Vegans are used to asking questions and reading lists of ingredients, and now they have to do it at the pot shop, too. Most marijuana dispensaries keep their products behind the counter, and it's not like cannabis brands are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, anyway. Still, some edibles makers are committed to vegan goodies, and you can always make your own at home.
Here are eight vegan options to keep your edibles game strong without compromising any values:
Although most gummies use gelatin (you don't want to know how that's made; just realize that it comes from animals), there are brands that offer vegan options. One of Colorado's most popular cannabis-infused gummies producers, Wana Brands, only makes vegan gummy treats. Highly Edibles, a division of Cannapunch, also supplies vegan gummies to pot shops across Colorado, as does Coda Signature, which makes a line of vegan fruit gummies.
Making your own gummies isn't as hard as it looks, and can be done with relative ease if you live near a dispensary. Just buy THC distillate or CBD isolate (purified forms of the cannabinoids), and replace the gelatin powder with an equal amount of agar powder.
Most hard candies tend to be vegan, since they're essentially a boiled-down mixture of sugar and water. However, some flavorings, especially the creamier ones, can carry animal products. Colorado's loudest vegan lollipop brand right now comes from Canyon Cultivation, which makes a variety of delicious flavors, including caramel apple.
Mints and tarts
Although they seem close enough to lollipops, mints and tarts commonly contain gelatin and other animal-sourced products like shellac, carmine and beeswax. But Incredibles, one of Colorado's largest edibles brands, makes mints and fruit tarts that are vegan, according to the company. Canyon Cultivation's "Suck It" fruit-flavored tarts are also vegan.
Cannabis coffee is both doable at home and available at dispensaries, but if you don't like the taste of weed-infused vegetable or coconut oil in your coffee, you might want to try the commercial version. Hemp-infused coffee is widely available online and at cafes, but Colorado dispensaries also carry THC-infused brews from Canyon Cultivation (notice a trend here, vegans) and Teajuana, an all-vegan edibles brand that makes infused coffee, teas, hot chocolate, hot cider and even sugar cubes.
Of course cannabis-infused seltzer water is vegan, but who's making it? Several brands, actually. Phyx, Keef and Oh Hi all produce flavored seltzers with 10 milligrams of THC, with Oh Hi recently releasing a new 100-milligram version for those of us with higher tolerances. You can also find CBD seltzers just about everywhere — even Coors just got into the field — including online.
Made with alcohol or vegetable glycerin, tinctures are just a form of cannabis concentrate consumed orally. Tinctures are usually administered under the tongue for faster entry to the bloodstream, but you can also add tinctures to edibles and drinks without fear of mixing in animal products. Both THC and CBD tinctures are sold at dispensaries, and anyone with patience and enough herb can make their own.
Obviously, milk chocolate is a no-go for vegans, but dark chocolate, though not always vegan, provides a much better chance at chocolatey edible bliss. Dixie Elixirs' vegan dark chocolate bar is probably the easiest to find at Colorado dispensaries, but there are a few more out there, including Northern Standard's. BlueKudu, also a popular edibles maker in Colorado, makes a mint-and-dark-chocolate bar and dark-chocolate-covered coffee beans, both of which are vegan.
The cannabutter of OG edible infusions for vegans, THC-infused coconut oil is very easy to make at home, and probably the most cost-effective (as are weed-infused vegetable and olive oils), but you can find cannabis coconut oil for sale at some dispensaries, though it's not the easiest to find. Alchemy Food Co. is probably the best bet right now, with coconut oil available at pot shops across the state. And if you're too lazy to cook, Alchemy also makes a small line of vegan THC-infused baked goods.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.