The very best culinary experiences emerge when care is put into developing complementary aromas, flavors and textures. There is an entire industry devoted to understanding the attributes of wine with the intention of creating harmony with specific foods — and soon enough, a similar market could develop for weed.
As cannabis culture grows in size and scope, more people are looking for high-class cannabis experiences, which often means combining marijuana and fine dining in new and delectable ways. Whether you are hoping to wow guests with an immaculate weed-focused dinner party or you merely want to elevate your own high dining experience, here are a few easy rules for pairing cannabis and food with success.
Always Research Terpene Profiles
Terpenes are a class of organic compounds present in many plants and some insects. While there are many notable attributes of terpenes, their most famous characteristic is their varied aromas, which tend to be strong. Some of your most favorite smells likely derive from terpenes — smells like citrus, pine, lavender and clove.
Cannabis is packed with terpenes, which is why it boasts such a pungent funk. Even when you infuse cannabis in alcohol or oil, stripping away the plant material, many of those terpenes remain and lend their aromas to the final product. Thus, it is important to understand what terpenes are present in your bud, so you can better predict how your cannabis will pair with the food and beverages on offer.
Every cannabis strain has a unique terpene profile, so it isn’t enough to know which terpenes are generally present in weed. When you pick up some marijuana from an Oklahoma dispensary (or whatever local pot shop you prefer) you should ask the budtenders about the dominant terpenes of the strain. If they cannot provide this information, you should be able to look up terpene profiles on the grower’s website or within other online resources.
If all else fails, you can try to identify the dominant terpenes yourself using an old-fashioned tool called your nose. You can find descriptions of most terpenes found in marijuana, and with practice, you should be able to pick out the specific aromas from distinct terpenes. The sooner you start applying your nose to terpene sniffing, the better your sense will be when you need it.
Understand Cannabinoid Effects
Most connoisseurs are primarily concerned with matching the flavors of food to the aromas of weed — but because cannabis has other effects besides scent and taste, you need to be cognizant of cannabinoids, too. Cannabinoids are compounds unique to cannabis; while researchers have identified over 100 cannabinoids, there are truly only two that really matter in this context: THC and CBD. While you are researching your strain’s terpene profile, you might also investigate its cannabinoid content.
A strain with a large percentage of THC will increase appetite significantly while providing strong psychoactive effects, like euphoria and keen sensation. As a result, a high-THC strain might be useful at the beginning of a meal, when there is plenty of food to come and heightened senses will augment the experience of eating. In contrast, a strain with more CBD than THC is likely to provide a sense of calm and relaxation. CBD is not psychoactive, but it seems to provide a wealth of useful effects, particularly at the end of the day when you want to feel tranquil and ready for sleep.
If necessarily, you might experiment with different strains and take note of how they affect you in the hours after you consume them. Though cannabis and cannabinoids affect different people in different ways, having the baseline of your experience can help you make decisions about the best strains for different culinary occasions.
Prioritize Balance in Pairings
The best food is balanced — in flavors, aromas, textures, and effects. This is why salted caramel is so delectable, why melted cheese goes with crispy tortilla chips and why lemon and ginger pair so delightfully. Once you understand the flavors and effects of your cannabis strains, you can work to find the perfect counterparts to them in food and drink.
If you are just looking to get high, you don’t need to go through the trouble of researching terpenes and cannabinoids and considering balanced culinary experiences. However, if you want to elevate your stoner lifestyle, you can start by learning more about pairing cannabis with food in an elegant, enlightened way.