Chef Enid Parham started Lucky Pistil catering company in 2016, serving cannabis-infused food in Detroit at private parties, and hopes to expand to the public restaurant industry.
Photos courtesy of Chef Enid.
As Detroit’s legal marijuana industry grows because of loosening regulations, cannabis-infused food is the next frontier in normalizing interests that have a long-standing tradition in many cultures.
“I’ve been a cook all my life, but the cannabis aspect started in 2016 when cannabis still wasn’t all the way legal here in Michigan,” said Chef Enid Parham of Lucky Pistil, a Detroit-based cannabis-infused food catering company.
“This ex I used to date is a cannabis connoisseur and back then I used to smoke cannabis and he encouraged me to start cooking with it because it’s the new thing. That’s when I started experimenting with making butter out of shake [a cannabis by-product] and getting ideas to have elaborate parties, and because my background was upscale, we can pair that with cannabis and have this tastemakers’ brunch for people to indulge.”
Lucky Pistil is a tastemakers’ event catering company that offers a posh yet refined social ambiance complete with food, wine, spirits, art, and/or entertainment. Her catering orders from home-crafted delicacies for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack options for a range of events from businesses catering to charitable events.
Otherwise known as cannabis edibles, cannabis infusion is the byproduct of the process of infusing a food or drink product with cannabis taste and scent. Infusions, as opposed to extracts and concentrates, are created especially for baking and cooking. Even though they are often more diluted than extracts and concentrates, they are nonetheless highly potent.
Cannabis edibles may take hours to digest, and their effects may peak two to three hours after consumption and last for about six hours. This contrasts with smoking, in which cannabinoids are inhaled into the lungs and pass quickly into the bloodstream, peaking in about ten minutes and wearing off in a couple of hours. The type of meal or beverage consumed may have an impact on the time and strength of the dosage taken.
“When I first started, I tried testing with friends and the cannabis was too strong and I didn’t want to give people this experience if it’s not a good experience,” said Parham. “I started reading books and talking to people who have been in the game to learn how to infuse food properly. That’s when I found what’s now known as Copper House to work with them to network and use the kitchen for catering parties. I learned a lot about the business and social equity aspect which is so important.
Last year, the state rolled out a social equity program to encourage communities that have been disproportionately affected by marijuana prohibition and enforcement to work in the cannabis sector in order to benefit from legalization and open regulation.
According to the Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency’s policy on Marijuana-infused products and edible marijuana product, “Marijuana-infused products processed under these rules must be homogenous. The allowable variation for weight and THC and CBD concentrations between the actual results and the intended serving is to be + or – 15 percent.”
The majority of edibles have a high THC content, which can have a variety of effects, such as heightened sensory awareness, relaxation, tiredness, dizziness, dry mouth, euphoria, depersonalization and/or derealization, hallucinations, paranoia and decreased or increased anxiety. Both recreational and therapeutic uses of THC-dominant edibles exist.
Some foods have very little THC and are predominately made of other cannabinoids, most often cannabidiol (CBD). The primary distinction between cannabis edibles and smoked cannabis is the time it takes for consumers to feel its effects.
Parham said she paces out the concentration of the infusion so that clients don’t get overwhelmed with the high and enjoy a good time.
“A lot of things go wrong and people usually take too much of a dose and don’t realize it,” said Parham. “Before I start an order I ask questions, like are they newbies or regular smokers, are they regular edible eaters, to figure out the level of ingesting cannabis. For some people, 100 milligrams are too much so we will start out small at 10mg or 20mg and spread it out over the course of the meal.”
Parham said the next step in her work is raising awareness of cannabis-infused food preparation in the community in order to work toward policies for regulating licenses and certificates to properly and safely make the products, which is currently still vague.
“It should be something that people need training,” said Parham. “Right now, it can’t be served with alcohol because we haven’t agreed on a way to measure effects of alcohol and cannabis and proper training will get us to a place where we can serve cannabis-infused food in restaurants. That’s where I see this industry going in Detroit and we need policy to get that done.”
On March 1, Parham is hosting a reservation-only educational dinner and workshop event to learn about terpenes and infused food at Frame Restaurant in Hazel Park.
To inquire about cannabis-infused catering orders or reserve a spot for the workshop with Parham, reach out at luckypistil.com