Eight-Course Cannabis Dinner to Benefit Parkinson's Research

Chef Clay Inscoe likes to pick his own herbs.
Chef Clay Inscoe likes to pick his own herbs. Tanwa Sayasonti
The clinical jury is still out on whether or not medical marijuana is an effective treatment for Parkinson's disease, but the plant's role in helping those affected by the condition will be undeniable on August 26 at Invisible City.

Chefs John Harry and Clay Inscoe will host their “High-Brow” dinner party at the end of the month to benefit the Parkinson’s Association of the Rockies, using an eight-course meal to demonstrate how terpenes — plant compounds responsible for the smell and taste of cannabis strains — can enhance the aromas and flavors found in food.

This will be the the first collaborative dinner between the two friends, and they share a similar inspiration: Both Harry and Inscoe have seen their respective fathers diagnosed with Parkinson's.

“I never really intended to get into the world of fusing cannabis and cuisines, and I always kind of wrote that off," Harry explains. "But this whole thing unfolded naturally, and I’m starting to see more potential with that."

Because of their passion for cannabis and creating organic flavors, the chefs knew this could be an opportunity to create a unique experience for guests. Every course will be served fresh and mapped out to offer more than a traditional fine-dining experience. Menu items include kombu-citrus-cured scallop sashimi, pine ice cream, wild mushrooms, gingerbread, forest herbs and a skunky Jack Herer aroma. Most of the fruits and vegetables served will be picked right from Harry’s garden in Denver, he adds.
click to enlarge Inscoe gained experience with fine dining in New York City kitchens. - COURTESY OF CLAY INSCOE
Inscoe gained experience with fine dining in New York City kitchens.
Courtesy of Clay Inscoe

Dinner guests will have the option of pairing their meals with THC upon donation, and the two rookies are excited to see how guests respond. “It’s the first time we’ve combined cannabis and charity,” Inscoe says. “[Guests] will start off energetic and happy, and then you’ll come down and be a little more relaxed."

The meal will finish off by focusing on floral and fruity terpenes like myrcene (mangos) and linalool (citrus and rosewood), which promote more of a deep, sedative effect. "It’s just a natural way to finish,” Inscoe adds.

Some scientists believe that when terpenes are paired with cannabinoids, such as THC or CDB, they create the "entourage effect,” leading to heightened therapeutic properties like euphoria and relaxation. Terpenes can also counteract negative effects such as memory loss and anxiety, studies show, and they don't need to come from cannabis.

“For those partaking in the cannabis side of things, [the terpenes] will kinda guide the mood and effect on each person,” Inscoe says. And if you aren’t looking to get elevated, terpenes also have medicinal benefits even when used alone. For instance, pinene, a terpene found in pine trees, has anti-inflammatory effects, while gerniol (lemongrass and blueberries) has shown potential as a neuroprotectant, which could prevent diseases such as Parkinson’s.

“When it’s just the straight terpenes, there is no risk of getting high,” Inscoe says, “But you have to do the research to get the right dosage.”

The dinner will be held at Invisible City, 1545 Julian Street, on the evening of Sunday, August 26. Those interested in attending (21+) can learn more at Eventbrite
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Tiffany Bergeron is a contributor for Westword's marijuana section and has been published numerous times in Sensi Magazine's Denver/Boulder Edition. She currently writes about Boulder's cannabis scene.