Food

Cannabis conference educates on edibles

Conference goers are brought up to speed on baking techniques

Diandra Phipps gives a cooking demonstration at the Connect with Cannabis conference.   Brendan Ahern

Educating the public on effective and safe use of edible cannabis was a big part of the Connect with Cannabis conference held in Halifax last weekend.

Diane Smirl organized the two-day conference, which was held at the Marriott Halifax Harbourfront.

“If you look at the statistics from Colorado, 3-1 people are choosing edibles over smoking cannabis. They would prefer to eat their cannabis. So it was important for us to develop and highlight that you don’t have to smoke the cannabis if you choose to use it as a medicine. You can actually cook with it,” said Smirl.

Canada will soon be following Colorado and other U.S. states when the recreational use of cannabis becomes legal this July. Last October, Bill C-45 was amended to include the legal use of edibles and other cannabis concentrates.

During the presentation called “Cooking with Cannabis”, Gillian Thomas took notes in a crowded hall, while Diandra Phipps demonstrated the best ways to add cannabis to a banana and chocolate smoothie.

“It’s really good that she’s talking like this, with dosages and being as precise as you can,” said Thomas during an interview after the presentation.

The amount of time that it takes for the effects of cannabis to be felt by the user can vary depending on the way that the drug is ingested. So, educating the public on how to safely use edibles is important.

Another conference presenter was Alia Norman. Norman works with the cannabinoid medical clinic in St. John’s, N.L., where she educates people about cannabis and how it might be used as medicine. She said the lengthy step-by-step model for testing medical drugs can’t keep up with the pace at which Canadians have been using cannabis.

“We’re having to adjust from that system which is designed to do things in a very step-wise fashion and work backwards from something that people are already using,” said Norman.

Phipps also has concerns about the quality of information that the public currently has access to online.

“You go to a site and it says do this with this method and bake it for this long and at this temperature. Then, three sites later, you get the polar opposite,” said Phipps.

Phipps is the manager of corporate affairs for National Access Cannabis, a medical cannabis consultancy clinic on Spring Garden Road. Previously, she was co-owner and chef at the restaurant, enVie.

“Cooking can be so therapeutic, even without cannabis,” said Phipps. “But when you are working with your medicine there’s something really healing and special about that.”

Thomas said she’s not a cannabis user, but she has a keen interest in the healing properties of plants.

“This plant is a gift from the earth and we have done wrong by it and now we’re coming around to it,” she said. “I hope we get it right.”