Pairing Cannabis With Food like Wine With Food is a Ploy

How many different wines can you enjoy with a meal and how many sips of wine can you combine with a meal before you are uselessly drunk?

Everyone’s body chemistry and everyone’s tolerance for alcohol is different. For myself, I can probably enjoy upwards of 30 or 40 sips of wine with a meal before questioning my reason for being at the table and before the ability to appreciate the pairing of wine and food goes by the wayside.

Now, ask yourself this same question, but replace “wines” with cannabis strains, “wine” with cannabis and replace “sips” with “hits off a vape pen”. In other words, How many different strains of cannabis can you enjoy with a meal and how many hits of cannabis can you combine with a meal before you are uselessly stoned?

I ask this question to highlight the fact that the notion of cannabis and food dinners or pairings are a thing with no relation to wine and food pairings. And yet, I occasionally read or hear folks express the idea that cannabis and food pairings might be a legitimate pursuit, instead of properly noting that a real difference between wine and cannabis is illuminated through the idea of pairing each with food.

A recent article asked the following question, “What if alcohol instead of Cannabis was outlawed in 1937?  What if, instead of a glass of wine with dinner, or a shot of whiskey, people enjoyed a drag, dab, or hit, off their favorite strain of Cannabis flower, like Longs Peak Blue, Chem Dawg or Buddha’s sister?”

More and more articles like this one from Leafly posit that food and cannabis pairing is a thing, while in the course of the article hardly a mention is made of the fact that the effects of imbibing cannabis make it a very poor pairing with food.

I’m here today to suggest that food and cannabis pairings will never be anything more than a fringe, cult-like experience for the simple reason that cannabis and food together, unlike wine and food together, cannot provide a means of each enhancing the other. 

First, anyone who has indulged in a variety of strains of cannabis will instantly agree that the combinations of flavors and aromas that result from the terpenes in cannabis are far more objectionable in nature than they are enjoyable. The predominant herbal and skunky and lemony oily dominant aromas and flavors that are exhibited by most cannabis strains will enhance only a very limited number of foods, while at the same time ruining any enjoyable aromas and flavors is most dishes.

Equally important is this: the vast and overwhelming majority of cannabis users will be under the table or passed out extraordinarily quickly if they attempt to appreciate a cannabis and food pairing with every bite, the way wine is enjoyed with food. For those of you who also appreciate the vape pen, try to imagine imbibing from that pen 20 or 30 times in an evening? Ridiculous.

But the point of those who might regularly make the case for food and cannabis pairings is not that it’s a pleasant experience. It’s a means of attempting to normalize cannabis consumption by favorably comparing it to wine…a product that has been normalized among civilized people for centuries, and a product that truly does favorably enhance the dining experience.

This attempt to ride on the back of wine isn’t new to the cannabis industry. Many proponents fo cannabis legalization have vigorously pushed the “Regulate Weed Like Wine” slogan for a very long time. And it has been successful. Now, one of the marketing and promotional pushes is to consume weed like wine. The problem is, this latter admonition simply can’t be done with any success.

Outside of medical uses of cannabis, the entire point of the herb is to get high and alter one’s mental perspective and bodily responses. And while wine can do this too, it also can be much, much more…including being an appropriate accompaniment to food. 


3 Responses

  1. Amber - April 25, 2018

    I work in the travel industry, and I am seeing a lot of press about cannabis tourism, and have started to see the news on food pairings. I think I agree with you. I wouldn’t mind trying it once myself, just to be sure 😉 But, I don’t see that it will be the same experience, or lead to the same results as wine and food pairing.

  2. Mike - April 25, 2018

    Cannabis is just trying to rebrand itself as something more than it is. It’s a marketing ploy, nothing more. Weed and food pairing will never be commercially viable, neither will ‘weed tourism’. It needs to focus on its strengths instead, such as the medicinal applications, relaxation. stress relief, etc. Push the lifestyle aspect. Trying to copy a ‘romance’ that another product already has is going to fall flat quickly. Can’t blame them for trying, but they need a stronger dose of reality.

  3. James Gaston - September 28, 2018

    While I agree that concurrently enjoying cannabis with wine or a meal will not typically enhance the food or wine in the conventional “pairing” sense (and may even detract as smoking or vaping can “blow” your palate), to say that the two are not synergistic ignores the sensory enhancing aspects of cannabis.

    I have found that consuming a small amount of an edible (I am a lightweight and 5mg is perfect for me), 45 minutes before I enjoy a meal or taste wine brings a mindfulness and focus to the activity that I don’t experience from just wine alone. I think the most remarkable effect of consuming cannabis is the connection and focus it can bring (sometimes too much focus) to an activity, and I would disagree that there is no future or utility involving the pairing of cannabis with food and wine. To the contrary, I honestly feel we are on the edge of a whole new way to experience food and wine…

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