20 Apr Edibles & Canna-Cooking with LaWann Stribling
For those in the canna-cooking industry, every day is 4/20. Especially for the chefs and home cooks who’s local cannabis laws provide a little room for culinary creativity.
This year, Black Restaurant Week talked to LaWann Stribling, owner of Maryland’s STRIB’ble Treats and Personal Canna Fusion Services by Chef OhSo, about the cannabis cooking industry. She is a registered caregiver under the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission, provides “cannamom coaching,” hosts online tutorials for making infused foods like Herbal Ghee Butter, and works within her community to end the stigma, encourage full legalization, and help people discover the “beauty of Cannabis.”
But not only does Stribling see canna-cooking as an emerging culinary genre, she sees it as an opportunity to help people heal from various physical and emotional traumas.
We’ve distilled our conversation with Stribling into an entry guide for those who are interested in exploring the world of canna-cooking and canna-selling.
Protect thy neck
Even though there have been a lot of changes when it comes to cannabis – from legalization in a growing number of states to a slow-moving culture shift that’s made it less taboo – you’ll still want to exercise caution before partaking. For those who want to know more about supply than getting high, Stribling warns that you’ll likely run into business scaling and infrastructure issues due to it still being federally listed as a legal substance.
Finding banks willing to work with you, for example, can be quite the hassle. Despite that, she says she’s still “able to market to those who are legally able to consume.” Besides, many entrepreneurs will find that it’s worth it to already have a foot in the door as the market continues to open.
“Everybody is talking about cannabis now, but the people who have already been here, we’re like, ‘we appreciate that but don’t forget about us,’” Stribling said. “Because we’ve already been in this arena.”
There’s a science to the substance
Don’t let the narrative fool you. Despite its history of being depicted as something for underachievers or burnouts, cannabis corresponds with a complex network of cannabinoid receptors in our bodies, affecting appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory.
That’s why you’ll want to be as informed as possible about what you’re ingesting and how it will be received and processed by your body. To protect both herself and her clients, LaWann offers DC Recreational and Medical Cannabis Patient Dosing consulting, as well as dosage guidelines on her website.
Regardless, she suggests that people start slow and small, while experimenting with different strains. “People have to understand what works with the flow of their bodies,” she says. “What works good for someone else is not necessarily going to work good for you.”
Let your “why” guide you
LaWann says it’s helpful to start by getting clear about “why” you’re looking to engage with cannabis in the first place. For chronic anxiety and pain relief? Purely for recreational use? To make quick cash or to build an empire?
“For me it’s not just, ‘oh let me give you this edible so you can get high real quick.’ It’s about healing yourself, about feeling leveled,” she said.
That clear understanding led her to the perfect combination of strains and baking ratios that are in perfect alignment with customers who are also seeking healing and balance.
“I try to keep it on the hybrid line when I’m doing infusions, mainly on the Sativa level because I don’t want to be sitting on the couch all day, I want to be moving and doing things. And then later on when you want to come down, it just works with your body to wind you down and you relax,” she said.
Let your “why” guide how and what you ingest.
Know your options
From tinctures to gummy bears, cakes, coffees, and teas, the current innovations in the cannabis industry have the made the options endless for both consumers and producers. For those who want to micro-dose throughout the day, LaWann suggests preparing food with infused olive oils or salad dressings, infused tinctures to drop in teas and even canna-sugars – like her one of her organic canna-sugars – for baking.
Embrace the creativity
With a solid grasp on the science of cannabis infusion, LaWann and her peers are letting their imaginations run wild, creating confections that will elevate your mood and fascinate your tastebuds. Why settle for an ordinary pot brownie when you can have the decadence of her infused banana puddings, Peach Cobbler Pound Cakes, snickerdoodle cookie cakes or one of the signature pies that first inspired her to get into commercial baking? Treat yourself! Especially on 4/20.
BONUS: Making Canna-Butter
“I’m super traditional,” Stribling says about her baking methods. “So I always use real butter and melt it down to remove the milk fat and create ghee butter before infusing.”