Exploring Cannabis Food Pairings

By Justin Allec

An alternative subtitle for this article could’ve been “Taking Advantage of the Munchies,” but today, we’re keeping it classy. Food, on its own, is awesome, but food after cannabis consumption can be divine. Though science hasn’t yet offered a firm answer on why “the munchies” occur after consuming, it’s a given that you’ll be feeling some kind of increase in appetite along with sensitivity to taste, colour, and texture. 

Food pairings take advantage of this heightened state by using the flavour of the cannabis as a lead in to some great food. It’s a conscientious choice that requires some planning; it’s a step beyond simply having a joint followed by crushing a whole box of stale crackers. Food pairings also aren’t infusions or edibles—great as those can be—as we’re still smoking cannabis to lead to an increased awareness of deliciousness. In this fashion, food and its sensational tastes and textures are just as much of a part of the cannabis experience as the smoking itself.

The easiest way to start planning a food pairing is to consider what flavours you prefer. Flavour is a result of terpenes, which are present in both cannabis and food. Consider what strains you like the smell of as well as overall experience. Take a page out of the sommelier playbook and really try to identify the terpenes wafting from your cannabis. For example, the Girl Scout Cookies’ (GSC) terpenes are typically caryophyllene, limonene, and humulene. The respective flavours of those terpenes are pepper, citrus, and hops, but you can always just generalize the strain’s smell as sweet with subtle hints of earthiness.

Once you’ve selected a strain, then it’s time to choose some food. You can make this easy by thinking if you want complementary flavours or contrasting. If we stick with our GSC strain, then we’ll be looking at a sweet flavour for complementary or a savoury, spicy, or creamy flavour for contrasting. Limonene is easy to match up—any dessert with lemon in it would work—but if you wanted a main course, then some baked salmon or lemon chicken would be ideal. Contrasting flavours are more particular to the person, but I’d recommend a small charcuterie plate complete with olives.

As a final note, the time of day is also worth considering. Say you’re going to pair a strain with coffee. This is a typical after-dinner treat in Amsterdam, but if you’re combining coffee with a sativa strain, you’re going to be too wired to sleep. Pick a mellow indica, though, and this would be a good combination for a nightcap. Similarly, if you’re having guests, you don’t want everyone to be sluggish and tired with an indica strain—pick a sativa to keep things positive and social. Keep in mind, though, that there is no right combination for pairings; if you enjoy it, then it’s a good one.