Main Course

A Sober(ish) Exploration of Cannabis-Based Edibles

Join producer Khrista Rypl as she travels to Denver, Colorado to learn all about the business of cannabis-based baked treats from Sweet Grass Kitchen founder Julie Berliner.

THC-based Key Lime Pies, made by Sweet Grass. (Photo Credit: Khrista Rypl)

Since being legalized in several states, the cannabis-based edible business has gotten competitive, especially in Colorado. That’s where our producer, Khrista Rypl, traveled to try the confections at Sweet Grass Kitchen, an award-winning small-batch cannabis bakery that distributes to nearly 500 dispensaries in Colorado.

In the audio above and below, you’ll join Khrista as she tries a small section of a cookie equivalent to “a glass of wine” while talking to founder Julie Berliner all about the business of cannabis-based baked goods.

Interview Highlights:

On the terminology and why cannabis edibles are usually baked goods

Julie Berliner: We like to use cannabis [over “pot”]. It’s such a legitimate industry now. And not to say using the word “pot” isn’t, but it has a certain connotation. So, we use cannabis around here.

Khrista Rypl: Is there a reason why a lot of ingestibles you see with cannabis started as baked goods?

Julie Berliner: Well, I don’t know why it started with baked good necessarily, but baked goods are high in fat content and the THC actually binds very, very well with fat content. So, we started as a cannabutter based edibles company and our bodies are used to digesting butter.

On Sweet Grass Kitchen’s special cannabutter

Khrista Rypl: I was lucky enough to take a little tour earlier and I saw that it’s also not just pure cannabutter, you mix it with regular butter too.

Julie Berliner: We do, yeah. So we pride ourselves on having one of the very highest concentrated cannabutters in the industry. And for that reason, what we can do is we use as little cannabutter as possible, and then we mix in regular clarified butter into a recipe. So that minimizes the cannabis taste, but you still get that complimentary aroma. It’s just not overbearing.

On Cannabis Edible Dosages

(Photo Credit: Khrista Rypl)
(Photo Credit: Khrista Rypl)

Khrista Rypl: So dosage is a huge deal with edibles. I just saw thousands and thousands of cookies, you have to be really really diligent. How do you do that metric?

Julie Berliner: So, we like to think of our product line as very educational. We have products that are very very microdose, they’re only 2 ½ milligrams and then we have other products that are 10 milligrams per piece.

Khrista Rypl: And what does that mean? I don’t know anything about the milligrams.

Julie Berliner: Ok, fair enough. Sometimes I forget, it’s so second nature to us that we don’t always realize. There’s not a social intuition yet around cannabis edibles. So, for example, one gram of cannabutter could have 50 milligrams of THC.

Khrista Rypl: So that’s a crazy amount of THC?

Julie Berliner: Absolutely, yeah. I mean if you saw during your tour a tub of that cannabutter that makes thousands and thousands of cookies of servings of cannabis. It’s a lot.

We have an Italian-made — literally, it came all the way from overseas — but it’s essentially a depositor and it perfectly portions every single product. Portioning is extremely important for us because if one of our cookies is even slightly bigger than another then it’s stronger. So that’s why you see all of our products are exactly the same size.

The Taste Test

Some of the "baked" goods Sweet Grass makes, including the cookie Khrista tried.
Some of the “baked” goods Sweet Grass Kitchen makes, including the cookie Khrista tried.

Julie Berliner: This is our Snickerdoodle cookie.

Khrista Rypl: Give me the teeniest, tiniest [piece]. And just so my bosses know that I’m not doing crazy things on the job, can you explain what you just gave me?

Julie Berliner: I just cut this cookie, I’m probably giving you about a milligram and a half, like an eigth of a 10 milligram cookie.

Khrista Rypl: And what will this do?

Julie Berliner: I always compare our Butter Melts, which are 2 ½ milligrams, to like a glass of wine. It’s not like you’re gonna be over the top or anything, but you feel it. You feel like you had a glass of wine.

Khrista Rypl: [Tastes cookie.] They’re really good! They’re really good. This is interesting, I can totally taste the cannabis. I don’t know if I would know that’s what it was if someone just gave it to me, I wouldn’t say, “Oh, that’s a pot cookie.” But it’s good. It’s kind of herbal and almost minty in a way? It has that same kind of tones as mint. What do you have over there?

White Russian-based Butter Melts made by Sweet Grass Kitchen.

Julie Berliner: In these glasses, you can find our 2 ½ milligram Butter Melts. It’s essentially an old-fashioned dinner mint. Sometimes they used to serve it at weddings, [you] can find it at different restaurants. This is a micro-dose product. It’s actually one of my very favorites because you can’t overdo it.

Khrista Rypl: [Tastes Butter Melt.] Those are really crazy delicious. To me, those are like… the cookies are really good, but I have cookies on the regular. I don’t have things like those. Those are really delicious.

Julie Berliner: Thanks so much. And you’ll love the effect. Give it an hour. An hour and a half at most.