Lifestyle, Treatment

Cannabis Chef Lo Oliver Shows How Edibles Are More Than Just Desserts

February 9, 2021 10:41 am ET

Are you frustrated with the limited selection of edibles at your local dispensary? You’ll find that most of the edibles at dispensaries are pre-packaged candies or baked goods, like gummies, lollipops, cookies, and brownies. But with a decade of experience making edibles, Lo Oliver of Just High Lo can teach you how to infuse just about any recipe with medical cannabis. We sat down with Lo to learn more about all things edibles, including her insight into indica vs sativa strains, how to choose your infusion method of choice, and how she uses cannabis for weight loss

You may recognize Lo from her YouTube content on cannabis-infused recipes. Having suffered from chronic pain for most of her life, she enjoys infusing food with sativa strains and experimenting to find what works best for her. In the conversation below, she goes beyond the traditional dichotomy of indica and sativa and talks about terpenes, cannabinoids, and percentages of THC and CBD. When it comes to finding your favorite infusion method for using cannabis in your favorite recipes, Lo emphasizes finding a method that works with your skills, abilities, and lifestyle. 

Since moving to Colorado, Lo has had more options and access to cannabis, and plant medicine has even played a role in her weight loss journey. She talks about how having cannabis available means being able to reward herself with a bowl or a joint after working out on the treadmill. Read on to learn more about how Lo infuses her edibles, her most popular cannabis recipes, and even some insights into the future of the cannabis food industry. 

Interview With Lo Oliver

Veriheal: Tell us about yourself and what series of events inspired you to become a cannabis chef?

Lo: I started the online thing a couple of years ago, but I’ve been making edibles for a decade, at least. I just like doing it; it’s fun. I also get super frustrated with the selection of edibles at the dispensaries, because it’s all candy and chocolate and gummies. That stuff is great, but it kind of also counteracts the effects that I’m looking for and the edible in the first place. I really enjoy taking edibles; they help me a lot. I’m someone who has suffered with chronic pain since childhood, so that makes it better for me just to function during the day. I need like 50 to 100 milligrams at once to feel the effect. I like savory stuff; I want to throw some, cannabis on a steak or chicken or, you know, something like that and not necessarily just my dessert.

Veriheal: How do you decide which strains to cook with or what type of infusion to use? 

Lo: It’s mostly a lot of experimenting. I know for myself, since most of the edibles are for personal consumption, I know that I’m better with a sativa strain. It really comes down to, I think, terpene profiles. I know there’s a lot of “it’s either indica or sativa or hybrid, pick one,” but you know, it’s so much deeper than that, where there’s the terpene profile, the percentage of the THC, the percentage of the CBD. And then there’s all these other cannabinoids like THCA, CBN, and CBG. It really has come down to just experimenting, trying it, and a lot of writing down like what worked for me. And I think that’s been really eye-opening and enlightening in terms of when I do edibles for other people like my friends and family. You know, to make sure that I’m not overdosing them, because I’ve witnessed a few people having some bad experiences with cannabis, and I’m very wary of that because I don’t want to be responsible for making someone feel bad. But it is kind of a lot of experimenting and just a little bit of estimating and guesswork.

Veriheal: Do you have any specific recipes you’d recommend for medical patients?

Lo: I think that the basics are the most important to nail down, so either figuring out a really great tincture recipe or figuring out a really great butter or oil recipe—which if we’re being real, they’re kind of all the same recipe. There’s not a lot of difference between infusing butter or infusing oil or alcohol. There are a lot more methods for doing the alcohol where you can do it without heat, in the freezer, or with a lot of agitation. So, find one that works with your skillset and your abilities. What makes the tincture so great is that there are a lot of methods to make it, and you can put an alcohol tincture in almost anything. You can use it to make cannasugar [cannabis sugar], you could use it to infuse butter to take out some of the longer part of the butter process. So that’s my recommendation, to figure out a recipe like a tincture or a butter, that will give you the building blocks for making something that is really going to be tasty and work with your lifestyle. 

Veriheal: How has cannabis played a role in your weight loss journey, and how you incorporate it in your workout routine? 

Lo: I do use it as both a reward, motivation and for recovery, so it fills a lot of buckets for me and in my life. And also, once we moved back to Colorado, I noticed that since we had better access to cannabis, I wasn’t drinking as much. So that was really a big part of it, like I pretty much stopped drinking alcohol, except for like maybe once a month I’ll have two drinks. But that really made such a huge difference, because I’d much rather smoke than drink because I’m not going to be hungover the next day. That was a big part of it, and just being able to reward myself when I get off the treadmill. Like I know there’s going to be a bowl or a joint waiting for me when I’m finished here, so let’s just get it done and have a good rest of your day basically you know. It’s a little bit of a carrot and stick situation for myself, but you know whatever works I lost like 50 pounds after I started working out more and making that a bigger part of my life, so I’m definitely better for it. But wouldn’t have expected that at all. Just from not drinking and using cannabis more regularly and consistently and with even some kind of methodology behind it. Well, you know, making sure I don’t smoke too much also, because I’m 34, so I can feel it. like I can’t wake and bake anymore. 

Veriheal: What’s your most popular recipe amongst your following?

Lo: I was actually looking at my analytics on my site, on YouTube and on my website on my blog. They keep coming back for the banana bread recipe, which is so funny to me, because it’s my husband’s stepmother’s old family recipe that she sent me home with one time, and I was like this looks like it needs weed in it. I was actually surprised to learn that, but that’s the one that everyone keeps coming back for. Then on YouTube, it’s actually the Infused Peanut Butter Truffles, which they kind of taste like Reese’s peanut butter cups. And I really enjoy eating those as well, but they are hard to make because it’s like a lot of this for like two hours.

Veriheal: What advice do you have for anyone wanting to pursue being a cannabis chef or even working in the industry? 

Lo: I would say just do it, but I also recognize that there’s like some privilege where I could say that because I don’t have kids, I live in Colorado, my family’s cool. You know, so I’m not like losing anything by doing this. So if you know the local laws and everything else lines up for you, I would say just go for it, because there’s really nothing to lose. I mean, it’s fun. It is fun, and people love it. If you know enough people who use cannabis, you always have a good gift to give people.

Veriheal: Where do you hope to see the cannabis food industry in 5-10 years? 

Lo: I hope that we see more public, or more restaurants and places, to actually consume in public, whatever that might look like. You know, ideally like restaurants or lounges, or just a place where you can actually buy some real infused food that’s not just packaged candy. In an ideal world, that’s my dream. That you can just walk into a restaurant and be like, I want to throw 10 milligrams of or 50 milligrams of THC onto this, whatever I ordered, pizza. But I’m also kind of fearful because I see a lot of black market stuff where there’s a lot of parody edibles. And, you know, fake Sour Patch Kids, or whatever. And I worry that because of stuff like that that it’ll get regulated to hell, and we’ll end up with a really un-fun edible market. Like, once we get federal legalization.

As you experiment with your homemade edibles, try out our edible dosage calculator. You may also want to look into a personalized cannabis consultation that many medical cannabis users find helpful for discussing their cannabis journey, targeting the right cannabinoids and terpenes to tackle specific issues, and developing an overall better understanding of how cannabis can be therapeutic to our health. 

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