Most everyone loves a sweet gummy treat, and when it’s filled up with THC goodness it’s even harder to turn down. These delicious bits of cannabis candy can be a pricey purchase at the local dispensary, so why not try making your own at home? There are a lot of recipes online that say they show you how to make cannabis gummy bears in the home kitchen but results can often be disappointing – Soft, jelly-like edibles that end up turning runny at room temperature or even melting out-right.
So what if you want to make cannabis gummies that have real store-bought quality? Turns out there’s a secret ingredient used by the pros in their weed gummy recipes that makes the difference between a snappy, chewy gummy and a soggy, weepy mess. It’s time to break out your chefs hat and arm yourself with your favorite whisk – We’re going to talk about the science of how to make cannabis infused gummies in your very own home.
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.
Candy making is, at it’s most basic level, 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. 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.
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 while 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 from 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 through-out this article but whatever molds you have and want to use will work just fine – Gummy worms, gummy gems, gummy whatevers. 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. We’re going to outline a classic solution: Steeping your marijuana to make cannabis infused coconut oil.
Making an Infused Oil
If you already have a hash oil or other form of decarbed concentrate you can skip this step and we’ll meet you again in the next section (if it isn’t decarbed, check out our “How to Decarb Your Weed” article and then meet us back here after). If you’re wanting to start 100% from scratch, though, and have nothing but some marijuana buds hanging around, you’ll need to know how to make an extract.
Most common for weed gummy recipes found on the internet is infusing your cannabis into coconut oil – Infused coconut oil works well because it maintains a solid form at room temperature, lending to the solidity of your gummy candy. If you’re not a fan of the flavor of coconut oil other oils can and will work, but for the purposes of our article we’ll be focusing on the cannabis infused coconut oil that is most common and popular.
Do You Need to Add Lecithin to Your Gummies?
In short, yes. Lecithin (an extract product itself, made from oils and other fatty substances) is what helps bind your cannabis infused coconut oil and gelatin mixture together when making gummies, and is the most integral part in making sure your gummies won’t weep out any THC concentrate.
Sold in either a powder or a liquid form lecithin can be made from a variety of ingredients – Most common are soy lecithin and sunflower lecithin, made from soy and sunflower oils respectively. For candy making liquid lecithins are often preferred as they’re easier to distribute through-out your liquid mixture.
Soy lecithin and its relatives are easy to find these days, either online, at a health food store, or at your local big box retailer (check in the cooking oil section), but know that lecithin can be made from many different sources, including animal byproducts; while this recipe isn’t designed to be vegan (we’ll talk more about that later) it’s always good to know where your ingredients are coming from.
Now that we’ve gotten the basics out of the way let’s go over some recipe details. We’re going to do this in two parts: First we have a simple, easy, no frills recipe, and then we’ll go over some additional steps & ingredients that can help you tweak these cannabis gummy bears to the taste and texture you prefer.
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’s 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 sauce pan, 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 be used to go over the surface of the mold 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 – 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 a lot of 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’s a few ways to tweak our recipe above to make it a bit more professional and personalized.
Professional Weed Gummy Secrets & Hacks
Again, what we provide above is a basic recipe but lacks some finesse, and can be hard to flavor thanks to the inclusion of the pre-flavored Jell-O. Here’s a few tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your weed gummies.