I have to admit, at first, it took me some time to wrap my head around the art and science of making cannabis edibles the right way. Now that I feel a bit more advanced in my culinary cannabis skills, I wanted to try something new.
Weed-infused sugar is another easy way to infuse anything your heart desires; tea, coffee, hot chocolate, you name it. I used brown sugar but this works for any type of sugar. If possible, make sure it is a brand that confirmed it does not filter with bone char. Did you know that sugar, yes, sugar, is often not vegan because it has animal bones used in processing? It’s one of those awful, hidden ingredients that can throw off an unsuspecting vegan.
This can be used to make any kind of weed tea, marijuana infused juices, candies or desserts. Almost like the cannabutter, this infused ingredient essentially unlocks the world of sweet edibles. Use responsibly and ethically.
Weed Sugar origin story
Back in the day, you used to be able to go ask your neighbor for a cup of sugar. You might be making a cake and suddenly realize you are short just a smidge. Running to the store would be such a hassle and might leave the partial mix in shambles. So, instead, you go ask your neighbor if they have any sugar they could spare. Who doesn’t want to be neighborly, right?
The funny thing is, that little anecdote is important for how weed sugar came to be. So it was back in the day, and a midwestern lady named Mary had just come up with an idea for the perfect dessert. It was a wonderful vegan cake that had fruits and chocolate in it, but she had one problem. She was out of sugar and she only realized this after she had already started in her excited haste. At the time, she was living next to a farmer’s field that had been commandeered by hippies. They were all about peace and love and community so she knew if they by chance had some baking ingredients they would give her enough to make her cake.
So, she walked right over and ‘knocked’ on the flap of the first tent. What it really was looked like Mary lifting her hand up to the tent while the guy inside saw her and they both made awkward hand gestures followed by cheery, mumbled greetings. The guy’s name was Bud, and he had just happened to have a bunch of sugar to spare for Mary. She was very welcoming and friendly when they first started getting the commune together. Now they could repay her. Bud opened his chest in the kitchen and as he leaned over some of his special green flowers that he was saving for later since he had vaped them at too low of a temperature before, spilled off of the counter and landed right into everclear he had out that was being used to make essential oils for the soaps the hippies sold. They didn’t notice and the flowers sat for a whole day.
The next morning when the cake had cooled, Mary excitedly brought it over to share a piece with Bud. Something smelled a little weird so they looked around and found the soaked nugs. Long story short, Bud drained the alcohol out and wanted to see if it had infused like he was used to. To their surprise it had now taken on the full grace of the plant and harnessed incredible power. They evaporated out the alcohol and used it on their cake. They got absolutely destroyed from it and the next morning realized they had eaten the entire cake. So, naturally they had to make another. The only difference was this time they knew they wanted to make it a special cake from the get go. A now known delicacy for only Mary and Bud, they wanted to make it a mixture of the two parts they each contributed. The new amazing mixture was known as weed sugar. The way they figured out how to do it was perfect.
How to make cannabis sugar
Unfortunately, this is not a quick recipe, there are a few things you need to do before you can get started making infused sugar.
Here’s what you need to do first:
- Decarboxylate your cannabis flower
- Make a cannabis alcohol tincture – either a Green Dragon Tincture or QWET Tincture
- You can not make cannabis-infused sugar without the alcohol tincture
- You can not make cannabis sugar with butter, oil, or any other type of fat
Decarboxylate your cannabis flower
Making cannabis edibles involves a bit of science, and there are tried and true processes to follow to get the best quality final product. Dried cannabis flowers do not naturally contain high amounts of THC or CBD. Instead, they contain high amounts of THCA and CBDA, an acidic, but non-intoxicating, form of the cannabinoids. Applying heat helps to convert the THCA and CBDA into the active forms of THC and CBD through a process called decarboxylation. Skipping the decarb process may result in a weaker final product with inactive, or non-intoxicating, effects.
Make an alcohol-based tincture
After the process of decarboxylation comes the process of using alcohol as a solvent to extract the active cannabinoids THC and CBD from the plant matter.
This is the process of making a cannabis tincture, and is essentially the same process as making vanilla extract!
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Get updates on the latest posts and more from Emily Kyle straight to your inbox.SUBSCRIBE!By subscribing, I consent to receiving emails. You can make two types of cannabis tinctures at home, a more traditional long-soak Green dragon tincture or the more modern QWET tincture method. Once you have your tincture made, you will pour the tincture directly over the white sugar and stir.
Evaporate all of the alcohol
This recipe’s outcome is based on the complete evaporation of all alcohol, leaving behind just the extracted cannabis oils bound to the sugar crystals.
It’s important to note that there are many different ways to evaporate off the alcohol, some more safely than others.
Please note: it can become dangerous if you decide to use heat or an open flame, so be cautious because alcohol is extremely flammable!
While it may be tempting to use heat to evaporate off the alcohol, we think it is safer to let nature take its course and let the alcohol evaporate off naturally, even if the process takes longer than others. The process takes a few days, but some things are worth waiting for. If you’re impatient, a using a food dehydrator is a great next best option.
Remember with this recipe, the more surface area exposed to the air, the faster the alcohol will evaporate off. This means you want a bigger container that can have a shallow amount of sugar when filled. I used a glass 9×13 inch (3 quart) baking dish and thought it worked perfectly. I’ve seen suggestions to put foil or parchment paper on a baking sheet but found this was way too messy, especially for stirring the sugar frequently.
Choose a breathable cover
You want as much airflow as possible to the sugar, so you absolutely do not want to put a top or a lid on the pan while the sugar is drying or else the alcohol will not be able to evaporate. It’s reasonable to want to cover the sugar while drying to prevent any contamination, so I suggest a thin piece of cheesecloth over the top.
Find a safe drying space
You will need to leave the glass baking dish out to dry for several days, so you will need a safe drying space where the sugar can rest. An empty pantry shelf or even on top of the refridgerator works. Ultimately, we chose to keep ours in the oven because we have a little one at home. This wasn’t ideal because the airflow isn’t great, but it worked well for keeping it safe and out of the way. One thing to note, we put a big note on our oven to ensure we did NOT turn it on while the sugar was inside. Again, alcohol = flammable. Please use caution!
Stir your sugar often
The more often you can stir your cannabis sugar, the more you will be exposing the alcohol to the air for it to evaporate. We used a small silicone spatula to stir the sugar and tried to stir it as often as possible, 4-5 times per day.
One option to get the alcohol to evaporate faster is to place a fan over the sugar and allow it to run while stirring the sugar consistently. This helps move the air and the sugar around, allowing for quicker evaporation.
How to make a more potent cannabis sugar
Everybody always wants the most potent end product, but there are a few things to keep in mind when determining potency.
First, the strength of your cannabis sugar will depend on the strength of the cannabis flower you used to make your alcohol tincture. Using shake, leaves, and stems will result in a weaker concentration of cannabinoids, while using high-quality cannabis buds will result in a higher concentration of cannabinoids. Volume matters here, too. The final concentration will depend on how much herb you use. For my tincture recipe, I use 1 ounce of cannabis flower to 2 cups (16 ounces) of grain alcohol.You can either double your flower or half your alcohol volume here for a stronger tincture. Additionally, you can also simply cut the amount of sugar down in this recipe to 1 cups sugar, 1 cup tincture. The mixture will be wetter at first and may require more time to evaporate off all of the alcohol. Of course, your reaction to cannabis edibles is unique and highly dependent on your own unique endocannabinoid system, and you should dose accordingly.