Disclaimer: Nothing written here is intended as medical advice. This diary is only intended for people who live in states that license medical marijuana usage (like California) or states that allow recreational marijuana use (like Colorado). Know and follow the laws in your state. Obviously, as with any other strong medication, never ingest edible marijuana when working, driving, operating heavy machinery, etc.
About Edibles:Why go through all the bother to make candy when smoking is so much easier and quicker?
Many people have had adverse experience with edible marijuana, traceable to three factors:
- Not knowing the dose they ingested
- Not knowing they need to wait at least an hour to feel the full effects of what they've consumed before considering eating more
- Not knowing how the effects of edible marijuana differ from smoking
However, edibles produce different effects that we found uniquely suited to coping with cancer treatments.
Marijuana candy is ideal for people going through the rigors of cancer and its treatments. When paradise50 was going through treatments for HPV+ throat cancer he experienced severe pain and side effects for over eight months. He relied on a feeding tube for nearly all his nutrition for five months, and for several weeks he was on hourly liquid sublingual morphine because swallowing pain pills was impossible. However, even with the morphine there was a level of pain that was untouched. The only thing that really alleviated his stress, anxiety, pain, and at least minimally helped with appetite was marijuana. The doctor who prescribed his medical marijuana card gave him a thorough physical and told him that, of course, smoking pot was absolutely out of the question, as well as something he should avoid for the rest of his life. Brownies or cookies were also too hard to swallow. He suggested making either tincture or candies that could be slowly dissolved in the mouth.
Candy was the only option then, as paradise50's mouth was too torn up from radiation to be able to tolerate even the small amount of alcohol in tincture. The candy turned out to be far more beneficial than the morphine, which he quit cold-turkey one day after realizing it really wasn't helping that much. Now in his post-treatment life he still suffers chronic pain from treatment-related nerve damage to his shoulder. The candy gives him the best relief there as well, and he doesn't need to resort to pharmaceutical pain relievers for the neuropathies.
We quickly found that there were other advantages to candy.The following recipe and methodology is my own adaptation from several online sources and youtube videos, and includes ways I've streamlined the process to make it quicker. If your cannabutter is made in advance it then takes about two hours start-to-finish to cook, cool, and wrap a batch of candy. Each 4 x 4 rectangle or heart-shaped candy equals 1-2 doses, depending on need and tolerance.
- Obviously it's preferable for people who can't smoke or don't want to smoke.
- Most importantly for our purposes, it's much easier to control the dosage to achieve the desired effect.
- Best of all, the effect itself is more gentle, pervasive, relaxing, calming and overall more pleasant. It seems to be more "medicinal" in alleviating symptoms like insomnia, stress, anxiety, loss of appetite and pain.
- Edibles are discreet and can be carried and consumed with no one being the wiser.
What you'll need:
Cannabutter: Everyone has their own methods for making cannabutter. Mine is simple: Melt 2 pounds butter and 2 tablespoons liquid lecithin in a slow cooker. Grind 2 ounces of bud including its tiny leaves covered in THC crystals in a coffee grinder. Add to butter and slow cook on low for 4-6 hours, stirring hourly. It should be dark greenish-brown but not black when fully cooked. Cool and strain through cheesecloth. Freeze in one cup increments and then just thaw one cup to make candy. Yields about 3.5 cups of marijuana-infused butter.
Candy Thermometer: This is a must! I've read different methods for knowing when the candy has reached the "soft crack" and "hard crack" stages, but I picked one of these up cheap at the local grocery store and eliminates guesswork.
Candy Molds: These can be picked up at craft/hobby stores like Michael's, specialty cooking shops, or bought online. Not only does the candy look better molded into shapes, it's easier than trying to score and cut it as it cools, and uniform shapes are easier to wrap. Most importantly it helps you standardize and control dosage.
My favorite mold is made up of small rectangles that create individual dosage units, a good idea while you're figuring out how strong your batch is. Ice cube trays or mini-muffin tins also work as molds. Lately I've been having fun adding some heart-shaped molds into the mix.
Deep saucepan with lid: As you'll see, the mixture foams up nearly to the brim at the end, so a deep saucepan prevents it from spilling over.
butter-flavored cooking spray
2 & 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup (like Karo)
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cannabutter
1 teaspoon flavored extract (vanilla or rum extracts work, but I prefer butterscotch)
Measure out and have all your ingredients ready to go. Things happen quickly at the end!
Have cannabutter and honey softened and at liquid, pourable states.
