It’s easy to see why. Weed gummies are very easy to make and they provide the perfect little bite-sized and delicious way to dose. There’s also just something fun and a little mirthful about breaking out a tin of your very own cannabis gummies. Finally, even in some fully-legal adult use cannabis jurisdictions, gummy edibles are not legal for sale. In which case, you may have no choice but to make your own.
Gummy bears and gummy worms were by your side when you were a kid, and now, with a little bit of THC you can easily rekindle your love of all things gummy.
Why make THC gummies?
Smoking is the most common way of getting consuming cannabis — and for good reason. It’s easy, fun, and more or less 100% of the time it works every time. But comparing smoking weed and eating edibles is like comparing water polo and synchronized swimming — they’re both played in a pool and both are good ways to waste the whole afternoon, but they’re still very different sports.
When you eat edibles, the high can be totally different from smoking. It’s an immersive experience that you can feel tingling across your whole body, creating a happy, giggly, often downright euphoric feeling that can have you glued to the couch or laughing at the screensaver on your TV for hours. Because they can take well over an hour to kick in and the high can last for a few hours, they may not be the most convenient everyday sort of high, but make no mistake — edibles can be well worth it.
Also, if you’re trying to avoid smoking but still want to get high, or you’d like a way to take your medicine without stinking up the house, edibles are a convenient treat that’s hard to beat.
What are Weed Gummies?
On the surface, weed gummies look a lot like regular, non-THC gummy snacks, and the temptation can be to look up a regular gummy candy recipe and follow that, simply adding in a bit of concentrate as you go. To understand why that won’t work, let’s discuss candy-making for a moment.
At its most basic level, Candy making is the act of taking sugar and cooking it until it melts; add nothing (or a bit of water), and the sugar turns into a brittle, hard candy when it cools. Add gelatin, and the sugar will set into a gelatinous or spongy form, resulting in gummies or marshmallows. Add an oil or fat, such as butter, and you get a chewy, soft caramel. And it’s right there where the problem comes in.
THC concentrate of any fashion is always an oil; even THCA diamonds and shatter, both of which are set and hardened, turn into an oil on applying heat. Unfortunately, once you add enough oil to your candy, it will not set properly – Oil does not want to combine with the hard, crystalline candy structure, a process referred to as “emulsification.” Without proper emulsification, you’ll get candy that’s runny, tacky to the touch, or weeps liquid.
Safety with gummies and other edibles
Most seasoned edibles consumers probably have a story that reads as follows: I ate the gummy and nothing happened so about an hour later I took more and then it all kicked in and uh….I need you to come pick me up.
Edibles can easily take about an hour and a half or more to kick in so patience is key. If you don’t feel anything after an hour, just kick back and wait. Your metabolism may be slower or perhaps you still had a full stomach when you ate the edible. Either way, when eating edibles, your best bet is to just start with a small dose or the typical amount you take, and then just be patient and wait.
Another thing to keep in mind when making cannabis gummies is safety. To an unsuspecting child they’ll look and taste more or less just like regular gummy bears. To avoid a trip to the emergency room and a call from Child Protective Services, make sure to keep your weed gummies safely sealed and stashed away from any little ones in the house.
Emulsification is Key
So how do they make the kind of stretchy, room temperature-safe THC gummies sold at the dispensary? Emulsification is the key element. To get the proper gummy-like texture, the cannabis concentrate must be combined with another ingredient added to the candy mixture. At the same time, it’s being cooked – In our case, lecithin (either soy lecithin or sunflower lecithin).
Without this emulsification agent added in, the gummy snacks you’re going to make will likely be closer to a jello snack and require refrigeration; great if you’re looking for the marijuana version of a jello shot, not so much if you want a portable gummy snack.
By the way: We’ll be using the generic term “gummy bears” a lot throughout this article, but whatever molds you have and want to use will work just fine – Gummy worms, gummy gems, gummy, whatever. There’s a wide world of gummies outside the bear, and we encourage you to explore it!
Now, to make any THC edible, you need to start with the basics, meaning a good concentrate. Next, we’re going to outline a classic solution: Steeping your marijuana to make cannabis-infused coconut oil.
Both THC and CBD are fat-soluble, which means they need to be consumed in fat in order to be metabolized by the body. When making cannabis oil, the THC, CBD, and all types of other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids are infused in the mix, which can then be broken down by the body.
The easiest way to make edibles is to have your own cannabis infusion on hand, and most THC gummy recipes call for using cannabis oil — specifically infused coconut oil — as their key ingredient.
Having your own batch of cannabis coconut oil on hand means you’re never more than a step away from making your own edibles. And luckily, infusing coconut oil with cannabis is probably easier than you think.
