Toronto Life restaurant critic Mark Pupo reviews 10 pot edibles

Toronto Life restaurant critic Mark Pupo reviews 10 pot edibles

Throughout this week, we’re telling you everything you need to know to navigate the semi-legal new world of weed. Here, 10 incredible edibles

An illicit cottage industry of foodie-stoners are converting pot into just about anything you’d find in a pantry. But with no regulation or lab-testing, every bite is a guessing game—the dosages on the packaging are ballpark figures and the THC content is often absurdly high. Daunted but undeterred, Toronto Life restaurant critic Mark Pupo ate his way to the truth. Some were unpredictably potent, some stretched the definition of edible. In between naps, he took notes.

Oatmeal Cookies (Image: Carlo Mendoza)
Oatmeal cookies from The Baker’s Oven

Dosage: 2 grams of cannabis butter
Time until onset: 45 min.
Type of high: Cosmic, briefly

I know people—for some reason, mostly mechanical engineers and doctors—who bake their own pot cookies and report that it’s tough to get the potency and consistency right. The kitchen staff at the Baker’s Oven (pun noted) have landed on the perfect alchemy. Their cookies come in a sealed aluminum pouch that, upon opening, emits a goaty punch. They taste much more appealing than they smell, the chopped walnuts nicely toasted, the chocolate chips plentiful, the cookie’s sugars nearly caramelized. They’re also hard-core potent—two grams of cannabis butter per cookie—and the sandman arrived within an hour.

Brownies (Image: Carlo Mendoza)
Brownies from Green Penguin Delights

Dosage: 65 mg of THC per brownie
Time until onset: 2 hr.
Type of high: Gentle

The packaging warns to “go low and slow,” though each brownie contains a relatively low dose and I watched the entire Bill Murray Christmas special on Netflix without noting any discernible impairment (then again, that dance sequence with Miley Cyrus was a little too enjoyable). The brownies are made with a decent-quality olive oil, are pleasingly dense and reminded me of those “two-bite” supermarket versions. They probably keep for months, if you can hold on to them that long.

Popchron (Image: Carlo Mendoza)
Popchron from Bubbie’s Baked Goods

Dosage: 250 mg of THC
Time until onset: 30 min.
Type of high: Psychedelic

This cluster of popcorn, caramel, marshmallow, peanut butter chips and chocolate gave me the weirdest dreams—something to do with Miley running a dog daycare at my old high school. She’s apparently on my mind. If it weren’t so hard-hitting, I’d be eating this stuff all the time. It’s salty and sweet in the perfect proportion—like camp food for adults.

Double-Dunk'd Oreos (Image: Carlo Mendoza)
Double-Dunk’d Oreos from Weeds

Dosage: 75 mg of THC and CBD per cookie
Time until onset: 45 min.
Type of high: Solemn

I was thoroughly impressed by how delicious these were—until I realized they were simply generic brand Oreo-type cookies that had been coated (or “dunk’d” as the package would have it) in weed-infused milk chocolate. Still, they disappeared as fast as Oreos always do. I ate them before heading into a screening of Carol, and mid-way through was overcome by the certainty that it was the saddest movie ever made. (Did I mention that pot makes me morose, when it doesn’t knock me out?) There may or may not have been several night scenes of sparkly Christmas lights shot through rain-soaked windows.

Coffee Pods (Image: Carlo Mendoza)
Coffee pods from Mary’s Brew

Dosage: 40 mg of THC
Time until onset: 1 hr.
Type of high: Hazy

Yes, you can even get coffee pods infused with pot. I’m more of a pour-over kind of guy, so I had to hunt down a machine to borrow and ended up using the Keurig at my mom’s place when she wasn’t looking. The coffee that came out tasted like Tim Hortons—a little sour, memories of the hockey rink. Strangely, no pot odour, and the haziness, when it arrived, was like having a mild cold, which may have had to do with the caffeine content or the fact that I threw half of it down the sink.

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Truffles (Image: Carlo Mendoza)
Dark chocolate raspberry truffles from Mr. Kush extracts

Dosage: 330 mg of THC
Time until onset: 45 min.
Type of high: Like being trapped in Prince’s costume trunk

Whoever Mr. Kush is, he knows how to pack a lot of pot into a truffle the size of a peewee marble. This one smelled like a cornered skunk, and the impact on my brain was no less intense—a claustrophobic fogginess that persisted straight through the next morning. The truffle had a distinctly processed taste, a marriage of Pot of Gold chocolate and artificial berry syrup.

Gummy Turtles (Image: Carlo Mendoza)
Gummy turtles from Hamm’s Hash

Dosage: 50 mg of THC
Time until onset: 90 min.
Type of high: Slow and sneaky

I’m not picky when it comes to gummies—Fuzzy Peaches, gumdrops, rainbow worms, wine gums, bring ’em on. I found my limit with these deceptively cute lime-green turtles. They’re rubbery in the wrong way, about as fun as chewing on an elastic band, and I could do without the mix of sugary sweetness and the savoury, oregano-ish flavour of cannabis oil. If you really need the high (which was slow to come, and not particularly debilitating—perhaps this research built up my tolerance), better to simply swallow them whole.

Swedish Berries (Image: Carlo Mendoza)
Swedish berries from Mota

Dosage: 50 mg of THC
Time until onset: 30 min.
Type of high: Soporific

The plan was to go see the new Star Wars, but I made the mistake of eating three of these gummies. They appeared so innocent—ice blue or cherry red, dusted in sugar. They tasted exactly like the pot-free real deal, like cherry blossoms, rosehips and other sweet things. Thirty minutes later I was prone on the sofa, ready to call it a night.

Hard Caramels (Image: Carlo Mendoza)
Hard caramels from Mr. Kush extracts

Dosage: 250 mg of THC
Time until onset: 45 min.
Type of high: Vertiginous

It’s possible to get a contact high just peeling off the wax paper wrapper. A single piece is laced with 250 milligrams of what’s called “shatter”—a type of cannabis extract processed in a lab for extra potency. What you get is a tough chew and a mouthful of what tastes like oregano oil. One moment everything was normal, the next I had a pounding headache and a powerful thirst for orange juice, but I couldn’t stand straight enough to make it to the fridge.

Shatterpops (Image: Carlo Mendoza)
Shatterpops from Mr. Kush extracts

Dosage: 250 mg of THC
Time until onset: 30 min.
Type of high: Fleeting

These strawberry shatter lollipops are the sort of thing I frequently see 20-something women sucking on at outdoor concerts. Flavour-wise, they aren’t entirely intolerable. But texture-wise, they have a taffy-like consistency, and mine dissolved fast. The buzz, when it hit, passed just as quickly.

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