Mix a money guy, a cannabis dispensary owner, an inventor and a diet writer and the result is a recipe for a marijuana-infused nut butter that claims to have healthful properties — and that packs a longer, smoother high.
For the past six months, Bend-based Lux Edibles has been selling a cinnamon bun-flavored almond nut butter infused with a cannabis distillate in 150 dispensaries around the state and has hopes for expanding that to 360 locations. The company also plans to expand its product line to include two more flavors and a squeeze pack for a single dose in the next couple of months. The nut butter is being made in a commercial kitchen in Portland.
The Lux Edibles founders brought a diverse set of skills to their company. Bryan Azur brought the business background. Nik Rueth formulated the nut butter. Nick Harsell, owner of High Grade Organics, had an understanding of the cannabis industry. And Cain Credicott, founder of Paleo Magazine Bend, possessed an understanding of healthy eating.
All of them have a belief that their product — a jar of nut butter mixed with THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana — will appeal to recreational marijuana users who want to be healthy.
“It’s a healthful superfood,” Azur said. “We have a product that is healthy and has THC that can last six to eight hours. Consumers find healthy edibles a lot more palatable.”
Marijuana-infused food is on the upswing for recreational users who don’t want to inhale marijuana by smoking or vaping it. In Oregon, edibles cannot contain more than 5 milligrams of THC per serving and cannot contain more than 50 milligrams in a container, according to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, which oversees recreational marijuana.
“Edibles themselves are quite popular. With the oils, people can prepare foods and create cannabis-infused meals,” said Adam Smith, executive director of the Craft Cannabis Alliance, a cannabis trade association. “We’re at a moment where everything is new. People have been cooking with cannabis for generations. It’s an industry where people at the moment are pushing the limits and testing the market.”
The state has 146 licensed processors in Oregon since recreational marijuana was legalized in 2016, said Mark Pettinger, Oregon Liquor Control Commission spokesman. Of those, about 69 produce so called “value added products” — food products infused with THC, Pettinger said.
What makes this edible last longer, Azur said, is that the THC binds better with fat contained in the nut butter. That’s what sparked Azur’s interest and will appeal to people eating a paleo diet, which focuses on grass-produced meats, fish, seafood, fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, nuts, seeds and oils that come from olives, walnuts, flaxseed, macadamia nuts, avocados or coconut. People on paleo diets don’t eat refined sugars, legumes, dairy, salt, potatoes or processed foods and cereal grains.
“Mixing THC with the fats came from the paleo side,” Azur said. “It gives a way better effect. This is really unique, really different. It could replace pain pills or sleeping pills for people.”
The company has been producing a few hundred pounds of nut butter a month, Rueth said.
Harsell’s Bend dispensary on Davis Avenue is one of the 10 dispensaries in Bend that has been selling the Lux nut butter infused with THC. The nut butter sells for $20-$30 a jar, depending on the size, and in about six weeks, the $4 single-dose squeeze bottles will hit the shelves, Harsell said.
“We tell customers to just eat a little bit at first,” Harsell said. “We tell them to read the packaging and to know your limit.”
— Reporter; 541-633-2117, firstname.lastname@example.org