By Denyce Blackman
From the time Dane Saddler got involved in culinary arts as a Queen’s College student, he was determined to stay ahead of the curve. Now, with an award-winning career as founder of Caribbean Villa Chefs, catering to clients around the world, from Australia to St Barts, he has followed his passion into a budding new field – culinary cannabis.
Today, Saddler is newly certified by the Cannabis Training University (CTU) and ready to expand his roots into the local industry.
“I don’t believe there are any other chefs in Barbados who are CTU-certified,” he pointed out. “As far as I know, I’m the only one. It was something I wanted to do and finally did it.”
Cannabis products are derived from the cannabis plant, from which CBD (cannabidiol) or THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are extracted. THC contains psychoactive properties and is generally used for leisure, while CBD does not and is used largely for medicinal purposes.
Saddler’s training at the Denver, Colorado-based CBU covered how to grow cannabis, bud tending, cooking and extractions, cannabis laws and regulations within the United States, dispensary and delivery service operations, cannabis as medicine, and cannabis business training.
The award-winning chef sees benefits in sowing seeds in the profitable industry.
“Right now, this is a US$20 billion industry and it is predicted that by 2030 that will rise to US$200 billion. The Government always says we need to stop relying on sea and sand and increase revenues in other areas. If you look across the countries that have correctly legislated the use of it, it has been a great source of revenue for them. The culinary cannabis industry is growing in our source markets, so I expect the requests from persons travelling to increase in the next three to five years.
“The reason for the growth is also medically related. Some persons may be using [CBD edibles] to help treat symptoms of cancer, metabolic syndrome, arthritis, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or endometriosis, and it was recommended to them for pain relief,” he pointed out.
Government has so far sought to cash in on the medicinal cannabis industry and has established the Barbados Medicinal Cannabis Licensing Authority which is set to issue more than two dozen licences by year-end so that farms and other businesses in the industry can start their operations.
Saddler concedes that there are valid concerns surrounding culinary cannabis. But to combat the potential dangers and misuse, he stressed the need for training and regulation.
“Like anything else, training is key, because like alcohol or food, people will abuse it and overindulge. One danger is the administering of wrong amounts, because there are correct and incorrect dosages to achieve a medicinal purpose, and you can have adverse side effects for both CBD and THC.
“You need to know how to measure correctly, based on the food you’re using, the body mass of that particular person, etc. It’s not one-size-fits-all; each person has a different requirement because, basically, it is medication.”