Chefs

Seven Tips For Bringing Cannabis Edibles to Your Holiday Dinner

Event planner and pro stoner Sam Kanter shares the dos and don'ts of edibles etiquette.


From a festive menu by the Dinner at Mary’s pop-up, the “OG Turducken” of roast turkey, confit duck, and chicken sausage, served with charred broccoli rabe and a THC-infused smoked cranberry glaze. Dinner at Mary’s founder Sam Kanter shares her tips on incorporating cannabis edibles into your holiday feast at home. / Matthew McLaughlin Photography

The first holiday season approaches since Massachusetts residents have had recreational access to legal cannabis products, and the temptation might be strong to add the well-known appetite enhancer to your family feast. But before swapping out the traditional Thanksgiving pie or Christmas cookies for a big plate of pot brownies, heed this edibles etiquette advice from Sam Kanter, the event-planning pro behind the cannabis dining series Dinner at Mary’s, as well as Sam Kanter Events.

DO be honest about wanting to incorporate cannabis into your holiday celebration.

Now that it’s legal, some people are coming out as cannabis users to their families for the first time. With all the festive celebrations, the holidays are a natural time to do so—and maybe even shatter some of mom and dad’s stereotypes while you’re at it. Kanter says her family is accepting of her cannabis use. But other people she meets are often surprised to learn that she’s a daily user. That’s why she’s open about her consumption: to educate people about the stuff, and work against “the stigma that you can’t be a productive person” while regularly using weed, Kanter says.

Besides, “Thanksgiving is the biggest food holiday of the year, so what better way to enjoy it in all its glory than with a low-dose edible to ignite your appetite and pump the chef’s ego?” Kanter says. “You’ll be like, ‘This is so good.'”

DON’T be a pusher.

On the other hand, while you should feel comfortable sharing your own preferences, “Don’t be ‘that person’ pressuring anyone to indulge,” Kanter says. “Also, if the host isn’t down, be respectful of house rules.”

DO eat first.

“Edibles are the opposite of booze, in the sense that you need to have food in your stomach to assist with the metabolic process,” Kanter explains. So, make sure to have a decent breakfast, or pop some appetizers first, before consuming any cannabis. “Plus, it takes up to two hours to kick in [after eating cannabis products], so plan accordingly.”

DON’T mix alcohol and cannabis recklessly.

“I would recommend avoiding booze [while taking cannabis] unless you’re a pro,” Kanter says. “Alcohol and cannabis combine forces when used simultaneously,” meaning you might feel more drunk and stoned than you anticipated.

DO share with (of age) family members.

In certain social settings, Kanter likes to spike a non-alcoholic beverage with a THC tincture, and Dinner at Mary’s menus typically feature infused sauces that bring a controllable dose of buzz to each dish. But for family holidays, Kanter typically goes for five-milligram cannabis gummy candies.

“You don’t want someone to accidentally consume [cannabis] and not be aware of it,” Kanter says. “So labeling [an infused dish] is important. But I would stick to edibles or a tincture, where you can offer it directly to people you know want to be involved.

“Being around family can be challenging, and cannabis makes it easier,” continues Kanter, who likes to use THC for its anti-anxiety effects. “Plus you’ll secure your spot as the most popular cousin.”

DON’T drive.

Driving under the influence of cannabis, a controlled substance, is illegal in Massachusetts. Moreover, the drug can affect cognitive abilities including motor coordination, visual function, and focus. “Make smart transportation choices when under the influence of cannabis or any other substance,” Kanter says.

DO go low and slow.

The holidays are a marathon, not a sprint. It’s easy to over-eat tempting foods—and when you’re talking about cannabis dosage, it’s especially important to remember that you can always add more, but you can’t go back in time to take less.

“Even as a seasoned edibles user, I don’t take more than five milligrams of THC at a time,” Kanter says. That’s another reason she likes to have gummies on hand for the holidays: Each bite offers just a small dose. “New users should stick to 10 milligrams or under to start. I would give it up to two hours before taking more.”

Sam Kanter / Jaclyn L. Photography