Have a sink of soapy water ready for all your sticky cooking utensils
Have your candy molds ready and sprayed with butter-flavored cooking spray. I set them on wax paper in case of spillage.
Cooking: See below the fold for step-by-step photos of the process.
- Combine sugar, water, and light corn syrup in deep saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat without stirring.
- Uncover and cook until candy thermometer reaches 270 degrees (the "soft crack" mark on the candy thermometer). This takes me about 15-18 minutes; ymmv.
- Stir in salt, honey, and cannabutter. Stir gently until temperature goes just over 300 degrees (the "hard crack" stage). This part happens quickly, in 3-5 minutes, and the mixture foams up right to the edge of the pan.
- Turn off the heat, wait until active bubbling slows, then stir in the flavored extract. The liquid will briefly foam up again.
- Pour into the molds. This batch will fill five of the rectangular molds shown above. If you're using the rectangular molds, fill them completely, including covering the little separations between the rectangles, which will help them hold together when you un-mold them.
If you don't have molds, pour the mix into a large flat buttered pan. Do not spread or scrape; just let it spread out by itself. As it cools, make score marks with a knife to help you break it into pieces when it hardens. Just know that your pieces won't be uniformly sized, and that it's tricky getting the timing of the scoring right.
Wrapping:Dosage and consistency:
While I like wrapping the candy in nice colored foil, aluminum foil or wax paper works just fine. Store in the refrigerator or freezer. If the candies are out in the world and start to melt just refrigerate them again.
When refrigerated the candy will be hard, while at room temperature it will be softer and chewier like caramels. In any case, for the safety of your dental work it's always best to melt these in your mouth rather than chewing them up!
Dosage is, of course, individual. People who shy away from edibles have often had the unfortunate experience of eating too much, and then eating more when it seems nothing is happening, with miserable results. Remember, edibles take at least an hour to fully come on, so be patient. The effects also last longer. If you're new to this, or using it for light relaxation (as in help falling asleep) less is better. Start by breaking a 4 x 4 piece in half. Try just 1 or 2 small rectangles and wait at least an hour before judging the effects. With practice you'll know how many small rectangles you need for more serious symptoms like pain. Experienced users seem to prefer an entire 4 x 4 piece, but I recommend working up to this level.
Step by step photos of the process are below the orange snickerdoodle:
First, lay out your candy molds, coated with (butter-flavored) cooking spray. Measure and set out all your ingredients:
Left: Sugar, water, and karo syrup are combined. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat.
Right: Boil uncovered over medium heat until candy thermometer reaches 270 degrees, about 15-18 minutes.
Add cannabutter, honey, and salt, which will cause the mixture to foam up. Stir constantly until it reaches 300 degrees, usually within 3-5 minutes. Turn off heat, wait for bubbling to subside, and add your flavored extract, which will cause it to briefly foam up again.
Pour into molds quickly before it starts to set. Do not scrape the pan or manually spread the mixture out. This part can be a bit messy and is why I put wax paper under the molds!
When using the rectangular molds, it's best to overfill them, covering all the crosshatch lines. The mold on the right wasn't filled quite enough and the squares tended to break apart with handling.
Let cool for 30-60 minutes, then very gently remove from molds. Cut into 4 x 4 squares for individual dosing and they're ready to wrap!
I recently made candy on a 90 degree day with high humidity and a strange oily film formed on the top at the end. A quick google search revealed that the butter may separate during the cooking process under conditions of high heat and humidity.
Know that high heat and humidity affect the cooking process. Since summers are quite hot here and my kitchen doesn't have air conditioning, waiting three months for cooler, drier weather may not be an option. Here's what to do if the butter separates:
If your candy separates during the cooking process, there is a chance you can save it. Sometimes separated toffee or caramel can be saved by removing the saucepan from the heat and stirring constantly and smoothly until it comes back together, then gradually returning it to the heat, stirring constantly. You can also try adding a spoonful or two of very hot water to the toffee to help it come together. Start with one tablespoon and stir the candy to help it come together. Add additional spoonfuls if necessary, but do not add more than 1/4 cup of water total.
SECOND UPDATE: May 2015
I recently bought a Magical Butter Machine, and can't recommend it highly enough. The recipes that come with the machine recommend adding a tablespoon of liquid lecithin for every one cup (2 sticks) of butter, and doing so has dramatically increased both the consistency and potency of the candy. The butter no longer separates during the last step of the process, and the dosage is undeniably stronger. The machine is easy to use and clean. Definitely check it out.