Cannabis gummies are delicious, inexpensive, and relatively easy to make. Unlike other weed edibles, cannabis gummies or cannabis candies do not need to be swallowed. You can let them melt in your mouth and absorb the cannabinoids stored within them sublingually.
What are Cannabis Gummies?
They are perhaps best described as cannabinoid-infused treats comprised of fruit (puree, extract, or artificial flavouring), water, lemon juice – optional, gelatine, granulated sugar, and most importantly, cannabis tincture.
These ingredients need to be mixed together, then transferred to a baking tray and allowed to set in a cool dry place. Once the mixture has set, divide the contents of the baking tray into individual portions. Toss them in sugar to prevent them from sticking together – if you like sour weed gummies then add lemon juice to the sugar before tossing.
When making marijuana gummies, mixing the ingredients is the easy part, but there are a few steps that require a bit more effort such as;
What is decarboxylation? Well, it is the process by which a carbon atom attached to the carboxyl group in cannabinoid acids is removed. This is a critical step when making any weed edibles because it alters the chemical structure of phytocannabinoid acids into compounds that approximate the chemical structure of the endocannabinoids we produce naturally. In other words, the cannabinoid acids in marijuana become bioavailable and can interact with our CB1 and CB2 receptors.
Thankfully, facilitating decarboxylation is easier than explaining it. It is achieved through heat, and in the context of making cannabis gummies, is best done in the oven. The only challenge is making sure that you do not burn your cannabis – decarboxylation can occur at temperatures as low as 105 degrees celsius – so don’t overdo it.
Once your cannabis is decarboxylated (roughly 15-20 minutes), you must extract the bioavailable cannabinoids from the plant matter so that they can be infused with your gelatine mixture.
Cannabinoid extraction can be achieved with a solvent like a high proof alcohol – make sure it is food grade. Over the course of a day or two the alcohol will evaporate, and what remains is your extracted cannabinoid oils. These cannabis oils are now in a form that is conducive for making cannabis gummies.
Sublingual Absorption of Cannabinoids
As mentioned earlier, cannabis gummies are not necessarily swallowed, you can let them melt in your mouth. Why does this matter? Well, it matters because the cannabinoids avoid first-pass-metabolism. The mucosal membranes in the mouth, particularly under the tongue, allow cannabinoids to enter venous circulation through the profusion of capillaries in the connective tissue.
This is significant because first-pass-metabolism changes the chemical structure of cannabinoids like THC. A process known as glucuronidation is a function of liver metabolism, but when it comes to THC specifically, this process increases its potency. The resulting compound is known as 11-OH-THC or Hydroxy-11 THC, and it behaves and feels differently than cannabinoids which cross the blood-brain barrier directly.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can make dosing tricky and some of you may not like the “high” associated with weed edibles that reach systemic circulation via first-pass-metabolism. Cannabis gummies provide all the features of an edible, but approximate the “high” you would expect from smoking a joint.