Like butter and coconut oil, cannabis-infused sugar is a delicious way of infusing cannabis into your everyday life. The term “sugar” is also used in reference to cannabis as a type of concentrate or extract.
Cannabis-infused sugar and the extracts bearing the namesake have growing fan bases. While each product is unique, their flavor and potency have made them both favorites for many connoisseurs. These infusions offer new types of cannabis for all consumers to try, whether you prefer vaping or making your own edibles.
This article will show you how to make infused cannabis sugar for edibles, and why making sugar extract at home isn’t always a safe decision.
What is Cannabis Sugar?
As an edible variety, cannabis sugar simply combines cannabis (usually in the form of an alcohol-based cannabis tincture) and sugar (white granulated sugar is more often used, but the brown variety is also an option). When combined, the cannabinoids from the alcohol-based tincture are transferred into the sugar crystals. The result is a sweet sugar crossed with a nutty cannabis flavor.
To help differentiate between the two kinds of sugar and the rest of this article, we will refer to cannabis-infused sugar for edibles as “cannasugar.”
We’ll refer to the extract by its more common name: “sugar wax.” The name comes from the wet, sugary appearance of the extract.
There are several ways you can make sugar wax. Some methods are relatively safe for home production, and others are forbidden.
The safer home extraction method produces a rosin with a waxy texture. Rosin is categorized as a solvent-free extraction because it uses minimal ingredients: often a combination of ice, heat, pressure and cannabis flower.
Solvent-based sugar wax has the same consistency as solventless wax rosin, but is typically made with chemicals like butane hash oil (BHO). Because BHO sugar wax uses volatile solvents that can cause catastrophic explosions and fires if mishandled, it shouldn’t be tried at home. To safely and legally make solvent-based sugar wax, you’ll need a state license and a state-of-the-art lab.
So you can create edible cannasugar or concentrated rosin wax at home, but BHO sugar wax is best left to the professionals.
What is “Live” Cannabis Sugar?
The “live” extraction process is often regarded as the best-known method for preserving a large majority of the plant’s compounds post-harvest.
Live sugar is a whole-plant concentrate that takes the same starting process as rosin wax or sugar wax, but it uses freeze-drying techniques to produce a more honey-like consistency. As soon as a cannabis plant is harvested, it is placed in a freeze-drying unit. This step replaces the typical drying and curing process. The plant is only removed from the freeze dryer when producers are ready to use it for extraction.
Once a niche production method, live cannabis products are now a growing segment of the market. Today, producers use live methods in both solvent and solvent-free extraction. Through these processes, they can create an array of concentrates, like budder, glass, and shatter.
3 Mistakes to Avoid When Making Canna Sugar
Cooking with cannabis can be a meticulous process, and new canna chefs are bound to make mistakes.
Here are a few of the most common mistakes to avoid when making cannasugar.:
- Using Subpar Weed: There is a classic saying in cannabis production: “Quality in, quality out.” If your cannabis is old or lacks in quality, your sugar may not deliver your desired potency or effects.
- Over-grinding: You want your flower to be in small pieces but not a dust or kief-like texture. Over-grinding your cannabis increases the likelihood that you’ll need to sift plant material out of your final product.
- Not Decarboxylating: To experience the psychoactive effects of cannabis, you must convert the plant’s natural cannabinoid compound, THCA, into psychoactive THC. This process, known as decarboxylation, is done by applying heat to dry cannabis flower. Consuming the plant in its natural form, without decarbing, will keep you from getting some of the desired intoxicating effects.
- Using an Improper Amount: Dosing is essential to a pleasant experience. If you use too much weed, you risk making the sugar too potent. If you use too little, you run the risk of the sugar having little or no psychoactive effect. For a more accurate understanding of your edible’s dosage, consider using an edibles calculator.
- Temperature Control: Cooking the weed during the decarb process – or cooking the sugar during the infusion process – at too high of temperatures can result in two critical mistakes. First, overheating will burn off vital ingredients, throwing off the dosing estimates (potentially resulting in you consuming more or less than you’d intended). Second, THC heated for too long may convert into cannabinol (CBN), a cannabinoid with the potential to have heavy sedating effects.
