Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 05/17/2017 in Consumption
Updated on August 26, 2020.
Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Cannabis-infused sugar crystals are a new trend on the medical marijuana scene, expanding the options available with edible cannabis goods. While previous edibles used butter and oils made from cannabis, cannabis sugars provide another, sweeter option.
What Are Cannabis Sugars?
Cannabis sugars are sugar-like crystals made with cannabis products.
This cannabis product essentially combines cannabis with sugar, using alcohol to pull the medically-important cannabinoids from the buds before mixing the alcohol with sugar, transferring those cannabinoids to sugar crystals. The result is a slightly sweet, somewhat nutty sugar that can be used in any number of edible products.
The Benefits of Cannabis Sugars
Cannabis sugars present a huge benefit to medical cannabis users of all kinds, especially compared to cannabutter or cannabis oils. A few of these benefits include the following:
Sugars pose a huge benefit over regular cannabis buds in that they’re easily stored and have no smell. While even raw cannabis buds and oils have the distinctive smell of marijuana, sugars have no such feature — they smell as innocent as they look.
Cannabis sugar also has an impressively long shelf life, lasting much longer than either raw or dried bud. And unlike other forms of cannabis, cannabis sugars don’t break down due to chlorophyll, air or light.
Cannabis sugar can be added to just about anything! It acts just like regular sugar in both taste and texture. The sugar itself has little flavor by itself besides the sweetness, with only a slight hint of nuttiness to suggest it’s anything but regular sugar. This makes it perfect to substitute in recipes. It also has fewer calories than cannabutter and is completely soluble in water, unlike butters and oils.
This makes it a great sweetener to use in water, tea, coffee and other common beverages.
If discretion is a particular concern of yours, cannabis sugar is an excellent choice. There’s nothing to suggest your cannabis sugar is anything other than regular sugar, so you can add it to your coffee, food or anything else you want. This also means cannabis sugar is extremely transportable, allowing you to take it just about everywhere you go.
Though you may get variable results when you make cannabis sugar yourself, you can get a good idea of the dosage you get with each batch. This makes it easy to get an accurate dosage throughout your day, putting the right amount of cannabis sugar in your food with each meal.
Avoid the High
Though many people like the psychoactive effects of cannabis — especially during their recreational time — it’s not for everybody. For people who need to go to work or school during the day, taking regular doses of psychoactive drugs may not be a viable option. This is where cannabis sugars can be particularly helpful.
Because the cannabis isn’t heated, the THCA in raw cannabis doesn’t convert into THC — the psychoactive component of cannabis. This eliminates the psychoactive properties of cannabis, providing all the benefits of cannabis without the high.
While smoking is the traditional way to ingest cannabis and its helpful cannabinoids, smoking can be a problem for many medical marijuana users. Smoking can irritate a user’s airways, leading to chronic breathing issues like bronchitis. It’s also a problem for users with asthma.
Cannabis sugar eliminates the need for smoking, cutting out these side-effects. Cannabis sugar can be especially helpful for children using medical marijuana. Many kids who have epilepsy or autism use marijuana, but can’t or won’t smoke the plant. What else do kids love more than sugar?
In short, with cannabis sugar, you get more options with the same benefits you get from smoking, vaping or juicing your cannabis.
How to Make Cannabis Sugars
Cannabis edibles take a bit of time to make, and the same is true for cannabis sugars.
You start the process with your basic ingredients: Three grams of marijuana, a half-cup of high-proof alcohol like Everclear and a half-cup of granulated sugar. You’ll also need a baking sheet, a jar with a screw-on lid (like a mason jar), a bowl and some cheesecloth.
Heat your oven to 250° F (120° C).
Spread your marijuana into an even layer across your baking sheet.
Once the oven is preheated, place your baking sheet of marijuana in the oven and bake it for about 35 to 40 minutes. Be sure the oven doesn’t go over 250° F, or it may burn, which results in the batch losing its potency.
Once baked, remove the baking sheet from the oven to let it cool.
Turn your oven temperature down to 200° F (93° C).
Grind the heated marijuana into a coarse powder. This is decarboxylated weed and can be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for two months if you want to make it in batches.
Transfer the decarboxylated weed you want to use into a jar. Add enough alcohol to the jar to cover the weed and screw the lid on tight.
Shake the jar every five minutes over the course of 20 minutes, letting it sit between sessions.
Take your cheesecloth and bowl and strain the mixture through the cheesecloth. Once completely strained, discard the solids.
10. In the bowl, add the sugar and mix until uniform.
11. Spread the sugar mixture in an even layer over a nine-inch by 13-inch baking sheet.
12. Place the baking sheet in the oven, making sure the oven has cooled to 200° F.
13. Bake the sugar mixture, stirring occasionally, until the alcohol has completely evaporated and the sugar has taken on a light-gold color.
Want to learn more about medical marijuana and its various forms? Visit our blog for information about your options. You can also take a look at our directory of marijuana dispensaries to find qualified cannabis distributors near you.