BY MARIE LODI
Before hitting the slots or checking out one of Sin City’s epic residencies the next time you’re in Las Vegas, stop by one of MedMen’s Nevada locations to pick up a tasty treat from Vert Edibles. The award-winning cannabis edibles brand uses high-quality ingredients in their baked goods, which are wrapped in stunning, vintage-inspired packaging. Their popular cookie squares feature delectable flavors like Red Velvet, Strawberry Shortcake, and Cookies N’ Cream. The only problem? Trying to decide which one to taste first.
Ahead, Margaux Hansberry, Vert’s Nevada sales manager, talks us through the magic behind Vert Edibles.
How did Vert Edibles get started?
Vert Edibles began as a challenge to create the most consistently delicious and enjoyable infused baked goods. Our ownership worked with star cannabis chef Melissa Parks to develop a brand reminiscent of vintage Vegas and Mid Century modern design, delivering feel-good food indulgence.
What distinguishes Vert from other cannabis edibles brands?
The first thing that sets our brand apart from the rest is our consulting chef and creator, Melissa Parks. She brought over 10 years of cannabis cooking experience, commercial food development, and love of food science to the table when she was ready to launch her very first edible line, Vert Edibles. Something that we’ve always gotten phenomenal feedback on is the taste and effect of Vert Edibles. This is where our highly refined, fully pre-activated oil comes into play: Even before the state required homogeneity testing, we were consistently dosing via varied homogenization techniques, so that no one corner of an edible would feel differently than another. Chef Melissa has never included nuts or ingredients that could absorb oil at different rates from the batter, creating holes which can offset even distribution of cannabis oil in our infused baked goods. Although the Cookie Squares are a more indulgent approach to edibles, Melissa has made them as healthy as possible, using organic freeze-dried strawberry preserves with no pesticide residue in comparison to those grown conventionally. With a state-imposed, two-month shelf life, not many edible companies have been able to keep producing a “soft baked good.” Our scrumptious Vert Cookie Squares have the texture of a brownie, in cookie flavors, and have been able to survive this test of regulations, making them a unique product on the marketplace. Not to mention, most cookies are round! We knew we’d have to create a baked good that was easily doseable, hence the square shape. Finally, we have our beautifully designed packaging, inspired by the mid-century modern style of vintage Las Vegas. We wanted our edibles to be fun and inspiring, good for gifting, and to truly feel like a special treat, it took months to finalize our designs and get them to print.
How did the name Vert come about?
It means green in French, and in English, defines a forest clearing in which deer graze.
Are your edibles sprayed or infused with cannabis?
Unlike other edible companies, we want everything done from scratch, so Vert Edibles are hand mixed, infused, cut, decorated, and packaged. Before even making the Cookie Squares, our kitchen crew infuses butter with high-potency ethanol extracted distillate oil. We use butter for the purity of fat content, which helps our edibles stay stronger for longer. The butter is melted when it’s infused, for homogenization purposes, before being refrigerated for stabilization; then, it rests at room temperature before mixing.
How were Vert Edibles’ unique flavors conceived?
There was a lot of thought and dedication that went into choosing our cookie square flavors. Some of the flavors were inspired by Melissa Park’s favorite sweet treats she enjoyed as a child. The Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe came from her personal blend of special ingredients that always won her family cookie baking contests; non-infused, of course. Our famous Caramel Brownie is an adaptation of her favorite childhood sundae blend of brownies, caramel, and fudge. She also was sure to choose flavors that masked the flavor of cannabis well, and would fully homogenize the oil infusion. For example, our Strawberry Shortcake Cookie Squares are made with organic freeze dried strawberry preserves that soak up the cannabis oil consistently with the batter, for even distribution of D9-THC.
Do your edibles contain reintroduced terpenes?
We do not add any additional terpenes to our Vert Cookie Squares. However, we’ve received feedback that customers have had issues using the Cookie Squares to sleep when they were infused with a sativa dominant oil, for a specific batch that was infused with Blue Dream. We don’t yet have scientific evidence that terpenes are the only contributors to the varietal effects of cannabis. In the meantime, to avoid any surprises, we put the dominant distillate strain on our product labels to guide customers.
Any advice for edibles newcomers?
When trying edibles for the first time, you’ll notice there’s a different feeling, associated with edibles’ heavier effects. It takes longer to kick in, but can last a lot longer as well. This is due to a conversion that happens in your liver, when Delta9-THC is converted to 11-OH THC, which has been scientifically proven to be 5x more sedative than Delta9-THC. It’s never fun to get caught off-guard in an edible experience. Be sure you don’t have too many responsibilities, and try to gauge your tolerance at home before testing how much you can handle when you’re out and about. Edibles will never replace my love of smoking, dabbing, or vaping, but they’re a very helpful tool. For example, I have trouble sleeping; I toss and turn, waking myself up in the middle of the night. By eating a couple dosages of a Cookie Square after dinner as a little desert, my sedative experience kicks in right when I need to fall, and stay, asleep. But sometimes, it’s not so convenient to wait two hours for the effects to kick in, and you don’t always want to be sedated; maybe you want to be ultra discreet. In that case, try an edible with sativa terpenes like limonene or pinene, a CBD/THC blend edible for more functionality, or candies and drinks, which are metabolized faster.
What sorts of change in the cannabis industry do you hope to inspire via Vert?
When Vert was an idea, we wanted to release an edible line that would be phenomenally better in all ways than your run of the mill “pot brownie.” I think we’ve done a fabulous job of inspiring the movement towards fun, inspired packaging. Yes this is medicine, but upon unwrapping a cookie square and getting a waft of a delicious baked good, we want you to feel like you’re truly treating yourself.
Do you plan on expanding to other types of cannabis products?
Vert Edibles is now Vert Unlimited, as we’ve released a preactivated cannabis oil syringe that consumers can use for just about anything! Our Vert Applicators have high terpene content, and are best used as a high potency sublingual option, because they provide a seriously activated experience. Most terpenes are burned off with exposure to high temperatures, so the pre-activated CO2 oil filled in the applicators is perfect for low temperature, tasty dabbing and vaping. I love adding the oil to a pre-roll, blunt, or bowl to increase the potency. When my tolerance gets high or a strain isn’t working the same for me any longer, I enjoy making my own “caviar” to kick it up a notch. These are a healthier alternative to our cookie squares, as they are gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, and can be used for instant relief. They will now come in a 1:1 CBD/THC version and include an application tip.
What’s next for Vert?
Customers have told us that we have a lot of chocolate flavor options, and the newest additions to our cookie square lineup are a Blondie flavor and Birthday Cake. The Birthday Cake is so fun and colorful with confetti jimmies that will have you reminiscing about sprinkle-topped cupcakes at an elementary school skate party. Our Blondie is more of a classic, meant to be a base for milkshakes, sundaes, and vanilla lovers. There are some more fun projects under way; follow us @vertunlimited for sneak peeks. We’re always working towards the next, best edible. The possibilities are endless!