Learn how to make delicious, versatile cannabis sugar using a cannabis alcohol tincture and white sugar for a staple cannabis recipe that can be used to make a wide variety of medicated recipes.
what is Cannabis Sugar?
I have to admit, it really took me some time to wrap my head around the science of making cannabis edibles the correct way. Now that I feel a bit more advanced in my (we, Chef Phil’s) culinary cannabis skills, I wanted to try something new.
I also love the versatility of cannabis sugar, once it is made you can use it for so many different recipes including cannabis brownies, chocolate chip cookies, and even cocktails and drinks or a scoop in your morning recipe.
Plus, if you’re looking for a very, very potent recipe – you could use both cannabis coconut oil AND cannabis sugar together for a double dose of CBD or THC.
What You Need to Make Cannabis Sugar
Unfortunately, this is not a quick recipe and there are a few things you need to do before you can even get started making infused sugar. Here’s what you need to do first:
- You can not make cannabis-infused sugar without the alcohol tincture
- You can not make cannabis sugar with coconut oil or any other type of fat
Why the Complicated process?
Culinary cannabis truly involves a lot of science, and there are tried and true processes to follow in order to get the best quality final product.
Dried cannabis flowers do not naturally contain high amounts of THC or CBD, they contain THCA and CBDA, an acidic form of the cannabinoids.
Applying heat or solvents, in this case, heat and alcohol, decarboxylate the THCA and CBDA into the active forms of THC and CBD, a process called decarboxylation. Skipping the decarbing process may result in a weaker final product with inactive, or non-intoxicating, effects.
The process of making a cannabis tincture is then used with alcohol as the solvent to extract the active cannabinoids THC and CBD from the plant matter, leaving you a concentrated cannabis extract (essentially the same process as to make vanilla extract!)
Once you have your cannabis alcohol tincture made, you are then going to pour the tincture directly over the white sugar and stir.
The final outcome of this recipe is based on the complete evaporation of all of the alcohol, leaving behind just the extracted cannabis oils bound to the sugar crystals.
Tips to help the EVAPORATION process
It’s important to note that there is no right or wrong way to evaporate off the alcohol, but it can become dangerous if you decide to use heat or an open flame, so be cautious, alcohol is extremely flammable!
While it may be tempting to use heat to evaporate off the alcohol, we think it is safer to let nature take its course and let the alcohol evaporate off naturally, even if the process takes longer than others.
The process takes a few days, but some things are worth waiting for 🙂
TIP #1 – Use the Right Pan
Remember with this recipe, the more surface area exposed to the air, the faster the alcohol will evaporate off. This means you want a bigger container that can have a shallow amount of sugar when filled. We used a glass 9×13 inch (3 quart) baking dish and thought it worked perfectly.
I’ve seen suggestions to put foil or parchment paper on a baking sheet, but we found this was way too messy, especially for stirring the sugar every day.
#2 – Choose a Breathable Cover
You want as much airflow as possible to the sugar, so you absolutely do not want to put a top or a lid on the pan while the sugar is drying or else the alcohol will not be able to evaporate.
It’s reasonable to want to cover the sugar while drying to prevent any contamination, so we settled on a thin piece of cheesecloth over the top.
#3 – Find a Safe Drying Space
You will need to leave the glass baking dish out to dry for several days, so you will need a safe drying space, especially if there are children around. An empty pantry shelf or even on top of the refridgerator works.
Ultimately, we chose to keep ours in the oven because we have a little one at home. This wasn’t ideal because the airflow isn’t great, but it worked well for keeping it safe and out of the way.
One thing to note, we put a big note on our oven to ensure we did NOT turn it on while the sugar was inside (again, alcohol = flammable) Please use caution!
#4 – Stir YOUR SUGAR Often
The more often you can stir your cannabis sugar, the more you will be exposing the alcohol to the air for it to evaporate. We used a small silicone spatula to stir the sugar and tried to stir it as often as possible, 4-5 times per day.
#5 – Use A Fan TO EVAPORATE OFF THE ALCOHOL
One option to get the alcohol to evaporate faster is to place a fan over the sugar and allow it to run while stirring the sugar consistently. This helps move the air and the sugar around, allowing for quicker evaporation.
#6 – How To Make More Potent Cannabis Sugar
Everybody always wants the most potent end product, but there are a few things to keep in mind when determining potency. First, the strength of your cannabis sugar will depend on the strength of the cannabis flower you used to make your alcohol tincture. Using shake, leaves and stems will result in a weaker concentration, while using high quality cannabis buds will reasult in a higher concentration.
Volume matters here, too. The final concentration will depend on how much herb you use. For my tincture recipe, I use 1 ounce of cannabis flower to 2 cups (16 ounces) grain alcohol. You can either double your flower or half your alcohol volume here for a stronger tincture.
Additionally, you can also simply cut the amount of sugar down in this recipe to 2 cups sugar, 1 cup tincture. The mixture will be wetter at first and may require more time to evaporate off all of the alcohol.
Of course, your reaction to cannabis edibles is unique and highly dependent on your own personal Endocannabinoid System.
#7 – How to Store Cannabis Sugar
Once your cannabis sugar is made, you want to ensure you keep it as dry as possible. An airtight mason jar or even a ziplock bag will work as long as it’s sealed properly.
More Frequently Asked Questions
Should my final cannabis sugar be green? I’ve seen cannabis sugar range anywhere from light yellow to dark green. Color is not an indicator of the strength of potency. Color is an indicator of how much plant material was transferred into your cannabis tincture when you made it.
I repeat: color is not an indicator of the strength of potency.
Can I use other types of sugar to make cannasugar? While I have not tried making sugar with anything aside from white sugar, I’ve heard of people having success when infusing cane sugar, coconut sugar, and erythritol (non-nutritive sugar alcohol).
- 3 cups white sugar
- 1 cup cannabis alcohol tincture
- Add the white sugar to the glass baking dish.
- Pour the cannabis tincture over the white sugar.
- Use a rubber spatula to stir the sugar and tincture together, ensuring all of the sugar is coated. The mixture will resemble wet sand.
- Place the baking dish in a safe area for air drying. Allow the mixture to dry for 48-72 hours, stirring frequently.
- You will know when your sugar is ready when all of the alcohol has evaporated off and the mixture again resembles dry sugar.
- Place the infused sugar in an air-tight jar and store it in a cool, dry place.
*If stored properly, the cannabis sugar should last at least 3 months, if not longer.
How to Make Lavender Cannabis Sugar
Once you have your cannabis sugar made, you can add other dried herbs as desired. My favorite? Dried lavender. Simply run the lavender through an herb grinder and gently toss to incorporate. A spoonful is delightful in a cup of tea.