The Best Cannabis Edibles of 2020
Luxe truffles, apple pie-flavored gummies, and sparkling cbd-infused tea are some of many of the best edible products out there.
It’s been a decidedly great year for weed. We’ve had states like New Jersey and Arizona legalize, Congress passed the MORE act which puts another dent into federal prohibition, and dispensaries and other cannabis businesses were designated as “essential” amidst the pandemic.
With more patients and general consumers gaining access, that means more products hitting the market, and that means your stoney baloney friend Sean here telling you which brands of edibles to look for on whatever fly-by-night delivery app your friend told you to download. I am here to share my learnings with you young Padawan, walk with me as we look back at the best-infused treats, beverages, and ingestibles of the year.
As always, the factors that make for an outstanding edible are: consistency in cannabinoid content, accurate dosing (with a reliable THC:CBD ratio), freshness, flavor, onset, duration, labeling, and packaging.
Availability: California, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Michigan
“I want you to taste the best fucking edibles of your life”—those are Chicago Chef Mindy Segal’s swearwords, not mine. Punk vixen, seasoned chocolatier, James Beard Award winner, and a highly productive entrepreneur; Segal's true calling was always to bring weed-infused confections to the masses. Her quest for the perfect infused sweet has led her to a partnership with multi-state operator Cresco Labs to produce Mindy’s Artisanal Edibles, a line of decadent gummies that are just *chef’s kiss*.
With options like glazed clementine orange and key lime kiwi, she works with food scientists to channel the intense, fresh fruit flavors of her desserts into the form of edibles. The lush black cherry variety is a complete knockout, having originated as a cobbler recipe where the sweet and tart cherries then poached in their own juice and topped with cream. The Artisanal gummies capture the peak of farmer’s market produce as you, yourself, are peaking as well.
Availability: Nationally (except for Alaska and Hawaii)
Sweet Reason’s lineup of canna-bevs range from lower dose light sips—in flavors like lemon and rhubarb or strawberry and lavender—on up to their 30mg dose Evening Blends sporting a powerful combo of calming herbs and stress-reducing adaptogens, all of which made with broad spectrum hemp CBD. The grapefruit flavor is easily a permanent replacement for whichever sparkling water brand you’ve been hooked on since working at that one cool startup that had the stocked office fridge up until the whole company went under. Made with top-quality Colorado hemp extract, it’s a crisp, effervescent drink with very little sweetness and a nice dry finish.
Los Angeles-based Kanha holds their own in the pantheon of infused sweets with their cran-pomegranate punch gummies, energizing edibles that are sweet and gumdrop-ish in texture. This line utilizes a patented nanomolecular technology, which I can only assume involves the transmitter that shrinks Mike Teavee in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The payoff of having a “nano” gummie is that it has a quicker onset of effects than your average edible of the same dosage, so instead of having to wait 30-40 minutes to begin feeling blissed out, Kanha approximately cuts that time in half. Pop one and in no time you’ll be relaxing more than that “bed-ridden” grifter Grandpa Joe.
If you’re trying to picture the type of edibles that would find their way into swanky Oscar nominee swag bags, you’re thinking of Coda Signature’s truffles. The haute truffles are trippily hand-painted and the latest flavor is filled with rich and smooth burnt caramel with a hint of smokiness and a dusting of English Maldon sea salt. Some of you who think luxury and cannabis can’t coincide haven’t had the pleasure of eating a weed truffle and ripping a ceramic Chongo bong, and IT SHOWS.
Availability: California, Colorado
The brainchild of Lagunitas brewmaster Jeremy Marshall and Absolute Xtracts budmaster Patrick Anderson, Hi-Fi is a citrusy sparkling water that, while sporting a hoppy taste, is non-alcoholic and instead draws its buzz from an infusion of sun-grown cannabis oil. It’s no surprise coming from the circus freaks over at Lagunitas who’ve spent decades cultivating a 420-friendly brand, from their collaborations with The Waldos to having endured a sting operation that shut down their Petaluma brewery over a single joint back in 2005. The Tuner varietal, with an even balance of THC and CBD, provides a clear, relaxed hangover-free headspace primed for your next high happy hour.
Kikoko is a women-founded, women-run botanical wellness company that puts out one of the top-selling infused beverages on the market. Formulated to address specific ailments, Kikoko’s offerings include Tranquili-Tea for insomnia, Sympa-Tea for pain relief, Sensuali-Tea to enhance sex, and a brisk minty Positivi-Tea for mood elevation. Taken with one of their antioxidant HoneyShots, it’s an idyllic option for a high tea gathering complete with scones, finger sandwiches, and some cheddar cheese Combos.
