(If you have to make a cannabis tincture and/or cannabutter first, this will require significantly more time.)
If you have a sweet tooth and you love cannabis, then you can probably trace your history with weed through the trail of discarded candy wrappers left in your wake. From sour gumdrops to candy canes, caramels, and gumdrops, candy is an almost-guaranteed bite sized pick-me-up.
But what if you combine your love of candy with your fondness for weed?
With some patience and a few tools and ingredients, you should be able to make your own cannabis lollipops in no time.
Save your recipe to your inbox
Why are marijuana candies a good idea?
For years, you’ve had the same routine: Smoke or vape a bowl, sink into the high, and demolish some sweets in the minutes and hours that follow. The high is virtually instant and the tastes and sensations as you exhale are an experience of their own.
Edibles are a different experience and one that isn’t meant to necessarily replace smoking or vaping. Edibles are known for producing a potent, full sensory high that can be much different than smoking. The edibles high can last hours and its symptoms may include laughing fits, a newfound appreciation for blankets, and a sudden desire to raid the fridge — if you can get off the couch at all.
Edibles like THC candies, cookies, or gummies are also a great alternative for people who can’t or don’t like to smoke. They also make the perfect party favor, or a great parting gift for dinner guests (and a way to bribe them into finally going home). Just make sure not to hand these out to trick-or-treaters on Halloween, even in a fully legal cannabis state that would constitute a felony.
What not to do when making edibles
Delicious and bite-sized, candies are engineered to make it very difficult to eat just one. With edibles though, you’ll want to be cautious. It’s a very common cautionary tale — a person trying out an edible for the first time feels nothing after an hour and decides to take a second dose, only to realize that the first dose is starting to kick in and they are now stuck in their own real life version of Candyland.
The best way to avoid this sort of mishap is to be patient, start low, and go slow. You can even try half the recommended dose of the edible, just make sure to wait at least an hour and a half before taking more. Chances are, by an hour and a half you’ll already be exactly where you wanted to be.
A lot of people also think that making edibles entails simply adding cannabis flower directly into a recipe like it was parsley. That won’t get you high, though it does have some benefits.
Instead, you need to decarboxylate your cannabis and infuse an oil with it, or create a cannabis preparation such as a tincture to use in your recipe.
And this should probably go without saying – if you’re making THC lollipops and candies at home, please keep them out of reach of any children in the house.
What is decarboxylation?
Decarboxylation is a long word to describe a short process in which cannabis is heated in order to activate its compounds. This converts the cannabinoid THCA, which is what is in those pretty nugs but won’t get you high on its own, into THC, making it possible to eat the cannabis and get high.
The entire process is quite easy. Just place some weed on a baking sheet and heat in an oven for about 30-45 minutes at around 220-245°F (105-120°C). Keep an eye on it to make sure the weed isn’t scorching, and crack a window to help get rid of the weed smell while you decarboxylate.
How to make cannabis tinctures, oil, and cannabutter
There are two basic types of cannabis candy recipes out there — most call for a cannabis tincture while others require a cannabis fat like cannabis butter.
Cannabis tinctures are alcohol-extracted cannabis extracts that can be consumed orally or sublingually. Think of them like the marijuana equivalent to vanilla extract.
How to make a cannabis tincture
Take the eighth of cannabis flower and grind it up nicely and decarboxylate it in the oven. After it’s cooled off, pour the marijuana into a glass jar that has a tight seal, and add the Everclear.
Shake the mix a few times and then store it in a dark place. Let it sit for at least a day (you could wait weeks or months even), stirring it once a day. Once you’ve finished letting the mixture set, strain it through the cheesecloth and into a small bottle dropper.
Most edible recipes will call for the use of fat, however. This is because THC is fat soluble, and won’t be metabolized by your body very well without one. It takes a couple steps, but once you’ve infused a fat like cannabutter or cannabis oil, then all you need to make your next batch of edibles will already be prepared.
How to infuse oil or butter with cannabis
If you’re infusing butter, the easiest method is to simmer the butter in a pot with a cup of water until the butter melts. Mix in the decarboxylated cannabis and let the mix simmer at around 160-180°F (70-80°C) for 2-3 hours, keeping a close eye to make sure it doesn’t boil. After 2-3 hours, take the pot off the heat, let it cool, and strain it through a cheesecloth into a container.
A very similar saucepan method can also work very easily for infusing oil. Simmer at a slightly lower heat — around 130-150°F (55-65°C) — for about an hour. Make sure to stir regularly so that the oil doesn’t scorch. A slow cooker or double boiler can also make easy work of infusing oil. In a slow cooker, put the oil and cannabis together and cook for about an hour, and with a double boiler, put water in the bottom pan and add the oil and cannabis to the top, stirring regularly for about an hour.
Whichever method you choose, after about an hour you can take it off the heat. Then just let it cool and strain it through a cheesecloth into a jar, making sure to give the cloth a good squeeze to get out all the oil or butter.
How to make THC (or CBD) hard candies
Candy technology has made leaps and bounds in the past few decades, but we’re gonna keep it low key and go with the classic lollipop.
Many recipes call for the use of a cannabis tincture, while others say a simple cannabutter should do the trick.
We’ve decided to use this simple recipe from Marijuana Span, which calls for both.
- Start by greasing a saucepan with a tablespoon of butter or cannabutter.
- Add sugar, corn syrup, and filtered water to the saucepan and heat the mixture at medium temperature, whisking constantly until the sugar is dissolved.
- Add a few drops of food coloring to the mixture and raise temperature too high. When the mixture comes to a boil insert the candy thermometer and once it reaches 300° (150°C), remove from heat and let it cool to around 223-235°F (106-112°C).
- Stir in the cannabis tincture and whichever flavoring you are using
- Slowly and carefully pour the mixture into the candy molds of your choosing. If you’re making lollipops, insert a stick into each candy mold. If it doesn’t stand up on its own, you can place some aluminum foil over the top of the mold and punch the stick through it until it stays in place as the candy hardens.
How strong are weed candies?
Let us close with a word about dosing. The strength of your weed lollipops will depend entirely on the strength of the cannabis preparation added to them. If you used a rather mild tincture, or a smaller amount of tincture, the potency will reflect this. Using regular butter instead of cannabutter will also bring down the potency significantly.
Regardless, on your first time making these lollipops you may want to try a weaker dose, or just take it nice and easy with that first lollipop. If possible, you may even want to try splitting one in half and trying that to see how it feels.
And while lollipops are more fun and convenient, you may find that just making small hard candies is easier, and presents more possibilities and customization in terms of dose size — and shape. This is especially true of weed caramels, which are perfectly crafted with cannabutter, and very easy to portion out.