People have been eating cannabis for eons. Through fossil records traced back as far as the Jurassic period, cannabis is thought to have originated in Southeast Asia and then cultivated around the world wherever people went. Early on, humans recognized the plant’s benefits as a food source, strong fiber, and medicine. Since then, people have meticulously propagated cannabis to meet these varying and specific needs. The highTHC plants grown in greenhouses in California look nothing like their fibrous, wild hemp cousins from the steppes of Central Asia. In her book, Pot In Pans, Robyn Griggs Lawrence outlines the ethnobotany of cannabis, pointing to the domestic cultivation during the Neolithic period in China, where hemp seeds were ingested to improve “urinary and blood flow problems, palsy, breast milk production, muscle fiber growth, dysentery and constipation.” It was also used heavily in Indian folk medicine. A paste called bhang was formed from leaves and flowers, infused with spices, nuts and milk and consumed as a drink used during religious rites and celebrations. In the late 19th century, British imperialism meant Crown rule in India and for the first time, control and restriction were instituted to moderate cannabis use and to raise tax income for the British Empire. Since that time, cannabis prohibition has ebbed and flowed around the world. Cannabis use, however, has remained consistent as it evolved underground and in black markets. People never stopped eating it. Today, 21 states in the U.S. have legalized adult use of recreational cannabis, and 10 more offer legal medical marijuana. Consider the brownie. THC—the psychoactive component of cannabis—is lipid-soluble, meaning that fats and oils can extract it from the rest of the plant. Use of that extracted oil in baking infuses the entire dish with these psychoactive properties. Enter the magic brownie. New industrial solutions have evolved to derive THC from its plant matter including alcohol extraction, 38 The Best of Monterey Bay ® EAT + DRINK 2023-2024 Bake My Day Cooking with cannabis through the years. By Keely Richter Del Rey Farms Pot Stickers Daniel Dreifuss