For this recipe, we’re suggesting using less cannabis than most cannabis oil recipes so that the gummies aren’t too strong, but feel free to change up the amount depending on your tolerance and the THC levels of your cannabis.
Our Simple Weed Gummies Recipe
This recipe is fairly standard and includes a pre-flavored packaged gelatin (again, think Jell-O) along with additional unflavored gelatin to help the gummy bears set. Here are the tools and ingredients you’ll need to get started:
- Candy Molds: Flexible silicone molds are needed for easy removal of the gummies. The “block” style ones are great since you can easily dose them into sections.
- Pouring Device: A kitchen syringe, measuring cup with spout, or sturdy zip-top sandwich bag
- Non-Stick Cooking Spray
- Pre-Packaged Gelatin Dessert (IE: Jell-O): One 3oz package, flavor of your choice
- Unflavored Gelatin: Either 2.5 tablespoons of gelatin powder or 7.5 gelatin sheets; we recommend buying high-quality gelatin for extra firmness
- Water: 1/2 cup, cold
- Corn Syrup: 1/4th cup
- Cannabis Infused Coconut Oil: 1/4th cup
- Sunflower/Soy Lecithin: 2 teaspoons
- 1. First, prepare your gelatin. If using powdered gelatin, sprinkle this and the jello on top of your water, letting it bloom for a minimum of five minutes; if using sheets, soak these in the water for about 10 minutes. It should soak up the water and be quite gritty/granular.
- 2. Once your gelatin is ready, combine it (including the water) and your corn syrup in a saucepan, letting this mixture reach a bare simmer over medium-low heat. Whisk gently but constantly as it heats up, making sure to NOT let your gelatin boil – Boiling can prevent it from setting. If you notice a white foam forming at the top, skim this off and reduce your heat slightly.
3. The mixture should slowly become smoother and lose that gritty texture from before. After your mixture has completely melted and combined, remove from the heat and let cool.
Now add in both your cannabis-infused oil and lecithin before stirring to combine. While the oil naturally wants to stay separated from the gelatin and water mixture, the lecithin emulsifies it to a perfectly smooth consistency.
4. Prepare the molds for your gummy bears by spraying them thoroughly with cooking spray; we recommend additionally setting the molds onto parchment-paper-lined baking trays to make them easier to remove later.
5. After your molds have been sprayed, transfer the cannabis gummy mixture to either your spouted container or your kitchen syringe – In a pinch, you can use a plastic sandwich bag, pouring in your mixture, and cutting off one of the edges to create a makeshift piping bag.
6. Now, begin filling your molds. If things like messy edges bother you, a bench scraper or other flat object can go over the mold’s surface and scrape away excess that spilled over. Once filled, transfer your gummy molds to the refrigerator for a minimum of one hour; do not use the freezer, as the extreme cold can also keep your gelatin from setting.
7. After spending time in the refrigerator, remove your cannabis gummies and de-mold them – Your gummy bears should be firm to the touch but still slightly tacky. Lay the gummies out onto a piece of parchment paper and let them air dry, preferably somewhere with good air circulation, such as in front of a fan. How long this will take depends entirely on your location, humidity, ambient temperature, and many other factors.
Note: Mold can be an issue with this recipe, so make sure they’re thoroughly dried before storage. You can expect these gummy bears to last maybe a week or so outside of the refrigerator; if kept cold, estimate about a month. And while this recipe will get you some perfectly serviceable weed gummies, what if you want to try getting a little fancier? Here are a few ways to tweak our recipe above to make it a bit more professional and personalized.
Potency: How many gummies should you eat?
How much edibles you should eat can depend on a number of factors including your experience with edibles, your tolerance, and the strength of the cannabis you used. Your best bet, especially with home-made edibles which may be less precise than the store-bought ones, is to start with a low dose, and take your time and see what happens.
It’s a smart idea to be cautious and try a half — or even a quarter — of a gummy the first time to get an idea of how strong your first batch is.
If you’re looking for a rough estimate of how strong the gummies will be, consider how strong the weed oil you used is. If you used 3.5 grams of cannabis that has 20% THC, then each teaspoon of oil will contain about 14mg of THC.
Doing some quick math, considering that this recipe calls for ½ cup of coconut oil, that’s 24 teaspoons of oil, and 24 teaspoons with 14mg each equals a total of 336mg THC for the whole batch of gummies. Considering that the recipe calls for 20 small-to-medium gummy bears, that’s 16.8mg of THC in each one. If you want them to be closer to 5mg each, find smaller molds and make 40 or more gummies.
Whatever colors or shapes you choose for your weed gummies, with a jar stashed away at the house you’ve got your own go-to edible for a winter night on the couch, or just to zonk out and watch the apocalypse roll by, wrapped in a sweet, gummy embrace. And as with all sweet edibles that look like candy, make sure to keep them out of reach of children.