Sugar Shock: Nashville’s Chefs and Candy Makers Are Getting Creative With CBD

Folks like Dani Viet, Bang Candy and more are creating sweets that taste as good as they make you feel

Bang Co Dream Drops5117Dream Drops from Bang Candy CompanyPhoto: Eric England

Let’s make one thing clear right from the start: CBD is not weed. It won’t get you high, give you the munchies or leave you staring at your hand thinking, “Whoa, my fingers are just like, tiny legs for my hand!”

CBD, or cannabidiol, does come from the cannabis plant, but while pot contains THC — that is, the compound that gets you stoned — CBD does not. Not only is CBD nonpsychoactive (and legal to buy and possess in Tennessee), but several studies suggest the compound can help relieve symptoms of numerous health issues, including anxiety disorders, chronic pain, epilepsy, dementia and Type 1 diabetes. It has also been used to offset some of the debilitating side effects of intense cancer treatments for adults, children and even pets. (See also the Scene’s story “The ABCs of CBD,” March 1, 2018). Still, CBD’s close relationship to marijuana does cause some confusion.

“I can see why people would be nervous about it,” says Dani Veit, a CBD baker and the pastry chef at The Old School Nashville. “[Cannabis] is a magical plant — it’s one of the most nutrient-rich plants out there. The flower is the psychoactive part. The nonpsychoactive part is what’s used in CBD. I know people [who don’t use marijuana] will be scared to use it, but it’s exactly like cooking with Tylenol. It’s a pain reliever, but it’s way better for you — it won’t affect your kidneys or liver.”

Veit has been baking with CBD for about a year now. She was first introduced to it by her boyfriend, who she says is very educated about the cannabis community.

“I was like, ‘Wow this could help so many people,’ ” Veit recalls. “So I started researching. I knew in my head it could be applied to baking. [At first] I would just add [CBD] oil to things. I was honestly scared to cook it — I knew the properties would mutate in the oven. But the more I talk to CBD companies, the more I learn. I’ve learned about the whole plant — now if someone wants some bread, say a CBD rosemary bread, I can figure out a way to put it in there.”

With a lot of patience and experimentation, Veit has come to incorporate CBD into an impressive array of desserts — fat wedges of golden coffee cake, frosted hand pies and fudge cupcakes topped with CBD sprinkles.

“Honestly, my spiced chocolate-chip cookies are out of this world,” she says. “My favorite thing to make has been the Rice Krispy treats. You can mess around with flavors — I just made this really amazing cinnamon butter to put with it, and it was so good.”

Veit’s been working on setting up a website where customers will be able to place orders, but for now, the best way to try one of her CBD treats is to email her at or message her on Instagram (her handle is @cbdani_v). She also hopes to eventually incorporate her CBD creations into The Old School’s dessert menu.

“This is a farm-to-table restaurant, and [CBD] is a plant, it is a protein,” Veit says. “But before we introduce it into the restaurant, there needs to be education with the servers. I don’t want to do it as a, ‘Hey, come check this out!’ thing. I want to help people.”

Cookies0001Beca Lewis Skeels’ cBEd cookiesPhoto: Daniel MeigsBeca Lewis Skeels is another local baker who’s been experimenting with CBD-infused sweets — I first wrote about Skeels’ eye-catching creations last summer after falling in love with her gorgeous vegan cupcakes decorated to look like tiny succulent gardens. She has since rebranded into The Catio — a vegan bakery, cat lounge and plant shop she plans to open with business partner Anna Talaga this fall.

Skeels has been incorporating Be-Hive’s new line of CBD products — cBEd — into her homemade pop tarts, cinnamon rolls and cookies. A recent delivery of the latter to the Scene’s offices — crispy, caramelized chocolate-chip cookies so big they stretched out past my hand’s legs — was eaten up more quickly than any other office treat in recent memory. Honestly, I think we may have broken some kind of record.

CBD-curious chocolate lovers will be happy to hear that Bang Candy Company in Marathon Village has also released a line of CBD-infused candies — their Dream Drops debuted on April 20 (naturally), and the dark-chocolate-and-orange-flavored truffles are dressed up with a little popping candy and sea salt. One piece has 10 milligrams of CBD, and as of last week Bang also offers a white-chocolate version. 

With CBD’s availability on the rise — you can find tinctures, oil, butter and other products in several local shops these days — it might be tempting to start experimenting with your own recipes, but Veit recommends doing some research before preheating the oven. As with any other ingredient, CBD is susceptible to chemical reaction, something Veit has learned through a lot of trial and error.

“It’s a lot like vitamins,” she says. “If you take a vitamin on an empty stomach in the morning, it might just pass through your system and not do anything. What I’ve learned in baking, you need to get the isolate powder, which is pure CBD. And in order to increase the bioavailability, you need to have some sort of fat, or it won’t give you the impact that you really want.

“CBD oil is already activated,” she adds. But that doesn’t mean you can just throw it into anything. “It needs to be at a certain temperature — you can’t have it go above 325 degrees Fahrenheit or it completely breaks down.”

For now, maybe leave the CBD baking to the pros.

“The way it needs to be administered is different in each person,” Veit says. “[It’s important to] find someone with the education of how to properly dose you, explain what you should feel, what you’re not gonna feel. 

“People are nervous about it because maybe it’s not, like, a quick-fix pill,” she continues. “[But] there’s even research about how CBD makes the bones stronger. And one study says it can fight dementia. Why wouldn’t you take it?”


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