Thinking of adding CBD Dishes to Your Menu?

CBD is a lifestyle being embraced as the latest health food craze. Some restaurants in New York City began using CBD in their kitchens believing it is a legal substance. But the issue is not cut and dry. While studies are not dispositive about the effects of CBD, anecdotal reports claim anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea, anti-anxiety, anti-depression, anti-pain, heart health and mood boosting effects. For those into health and wellness, this seems like an additive with lots of benefits.

I was curious about how you would go about cooking with CBD if you wanted to try it at home. Surprisingly, mainstream cooking media channels had lots of good information and recipes. This is a bigger phenomenon that I had realized.

After reading several articles, this is what I learned:

  • the serving size should be about ¾- 1 tsp per person of CBD oil
  • It is easily added to baked good and sweets
  • In drinks, it works better with distilled spirits than wine or beer
  • Doesn’t mix easily with juice, water or soda
  • It can be added to coffee if milk or cream is added (the fat dissolves the CBD) using the higher quality filtered decarboxylated oil will provide a better flavor experience in most foods because it has little change in the flavor of the food
  • it is best to add it after cooking or in the final stages of cooking – keeping it from exceeding temperatures over 350 Degrees F
  • the best taste experience is when it is blended with a fat such as coconut milk, butter or dairy
  • it works well mixed in sauces or dressings
  • it works well mixed in herb-forward recipes like pesto
  • it is not great for frying as it can be bitter
  • it can be poured on like a condiment in the same way as olive oil is often used

CBD is still not deemed safe for human consumption and a restaurant or bar can be the subject of enforcement by the FDA or health department. So far, enforcement has been in the form of warnings or seizing the unlawful products from store shelves. Despite these risks, profit will prevail for many business owners. While there is a risk of getting caught and fined for CBD edibles, the business may make so much money from CBD infused food and beverage sales, the fines will simply be viewed as a cost of doing business. Say a NYC business makes $500-$2,000 per day on its CBD menu items.

Multiply that by 360 days and the cost of a $150-$650 fine is dwarfed. It makes financial sense to continue to sell as long as it can, even with the occasional fine. The discussion may change if the penalties include closing down the business, but so far that is not an outcome. However, if businesses flagrantly ignore the rules and are the subject of persistent violations, I suspect agencies will have stricter enforcement and businesses may be subject to loss of licenses and closure as being unsafe for the public.

The cost to businesses with liquor licenses can be significant. The Department of Health and FDA are likely to make referrals of violators to the State Liquor Authority. The fines will be in the thousands of dollars, plus the legal costs and risk of losing the liquor license altogether. The State Liquor Authority has much less tolerance for what it considers irresponsible business practices that put the public at risk.

For businesses considering taking the risk until marijuana is legalized and CBD is declared safe for human consumption by the FDA, they should consider consulting an attorney so they can minimize the risks and be prepared for an investigation or audit. All employees should be trained what to do if a surprise visit happens.