Scott Van Rixel, a well-established chocolate master, has been trained in Europe to be a chocolatier and has been making non-medicated chocolates for such retail outlets as Whole Foods. Buds and Roses Collective carries Bhang’s award-winning medicated chocolate bars.
First off is the award-winning Bhang Dark Chocolate Bar which is vegan. It’s 73.5 percent dark cocoa from South American beans harvested by farmers in a coca-to-cocoa program. Each single-dose bar has sixty milligrams of active pot ingredient THC and just under two milligrams of pain-relieving CBD and CBN.
Each whole bar has four segments, and each single-dose segment is comparable to a dose of prescription Marinol. Bhang also makes double-dose bars that are twice as strong.
Bhang Chocolates are different than most edible.
“Most people boil butter with plant material, strain, then cook with the THC-infused butter,” Rixel says. But Bhang uses a proprietary technique to extract THC from plant matter without nearly any of the “grass” taste, and does its own on-site potency testing.
The content of these bars is analytically tested 3 separate times: 1) The herb; 2) The extracted material; 3) The final product.
Bhang is elevating the production, consistency, and packaging of chocolate pot to professional levels, Rixel says.
“People will be hard-pressed to compete with our product. It’s miles away from what’s going on,” Rixel says. “I’m one of the first mainstream business people who is taking another business and applying it to the cannabis business.”
“We have a really unique opportunity to put a consistent quality product on the market for all states that allow for medical marijuana,” said Van Rixel. He also explained in a recent interview that the goal of Bhang is to “bring standards of regulation to the industry.We want to be recognized as the leader of how things should be done.”
Because Bhang will be adhering to self-imposed high production standards, Van Rixel said he hopes that will bring pressure on other producers. He also wants state and local governments to step in and adopt regulations for the medical product.
“We aren’t a bunch of stoners baking brownies somewhere in the back of a Winnebago,” he said.
Indeed, Bhang is big time corporate. The company is registered as a corporation in California and has obtained product liability insurance for its edible medical cannabis. “We are absolutely breaking new ground with this,” said Mike Aberle, with Statewide Insurance in Rancho Cordova, California. However, he said it’s not about reinventing anything.
Insuring Bhang for product liability, “is nothing different than using what is available for the food industry now, except that the policy applies to edible medical marijuana,” Aberle explained in a recent interview. While marijuana is illegal under federal law, “we’re not bound to that since insurance is regulated by the states, and we are in a state that has legalized medicinal cannabis,” the insurance broker elaborated.
So, with liability insurance in hand, Van Rixel, in concert with Dr. Martin, launched the new product September 25 at the International Cannabis and Hemp Expo in San Francisco, where the two have a booth to promote their Bhang. “This product is an amazing thing,” Dr. Martin said in an interview. “It is a panacea.”
The Bhang chocolate bar the veteran of the food industry describes as a “cure-all,” makes cannabis “medicinal instead of psychoactive,” he explained. Dr. Martin, who has done research and development for Coca-Cola and Dreyer’s Ice Cream among others, said Bhang is about relieving pain, “rather than getting high and chilling out.”
He says chocolate covered almonds and truffels will follow closely behind.
Van Rixel’s culinary infusion into medical marijuana production is a propriety blend that begins with premium Venezuelan criollo cacao. It ends up as gourmet chocolate cannabis bars made in a non-profit laboratory-kitchen located near Oakland in California. “Cocoa butter is the best way,” he said, to get the cannabis medicine to kick in to action.
A self-described entrepreneur, Van Rixel, first brought his chocolate delights to New Mexico when he opened a confection shop in 2001 in the old, abandoned county jail at Taos Plaza. In need of some help in the sales department, it wasn’t long before his younger brother Tim moved to Taos from Milwaukee, where the brothers grew up. After eight years in Taos, the two moved the chocolate business to Albuquerque, where they continued to create chocolate confections along with sorbet and gelato, sold under the brand, Van Rixel Brothers’.
Bhang’s Van Rixel continued, “the purpose of medicine is to help people, not hurt people. We are bringing standards of regulation to the industry. We want to be the leader of how things should be done. At the very least, ingredients used in medical marijuana now are not quantifiable.”
He said most of the edible medical marijuana found in dispensaries is produced by “pot growers” who use leftovers, or “shake,” from the marijuana they sell for smoking. “I have been a chocolatier all along, that’s very different than someone who buys boxes of brownie mix, throws in cannabis, bakes the stuff and sells it as medical marijuana.”
Van Rixel added his company will be putting some of the profits back into research and making medical marijuana available to patients who cannot afford it.