By Virginia Campbell, Food Editor

Bristol is hip. It’s always trying to find a way to defy the established order. Why I was surprised when a CBD cafe opened up, I don’t know. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t really understand what CBD was.

Cannabidiol is the non-psychoactive element in cannabis. In short, the only high it’s going to give you is the high of life and, according to its advocates, a long lasting, healthy life at that. At first controversial due to its association with cannabis, cannabidiol or CBD, is quickly gaining in mass popularity.

What first strikes you about Mary-Jane’s is its atmosphere. It has all the signs of a hipster hideout, without any of the pretence. Leaf lined walls and lightly distressed wooden tables lend a relaxed atmosphere – as does the somewhat surprising range of customers. Families of all ages fill the seats around me.

Whilst a cafe is founded on its food, it would be remiss of me to not mention the ethos of Mary-Jane’s. The manifesto of the cafe sounded impressive, the attitude of the owner, Jon, was even more so. Talking to me about his decision to run the coffee machines solely on renewable energy, Jon stated: ‘we should be doing it, and we can, so why wouldn’t we?’

Intrigued by the effect of CBD on food and drink I was already familiar with, I began with a classic dairy latte. The quality of the coffee beans and the latte itself made the CBD’s earthy taste more of a background feature. This theme continued across the rest of the treats I sampled, with CBD simply adding another dimension to the taste of the products.

The CBD was most notable in the ‘bliss balls’ and I particularly enjoyed the salted-date caramel cake with its silky chocolate ganache. It happened to be vegan, raw and gluten free too.

Vegan, raw and gluten free | Epigram / Virginia Campbell

The cafe has a wide range of foods which accommodates most diets, including vegan and gluten free, with clear markers of allergens and knowledgeable staff. The CBD itself is unlikely to be found cheaper elsewhere, or in such an appetising medium.

With a welcoming atmosphere, Mary-Jane’s is an interesting new spot in Bristol, with good food and an impressive ethos. It has left the confines of dated stereotypes and subtly raises sustainability standards for all businesses.

Featured: Epigram / Virginia Campbell

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