These are a couple of super stressful weeks. We’re hurtling toward the end of the year, seasonal celebrations are in full swing, and there’s holiday baking and shopping to do. There also might be a long-postponed family get-together you’re totally dreading but still hoping to navigate with aplomb.
In the past, using cannabis to take the edge off those stressors came with the very real risk of being too high to function due in no small part to pot’s ever-increasing potency. Inhale too deeply or accidentally pop one too many gummies and eggnog gets spilled, Christmas trees become collateral damage and the baby Jesus in the creche scene gets swapped out for a lump of uncooked cookie dough.
This year, though, things are different, and you might actually be able to turn to THC without turning into a human yule log — even if you’re a less-than-seasoned cannabis consumer.
That’s because while demand for high-THC cannabis flower still drives the bud business, as the state’s recreational cannabis market matures (recreational use has been legal in California since November 2016; it remains illegal at the federal level), brands are trying to broaden their appeal by offering low-dose options suitable for first-timers, less-frequent consumers and anyone apprehensive about accidentally overdoing it.
That was one of the biggest trends I noticed walking the aisles of a business-to-business cannabis trade show called Hall of Flowers in Santa Rosa a few months back.
I’d made the trip north — along with an L.A. Times video team — as part of a new video series called the Green Room, that focuses on California’s cannabis commerce and culture. The inaugural episode, which focuses on the low-dose trend, can be viewed above, and new installments will post every few weeks.
Using that trip to Santa Rosa as a starting point, here’s a list of low-dose options designed to keep you festive — and functional — until this holiday season is in the rearview mirror.
Culver City-based Cloud11 entered the low-dose, THC-infused-foods space earlier this year with a line of palate-pleasing confections almost too beautiful to eat. The handmade artisanal edibles come in two dosage options (2 milligrams each of THC and CBD per sweet or 4 milligrams each) and in three flavors: salted peanut (a riff on the peanut butter cup that includes peanut butter ganache and a touch of sea salt); black sesame and yuzu (made using Wadaman sesame paste sourced directly from Japan) and strawberry pink peppercorn.
Available via direct-to-consumer delivery in the L.A. area through findcloud11.com, an 11-piece tin (one flavor and one dosage) is $90; a 22-piece tin (two flavors and two dosing levels) is $170.
Recently launched Country is proudly positioning itself as a “light cannabis” brand, even going so far as slapping that slogan on its pump-top, vacuum-seal jars of pre-rolled joints. The first product out of the gate is a 1-to-1 CBD-to-THC sativa blend called Good Neighbor (a cross between the Jack Herer and AC/DC cultivars) that aims for a THC content in the 10% range. (The amount of THC in any given pre-roll can vary wildly depending on the herb inside, but for comparison’s sake, the SoCal-popular strain Blue Dream runs about 18% THC.)
Country products are available exclusively through the Eaze delivery service ($7 for a single .6-gram pre-roll, $40 for a jar of six.)
3. Pure Beauty
L.A.-based Pure Beauty is known for its powerful, sustainably grown flower and its arty, playful packaging. It’s also earned a reputation as a go-to for serving up high-CBD flower that doesn’t trade off taste and terpenes for a lower level of THC. Their lowest-THC offering is a 20-to-1 CBD-to-THC strain called Terry T (a Lemon Banana Sherbet X AC/DC X Lono cross) with a THC content that hovers around .77%. While that’s a low-enough level to loosen most folks up without messing them up, it’s still more than the .3% THC level stipulated by the federal government for it to be considered (and sold as) hemp.
Therefore, it can be purchased only in dispensaries licensed to sell cannabis-containing products. Available in 3.5-gram jars of loose flower, 1-gram pre-rolls and 10-count boxes of .35-gram mini-joints dubbed “babies.” Additional information, list of stockists and delivery options can be found at purebeautypurebeauty.co.
Purejuana, one of the newest options in the fast-growing category of cannabis-infused drink additives, is a vegan, gluten-free, low-calorie soluble powder designed to turn any beverage into a THC-enhanced beverage. In addition to 5-milligram and 10-milligram doses designed for more experienced users, there’s an approachable 2.5-milligram option for those baby-stepping into the baked-by-a-beverage space.
Thanks to a manufacturing process that preserves the pot plants’ natural flavor profile (it involves flash-freezing sustainably grown flower sourced from two Northern California farms), it also serves up a weedy, terpene-packed punch, especially when added to a neutral-flavored beverage like water or club soda. Ten-serving boxes of the 2.5-milligram dose packets sell for $19. Delivery information and a list of stocking dispensaries can be found at purejuana.com.
5. Rose Delights
Each of the half-moon-shaped, starch-based, Turkish delight-style Singles by Rose Delights gummies clocks in at just 1 milligram of THC, a dose that’s low enough for even an apprentice-level elf to navigate without fear of overdoing it. Each tube contains 12 vegan and gluten-free servings made with grenache grapes (pressed in-house) and infused with single-strain cannabis flower rosin extracted from LitHouse flower (also pressed in-house). Available in sativa or indica at an MSRP of $15. Check rosedelights.com for a list of stocking dispensaries and delivery services
While there are plenty of low-potency, pot-based potables to choose from, there are two things that make Wunder’s Sessions lineup (“session” denotes a lower THC level than its other offerings, the same way session beer has slightly less alcohol) stand apart from the (four) pack. First is the mad-refreshing, lightly carbonated, citrus-forward flavors: blood orange bitters, lemon ginger and grapefruit hibiscus.
Second is the mix of cannabinoids; each 8-ounce can serves up 2 milligrams of delta-9 THC (more frequently referred to simply as THC, it’s the compound most cannabis consumers are familiar with), 4 milligrams of CBD and 2 milligrams of delta-8 THC (one of the cannabinoids of the moment that delivers a high not as intense or long-lasting as a delta-9 buzz). It’s a combination designed to stoke a functional low-and-slow, all-day, get-things-done kind of buzz ($14 per four-pack). And, if getting lit like the family Christmas tree is more your speed, there’s always the brand’s Higher Vibes dosage (10 milligrams each of delta-9 and delta-8 THC per can, $18 per four-pack). Additional information, including availability, can be found at findwunder.com.
Launched in August, Zeno is one of the newest — and lowest-THC — options available in Los Angeles. Each tablet contains an ultra-low-dose of .4 milligrams of THC along with an amino acid called L-theanine, a combination designed to reduce anxiety, boost mood and increase focus in a more balanced (and functional) way than ingesting larger doses does.
Designed to be part of a daily health and wellness regimen, Zeno can be thought of as the cannabis counterpart to the Advent calendar; opening a new window — and a new outlook — every day. The super subtle effect of that lower dose (for most people anyway, as THC affects everyone differently) makes it a good option for those hoping to incorporate cannabis into a daily health and wellness regimen but who don’t want to risk being sidelined by a full-blown recreational high. Available in L.A. (as well as San Francisco) exclusively via the Grassdoor delivery service for $60 per 60-tablet vial or $20 for an 18-tablet starter pack.