How To Make Cannabis Sugar
To make cannasugar at home you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Dry cannabis flower
- White granulated sugar,
- High-proof alcohol, as close to 190-proof as possible (check legality in your area)
Before you get started, gather these materials:
- Mason jar with lid
- Cheesecloth or coffee filter
- Shallow baking sheet
- Glass baking dish
- Breathable fabric (enough to cover a glass baking dish)
- Oven or toaster oven
- (optional) Grinder, or a tool to break up the flower
- (optional) Parchment paper
Cannasugar can be made in a few different ways. Below is a classic recipe for beginners.
Step 1: Decarbing your weed
The first step in any infusion process is to decarb your cannabis flower.
- Grind your cannabis. You can use a grinder or you can do this by hand. Make sure the nugs are broken down into a fluffy, coarse-like pile (and not ground into dust). It’s fine to have a few cannabis sugar leaves (the smaller leaves on the nugs) intact.
- Preheat your oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place the ground cannabis on the baking sheet.
- Insert the baking tray into the oven for 30 to 40 minutes.
- Take the cannabis out of the oven. Let it cool.
- Turn off the oven.
Step 2: Make a tincture
Before you can infuse the sugar, you’ll need to make a tincture using the decarbed weed.
- Place the cannabis into a mason jar. Make sure there is space for the alcohol.
- Fill the jar with high-proof alcohol. You’ll want to cover the flower material and then some. An eighth ounce of dry cannabis flower will need anywhere from 1-2 cups of alcohol. The ratio you use will affect the potency of the final product.
- Seal the jar with a lid. Shake the jar every 5 minutes for the next 20 minutes. Now uncap the jar.
- Place a cheesecloth over the mouth of the jar. Pour the now-infused alcohol through the cheesecloth or coffee filter and into a bowl.
- Save the alcohol. You’ll need the now-infused alcohol to infuse the sugar. You can discard the strained plant material or save it for other uses like topicals.
Step 3: Infuse the sugar
- Place the sugar into a glass baking dish.
- Slowly add the tincture (the infused alcohol) to the sugar. Stir as you add the tincture. How much sugar and tincture you use is up to you but the final product should look like wet sand.
- Cover the glass dish with breathable fabric. Store somewhere safe from children and pets.
- Let the mixture dry. The drying process can take 48-72 hours, possibly longer. Stir the mixture every few hours.
- Wait for the mixture to resemble real sugar. Check that the mixture is completely dry.
- Store the sugar in an airtight container until ready for use.
How Much Sugar Should You Use When Infusing with Cannabis?
The amount of sugar you use depends on the desired potency of your edibles. Professionals in a regulated kitchen have tools to get a precise dosage of their edibles. For those who make cannabis edibles in their home kitchen, you can use an edible calculator or a little bit of math to find your ideal dosage.
You’ll need to know the weight and potency of your cannabis. If your recipe uses 6g (or 6,000mg) of flower at 20% THC potency, multiply 6,000 (mg of dry material) by 0.2 (THC potency).This reveals that you’re starting with 1,200 mg of THC for your recipe.
Now, divide the total mg of THC (1,200) by the number of servings (how many edibles you’re making, or the amount of sugar you’ll use at one time).
When consuming cannabis, starting at a low dosage is best. The average dispensary edible contains between 5 to 10mg per serving. For some consumers, that may be too much. If you’re concerned (or if you’re new to cannabis), you may want to consider starting with 2.5mg.
Starting low allows you to find the dosage that feels best for you and delivers your desired effects.
Making your own cannabis-infused sugar for your edibles may seem complex, but each step can be completed quickly and easily at home. Cannasugar can be a great way to infuse cannabis into your everyday life at a dose that is comfortable for you.
If you’re interested in making your own wax concentrate at home, start with our primer on how to make wax and budder.
If you’re a medical cannabis patient in need of a medical card in your state, contact NuggMD today. Our team of dedicated experts has helped over 1 million Americans get their medical cannabis cards. We’re ready to do the same for you.
The information in this article and any included images or charts are for educational purposes only. This information is neither a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional legal advice or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about laws, regulations, or your health, you should always consult with an attorney, physician or other licensed professional.