By / September 21, 2020

Cannabis is taking the Ecuadorian food sector by surprise

The advance of cannabis in Ecuador is as fast as it is promising, propelled by a favorable legal framework. Concurrently, the social normalization of the plant is also gaining ground in the country.

One of the sectors that has taken advantage of this ‘green boom’ is the Ecuadorian food industry, which has begun to incorporate cannabis and its derivatives as an ingredient in their food and drinks.

The trend started with the decriminalization of cannabis for medicinal purposes last year: “When the reform of the Comprehensive Organic Criminal Code (COIP) was known, industries began to investigate the seed of hemp as food and CBD (cannabidiol) for its medicinal properties” José Dávalos, president of Ecuacáñamo, mentioned.

Thus, since the end of 2019, a wide variety of edible products with cannabis-based ingredients can be found across the country. In effect Ecuador is catching up to the gastronomic boom of cannabis which, in the wider world, dates back to the 2000s.

If you want to know more about cannabis, how this plant is changing the Ecuadorian food industry, and to find out the latest cannabis news, download the mobile application.

The pandemic accelerated the intersection between the cannabis and food industry

The COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the population to isolate itself for several months, caused a rise in anxiety and stress for many. Consequently, people also increased the purchase of products with Cannabidiol (CBD), due to its relaxing properties.

The use of cannabis in food has been known for millennia in the Indian subcontinent, while in the Maghreb, its origin stems from the making of ‘Mahjoun’, a hash-based sweet rolled with a variety of spices, nuts and natural sweeteners.

In Ecuador, the first culinary attempts based on cannabis have been CBD chocolate and hemp seed burgers.

Quito-based company mixes cocoa with cannabis to make an unique combination

Mayu Ecuador, one of the pioneering companies involved, manufactures the product called ‘Chocomedical’, which is an organic chocolate enriched with CBD, Tryptophan and Vitamin B6, sweetened with panela and happens to be lactose-free.

Lizbeth Fajardo, commercial director of the Quito-based company, assures that her product is “a pioneer” which “relieves anxiety, stress and improves sleep.”

It is a variety made with a light-aroma Ecuadorian cocoa that, in times of pandemic, has increased in demand. Offering the company “an opportunity to expand the industry,” according to Fajardo.

Furthermore, it is not only through chocolate that edible cannabis has begun to be channeled in the Andean country.

The company “Santa María Beer”, from Riobamba, has developed a line of craft beers, one of which includes 0.1 percent CBD, and the other, 0.01 percent THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).

“Beer with THC is not going to blow you away because it does not have a sufficient amount of cannabinoid, what it will achieve is to relax you and put you in good spirits,” reassures Oscar Coronel, owner of the company..

Ecuador is taking its first steps into the cannabis sector

After years of debate, Ecuador legalized cannabis for medicinal purposes a year ago under the premise that the products are made with varieties that do not exceed 1% THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis.

The rule came into force on June 21 and with it Ecuador has joined more than a dozen countries where the practice is legal, including eight Latin American nations.

Another product that has been launched on the market as a result of the law are “Hemp Burgers”, made from chickpea and hemp seeds, which provide a large amount of fiber.

“We are the first in the country to offer healthy fast food based on hemp seeds. That is why we strongly promote their consumption ”, highlighted Shadia Haboud, owner of The Vegan Spot, a pioneer in cannabis burgers.

Haboud explains that these seeds provide a light flavor, similar to that of walnut, so it is easily combined with other foods. 

“They are also marketed for individual consumption and are used as garnishes in food and beverages. Also, we make banana bread and add them at the end because they cannot be heated.”, she added.

“We plan to make energy bars and jam that contains hemp seeds, it will not change the taste but it will add fiber, making them healthier.” Indicated Irina Llaguno, co-owner of the Health Store company, which distributes them throughout the country.

Cannabis has the potential to change Ecuador’s economy

According to the international consultancy Grand View Research, the world cannabis market generates about 11,000 million dollars. And with projections for 2027 of 28,500 million.

As a result of the new law, Dávalos predicts a expansion of the hemp trade in Ecuador, which will encourage its consumption, sales and generate employment.

The Ministry of Agriculture has yet to draw up a regulation on the planting and cultivation of cannabis before October 19.

“In Colombia they did a study that says that the industry can provide 16 jobs per hectare. This could be similar in Ecuador if it is dedicated to greenhouse production ”, he concluded.


(Featured image by Margo Amala on Unsplash)

DISCLAIMER: This article was written by a third party contributor and does not reflect the opinion of, its management, staff or its associates. Please review our disclaimer for more information.

This article may include forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements generally are identified by the words “believe,” “project,” “estimate,” “become,” “plan,” “will,” and similar expressions. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks as well as uncertainties, including those discussed in the following cautionary statements and elsewhere in this article and on this site. Although the Company may believe that its expectations are based on reasonable assumptions, the actual results that the Company may achieve may differ materially from any forward-looking statements, which reflect the opinions of the management of the Company only as of the date hereof. Additionally, please make sure to read these important disclosures.

First published in La Marihuana, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.

Although we made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translations, some parts may be incorrect. assumes no responsibility for errors, omissions or ambiguities in the translations provided on this website. Any person or entity relying on translated content does so at their own risk. is not responsible for losses caused by such reliance on the accuracy or reliability of translated information. If you wish to report an error or inaccuracy in the translation, we encourage you to contact us.

Comments are closed for this post.