We live in a world with cannabis pixie straws — and they're legal. Since the legalization of cannabis in Illinois on January 1st of last year, collective interest in cannabis has grown.

The most approachable cannabis product you can find at our local dispensaries is a category called edibles. Edibles include gummies and chocolate bars, but cannabis edibles can also include beverages, candies, mints, capsules, pretzels, and more. These items are infused with THC and are made with varying potency. Last year, I shared six edibles to enhance your calm.

In honor of 420, the highest cannabis-oriented celebration day of the year, I wanted to highlight five edibles that actually felt relaxing and tasted good.


A yellow bag lays on a butcher block counter with a lemon ginger cannabis infused lozenge inside. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Honey Lemon Ginger Premium Lozenge

This edible was a 20 mg lozenge for $11.11 ($15 with tax) — which sounds crazy expensive. Yes, it was pricey for a single lozenge, but hear me out: all I needed for my wonderful evening was this lozenge. 

On a wooden counter, a purple-brown lozenge sits, wrapped in clear packaging like a candy. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Inside the bag was this innocuously wrapped candy, and I unwrapped it and put it in my mouth. There was a very strong ginger flavor that started intense and softened to a sweet, candied ginger. It tasted a lot better than any of the chemical-tasting lozenges I've had when I have been sick in the past, and it's the sort of thing I'd like when I am sick in the future. You can also drop this lozenge in a cup and pour hot water over to make a THC hot toddy, but I chose the traditional method. The lozenge itself was large; it was about the size of a quarter. The ginger covered the cannabis oil really well, and it was quite tasty. By taste alone, I would not have been able to tell that it contained THC. By the end of the lozenge, it tasted like a sweet hard candy with a lemon and honey finish.

I took the lozenge at 6:45 p.m. and I was feeling it by 7:05. I walked by a painting in my house, and the eyeballs were looking at me; it freaked me a little bit. I felt under the influence for sure, a lot like an alcoholic buzz. My movements were slower, and my thoughts were calmer. I was quick to laugh, and my laughs lasted longer than if I were sober. I got the munchies around 7:30. That bowl of cereal was divine, and I couldn't get over how awesome the crunch was. By 9, I felt very relaxed: an easy-going version of myself. I felt inspired to stretch, so I put on lo-fi hip hop and did yoga. Afterwards, I brushed my teeth and put myself to bed. I was asleep before 10, and I didn't wake until 7. I think it was one of my best edible experiences, and I would highly recommend this for both experienced and new-to-edibles consumers.

A white mug with blue leaves and a gold rim is nearly full of hot chocolate. The cup sits on a butcher block counter against a white wall. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Mexican Hot Chocolate

I was really excited to try this cannabis Mexican hot chocolate ($11.11, with tax $15) as I love Mexican chocolate. The instructions said to mix the contents of the bag with six ounces of boiling water, then stir until dissolved. The package included a lot of powder and one chocolate piece. The budtender told me that it was essential to consume the chocolate chunk as that's where the 25 mg of cannabis was. He said that one customer just used the powder and threw away the chocolate, so now he reminds everyone to keep the chocolate in the drink.

An overhead view of a mug with blue lines on the white interior with a golden handle. The mug has a layer of cocoa powder and a chocolate circle in the center. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

When I poured the contents into a mug, the aroma of cinnamon and cocoa filled my nose. I followed the instructions, mixed well, and tried a sip. It was hot: temperature hot and spicy hot. The drink had a simple, wholesome chocolate flavor with lingering cinnamon spiciness. The drink was smooth, with no clumps, and it had a big mouth flavor. It was decadant, even made with water, and punchy at the end with the cinnamon. 

Before I finished the mug, I was feeling it. I had heard that THC drinks hit faster than gummies and other chewable edibles, and it was correct in my experience. Immediately, rest felt like a good idea, my only idea. I chose to just lounge in my backyard in the sun. I could feel the wind, hear chirps from the birds, watch the clouds, and notice the new budding flowers. This drink made me slow down, and I felt zero guilt about it. I pulled out a book and read until my eyes were tired, and then, eyes closed, resting, I laid there with my book in my lap. My last sip had many of the sunken spices, and it was a delicious last sip without any grit. My notes from the experience say, "Maybe my awesome mixing?" so perhaps another side effect of this drink was self confidence. Overall, it felt like a warm hug, very calming. I didn't feel the urge to scramble for my phone to scroll; I just wanted to sit outside and enjoy the moment. 

In the foreground, a sake glass is full to the brim with a light yellow liquid. Behind it, there is a tonic bottle with reddish orange colors. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Mandarin Orange Tonic 

This is the one item that the budtender warned me about; "It is crazy intense, and it can fuck you up," he said. This tonic ($25.93, with tax $34) contained 100 mg. The drink was very childproof with a plastic seal plus a childlock cap in addition to a lift-and-peel paper seal. With the warning from the budtender in mind, I decided to take just one quarter of the bottle, 25 mg. There were markings on the side for easy dosing in addition to a warning on the bottle that read, "Its use may impair cognition." I shook the bottle up as instructed and poured my shot of tonic. The portion fit nicely in one of my sake glasses.

