The world of edible cannabis has seen a lot of innovation over the years. What started as being all about weed brownies, homemade cookies, and rice krispies treats has moved toward a focus on mints, tarts, and candies. There are even novelty edibles like beef jerky and potato chips.
But one type of edible has risen to the top of every legal market’s charts: gummies. What is it about these little weed chewables that makes them such a hot commodity?
Why gummies are great
For one, gummies are delicious and easy to eat quickly. The same reason we love Gushers or Sour Patch Kids is the same reason we love Smokiez Sour Blue Raspberry Fruit Chews. But past their deliciousness, there are a few technical aspects that make them great too.
They’re easy to dose
When it comes to accurately dosing cannabis, you’ll find no easier method than gummies. They’re easy to make uniform and get an exact dose every time. Edibles like chocolate and fruits can be different sizes making consistency hard and making it more difficult for them to pass potency testing.
You can eat them anytime
You have to be in the mood to eat a brownie or a couple cookies. Pretty much everyone’s always in the mood to consume a little candy, so gummies are great anytime. Even edibles like tarts and mints are occasional eats.
Additionally, gummies have way less calories than a brownie, cookie, or hard candy. It’s a trend that seems to be reflected outside the cannabis market. “Even Skittles is going to be coming out with a [non-cannabis product] gummy … Everyone understands what a gummy is: It’s an easy way to take a medicine, and an easy way to snack on something,” said Chef Matt Kulczycki, Edible Product Manager of California’s CannaCraft.
They preserve well over time
Over time, baked goods become old and stale. However, gummies, and candies in general, have a much longer shelf life. You probably won’t eat an old brownie you found under your car seat, but you’ll definitely eat a gummy in a wrapper you found in an old coat pocket.
They won’t melt up and die
Chocolates will melt up in your car, ruining the cannabinoids and terpenes, and weakening the effects and experience tremendously. However, gummies, especially those made with pectin over gelatin, have a much higher melting point. You can take gummies anywhere you want and not have to worry about storage.
Producing gummies vs. other edibles
Gummies aren’t just a fan favorite among consumers, companies that produce edibles also love them. Every gummy in a batch has to have the same THC percentage. If not, they don’t pass testing. This process is much easier with gummies than with baked goods and chocolates.
“Water, sugar, gelatin or pectin, some flavoring, something to add color; it’s definitely not rocket science. Chocolate is more artisanal. Chocolate is a very hands-on panning process. A lot of it is the handling of the chocolate, the temperature, how you’re forming the actual piece,” said Adam Grablick, Chief Operation Officer of California’s Kiva Confections.
That means it’s much easier and faster for companies to produce gummies than chocolates. On making absoluteXtracts’ vegan gummies versus Satori’s chocolates, Chef Kulczycki said: “Right now we can have five or six employees manufacturing gummies in a day, and we’re doing 3,000 units per day, so that’s 60,000 individual gummies we’re going to be able to make today, in 11 hours. When we do our chocolate panning process, one person could take four days to do our chocolate strawberries.”
Different types of gummies, now and in the future
There are several different types of gummies and many production methods behind those types. Some are made with pectin, some with gelatin; some are made with distillate, some with live resin; some have additives like melatonin, and some have natural plant terpenes. It’s all a reflection of the modern state of cannabis: figuring out exact formulas and recipes to deliver specific effects on a consistent basis.
In the near future, we are sure to see an expansion of cannabinoids, terpenes, and production methods of gummies. “I think we’re going to start seeing THCV gummies; Delta-8 gummies are a big one too. And I think you will see in the future, CBN and CBG. Right now the costs are so high on those that it’s hard to add [CBN and CBG] to the gummies, said Chef Kulczycki.
“Our number one product at Kiva is our sleep gummy. It’s made with 5mg of THC, one milligram of CBN, plus chamomile and lavender, and some other indica-like terpenes,” said Grablick.
Coming soon, Grablick told me he just launched a strain-specific live resin confection called Lost Farm, and in Q1 Kiva is rolling out a fruit chew similar to Starburst and Mamba. “It’ll be interesting to see if that form does just as well as a gummy,” he said. “We believe it will.”
Recipe: How to Make Weed Gummies
If you’ve never made weed gummies before, one word you’ll need to know is “emulsification.” Cannabis oil won’t naturally bond with water or with some of the melted ingredients in gummies, which can mean you’ll have a separate layer of cannabis oil in your gummies, or gummies that just don’t have the right consistency. An emulsifier like soy or sunflower lecithin will solve this issue, allowing the whole mix to combine uniformly in that wonderful gummy consistency you’re looking for.
Most weed gummy recipes call for using cannabis oil, though some recommend using tinctures or other extracts. We’re going to stick with cannabis oil because it’s easy to work with and easier to make.
First things first, get your equipment together. You’re going to need a stove, a pot, a whisk, a dropper, a gummy bear mold (or worms, whichever shape you like), and a freezer.
The following recipe, adapted from one we love from the Cannaschool, is straightforward and perfect for using infused coconut oil:
- ½ cup cannabis-infused coconut oil
- ½ cup cold water
- 85 gram packet of flavored gelatine (this is the standard size small box of Jell-o)
- 2 tablespoons unflavored gelatine
- ½ teaspoon sunflower or soy lecithin
- Add the water, cannabis-infused coconut oil, and sunflower/soy lecithin to the pot and place on the stove on low heat.
- Stir until the oil is completely melted and the mixture has a consistent texture. Add in the flavored and unflavored gelatine, stirring constantly.
- Keep on low heat for 10-15 until the gelatine is dissolved, making sure to constantly whisk the mixture and make sure it does not come to a boil.
- Use a dropper to fill the gummy molds one by one, and do so quickly so that the liquid doesn’t cool and begin to separate. Make sure to double back and stir the rest of the mixture frequently so it doesn’t harden.
- Once the mold is full, put the gummies in the freezer for 20-25 minutes.
Congratulations! You have now successfully made your own weed gummies. We recommend storing them in the refrigerator.
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 175 mg of THC for the whole batch of gummies. Considering that the recipe calls for 20 small-to-medium gummy bears, that’s 8.75mg of THC in each one. If you want them to be closer to 5mg each, find smaller molds and make 30 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.