Recreational cannabis will soon be legal throughout Canada, and that’s something to celebrate. Why not mark the occasion with a party that could only take place under the new laws—a cannabis dinner party.
These fun and festive feasts can range in style from a relaxed barbecue with cannabis-infused sauces and rustic, elevated desserts to an elegant sit-down soiree where marijuana-infused gourmet dishes are served over several courses. Or they can be anything in between.
Still, no matter what your party preferences are, there are some basics that you should know before throwing a cannabis dinner party—and mistakes you should avoid to ensure a safe, fun, successful evening.
What Is a Cannabis Dinner Party?
A cannabis dinner party is exactly what you’d imagine: a dinner party featuring cannabis-infused foods. Sometimes marijuana is also offered in other forms such as pre-rolled joints or in vaporizers. These parties are a way for cannabis enthusiasts and their canna-curious friends to gather together, enjoy each other’s company and try out different types of cannabis.
When done right, these affairs are highly enjoyable. The relaxing and uplifting aspects of cannabis can kick in and help everyone have a great time. But unfortunately, when done wrong, things could go differently. You could end up with a bunch of guests who are way too high to think—much less make conversation.
Luckily, you can follow some simple tips to make sure your marijuana-infused dinner party stays fun and safe for everyone.
1. Keep Marijuana Doses Low to Avoid Bad Highs
The number one biggest mistake that people make when hosting a cannabis dinner party is putting too much cannabis in the food. Part of this is because most marijuana edibles recipes are designed to make you feel high from a single serving of one dish.
Someone may think that the best way to host a cannabis dinner party is to follow online recipes for infused dishes and serve a meal consisting of only these infused dishes. But this is the worst thing you can do.
If you make cannabis cookies for example, the recipe will be designed to get you high from eating just one cookie. So, imagine how high you would get if you ate an entire meal where each dish was designed to give you a full dose. Depending on how many courses and dishes there are in total, you may end up eating five to 10 times the recommended dose.
For this reason, the best cannabis chefs use marijuana very sparingly when they host these dinners. You should especially limit any cannabis that’s high in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), using very mild doses. You may want to consider doses that are 10–20 times lower than a recommended dose for the recipe.
Cannabis rich in cannabidiol (CBD) can be used in levels closer to the original recipe, as it doesn’t cause a psychoactive high. Plus, CBD can typically help counteract the psychoactive effects of THC.
2. Offer Cannabis-Infused & Non-Medicated Options
You can also help your guests avoid getting too high by offering both infused and non-infused food. People have differing levels of cannabis tolerance, so some of your guests may want more or less cannabis during the party.
At each phase or course of the meal, it’s a good idea to have some marijuana-infused dishes and some dishes that are marijuana-free. In an ideal situation, someone could eat a full and satisfying meal without consuming any cannabis if that’s what they wanted.
The best way to pull this off without making two of everything, is to infuse optional sauces, garnishes or condiments. For example, at one cannabis dinner I attended, the main meal consisted of crab legs dipped in butter. The chefs offered two melted butter options: One was infused with marijuana and the other wasn’t. This way, guests could manage their own dosing by using only as much infused butter as they wanted, and then switching to the non-infused version when they had enough.
3. Label Everything at Your Cannabis Dinner Party
It’s no fun to get too high, and your guests deserve to know what they’re getting into when they eat your food. That’s why it’s important to label everything at a cannabis dinner party. Make sure to let your guests know:
- Which food is infused
- What type of cannabis it contains (remember CBD and THC have different effects)
- What the dosage is for a single serving
I like to make sure these labels are actually attached to the dish itself, because if the label is just sitting next to the dish, it’s easy to get things mixed up when passing the food around. This may mean taping the label to the side of the dish or using toothpicks to make little signs that can be stuck directly into the food.
4. Respect the Alcohol & THC Factor
Nothing quite completes a dinner party like the right wine or cocktail pairing. But hosts should be careful when mixing alcohol and high-THC cannabis. These two, while often used in conjunction, can have some surprising effects. The science shows that when alcohol is consumed with THC, it actually increases the effects of THC. Studies show that alcohol both increases the amount of THC in the blood, and increases THC’s psychoactive effects on the mind.
Because of this, people who are new to the combination of cannabis and alcohol often find themselves much more affected than they expected to be. Even people used to alcohol and cannabis separately find that the combined effects can be overwhelming and surprising—even when they consume amounts of each that would normally be fine for them. If you’re including alcohol at your dinner party, it’s important to educate your guests about these effects so they can pace themselves accordingly.
5. Plan Ahead to Get Your Guests Home Safe & Sound
Even with the best plan in place to educate your guests and keep dosing low, you may have guests who find themselves more affected than they expected to be. This means that driving may not be a good idea for some. Studies show that cannabis can negatively impact driving ability, especially for those who are new to cannabis. The combination of cannabis and alcohol can cause even more significant impairments for drivers. Keep your guests safe by planning ahead for how they can get home without driving under the influence of cannabis and/or alcohol.
You can appoint designated drivers, have numbers for taxi companies on hand or just plan for your guests to stay overnight. However you choose to go, let guests know the plan ahead of time so they can feel confident in enjoying themselves during the party.
Following these five tips will set you up for an enchanting yet safe cannabis dinner party. Now all you need to do is plan your guest list.
Photo credit: Lee Myungseong