Kiva Confections’ high-caliber roster of gummies, chews, mints, chocolate bars and bites is second-to-none. Their Terra Dark Chocolate Espresso Beans provide a balance of blissed out and energizing effects, great for morning bake or after-dinner sesh. The cacao is infused with cold water hash for a truer terpene profile and, for the true coffee nerds out there (looking at you Dan Gentile), the bonafides are all here with espresso beans sourced from Bay Area mainstay Andytown Coffee Roasters.
Discretion and fast activation are a top draw for Kin Slips citrusy sublingual strips—taken under the tongue not unlike Listerine breath strips. The case for Kin Slips over some other forms of cannabis edibles is that they’re fast acting, precisely dosed (as each strip is homogenous and pre-cut to an exact dosage), and they’re zero-calorie, sugar-free, vegan, and non-GMO.
The paper-thin packets make for a travel-friendly edible that can easily be stashed in a purse, pocket, or wallet. While there is full product and dosing information on the main packaging, there’s no reference to cannabis or THC on the individually-packaged slips, so any nosy narcs who happen upon your stash will be none-the-wiser.
With so many cannabis edibles drawing nostalgic snack food inspiration, consider Fruit Slabs an elevated Fruit Roll-up in that it uses quality organic ingredients and some of those ingredients have delightful psychoactive effects. The OG Mango slabs have a fruit leather consistency with chunks of mango, and are a healthy heady snack option since they’re vegan-friendly and made with no added sugars. At a potent 100mg of THC per slab, just be sure to nibble responsibly before transcending to your tropical paradise (or living room). A special shout out to the almighty stoner food highcons Mike Glazer and Mary Jane Gibson at Weed + Grub for turning me onto the magic of the slab.
Woman-owned and operated Peak Extracts was the first adult-use edibles producer licensed in Oregon and is among the top chocolate manufacturers in the Beaver State. Every Peak cannabis and hemp product is made using a proprietary in-house Terp-Lock extraction process meant to retain the characteristics and effects of the original plant material. So if you’re fan of strains like Gorilla Glue #4 and Sour Diesel, then the Sour Space Candy cultivar in a dark chocolate CBD bar is made precisely for you.
Availability: California, Oklahoma
Ah apple pie, just like mom used to make, or at least like mom used to pick up from McDonald’s have you begged her nonstop to take you to McDonald’s. Apple pie in a THC-laden gummie coin form, even better. Platinum Vape’s edibles are packed with the rich sweetness of fresh apple pie and hints of cinnamon and spice. This stellar seasonal mood-setter comes from Platinum’s father-son team who built the highly successful cannabis brand with the money they made from selling a used dirt bike.
There’s no better all-purpose utility stoner snack than popcorn and Pop-up Potcorn combines kernels and cannabis in a microwaveable bag that’s a breeze to make at home. The 10mg bags are lab-tested to ensure potency after cooking and they’re also well-dosed with live resin cannabis oil to allay concerns about over-indulging. Potcorn is such a natural fit for movie night, so heat up a bag and take in the majesty of Nic Cage’s anguished toilet screaming performance in Mandy.
Availability: California, Nevada, and Rhode Island
Found in their distinctively Venice-cool pastel packaging, Cann has been a go-to fizzy drink throughout quarantine this year as they really nail the low-dose, social buzz cannabis beverage. The sessionable dosing lends itself really well to newcomers as the “strength” of one serving is comparable to that of a light beer or a glass of wine. If you’re interested in a San Pellegrino that can take the edge off, you've found it with Cann’s blood orange flavor.
With seamless alcohol alternatives like this on the market, it’s easy to see why cannabis beverages are expected to rake in an estimated $1.8 billion this year.
Availability: Colorado, Illinois Oklahoma
Colorado edibles maker 1906 is the leader of the pack when it comes to out-of-this-world infused peanut butter cups. Their Bliss Cups are aimed at providing a euphoric and relaxing high that brings out your extroverted happiness. It evokes a mood that I self-describe as charming whereas my friends would describe it as “irrational confidence” and “Sean, why are you rambling about why so few animals have lips?” Available in milk chocolate and dark chocolate, the cups also contain some healthy mix-ins like kanna, magnolia bark extract, and theobromine.
Give a person edibles, and you get them high for a day. Teach a person how to make edibles, and you get them high for a lifetime. Assuming they don’t lose their plug, that is. The MagicalButter MB2e is a fully-automatic countertop botanical extractor designed for making recipes that infuse herbs like sage, lavender, or cannabis with butter, oil, grain alcohol, or lotions. Equipped with a versatile immersion blade and a programmable thermostat, the machine can also grind, stir, heat, and steep herbal extracts at precise times and temperatures, yielding extremely high-quality infusions with next-to-no effort.
Once you hunker down you’ll be tossing cannabutter into all of your recipes and you’ll be better off for it. As for cleaning up, you simply give the machine a rinse, fill it up halfway with soapy water and press the clean button. Voila, another chore you can easily accomplish after you’re done with the magic brownies.