The world of weed edibles is broader than what’s on offer at your local dispensary, but even that small selection is a wonderland for people who don’t have regular access to legal cannabis. The universe of edibles only exists because of the talent and time to develop new products over the past 30 years (during much of which weed was universally illegal). While some of the people involved may have come from culinary backgrounds, in the past, weed brownies and other ur-edibles were often more of a means to an end (getting high) than a tasty treat in and of themselves.
Today, we have gummies for that. Weed candies were first made to provide a tasty and portable edible with a viable shelf life—minus the pot brownie’s unseemly reputation.
But what if you are bored with gummies, hate brownies, or have other conflicts or contraindications with the store’s offerings? You can try making your own cannabis edibles, a process that can be delicious and joyful and save you money, but which is also incredibly time consuming. Making cannabis edibles is a fulfilling hobby if you really enjoy weed in the first place, much like brewing your own cider or pressing wine grapes. Whether it’s cost effective or not depends on how you value your time, so you’d best enjoy it.
Still interested in making your own? Let’s weigh your options (and the pros and cons of each) before you embark on what can be a labor intensive weed adventure.
Are you a retail regular?
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Are legal shops easily accessible to you? Even if you don’t like what they provide in the treats department, they might offer options that skip a few steps if you want to DIY, like ready-made mixes, infused oils, and concentrates. While it’s wonderful to make something with a cannabis flower infusion, it doesn’t work for every recipe.
If you’re happy with the distance, products provided, and their effects on both your endocannabinoid system and your wallet, consider these tips if you want to experiment. However, you may want to stick to buying pre-made if you’re a creature of convenience. Shop-bought cannabis edibles have a much longer shelf life, though DIY edibles are typically freezer friendly. Conventional shop-bought edibles are made to sit in a pocket or bag for months without too many consequences, which is a considerable benefit considering the money you’re spending.
While ready-to-consume products are convenient, however, they’re also quite expensive, dose for dose. So while grabbing them for easy-to-use situations like travel or a music festival makes sense, the costs really add up if you’re using them regularly or medically.
You can save money making your own
Saving money is where making your own cannabis edibles really proves worth it: By using cannabis concentrates to create your own products, you’re getting a much larger milligram-per-dollar rate than what you can achieve at the dispensary. Consider that a 100mg chocolate bar would generally run you around $15 (with taxes), but making four or five times that dose of chocolate bar at home will only require about $30 of ingredients.
DIY is great if you want to microdose—well-established markets tend to offer a myriad of options to provide your perfect dose, but newer markets tend to only have standard doses of five or 10 milligrams, which is rather high for a micro fan. But if you know what you’re doing, it’s very cheap to make your own microdose vehicle, considering one gram of concentrates has about 800mg of cannabinoids—that’s 800 tiny doses for $35.
Conversely, DIY is also cost-effective for high-dose folks for whom the 10mg per-treat/100mg per-bag market standard might not do much, as you can make much more potent edibles for a much lower overall cost.
Looking to start making your own edibles? The latest gear for home cannabis prep can make the DIY process a lot easier.
You can get creative
Charging for fresh food that contains a cannabis infusion or concentrate is illegal in most places, but preparing it for your own consumption is completely fine. The process that turns weed edible is called decarboxylation, and it turns the THC-A in the flower into an activated form of THC, so anything you get from the store can potentially become an edible if you decarboxylate it.
Whatever your chosen “active ingredient,” it’s important to know how to use it properly. A ready-to-consume tincture, oil, or mix-in powder is simply added to your finished product, but make sure it hasn’t already been already decarbed, so that cooking or baking it doesn’t burn off the cannabinoids you’re aiming to consume in the first place.
Starting with flower is wonderful for getting nuanced flavors in your edibles, though creating strain-specific products and pairing them with foods is more labor-intensive than using concentrates—more like an art than anything else. It’s smart to make a bulk amount of infused oil or butter and save some for later, to be added to your next recipe like any other ingredient.
If you’re using decarboxylated concentrates, you can mix them into store-bought products (like squishy candies) for instant edibles. Chewy candies are a great vehicle for this, but make sure to relabel them to ward off accidental consumption by unsuspecting folks (or kids).
The standardization of cannabis that brought us this far is important for a lot of reasons, but there should also be room to play, and having only manufactured products available when a key ingredient is an agricultural product with finite aromatic qualities that diminish over time is a shame. Truly fresh, high quality cannabis’ notes don’t always carry over into store bought edibles.
Just get started
If your reasons for DIY-ing your cannabis edibles are sound—whether you want better flavors or to just save a little money—the best thing to do is to just jump in. There’s new equipment on the market to make things easier like the Levo herbal infuser or Ardent mini decarboxylator, and the possibilities are endless. Plus, you can get started with as little as one gram of flower.