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History of the Pot Brownie and the Rise of Cannabis Edibles

By Danyal Swan September 25, 2021

Have you ever been curious about the history of weed brownies? Us, too! MÜV has done the research for you so that you don’t have to wonder who invented pot brownies. It may come as a surprise to some that, while the rise of cannabis edibles seems somewhat recent, people have been consuming cannabis in varying amounts in drink and baked good form for thousands of years. Nevertheless, there has been an explosion of the different types of cannabis edibles on the market in recent years, which we will also explore. There are so many options, new and old, when it comes to edibles like brownies, soft chews, candies, cooking with oils, and so much more!

With so much to learn and unpack, it’s a fun topic to know a bit about when discussing edibles with fellow weed aficionados. Here we go!

The Historical Take on Edibles

Long before the invention of the brownie, early societies - primarily on the Asian continent - were enjoying cannabis-infused treats:

Ancient China: emperors and members of the elite class ritualistically brewed cannabis-infused tea.

Ancient India and other South Asian countries: Hindus drank a concoction called “bhang,” which likens to a cannabis-filled chai containing steamed milk, garam masala spices, ground ginger, and cannabis.

Old-world Moroccans: topped baked goods with a thick jelly or jam called mahjoun, which blended sweet fruits, nuts, elegant spices, and an early form of hash.

Some of these early forms are kept alive today, whether through celebrating tradition or in modern forms. Overall, archeological evidence supports the theory that cannabis has been consumed by humans for anywhere from the last 6,000 to 12,000 years.

You may be wondering - when did smoking or consuming weed take hold on the North American continent where this writer (and, most likely, reader) lives today?

It is often assumed or rumored that Native Americans or First Nation people in Canada used cannabis. After all, these groups of people introduced European colonizers to pipe smoking and tobacco in the 16th century. Of course, cannabis grows incredibly well in the US and Mexico, so it would not be hard to imagine that it was a native plant variety. However, Natives did not begin smoking weed until African and Asian people (many of whom were enslaved) came or were brought to the continent, bringing along with them some of the aforementioned traditions of cannabis use. Therefore, both Native and European-descended people living on the American continents also started using cannabis thanks to Asian and North African traditions.

The History of Weed Brownies

Baked desserts Cookie, Brownie and Bun Infused with Medical Cannabis, with Marijuana leaf and ingredients

Sadly, no one knows exactly who whipped up the first batch of now-famous weed brownies. However, they were likely invented in the early-to-mid 20th century - yes, that recently! What is widely recognized as the first documented weed brownie recipe is one called “Haschich Fudge,” [sic] which was written and published in 1954 by a woman named Alice B. Toklas. Alice was the life partner of Gertrude Stein - a famous novelist, playwright, art collector and activist who is known to have influenced Ernest Hemingway and was a friend to Pablo Picasso. Gertrude and Alice were both American-born feminists, and lived together in Paris during the height of the early 1900s avant-garde movement.

Notably, around the same time, cannabis-infused coffee became popular among Parisian artists and intellectuals. Though we have modern takes on cannabis coffee, especially through CBD or THC oils, these early cannabis coffee drinkers tended to crumble the prepared bud directly into a hot, strong cup of joe. Later, when Toklas and Stein were living in the Parisian art scene, cannabis foods and drinks had become increasingly popular and more adventurous.

The recipe published in 1954 was part of Alice’s self-titled cookbook - The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook. It was known to be more of a thick, gooey fudge ball than a brownie. That may not sound so pleasant now, but it was an important milestone for cannabis baking, as it introduced pot in food to a modern American audience on the brink of the 1960s hippie movement. That was a chocolatey, weedy match made in heaven.

While we’re uncertain about the exact date weed brownies were first created, it was likely being cooked up by the artistic crowd in the late 1800s or early 1900s in Europe. The famous recipe went on to be published, modified, and made famous in 1960s America.

Other Types of Cannabis Edibles

With the use of medical marijuana becoming widely legalized due to its myriad benefits, and some areas legalizing marijuana recreationally, as well, there has been a boom in creative new types of cannabis edibles hitting the market. The brownie is now considered a relatively traditional take on cannabis baking. However, it’s a classic for a reason. It is an iconic treat relatively easy to make. Here are just a few other edible cannabis goodies on the market:

  • Cookies
  • Blonde Brownies
  • Chocolates
  • Dessert Balls
  • Dressings and Sauces
  • Cooking and Drizzling Oils
  • Ice Cream
  • Coffee (including iced coffee and cold brew)
  • Sodas
  • Teas
  • Pizza
  • Chips
  • Soft Chews
  • Hard Candies
  • Lozenges

Of course, depending on the product, some of these items are made only with CBD, while others contain varying amounts of THC.

Why the Rise of Cannabis Edibles?

You may be wondering - why have cannabis edibles become so popular?

Sure, people have enjoyed weed brownies and soft chew edibles for a long time, but why the need for so many types of edible products, especially when smoking, vaping, and taking tinctures, are more popular than ever?

