It’s a plant with a complicated past, a conflicted present, a highly confusing legal status depending on where in the world you hang your hat, but cannabis looks set for a bright future.
Global attitudes towards cannabis are changing, and keeping pace with the times here in the UK is The Canna Kitchen.
The Brigthon-based restaurant will be the first of its kind in the UK when its doors open for service on December 1, and its founder is ready for the challenge.
So first things first, The Canna Kitchen wants to set the record straight, and their founder Sam Evolution spoke to UNILAD to do precisely that.
The restaurant is not offering a pyschoactive experience with its menu – misconception number one – but rather a therapeutic one.
THC – or Tetrahydrocannabinol if you’re showing off to friends – is the compound primarily responsible for any trippy experiences on weed, but you’ll struggle to find it in Head Chef Charlotte Kjaer’s dishes.
Diners will have the option to see their meal infused with cannabinoids such as CBD (Cannabidiol), CBG (Cannabigerol), and CBN (Cannabinol), or they may choose not to infuse at all – but if they do, CBN is the only cannabinoid of the three with traces of THC, and it has to be stressed these traces are minimal.
While that bombshell may disappoint those with dreams of Brighton becoming the new Amsterdam or Colorado (Go Rockies), it is an important distinction integral to reshaping the conversation surrounding cannabis. Not everyone is using it to get high in the traditional sense, there are a whole heap of benefits separate to achieving a buzz.
Awareness of these beneficial properties has been steadily on the rise, particularly within the world of modern medicine – just this year the UK approved the prescription of cannabis-derived products on the NHS.
Evolution is only too aware of these benefits, and hopes to help other become so too. He told UNILAD:
I’ve been working with the hemp plant for quite a number of years. I was part of a company that developed hemp cosmetics and creams which helped people with skin irritations, psoriasis and things like this, and since that time I’ve been in absolute awe of the versatility of the plant.
I just want to do my bit to educate people… With the recent resurgence of cannabis and CBD in the press, its reclassification or acceptance as a medicine, I felt the time was right to do something that was a bit of a statement to get people to shift their thinking.
I’m very passionate about plant-based living and healthy eating, and I have some close connections to some very creative culinary masterchefs. The idea came quite a while ago, but I was waiting for the right time to push it forward.
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The UK’s first cannabis infused vegetarian and vegan restaurant is coming to Brighton. Expect a chilled out atmosphere, creative canna mocktails, and the best in organic vegetarian cuisine with our unique twist. • • • Be one of the first to join us for dinner on 1st December. Book your launch night ticket now for just £25. Spaces are limited.
The Canna Kitchen website emphasises the little-known scientific arguments Sam speaks of:
Many people are unaware that the human body has an in-built system for processing and even creating its own cannabinoids, known as the endocannabinoid system. In fact, cannabinoids are so important for human biology that they are contained within breast milk.
The endocannabinoid system is found throughout the brain and nervous system and cannabinoids have been shown to have a beneficial effect on things like appetite, pain modulation, digestion, reproduction, motor learning, stress, and memory.
The restaurant’s founder is confident that with proper education, and experiences offered by emerging businesses such as The Canna Kitchen, facts will beat propaganda.
Sam said of being the first business in the UK of its kind:
If people are presented with facts about the wide range of conditions this plant can help with, the indesputable scientific facts that this plant is hugely nutritious, it will carry more weight than people may be prepared to give it now.
It’s a matter of helping people who are prepared to learn and want to learn more, or those who are happy to stay in their somewhat ignorance, condemning from a historical stigma. It just comes down to that really. If people are willing to listen there’s plenty of evidence to show the value that this has, far removed from it just being a recreational substance used to get high.
If people aren’t prepared to take that information on board or they don’t want to know, that’s fine, I can’t do much about that. But I believe in it so vehemently and so passionately that I’m willing to put myself out there to represent it.
The restaurant, inspired by a plant will feature an entirely vegetarian menu, with the preview including Zaa’tar Roast Cauliflower, Hemp Heart Tabbouleh, Smoked Aubergine, Sesame Cavolo Nero, and CBD Tahini Cream, Buckwheat and Beetroot Pancake, Roast Roots, Rocket, and CBD Cashew Cheese. Yes please.
While the concept of canna-infusion may be new to UK restaurants, it is not an entirely new art form. Shows such as Bong Appétit and Netflix’s Cooked are testament to this.
Sam explained to UNILAD:
While it’s a new concept, us going forward in the UK this legal way, canna-infused cooking has been around for a long, long time…It’s definitely an art form.
The Canna Kitchen will have more to offer than its groundbreaking restaurant. There will be a CBD Café and dispensary
upstairs offering infused cakes, drinks and beverages. Organic cannabis-based products through the Hemp Earth Dispensary will range from CBD oil and edibles to hemp flower and cosmetics.
And if you’re looking to enjoy some scenic views there is also a roof terrace where guests can chill out, vape or smoke with an accompanying CBD Turkish coffee or Tunisian mint tea. While in the basement a log cabin-style chill-out lounge can offer freshly prepared, organic non-alcoholic cocktails to patrons.
Evolution outlines the goal very clearly on the company’s website:
Our mission is to change the way people think about the cannabis plant by creating beautiful vegetarian dishes which are tastefully complimented with its infusion.
Cannabis is a highly nutritious, versatile and powerful herb; it is packed full of flavour, fragrance and natural therapeutic benefit.
We at The Canna Kitchen aim to redress dated stereotypes mislabeling this extraordinary natural resource purely as a recreational substance.
If you’re in Brighton and looking to safely broaden your horizons be sure to stop by this December.
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
An NCTJ Journalist with an MA in Sports Journalism, Kieron is an experienced social media journalist who has worked in the industry since 2015. His experience includes work with ITN, the MEN, WISH/WIRE/TOWER FM, and 8:50 Sports Digest… not forgetting his time at ASDA.