Little Baby's Ice Cream, Philadelphia's odd-ball dessert maker, is unveiling its first Center City storefront on Friday. And to mark the occasion, it will offer up pints of an entirely vegan confection dosed with the hot health-food ingredient of the moment: CBD oil.
Derived from hemp, CBD this year has found its way into candies, baked goods — along with products as diverse as cocktails, coffees and dog treats. Also known as cannabidiol, CBD is produced by all strains of the cannabis plant, of which the best-known is marijuana.
The compound is reputed to have a calming effect. But unlike its better known cousin, THC, CBD won't get anyone "high."
"We're certainly not making any medical claims about it," said Little Baby's co-founder Pete Angevine, adding that the flavor of the CBD is barely detectable.
"There's a bit of a tingle to it, but it's pretty subtle," Angevine said. "It's masked by the chocolate and the coconut in it. It does not taste like medicine or a chemical or anything like that."
Other Little Baby's flavors include pizza, Earl Grey Sriracha, smoked cinnamon, absinthe poppy, and Irish potato.
CBD recently was approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for some rare forms of epilepsy.
Little Baby's isn't the first to market with a CBD frozen dessert. Mikey Likes It, a cult brand in New York, debuted a CBD-infused pistachio ice cream called Merry Jane's Addiction in 2016. But it might be the first to be sold in Philadelphia when Little Baby's opens its shop at 12th and Ludlow Streets.
Angevine said the idea for a CBD-infused flavor was born in a conversation with his friend Max Tuttleman, the Philadelphia philanthropist and entrepreneur who is concurrently launching his Bouquet brand of CBD products. "A month ago, we realized that his brand and our Center City shop were premiering at the same time. So this celebrates both."
CBD, like other marijuana- and hemp-derived products, is categorized as an illegal substance by the federal government, which considers the compound to be equivalent to LSD and heroin. However, the Drug Enforcement Administration and Food and Drug Administration rarely, if ever, prosecute CBD manufacturers or distributors.
"We have a pretty clear understanding and consent from the powers-that-be," Angevine said without going into detail. "Right now it's just an introductory batch. I don't anticipate any controversy or blowback. But we want to make sure no one is freaking out before we make it available more broadly."
Each pint of Little Baby's Non-Dairy CBD Chocolate Ice Cream will contain 100 milligrams of CBD and cost $20. If sales take off, Angevine hopes to make it available in Center City by the scoop.