The general rule of thumb with edibles, or cannabis-infused food items: eat them one dose at a time, and never consume more than you can handle. The general rule of thumb when it comes to queso: eat as much as you possibly can, as quickly as you can, before the dip or the chips run out.
How to square these competing philosophies when the queso in question is an edible? The question came to mind when I learned of a recipe that incorporates the classic queso from Tex-Mex institution Trudy’s with a mood-altering extract from Austin-based hemp company Earlybird CBD.
Founded in 2018, when the federal Hemp Farming Act legalized hemp nationwide, Earlybird CBD sells hemp gummies and tinctures infused with cannabidiol, or CBD. The hemp-derived cannabis component doesn’t create a high, but some studies find it beneficial in treating anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain. (A few of Earlybird’s products contain a small amount legal in Texas—less than 0.3 percent—of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the cannabis component that gets you blitzed.) Earlybird aligns itself more with the microdoser’s milieu. It positions its products as part of a lifestyle approach to hemp consumption that also includes surfing, hiking, and the idea that you don’t have to be stoned out of your mind to enjoy the positive effects of cannabis. The tinctures and gummies that do contain THC offer five, ten, or more times as much CBD as THC, resulting in a pleasant, calming euphoria rather than a laid-flat haze—exactly how one feels after consuming just the right amount of queso.
The CBD queso was originally meant to debut as a limited-edition special. As of now, the menu item has been “postponed,” according to Earlybird CMO Erik Culver. “Trudy’s’ legal team wanted some more time to review the liability,” says Culver. “It’s just an unprecedented landscape.” (Trudy’s did not immediately respond to requests for comment.)
I have no such legal advisers, so I proceeded to make the recipe myself.
When the munchies strike, I’m usually heating up something frozen, rather than cooking from scratch. So, I was two steps in before I realized that the ingredients list, as provided by Earlybird, would yield five pounds of queso. The sheer size of the end product felt like tricky marketing: surely anyone can feel a buzz from five pounds of cheese, with or without a magical ingredient? Unprepared to eat over a half-gallon of queso, I trimmed down the recipe and set out to melt an eight-ounce block of H-E-B queso blanco. The rest of the dip preparation went smoothly, perhaps too smoothly, as the end result was less viscous than the queso I’m used to. (Note: decrease milk for a thicker consistency.) Still, it tasted like queso: creamy, savory, cheesy, and good.
After adding in the jalapeños and spices, I squeezed two milliliters of Earlybird tincture into the concoction. Mercifully, the tincture’s dropper allows for precise dosing, so I wasn’t afraid of the dreaded “green out,” an unwanted paranoia or anxiety that comes with ingesting too much cannabis. One dropperful, or one milliliter of the fluid, contains 25 milligrams of CBD and 2.5 milligrams of THC, which is about one fourth of the amount of THC you might expect to find in a gummy sold at a Colorado dispensary. (Culver suggests trying one milliliter of the tincture on its own to find your appropriate dosage before attempting the recipe.) The recipe I used was intended to be shared between two people, so I opted to add two milliliters.
I enlisted my roommate Jesse, knowledgeable queso consumer and frequent THC user, for the consumption portion of the experiment. Even with two stomachs, it was more difficult than you’d think for us to polish off a full bowl. We ladled queso on chips, dribbled it on tacos, and at one point, I used a spoon. Thirty minutes passed, with several rounds of each asking the other, “Do you feel anything?” We agreed we felt a creeping blanket of calmness, a purported benefit of CBD. In the interim, I continued to imbibe queso past the point of comfort to get my fill of the 2.5 milligrams of THC therein. But while shoveling hot cheese into my mouth past the point of satiation, I was reminded that it is possible to have too much of a good thing. That perhaps moderation—in the form of queso or cannabis—was the real high I’d been chasing all along.
As it happens, I caught a buzz anyway, a tiny, baby buzz characterized by a big grin and an easy laugh. Jesse confided that he felt very relaxed. The high wasn’t too much or not enough. It was just right.
The following recipe below is adapted from the original, to yield a very reasonable half-pound of queso. If you prefer your mind-bending Tex-Mex dishes spicy, head to any Veracruz All Natural location on October 4, when they’ll be serving Earlybird hemp–infused salsa macha.
Trudy’s Classic Queso + Earlybird CBD:
8-ounce block of queso
1 ⅖ cups of milk, or slightly less for a thicker queso
½ jalapeño, diced
½ tablespoon of garlic powder
½ tablespoon of onion powder
2 milliliters Earlybird full-spectrum tincture
- Shred or cube the block of queso.
- Heat the milk in a large saucepot, bringing it to a light simmer. Add the shredded or cubed queso.
- Whisk frequently to ensure no scorching at the bottom of the pan.
- Once cheese is melted into the hot milk and the mixture has a single consistency, add in the diced jalapeño, garlic powder, and onion powder.
- Cool and finish by adding the 2 milliliters of Earlybird CBD tincture.
- Consume, preferably with tortilla chips, and ideally outdoors on a patio of some sort.