The taste was very sweet, like a sugary lemonade. The aftertaste, though, had a smoky cannabis flavor. It was similar to when I've been able to taste the alcohol in a stiff drink. I decided to just drink it fast, but a chaser might be a good accompaniment. The flavors I tasted were lemon, mango, and a general fruitiness, so I don't know why they named this drink Mandarin orange, but it was pretty delicious cold from the fridge. I took this at 4 p.m. and felt pretty impaired for about four hours.

Within about 45 minutes, I felt the tonic kick in. I felt the world around me soften, and it felt like I was moving through water. Around 5 p.m. when I was prepping dinner, I used two very small cutting boards in lieu of the usual size board. I cut one onion on a small cutting board, and I cut up a bell pepper on another tiny cutting board — instead of getting out the regular cutting board which would fit both vegetables. Why? Using the small cutting boards seemed like a good idea at the time. I ate heartily at dinner, and later in the evening, I had a great time watching Tuca & Bertie, a Netflix show best enjoyed with a little THC. Overall, it was a fun experience, but as I was definitely impaired on this tonic, I would suggest not making any plans to be productive.

On a butcher block counter, a bag reading Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Pixie Straws

I bought this bag from Sweet Life by Hannah from Sunnyside, and it included four 25 mg cannabis infused pixie straws for $29.63. The dosing was simple: one paper straw of colorful sugar was one dose (for me). 

Four pixie straws in yellow, blue, red, and purple sit on a butcher block counter. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

I cut open the blue one first. Inside, the sugar was bright blue, probably because it might look like something else if it was white. The blue sugar was so yummy, almost identical in taste to Pixie Sticks. The texture was a crunchier, thicker sugar mix than the non-THC candy version, but these pixie straws still gave the fun experience of tapping the bottom of the stick to get all the sugar into my mouth.

The flavor was straight sugar, just generic sweet, and I liked it. The effects were much more mild than the other edibles I tried for this article. It gave a sense of calm, but I was not really aware that I was under the influence; I would forget that I had some THC. I just felt like a nicer, calmer version of myself — the personality I long to have, for about four hours. There was no real cognitive effect except for feeling extra pleasant, so I decided to give it another go, on another day. I tried the yellow one (with orange colored pixie dust inside) to see if I had missed the effects perhaps.

About an hour and a half into the yellow pixie straw, I felt very normal, not intoxicated at all. Just a mild sense of peace. Nothing seemed particularly stressful: not the deadline for this article, not making lunch for my family, not my to-do list. I just felt normal with imaginary noise-cancelling headphones for my stressing thoughts. These pixie straws were fun to take, yummy to taste, and novel to try.

A black cherry tonic seltzer sits on a light wood counter with a white wall behind it. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Black Cherry Tonic Fizz Seltzer

When I bought this, the budtender said he loved these so much, he used to have a fridge full of them. This seltzer ($11.11, with tax $15) has 25 mg of THC and zero calories. There was a childproof plastic top over the can, so no little fingers could break into the can easily which is good because this seltzer needs to be stored in the fridge. When I took my first sip, I was waiting for a strong cannabis flavor, but I couldn't taste it. It was delicious. The drink tasted a lot like a regular seltzer. It had a faint black cherry flavor with light carbonation. The strongest flavor was Stevia (which I didn't mind) with a very, very faint aftertaste of cannabis. It seemed like a good replacement for an alcoholic seltzer.

The effects of this seltzer were pretty mild for me. I expected a stronger influence, honestly for 25 mg, but I found this seltzer to be more of a mood enhancer than anything else. For about four hours, I felt a low key sense of happiness and confidence in myself. I was able to concentrate easily and stay on task. I even completed the project of mulching my entire backyard (for five hours), and it kept my mood positive and determined to finish — with no munchies whatsoever. I think it would also be a lovely cold drink to crack open on the porch while reading a book, making a meal plan for the week, or (from personal experience) mulching a backyard.

For this list, I purchased all of these edibles in the last week and a half, but inventory availability varies. Sometimes there are a lot of options on the menu, but sometimes there is only one flavor available. Worse, sometimes the product I want (and had in my cart) would not be available when I checked out later. Keep an eye on the shop's website and inventory, and when you see something you like, put it in your cart and check out before someone else buys it. Online orders are prepared and available for pick-up within two hours usually. Plus, when you arrive, your order will be ready to go. You can buy edibles, beverages, and all kinds of cannabis products here in C-U at our local dispensaries Sunnyside and NuEra.

Sunnyside
1704 S Neil St
Champaign
10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily

NuEra
105 E University Ave
Urbana
Su-W 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Th-Sa 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

NuEra
102 E Green St
Champaign
Su-W 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Th-Sa 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Top image by Alyssa Buckley.