Industry leaders carve out new Thanksgiving traditions with cannabis

Thanksgiving Turkey

Both Thanksgiving and the cannabis plant have a checkered past when it comes to history and politics — whether we’re talking about the disconnect between the romanticized Pilgrim’s tale and the brutal treatment of Native Americans, or cannabis prohibition and racial injustice to this day — suffice to say, America needs new traditions as much as the cannabis plant does, writes Courtney Eldridge.

Fortunately, Thanksgiving Day provides the perfect opportunity to make memories and adopt new rituals in both realms: Now that cannabis is legal to some degree in more than half the US, it’s about time we used it to spice up and modernize our holiday traditions, whilst finding new ways to enjoy (and be grateful for) the plant.

In the spirit of new and meaningful ways of celebrating, Civilized asked a cross-section of people in the cannabis industry to help us infuse our Thanksgiving recipes and intentions with the bounty of therapeutic cannabinoids. Most of all, we wish you all a safe and sane and delicious holiday.

Take a breath and set intentions, before you eat

Gabe Kennedy, Co-founder of Plant People

One of my favorite ways to begin a meal, especially one with my family and closest friends, is to set an intention and ground everyone in the present through a moment of self care. To do this, I have everyone at the table rub a small amount of our Plant People Plant Balm between their hands to release the aroma. It’s a blend with CBD, camphor and essential oils. It’s a gentle, earthy aromatherapy moment. Then everyone places their warmed hands over their face and takes a few deep inhales. Not only does it smell great and relax the group, but it closes the crazy chapter of the day and creates a new, positive space around the table and the meal.

Infuse some dishes, diffuse the drama

Joline Rivera, Founder of Kitchen Toke

Remember the kids table…? There isn’t one. And maybe, just maybe, this will be a drama-free gathering, but I doubt it. In between forkfuls of turkey topped with pomegranate-cranberry compote and second helpings of mashed potatoes, a discussion becomes heated. Someone hurls an insult or makes a derogatory remark. Perhaps it’s a comment from the homophobic uncle or the racist one. Every holiday gathering is filled with a little drama but if all hell breaks loose, I know that a few flower-infused dishes will ensure there’s no storm with the calm. We always have a lot of vegetable-forward dishes because this is how we eat. Not only are they delicious, but you can make them in advance. No offense but you will never find a green bean casserole at the table or sweet potatoes with maple syrup kind of thing.

We always have two of the same dish in case someone doesn’t want to partake. For dessert, we’ll have a component that’s infused, such as a caramel sauce, for the apple pie. You have to be careful with that because it’s SO good you forget how much you’re eating. Here are a few things we make every year: herb-roasted turkey with pancetta porcini and shallot cannabis stuffing and pomegranate cranberry compote.

Get Grandma high

David Tran, DOPE Media Co-founder and Chief Branding Officer

Thanksgiving is a perfect day to triple the portions of Cannabis and food and nobody gives you a hard time or judges. Traditionally, we have friends over for the “After-Dinner Party” where we break out some nice scotch, the Dopen, edibles, and sing karaoke! I always try to get at least one family member really stoned. Last year, we were able to get 93-year-old gramma to smoke a vape for the first time in her life. Cannabis and Thanksgiving — they both allow you to slow down, surround yourselves with dope people, put everything into perspective, reflect on everything you are thankful for, and have smile on your face all day.

Cannabis can be a dietary supplement, too

Garyn Angel, CEO of


Cannabis is a dietary essential that promotes happiness, it pairs well with adult family meals around the holidays. Grandma uses cannabis to control her pain, my uncle enjoys infused pumpkin pie and we are all thankful for molecules like CBD that help children with epilepsy.

CBD for holiday stress relief  

Christina Bellman, Founder and CEO of LEVO Oil

Obviously the holidays can be a very stressful time for everyone. Both my mom and I suffer from migraines and have noted a pattern of symptoms shortly after the dust settles in early January. Now that I live a plane ride away from family, my holidays include significant travel which also adds to the physical stress of it all, so I’ve found great relief for anxiety and tight muscles in CBD-rich snacks and topical salves. An aromatic body scrub (my favorite infused go-to) that smells of all my favorite holiday pines, cinnamon, anise, nutmeg, clove, and more can transform a quick shower amid the chaos into a spa moment! It’s surprisingly easy to find a few minutes to throw a batch of any of these items together that will get you through these crazy couple of weeks! In fact, taking the time to DIY is soothing in itself and a great excuse to carve out some YOU time that still feels productive.

Opt for pot, not politics

Brad Bogus, Confident Cannabis vice president of marketing & growth

The year Trump won the presidential election was the first year I brought my own stash of edibles and a vape pen to Thanksgiving, covertly. The purpose was very specific; I was not interested in engaging whatsoever in any traps of political debates with family. I am easily drawn into those things, and I needed the assistance to add a little ‘f&@# it’ to my attitude to prevent it. I’m happy to report it worked splendidly. Yearly tradition ever since.

No time for napping? Try a dessert edible for a post-meal energy boost

Heather Larimer, Chief Marketing Officer of 1906 cannabis chocolate company

Holidays are all about making beautiful memories; and it doesn’t take that much to elevate a moment. 1906 makes artisanal chocolate edibles, which are perfect for holiday gatherings because they’re discreet and very delicious. Our Bliss peanut butter cups are especially great to hand out at a dinner party. They make you chatty and bubbly, and give you a nice kick of energy after a big meal. Like a post-meal espresso but WAY more fun. We share them liberally around the holidays.

To your health! Cheers with a CBD cocktail

Valerie Lollett, Founder of The Plant Dept

The first thing that we should be thankful for is our health — long may it remain good! — and there’s no better way to celebrate it than with a good, spicy, energizing CBD cocktail. Yes, by this moment you must be thinking this is nothing original, and it isn’t; that’s another thing we should be grateful for! We’re currently living the cannabis and hemp revolution, when every day you can find more and more reliable information in media about these wonderful products, including cocktails! The awareness effect is expansive, like the tummy of Joey from Friends during a Thanksgiving dinner. Bad joke, but a classic thanksgiving image, right?

This year has been extraordinary for the cannabis community, but there’s still so much to do. Yes, we should be grateful, but we also need to keep fueling this civil rights movement with more energy to ensure the good times don’t stop.

So, with this in mind, and being appreciative of the resources that great mother nature provides, let’s play with some seasonal alchemy to create our perfect festive fuel. The Plant Dept Thanksgiving Cocktail features pineapple juice because we want to help our digestion, feel good and add a touch of tropical flavor (we have a tropical soul); ginger syrup to improve our mood and help us with any possible inflammation; a full dropper of your favorite CBD oil, the celebrated ingredient about which there’s no need to say more; and finally, two dashes of cinnamon for a healthy body and a clear, focused mind. Shake all the ingredients vigorously with a lot of ice, and serve love and gratefulness. Lastly, season’s greetings to one and all!

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