2018 will go down as a banner year for cannabis. In New York, in North America, and across the globe. Massachusetts and Michigan joined the West Coast as fully legal states. Dozens of other states moved in that direction, not to mention Thailand, South Korea and China all moving on medical cannabis. All year long, weed stocks have been rallying, and occasionally, spiking on good news. Just after Halloween, anti-weed Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned (bump). Then the Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp (bump). And just this week Governor Cuomo reaffirmed what he’s been saying since Cynthia Nixon made marijuana an issue in the governor’s debate: He wants legal marijuana in New York, and he’s stepping on the gas to get there.
Naturally, New York has a ripe cannabis history. In the early 1950s, Gotham was an important front in the nation’s nascent drug war. The “White Wing Squad” of the puritanical Sanitation Department General Inspector John E. Gleason destroyed pot farms, and home plots, across the city: The biggest farms were in Queens and Brooklyn where the squad dug up “millions of dollars” worth of the plants, many as “tall as Christmas trees.” Most of the seized plants were burned in open fires in Woodside. Today, the state’s slow-moving medical marijuana program includes just five licensed growers, roughly 20 dispensaries, and nearly 75,000 registered, card-carrying medical marijuana patients. (Look out for our deep dive piece on the future of Empire State ganja in early in the New Year.)
Yes, cannabis in its many forms is only gonna become even more ubiquitous. If you thought you were sick of CBD before, just you wait. CBD is going to be everywhere, and in larger doses. My local IGA is selling a chocolate bar with 80 milligrams of CBD. Not too shabby.
Like with your food, it pays to know your cannabis source. Not just for holiday conversations, but so you are adequately stocked and aware as we slide into the New Year. We suggest you start honing your CBD game now. Many of these same brands make THC-rich versions, which are only available in the state where they are made.
P.S. If you are a New Yorker, you can get a medical card. The prescribing doctor or nurse practitioner should be able to answer all your questions. I got my card through Hampton Medi Spa, which was fast (under 30 min), affordable ($200) and all via virtual visit. You can also find a prescribing doctor or nurse practitioner through any of the state’s dispensaries.
TINCTURES AND OILS
These liquid forms of cannabis have become popular for therapeutic use. Whether infused in oil or an alcohol-based tincture, the liquid form is easier and more accurate to dose than edibles (which can be unpredictable). And the effects don’t come on as fast as smoking. Cannabis clinicians typically recommend taking this form under the tongue (sublingually) and holding it in your mouth for 20 or 30 seconds before swallowing. This maximizes absorption into the bloodstream. The effects from these drops come on in 10 to 15 minutes and last for a few hours. Many people take a few drops in the morning and a few drops at night for general health benefits (anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, pain-reducing).
1. Open Minded Organics
This farm in Bridgehampton, New York, known for its gourmet mushroom production, received an early permit to compound, grow and make hemp oil. They sell a 900-milligram bottle and an 1,800-milligram bottle. We recommend the 1,800-milligram bottle as a better per dose deal. They sometimes sell a 2,100-milligram bottle which is an even better deal. Open Minded Organics’ first homegrown crop (previous batches came from Colorado) should be available soon. Buy here.
2. NYC Botanics
Another New York maker we like is Jill Fagan’s NYC Botanics label. Clean flavor and excellent cannabis sourcing. Like Open Minded Organics, the emphasis is on full-spectrum or whole plant; in other words, CBD isn’t the only phytochemical that’s important, and so NYC Botanics makes sure to include terpenes and other important compounds for ensuring CBD is most effective. Buy here.
3. Sunshine CBD
This small-batch Colorado brand, started by two brothers, uses only Colorado-grown cannabis with meticulous farmer and variety sourcing. Available in sublingual oils, dab-able concentrates and other forms. Not to mention CBD for your pet and other aspects of your life. Buy here.
4. Beboe CBD Vape Pen
Anna Duckworth, editor in chief of Miss Grass, a cannabis-focused media company, first told me about Beboe at a foodtech conference where she was singing the praises of discreet cannabis consumption throughout a productive workday. Since then, I trust everything she says. Find Beboe pens here.
5. Wildflower CBD vaporizer
Wildflower has some of the prettiest vaporizers around. And their blends are designed for specific ailments and conditions. Plus they just look good in your fingers. Available online here and at selected pharmacies and wellness depots like Botanica Bazaar (Los Angeles and Amagansett, New York) and Ladies of Paradise (Portland, Oregon, and SoHo).
6. Alto Essentials
This Oregon-based farm and food maker, which works in conjunction with NYC-based chef Jonah Reider, offers common kitchen ingredients—sea salt, honey, olive oil–infused with CBD and other cannabis compounds. For the “elevated palette,” hehehe. Buy here.
7. Pot d’Huile
This San Francisco–based company is focusing on olive oil, in different sizes and strengths, with the goal “to solve the two biggest problems associated with cannabis edibles: poor taste and inconsistent dosage.” Turn any dessert or pasta dish into something really special. Buy here.
8. CBD coffee from Jane West’s Flwr Shop
I have never tried this enhanced java from Jane West, but I’m obsessed (hint, hint, Santa). Highly recommended by Anna Duckworth and the staff at Miss Grass, which is apparently powered by CBD coffee. Buy here.
9. Lord Jones CBD dark chocolate espresso chews
Lord Jones is one of the few national CBD brands that you might recognize. These espresso chews are so popular that they frequently sell out. Like CBD coffee they promise the attentiveness associated with caffeine paired with the calm that CBD delivers. Available here.
10. Camino Cannabis-Infused Gummies
This discreet pleasure is also from Ms. Duckworth of Miss Grass, who calls these infused gummies “the best noob dose on the market.” Available from Kiva Confections.
LOTIONS AND POTIONS
11. Apothecanna pain oils
Apothecanna is tops in the herbal healing game. Their oils contain only things you would want to put on your body. And they deliver an aromatherapy double-dose with organic essential oils and plant extracts like peppermint, juniper, arnica, lavender and CBD. Buy here.
12. Khus+Khus foot scrub
As recommended by the team at Miss Grass, this hand, foot and nail treatment delivers on the “self-indulgence” promise. Take your foot rub game to the next level with this concoction of hemp, wild carrot, neroli and other magical plants. Buy here.
13. Kb Pure Essentials hemp deodorant
An herbal deodorant made with California-grown certified organic hemp, as well as California wild-harvested herbs. Buy here.
14. Foria Awaken personal lube
A great brand, known mostly for their THC-containing personal lubricants. They make non-THC versions available worldwide and are now making products for the rest of your body. Buy here.