If you've ever had someone tell you their weed smells like blueberries, it's likely they're talking about terpenes: the oils that exist in a variety of plants, and cannabis is no exception. These oils are what give various strains their distinctive scents, whether they're fruity, floral, funky or earthy. But full disclosure: terpenes won't get you high.
To get the psychotropic effects associated with cannabis, you need the THC. Still, some believe that terpenes have various, other beneficial effects, including anti-inflammation and anti-anxiety properties, and decreasing your stress. Then there’s cannabidiol, known as CBD. Like THC, it's a chemical compound found in the marijuana plant, but without the psychotropic effects. You’ll often see it delivered as an oil, and various studies indicate numerous benefits, including anticonvulsant, anti-anxiety and antipsychotic properties.
And it's blowing up. Last week, Lagunitas Brewing Co. debuted an IPA with terpenes called SuperCritical, which you can now find here in L.A. Lagunitas, along with El Silencio Mezcal, currently has a pop-up bar in the weed-centric art show, Think Tank Gallery's Drinkin', Smokin' & West Coastin': A Group Love/Hate Letter to L.A. Running now through September 23, the show explores '80s and '90s Los Angeles via art, installations and a host of immersive events. The bar is titled DMV Dive Bar, and features DMV-esque seating, vintage arcade games and a loop of L.A. car chases.
Locally, you can score a SuperCritical at Stout in Hollywood and Verdugo Bar in Glassell Park. But that's not all! Since California residents voted in favor of recreational cannabis in 2016, more and more restaurants and bars have been getting friendly with the plant, incorporating CBD and terpenes into their offerings. Here’s where you can find CBD- and terpene-infused cocktails around Los Angeles:
Prank Bar, a downtown newcomer notable for being Los Angeles' first walk-up bar, serves multiple terpene cocktails. Options include the Mon Frére, with gin, limonene terpenes, and Regan's orange bitters—a bold, boozy drink with a citrus essence—or the Stubborn Booch, with vodka, lime, mango, ginger, bitters, limonene terpene and house-made peach-and-coconut kombucha. Most cocktails range from $12 to $16, and you can also get an antioxidant wellness “ambrosia” shot with terpenes for $12.
Pattern Bar is located in the Fashion District and they've taken that into account on their cocktail menu, where each concoction is named after a famous designer. The McQueen, for instance, is made with Hendrick's, Fiorente elderflower liqueur, passionfruit and lemon. For $5, you can have a shot of CBD oil—0.6 milligrams, amounting to about 45 drops—added to any drink, including tea or water. Most cocktails are in the $12 to $14 range on their own.
Vegan Mexican restaurant Gracias Madre may have been the first L.A. establishment to begin touting a cannabis cocktail, and it certainly wasn't subtle: the Sour T-iesel is served with a bright pot leaf made of matcha floating atop aquafaba foam, a vegan substitute for egg white. They also have the Stoney Negroni (gin, vermouth, Turin aperitivo, port wine, orange oil, CBD) and the Rolled Fashioned (mezcal añejo, bourbon, house-made sarsaparilla, aromatic bitters, CBD), each at $20. You can also get the Sour T-iesel at Café Gratitude in Newport Beach, and CBD oil is an ingredient in the "High-Vibe" juice at many of the café's other locations.
FOOD BONUS: Altered Plates
Chef Holden Jagger—formerly of Maude and Soho House—founded Altered Plates, a company that offers private dining experiences that combine cuisine and cannabis. Dishes incorporate the aroma and taste of marijuana via terpenes, but may also include cannabis pairings. Interested parties can inquire about bookings via Altered Plates' website. Curious? For more on L.A.'s cannabis-based dining scene, step right this way.
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