Simply put, with legalization and an ever-widening market comes different tastes and desires from a larger clientele. Some people just don’t like to smoke, vape, or take weedy-tasting oil tinctures, but they still want to reap the medicinal benefits cannabis has to offer. Of course, within that diverse market comes different tastes, like coffee vs. energy drinks or sweet vs. savory. This creates a wonderful opportunity for innovative cannabis engineers to get creative and give us great new products to try out.

How Are Edibles Made?

Whether they contain CBD only or THC, which creates the “high” feeling associated with marijuana use, most cannabis edibles are made with canna-butter or canna-oil. In the famous example of brownies, canna-butter is often used in addition to or in place of regular butter or vegetable oil. This baking method allows for a smooth infusion of cannabinoids into the baked goods so that they taste like brownies, cookies, etc., rather than like weed. As we know, oils are an excellent carrier for the benefits of cannabis across the board.

What about people who like the taste of weed? Certain recipes allow for a more distinct marijuana flavor, while other recipes and products make the taste nearly undetectable. Most consumers choose edibles that taste good but not necessarily “weedy.” However, cannabis flavor profiles have become a niche market of fine dining in areas where recreational marijuana is legalized and is something that can be explored in the home kitchen for those who use marijuana medicinally.

The Best Marijuana Brownie Recipe

Double Chocolate Cannabis Brownie Recipe

History of the Pot Brownie and the Rise of Cannabis EdiblesPrep Time: 15 min (not including cannabutter)
Yield: 16

  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter
  • Desired quantity of quality cannabis flower OR cannabis distillate
  • Cannabutter (see above)1/4 cup (21 grams) of natural cocoa powder, plus a pinch more for the pan
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) chopped quality dark chocolate1 and 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large fresh eggs
  • 3/4 cup (90 grams) all-purpose white flour
  • 1/2 cup (57 grams) chopped toasted nuts, such as walnuts (optional)


Make the cannabutter first, following the quantities listed above and the step-by-step cannabutter guide here.

Step 1

Heat the oven to 325°F (177°C) - don't forget to remove pots and pans!

Step 2

Spray or butter an 8x8-inch baking pan, then dust with flour.

Step 3

In a container holding hot water into which a pan is placed for slow cooking on the stovetop (or in the microwave in 10-second intervals), melt the cannabutter and dark chocolate. Remove the bowl from the heat, then add the sugar, molasses, vanilla, and salt.

Step 4

Add one egg at a time, mixing well after each is added. Beat for about 5 minutes, until a 5-second ribbon forms on the top of the batter when you lift the whisk. If using, stir in the chopped nuts now.

Step 5

In a separate bowl, sift or whisk the flour with the cocoa powder, then add to the chocolate mixture. Combine just until the flour disappears (careful not to over mix!).

Step 6

Pour the batter into the greased pan and place in the center of the pre-heated oven. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a glossy top forms and starts to crack. Keep an eye on the edges, they will firm up first. To check, insert a toothpick near the corner—it should only have a few moist crumbs when removed.

Step 7

When ready, remove and let cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Once cooled, remove from the pan before cutting into 16 square brownies.

Step 8

Store the brownies in an airtight container for up to a week. If you want to freeze them for longer storage, cut them into individual pieces before placing them into the freezer and then warm one piece at a time in the microwave as needed.

Pro tip: although these brownies are delicious, please start slow when dosing. It can take 30-60 minutes for the effects to kick in, but for some it can take even longer. When you’re trying a new recipe or working with a new strain, always start low and slow!

Consuming Edibles

Consuming EdiblesDid you know infused beverages are also an edible?

Are there risks to consuming edibles?

The short answer is no as it would take an exorbitant amount of marijuana to make someone severely ill.

There are side effects, however, to consuming more than you want or can handle, including experiencing too intense of a “high,” a sense of drunkenness, or a feeling of nausea - we recommend keeping a CBD tincture on hand just in case, as CBD may offset some of these effects. Marijuana should make you feel better, not worse, so it’s important to get the product and dosage right. One of the growing pains of the rise in new types of edibles is that dosages are a little more difficult to dial in than other forms of ingesting cannabis.

Responsible medicinal marijuana brands, like MÜV, are committed to creating the safest, highest quality forms of edibles with accurate dosing. As a rule of thumb, it is important to remember when trying edibles to start slow and to pay attention to the THC dosage on the packaging.

If you are interested in trying edibles, there are many options on the market! Here are a few MÜV marijuana edible products you may want to check out.

Happy snacking!

Content Manager for MÜV Florida and Contributor for Zen Leaf Dispensaries. A cannabis connoisseur with a passion for explaining the miraculous possibility of the plant, Swan began her journey with cannabis as a recreational user and quickly realized its positive impact on her depression and severe anxiety. She joined the cannabis industry as Receptionist and MedTender and witnessed first-hand the immense potential of the plant for a wide variety of ailments, deepening her passion for alternative medicine. Swan is dedicated to self-education on the plant and sharing its potential with all. She holds a Journalism degree from the University of Iowa.

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