The Wild World of Cannabis Gummies

Gummies are everywhere! They’re cool! They’re fun, they’re trendy and are easy to take. Then there’s the taste. They taste way better than tincture. They even have Fruity Flavors!!! And Omg do not click on any advertisements on the socials because gummy ads will inundate your feed! I’m here to talk in my snarky & informative way about the whole process of making gummies.

If you’re looking for the most cost effective and healthiest choice for taking cannabis medicine, look to tinctures. Mg/mg it’s much cheaper for you to purchase a 1 ounce bottle of the medicine than it is for you to purchase gummies. 

Why healthier? The tincture is made of two things; flowers and 95% alcohol. Gummies, no matter what recipe you use, have some form of sugar in them. Sugar in ANY form is not as healthy as NO SUGAR. If you’re interested in a deep dive regarding sugar and chronic inflammation, check this article out.

Please don’t start talking to me about monk fruit, or sorbitol or date sugar or coconut sugar or any of those. Sugar or something your body thinks is sugar is less healthy than no-sugar in a recipe. 

Period.

Why is a tincture more cost effective? It takes less work to make a tincture. More work is involved in any process of making gummies. You are paying more for the medicine maker to do all the steps to make a much more elaborate medicine than make a tincture. 

Simple. 

Why Do I Make Them?

One word.

Compliance.

People will take the gummies. As we say in our household, “For the medicine to work, you need to put it IN your body rather than have it sit on the shelf.” Our house is actually a great example. Kris, my wife, has never been drawn to cannabis medicine in any form. She has dealt with chronic pain for years and never tried any of the medicines I make consistently. One day the pain got bad enough and the Angel Wing’s gummies were nearby and she tried them. And they helped! (I’ve only been teaching this for ten years! 😜) Now they are incorporated into her pain management regimen and we need to make sure her stockpile of gummies are always available. 

We are herbalists. We know the non-health benefits of sugar. And she’s taking the gummies and getting relief.

Compliance is real, people. 

How Do I Make Them?

No, they’re not vegan. No, they’re not “healthy”. We’ve already established that any gummy is less healthy than a tincture. Yes, they’re made with high fructose corn syrup and food coloring. I make my gummies from pre-made gummies that I melt down.

Don’t judge me 😛, you’ve already decided to take the less healthy route of medicine by choosing gummies. I’m not going to dress them up and falsely advertise them. They are high quality cannabinoids swimming in gummies that I would never choose to eat a lot of. (I don’t really like gummies)

Yes, you can try to make a vegan gummy. Yes, you can use natural coloring, yes you can try to make them with a “healthier” sugar, but sugar is still sugar in your body. While I actually enjoy the process of making gummies, I don’t have the time or energy to invest in figuring out a different sugar, coloring, shelf stability or a vegan option.

The reason I make gummies the way I do is demand. People want the gummies, even when I try to talk them out of it. 

Ok, I’ll make gummies. You asked for them, you got them. They’re delicious, full of good cannabinoids extracted in a clean way and I am confident about the dosing.

Standardizing & Measured Dosage

Everyone who has worked with edibles has an “uh-oh-I-ate-too-much-and-now-I’m-in-trouble” story. Since we are making medicine, we do not want this to happen. It is our responsibility as the medicine makers to know and clearly label the proper dosage of each gummy. The ONLY way to know dosage is to have a standardized process of making the gummies and either have the end product tested or test the resin/tincture you are adding to the gummies and do the proper mixing & math.

Period.

Standardizing your process allows you to get a consistent dose every time you make gummies.

What does that really mean?

Weigh out the same amount of gummies to be melted/batch, pouring the same sized gummy into the mold and adding the proper amount of resin everytime. The best way to check yourself is to weigh the gummies once they are ready to be bagged. How consistent is the weight of your gummy? 

Dosing

The other consideration is individual dosing. How much to put into each gummy? Some states even regulate it. I try to keep in mind that most folks don’t want to eat 1/25th of a gummy or something ridiculous like that so I try to have easily divided doses. My standard is 40 mgs/big gummy of each cannabinoid that can easily be divided into 10 or even 5 mg doses.

Gummy Molds

Yes, there are an array of cute options. Pick something kids – or unsuspecting adults – won’t recognize as a candy treat and be attracted to or tempted to eat a handful of. I stick to boring squares. Silicone molds work great for pouring into, freezing and popping out.

The Extract

Since we are adding our extract to an existing gummy, we don’t want to add a lot of liquid. Too much liquid tincture will change the consistency of the gummy. Since my goal is 40 mgs of CBD & 40 mgs of THC in my gummies, I choose very concentrated extracted resin over tincture. I have access to a CO2 extractor and can use my flowers so I know the quality of the flower going in. A single batch of 40 gummies uses roughly 3 grams of THC and 3 grams of CBD resin. To get the same cannabinoids per batch, I would need to use 40 milliliters of tincture (30 mls = a shot). This is too much liquid. 

What to do if you don’t have access to a CO2 extractor? You can set out that 40 mls and let some of the alcohol evaporate before you add it to the gummies.

A few words about extraction methods

Resin extracts are concentrated. Therefore you want the plant material to be clean (think organic/regenerative) since whatever contaminants in there will also be concentrated. 

The second consideration is the solvent used to get the extract. The top two choices of solvents for making resin extracts are Carbon Dioxide or ethanol. Ethanol extraction has an additional step of evaporation. 

Not a clean choice; butane extraction. While butane is inexpensive and an awesome solvent, it is a carcinogen. Regardless of what people tell you about “purging”, they are not getting all of the solvent out. I’m happy to be proven wrong. The only way to prove me wrong is to have your extract tested for butane when you’re done.

This little funnel is a game changer!

A Brief Overview of Gummy Making

1. Purchase premade gummies.

From a reputable gummy maker. I buy in 5 pound bags. 

2. Separate out the different flavors into separate bowls.

Usually while watching a movie.

3. Melt the gummies down.

4. Add high potency resin

Add measured amounts of tested-for-potency-extracted resin (very concentrated and clean) to the melted gummies. You must have resin or tincture tested for potency if you want accurate dosing.

5. Stir until your arm falls off.

6. Pour hot gummy goo into molds.

7. Cool to room temperature.

8. Freeze to frozen (I usually do at least 8 hours).

9. Pop into a sugar bowl to coat the gummies fully.

10. Lay out on a cookie sheet for a 24 hour cure.

11. Label & Bag them up.

There you have it! Hopefully this sheds some light on the whole gummy process and inspires you to either make & take more tincture, or up your game in the standardization process of gummy making.

Tammi

I'm a researcher, educator, guest lecturer, and co-founder of Heartstone Center for Earth Essentials in Van Etten, NY.