“Oh, look, you can book marijuana-friendly lodgings through a site called Bud and Breakfast,” I said, showing Rich the ad in our free newspaper. As a travel writer, I felt I owed it to my readers to find out more about this new Airbnb-style website for potheads. The home page shows people smoking hand-rolled cigarettes while lounging around fire pits and hot tubs, looking about one toke away from drifting indoors for a night of psychedelic sex in the Jerry Garcia room. Where was all this when I was in college? And when did the weed world become so mainstream?
When I tried to follow some Bud and Breakfast links, such as cannabis-friendly accommodations in Spain, I found myself on a bare-bones page with a non-stop spinny graphic and no way to advance; ah, this was the kind of work I expected from the stoner community. Some things never change.
Having grown up in the era when pot-smoking was a felony, I'm still amazed to find it’s a legal, $17 billion industry you can talk about openly. This summer, a physical therapist gave me a free sample of cannabis-infused balm for twinges of arthritis in my wrist. Pals encouraged me to try gummies as well, so I called up The Nice Guys – Friendly Cannabis Delivery. Half expecting the phone would be answered by a slurred teen voice calling me “man,” I got a cheerful, competent professional who explained the difference between the strains indica (mellowing) and sativa (energizing) and recommended I try the Tart Cherry with 18 mg CBD and 1mg THC. The only old-school touch: I had to pay in cash and the driver would come in an unmarked car to my home or the street corner of my choice.
Unfortunately, the gummies made me sluggish and a little dizzy, which was worse than the twinges, and the cannabis balm didn’t really do the trick. So I went back to Tylenol and my heating pad.
Others, apparently, are having better luck with the bright new pot industries, especially the edibles. I was curious about how marijuana cuisine had advanced since the traditional pot brownies (also known as “wownies,” and “space cakes”). And that led me to Bong Appétit.
An offshoot of the more conventional cooking show Munchies, Bong Appetit explores the myriad ways to use cannabis in the kitchen. The first episode is just what you’d expect: a couple of young guys with amusing hair and lavish tattoos brewing cannabis cocktails in a slick LA setting. But the second episode is a real gem: Nonna Marijuana’s Italian Feast, in which the 91-year-old shows us how to make weed-infused butter that can add a little extra zing to any dish. Decades ago, Nonna's daughter Valerie suffered grand mal seizures, and when traditional medical treatments failed to help, pot provided real relief. Valerie became a champion of legalizing medical marijuana. And Nonna (who never uses pot herself, saying “It doesn’t agree with me”) developed recipes such as marijuana chicken cacciatore (aka “pot-cciatore”) and gnocchi drizzled with ganja butter.
In the video, Nonna puts Matt, Bong Appétit’s reporter, to work mashing potatoes for the gnocchi. He does such a good job, she cackles, “You’d think I just had sex. Look at this satisfied look I have on my face!” I believe Matt actually blushes.
Eventually the feast is ready and a group gathers at a long table with candlelight, Italian music, and Nonna's culinary creations. By the time dessert comes around, Matt is helpless with laughter.
“Maybe it’s a little too strong,” says Valerie, eyeing the marijuana ice cream she's passing to him. “This could cure cancer.”
“I can’t even swallow it,” Matt gasps, going off into more guffaws.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Weed-infused butter? Ganja ice cream? This sounds like a pretty fattening lifestyle. But according to Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience, published by the National Institutes of Health, a couple of rather flabbergasted doctors discovered that in “large epidemiological studies in the general population, findings consistently indicate that users of marijuana tend to have lower body mass indices than nonusers.” Yep, potheads are thinner than the average abstainer. Go figure.
The doctors were quick to point out that these “paradoxical and somewhat perplexing” results could be due to a variety of factors, such as how much pot you smoke, metabolism, etc. They note underweight people can rely on pot to stimulate their appetite and help them fatten up. But the fact remains that potheads tend to be skinnier than most. The docs seemed so uncomfortable with the findings that I pictured them wiping their brows as they typed the final recommendation that further research was needed. I don’t think they’ll have any trouble finding volunteer subjects.
While nobody’s seriously recommending pot for weight loss, other therapeutic uses abound. A couple of enterprising women here in Marin County, CA launched Kikoko, a line of marijuana infused teas that let you order by the desired state of mind. Product descriptions include “I’m prone to worry and have anxious thoughts” (who doesn’t these days?), “I just want to go to sleep,” and the ever-popular “My sex drive needs a re-boot.” Before you reach for your wallet, I have to break it to you that these teas can only be purchased in California, at least for now. Similar products may be available in your area, if you live in one of the 35 states where pot’s legal.
Marijuana won’t solve the world’s problems; it probably won’t even make you thinner. But it can offer a little relaxation in these jittery times, when everyone is running scared, “coronasomnia” is on the rise, and young couples report having less sex thanks to pandemic depression and anxiety. (I know, what a bunch of lightweights. Kids today!) Whether we partake in the Bob Marley room of a treehouse, at an Italian feast, or on our own back porch with old pals, marijuana is now (in most states) a civil liberty. Let the good times roll.
Have you been exploring the newly legal marijuana travel and food industries? What have you discovered? Please share in the comments section below. Also, I haven't tried this cannabis brownie recipe; if you do, I want a full report.
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