As interest in CBD increases, so does interest in CBD infused foods and drinks. This demand has led to an increase in restaurants adding CBD to their menus in delicious and exciting ways. From souped-up salads to decadent desserts, there are a variety of offerings for the culinary adventure seeker. Here are some of the coolest ways that restaurants are cooking with hemp and incorporating CBD into the food their guests love.
CBD Infused Foods: Why CBD Works So Well In Foods
CBD oil is extracted from industrial hemp plants. The leaves, stalks, and flowers of industrial hemp — cannabis plants with a concentration of 0.3% THC or less by dry weight — are harvested and processed to express the oil through pressing or the use of solvents like high-pressure carbon dioxide. Once the oil is forced from the plant material, it is further processed before being tested to verify its purity and potency so that your CBD infused foods aren’t accidentally contaminated by unwanted chemicals or toxins.
If that sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because of its similar process to the extraction of hemp oil. Already common among foodies, hemp oil comes from the same plants, though it is not processed and purified with the intent of creating a high CBD oil. It’s become a popular oil choice for those looking for a healthier fat for foods.
Pure CBD oil shares this same hemp oil base meaning any foods that can be made with hemp oil can become CBD infused foods easily. Hemp oils are naturally rich in heart-healthy omega fatty acids. They have a low smoke point and heat threshold, however, so they’re best for low-temperature food preparations. High heats can change the flavor dramatically and break down some of the active compounds present in CBD oils.
The Legality Of CBD Infused Foods
With the popularity of CBD skyrocketing you’d think CBD restaurants would dot every street corner. While CBD was legalized at the federal level as a hemp-derivative with the 2018 Farm Bill, regulation of it fell to the FDA. The regulatory framework has not caught up with consumer demands, and this has left many aspects of CBD commerce unclear, causing some hesitancy among businesses.
In addition, part of the FDA’s responsibility is to ensure safe food supply, and in that role, they have the authority to regulate food additives. In CBD infused foods, CBD serves as an additive, and that is a problem in the eyes of the FDA. CBD is the active compound found in the prescription drug Epidiolex, a medication approved by the FDA to treat seizures caused by certain conditions. Longstanding FDA policy holds that the active ingredient in a drug is not safe as a food additive, even in smaller concentrations.
While this gives the FDA the authority to regulate interstate commerce, most restaurants don’t sell across state lines. The state bodies that are the analogs of the FDA in many cases, however, adopt FDA policies as their own. This has led to some state regulators, such as those in New York, banning the use of CBD as a food additive within their borders. In short, while CBD is legal at the federal level, it may or may not be legal for commercial establishments to add it to food in your area. It is up to CBD restaurants to determine whether or not they can offer CBD infused foods as fare.
Group of friends gather at a restaurant table to eat an assortment of CBD infused foods
A Hemp-Inspired Menu
Those restaurants that do offer CBD menu items are finding a public hungry, literally and metaphorically, for more. Has turned into a popular ingredient, even when used in small doses, and for many people, it’s a delicious way to supplement their own CBD usage. Here are some of our favorite CBD offerings at restaurants across the country.
Carl’s Jr. – Ok, this was a one-off special and only sold in Colorado locations, but it’s hard to overstate the impact of a national fast-food chain adding CBD-infused food menu items on the public’s acceptance of CBD. This burger has two beef patties, pickled jalapenos, spicy pepper jack cheese, and a special sauce applied in copious amounts. It delivers about 10mg of CBD per burger, so it’s not a large dose by any means, but it’s enough to bring some respectable visibility to CBD infused foods.
Monarch And The Milkweed – Nestled in Burlington, Vermont, you’ll find a restaurant that also happens to specialize in pastries. Their delightful desserts come with perfectly flaky crusts, delicious fruits, and, in some cases, a dose of CBD. The highlights of their CBD restaurant menu include decadent chocolates and melt-in-your-mouth truffles that give you a nice pop of CBD goodness. If you’re keen to make your own CBD infused foods or beverages, they also offer a CBD syrup line that makes dosing your consumable easy as…well, pie.
The Hemp Cafe And Lounge – If you find yourself in Colorado Springs, Colorado, this bistro is a must-stop for CBD delights. As the name promises, this is a CBD restaurant that heavily features hemp in its fare. From their coffee with cannabidiol to CBD infused foods, there’s something to tempt every palate. If you want a hefty dose of caffeine with a little something extra to moderate the jitters, this could be the perfect stop for you.
Fuel – Smoothies are a popular breakfast, brunch, lunch, and afternoon snack option for on-the-go professionals and the hectic lives of soccer moms everywhere. In Philadelphia, your smoothie can do more than just fend off hunger because at Fuel it can give you a potent dose of CBD. Smoothies might not qualify as CBD infused foods for some, but for others, they’re a lifesaver. Available right now in three fruity flavors, this CBD restaurant promises that it’s just the beginning as more options with CBD are expected to appear on the menu in short order.
Zenbarn – Waterbury, Vermont may not be a metropolis, but it has plenty to offer those looking for a get-away without the hustle and bustle of a big city. Part of that relaxing charm includes the CBD menu items offered by this local eatery. While there are plenty of CBD cocktails on the menu, tourists looking for healthier fare on the road will love their salads. They create these CBD infused foods by adding cannabidiol to their dressings creating the perfect salad-topper to promote health and wellness.
Ankeny Tap And Table – Ok, maybe the foods don’t have CBD at this Portland, Oregon, pub, but there’s plenty of food to go with your CBD beer. Branding their Two Flowers IPA as the first commercial CBD infused beer in the state, this beverage pairs well with the delicious eats on the menu, making it perfect for cheering on your favorite team or commiserating after a devastating loss. Either way, you’ll love the flavor and the feeling a cold pint brings on.
By Chloe – This popular vegan chain has locations in America and across the pond in the UK, and each one has CBD infused foods on the offer. From cakes and desserts to CBD bones that let you pamper your pup, they carry a wide range of options. No, you don’t have to be vegan to eat there, though these tasty CBD restaurant options may make you question any preconceived notions you have about what vegan food should be.
PopCultivate – Are you a fan of scheduled spontaneity (Yes it’s a thing)? Book your reservation in blind faith and then wait for the delightful details of your night out — complete with CBD infused foods — to come in. This LA service offers pop-up experiences that will blow your mind, each different than the last. Designed as a supper club for the adventurous, the cannabis additives are included right before serving, so you or your guest can opt-out if you’ve already reached your preferred CBD limit for the day.
Harlow – A natural fit for Portland, Oregon, this CBD restaurant is built around serving healthy, vegetarian food. Rather than a set menu item, for an additional fee you can build your own CBD infused foods and smoothies by adding a “shot” of hemp powder to your favorite existing menu items. No more choosing whether to go with your favorite or a new dish for the CBD jolt? Sign us up.
Black Walnut – Oklahoma might not seem like the best choice for fine dining or emerging trends, but this upscale cocktail bar prides itself on eclectic fine dining and an inspired drink menu. They bill their Shatter Cocktail as Oklahoma’s first CBD Craft Cocktail. A spritz of CBD oil, macadamia-infused rye, and tobacco bitters are all on the ingredients list, and it’s served under a smoke-filled bell glass for a presentation that is as unique as the beverage itself. Paired with the haute cuisine on offer, it’s a one-of-a-kind dining experience in the middle of the bible belt.
Ask About CBD At Your Favorite Bistro
As demand increases, more and more restaurants will add CBD to their menu. Don’t forget to check out your local cafes, bistros, and coffee houses ask them to offer CBD infused foods and drinks. You’ll be helping yourself and helping them get in on the ground floor of a hot new industry niche.