoactive ingredient, with the THC levels varying greatly, depending on the strain used, its quality and the burn rate of the joint.
Some of the best-known edibles brands are found in Berkeley and Oakland. Here are three that offer microdosed cannabis-infused chocolates and snacks.
Some of the most popular edibles at California dispensaries are the luxe, brown paper-wrapped chocolate bars and little round candy tins of Kiva Confections. Its chocolates and mints have won spots on the ‘Best Edibles of the Year’ lists in Thrillist, High Times and Newsweek magazines. Because they’re so well known and widely available in other legal cannabis states across the country, you might not realize that those infused edible treats are crafted here in the East Bay, at an Oakland chocolate factory.
Kiva Confections’ eight different varieties of high-end infused chocolate bars, chocolate-covered blueberries and espresso beans called Terra Bites, and infused Moroccan and Eucalyptus Petra Mints are made with gourmet ingredients and low doses of 5 milligrams or less per serving.
At first glance, Kiva bars may not look like a ‘microdose,’ as each full-size bar contains 100 milligrams of THC, the maximum allowable under California law. (Their Ginger Dark Chocolate and Espresso Dark Chocolate bars have an additional 100 milligrams of CBD, the non-psychoactive cannabinoid that some use to treat chronic pain or anxiety.) But each bar is scored into sections, just like you see on a Hershey’s Bar, that contain 5 milligrams each.
“We transitioned our Kiva Bar molds to five milligram breakpoints in the new year,” Kiva Confections communications manager Christie Strong told Nosh. “All of Kiva’s products are now microdosed, making it incredibly easy for new consumers to try edible cannabis without the fear of overingesting.”
If you’re still testing the waters and don’t want to commit to a whole bar or tin of edibles, Kiva’s infused chocolate-covered blueberries, espresso beans and mints now come in pocket-friendly ‘fun size’ singles that come in packs of two or four.
You may have heard that Whoopi Goldberg put out a line of marijuana-infused menstrual relief products called Whoopi & Maya. The “Maya” half of that equation happens to be the founder of the Berkeley-based Om Edibles, Maya Elisabeth.
Om Edibles moved its cannabis production facility to Berkeley in advance of the Jan. 1 recreational cannabis boom. The brand was already a big name since starting as a women-owned cannabis collective in 2008, and has collected a trophy case full of Emerald Cup and High Times World Cannabis Cup awards over the years.
Some of these award-winning edibles aren’t available anymore, casualties of the stricter, new regulatory landscape. And Om Edibles has transitioned its smaller-dose Candy Jem treats into a vegan gummy to better meet new lab testing requirements. But one of its most popular offerings is still available. CBD Raw Sipping Cacao is non-psychoactive, formulated almost entirely without THC. This cacao makes a sweet addition to coffee or works an as infused, Nutella-like spread. Each 3.7-ounce jar packs 80 milligrams of CBD, so you can choose the dosage you prefer. (A teaspoon will give you a little over 3 mg.)
There’s a farm-to-table, all-organic ethic baked in to Oakland’s 3Leaf Edibles. Made with locally-sourced, all-natural ingredients, its Quinoa Granola Bites are the health nut’s choice for a THC-infused microdose snack. Same goes for its Coconut Oatmeal Cookies, a dessert-style concoction with honey, agave and a coating of naturally sweetened white drizzle.
Be aware that 3Leaf’s microdose servings are a little more potent than the others described here. A full cookie or granola bite contains 10 milligrams of THC, so a beginner or low-doser might want to break that serving in half or smaller. But 3Leaf Edibles still stands out as a leading East Bay edible brand that avoids using sugar, and relies entirely on organic fruit and nectar flavoring.
We also have to hand out some honorable mentions: Berkeley’s Atlas Edibles brings a veteran Chez Panisse chef to the table for gluten-free, dairy-free granola treats. Emeryville’s Kikoko Teas are a hit with four different infused teas, all brewed to induce the certain, specific effect of your choice. And Oakland’s Sublime Canna is working on an infused gourmet cannabis mint that will add new flavor to the East Bay edible scene.