Thanks to online retail, you don't have to get stuck at the mall during holiday shopping season. That doesn't eliminate the stress of choosing the right gifts, though: After pondering all the possibilities, many of us fall back on buying a bottle of booze, some golf balls or a gift card. But since Colorado has an entirely different spectrum of presents — the pot-related kind — from which to choose, why not take full advantage of those options?
Although it's about to conclude four years of legal recreational sales, our state's cannabis industry continues to innovate, creating products and consumption methods that were unheard of when this grand experiment started in 2014. The CBD craze has only added to that, giving us another platform for cannabis use, one that employs the same consumption methods for very different effects.
To impress both the stoners and the squares on your list, here are six cannabis gift ideas guaranteed to be a hit during the holidays — and beyond.
One of the easiest ways to add a little CBD to your day is in your coffee, as cafes around Denver begin offering the hemp-derived cannabinoid as a supplement. That addition can double the cost of a $3 coffee, though, and not everyone wants to search for the handful of coffee shops around town carrying it. For your favorite home brewer, buy a bag of CBD-infused coffee instead. The cannabinoid's effects can help calm the anxiety of being over-caffeinated while also tackling inflammation and minor pain.
Strava Craft Coffee has been pushing CBD beans longer than just about anyone, selling 12-ounce bags of various roasts that carry anywhere from 30 to 240 milligrams of CBD in varieties called "Restore," "Elevate" and so on. You can buy them online or at various coffee shops around Denver for anywhere from $20 to $55, depending on the amount of CBD.
Cannabis-industry veteran Jane West also recently entered the CBD coffee arena. Her line is more condensed, offering light and dark roasts with 240 milligrams of CBD per 12-ounce bag — but it's also cheaper than Strava's 240-milligram option, selling at $48 per bag online. I like the chocolate, nutty flavors of the Costa Rican light roast before work, but the fruity, luscious notes of the mocha java dark roast blend are perfect for a cold weekend morning.
This idea might seem outdated, but the evolution of cannabis cookbooks has been similar to the evolution of legal edibles: Once the real chefs get involved, the flavors and possibilities go up a notch. Not that there's anything wrong with pot recipes from years past, but it's always a kick to consume literature in a modernized way — and cooking with pot's never been more fun than it is today.
For the aspiring chef in your group, the Bong Appetit cookbook from Vice's food branch, Munchies, is a kick-ass compilation of 65 dishes and drinks that also breaks down how to infuse various cooking oils for different flavors. The recipes include such easy-to-make condiments as infused chimichurri and main courses like butter-basted chicken from chefs and cannabis wizards including Vanessa Lavorato, Ry Prichard and Elise McDonough. Trust us, it's a fun read.
If you like to roll up a magazine for someone's stocking each year, check out the work of the staff at Kitchen Toke. In this seasonal magazine, chefs and journalists cover topics such as dietary nutrition for medical marijuana patients while teaching readers how to plan the perfect infused holiday feast or post-workout CBD meal, and the stories are accompanied by top-notch photos and illustrations.
For those who like to invent their own reefer-based recipes, consider Goldleaf's new cooking journal. The first several pages of the volume are filled with helpful information about terpene flavor pairings and infusion techniques, but most of the book consists of empty recipe templates to spur culinary creativity.
There are many options and combinations in this category, but the best aspect is the price. Holiday-inspired items such as seasonal candy bars from Incredibles cost around $20 and can be broken apart into ten 10-milligram pieces for everyone to try, while Coda Signature's hot chocolate on a spoon and Sweet Mary Jane's infused caramel corn are both cheap single-serving options — and more than appropriate for winter.
Most dispensaries also carry mints or tablets infused with 2.5, 3.5 or 5 milligrams of THC and CBD, or you can buy a multi-pack of Cheeba Chews and spread the joy, 10 milligrams at a time. The possibilities are cheap, vast and almost endless, satisfying just about every taste preference. Just be sure to identify each serving for the recipient, since some of those sweets are deceptive.
Dr. Dabber Switch
This little gadget isn't for novice or occasional users, though they could easily figure out how to use it. The Dr. Dabber Switch retails for around $399 and is definitely designed for hash-heads, since it comes close to achieving Volcano-level usability. The electric vaporizer can burn either flower or concentrates, with induction heating and ceramic loading cups quickly combusting your favorite waxes, resins and buds.
The Switch isn't the first electronic rig to come on the scene, but it's easy to use and is not lacking in sophistication. The water-pipe attachment is separate from the heating base and loading area, leaving the water relatively clear of any debris, while a rechargeable battery means you can dab on the go without a torch — pushing many car seats and thighs out of danger. Plus, the short heating time, five temperature settings and a self-cleaning mode make using it a cinch if you know how to plug in a cord or two. Upgrade to quartz loading cups (just as you would a nail for your rig) to feel the flavor even more.
THC and CBD Beer
Tired of buying Dad a few bombers of craft beer every year? Been there. Now there's a new way to have a few barley pops with the old man, and it won't lower your standards at the bar, either. Cannabis-infused beers are here, and they're not going away if it's up to us.
Blue Moon creator Keith Villa announced his upcoming THC beer, Ceria, earlier this year, and it will hit dispensary shelves in mid-December. Each Belgian-style white ale has the alcohol taken out after the brewing process, after which the beer is infused with anywhere from 2.5 to 10 milligrams of THC, depending on the desired potency. Each bottle will cost about $9, with four-packs also available. Villa plans to release an American Lager and IPA shortly after the new year.
If your gift recipient is more of a CBD person, then drive down to Aurora's Arapahoe Crossing for some of Dad and Dude's George Washington's Secret Stash, an IPA with 4.2 milligrams of CBD per pint. The beer launched in 2014 but went on a four-year hiatus while the feds changed their minds about CBD's legality a few times over. The brew returned in November, however, and now you can get it in the taproom or in six-packs at the brewery.
Everyone talks about the big, expensive gifts, but small trinkets and goodies are what really make a fun holiday experience. For the old-school toker in your life, a joint infused with bubble hash is the perfect surprise. Bubble hash is getting harder and harder to find in dispensaries as potent (and expensive) concentrates take over, so seeing the Flower Collective's Bubble Joints on dispensary shelves was a welcome surprise.
You can buy plump joints and cannagars filled with kief, hash oil, rosin, distillate and so on, but those will have you sitting on top of the refrigerator for three hours, wondering what to eat. Bubble Joints provide a stiff punch — around 30 to 40 percent THC, and we actually believe those testing results — without knocking users into next week. And with a $12 to $15 price tag for the one-gram joint, it's not that big a splurge. Bubble Joints come in indica, sativa and hybrid varieties, all of which are specific, classic strains like Afghani and Flo.
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