On November 1, the United Kingdom legalized medical cannabis treatments. Adult use, however, remains under prohibition. And as happens in many cases when cannabis legalization is both popular and desired but barred by prohibition, interest is rapidly growing in the next best thing: cannabidiol, or CBD. Despite the prohibition on cannabis, hemp CBD products are legal in the U.K., as are hemp agricultural products. This creates openings for businesses to capitalize on consumer demand for cannabis with legal hemp and CBD products. And The Canna Kitchen, located in Brighton, is the first restaurant to do exactly that.
Duke Street in Brighton, a seaside resort town on the south coast of England about an hour drive from London, is a bustling avenue of shops, cafés, restaurants, and boutiques. And on December 1, it will become the site of the United Kingdom’s first restaurant offering cannabis-infused culinary fare. The Canna Kitchen specializes in vegetarian and vegan dining. Sam Evolution, who directs The Canna Kitchen, says virtually the entire menu will showcase a variety of cannabis infusions.
Since THC is illegal in the U.K., all of The Canna Kitchen’s cannabis infusions will utilize CBD. CBD derived from hemp is legal in the U.K. and is non-psychoactive, so it doesn’t produce the euphoric high THC does.
Going beyond typical CBD-infusions, which are ubiquitous today, the restaurant’s menu provides some innovative offerings that make it stand out. In addition to CBD, chefs will prepare items that offer rare cannabinoids, such as cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabinol (CBN). Both of these non-psychoactive cannabinoids occur in smaller amounts in hemp plants. Compelling research, however, shows that despite their smaller concentrations, they have potent therapeutic and medicinal effects, including appetite stimulation, pain relief, and anxiety reduction.
Sam Evolution wants The Canna Kitchen to spark a larger conversation around cannabis and society’s perceptions of the plant. Taking inspiration from the rich history of hemp and the plant’s incredible versatility, chef Charlotte Kjaer is creating dishes that represent world flavors and “the healing properties of cannabinoids.” Indeed, hemp seeds are among the most nutritionally complete human food source on the planet. And to showcase that fact, The Canna Kitchen’s menu won’t just include CBD-infusions. Dishes, like the hemp heart tabbouleh, will feature hemp botanicals themselves.
Using hemp botanicals gives Kjaer the opportunity to craft dishes that harmonize with the natural flavors and aromas of different strains of hemp and their flowers. And The Canna Kitchen isn’t just vying to revolutionize plant-based dining in the U.K. It is also launching a CBD Café and dispensary offering infused beverages and light fare. Here, The Canna Kitchen is picking up on a trend that’s spreading quickly throughout Europe. Blooms Café, for example, became the first café to sell hemp botanicals and infused coffee in Ireland.