In this guide, you will learn how to make your own cannabis capsules at home with various cannabis options, including decarbed flower, infused oils, FECO, leftover pulp, and more for a quick, easy, effective, and essentially tasteless way to dose your cannabis.
What Are Cannabis Capsules?
A capsule is a small case or container, commonly a round or cylindrical one.
You may be most familiar with capsules that deliver traditional over-the-counter or prescription medications.
In this case, we are filling empty capsules with cannabis products to create cannabis capsules that can be swallowed.
Many members of my Well With Cannabis Facebook Community report that swallowing cannabis capsules makes for a quick, easy, effective, and essentially tasteless way to dose and consume their cannabis.
There are many different options for filling your cannabis capsules based on your personal preferences including decarbed flower, infused oils, FECO, leftover pulp, and more.
We will explore each of these options below so you can decide what will work best for you.
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What Are The Benefits of Capsules?
Before making and swallowing cannabis capsules, it is important to note that swallowing a cannabis capsule undergoes the same digestive process as eating cannabis edibles.
This process is also influenced by individual physiological factors, such as metabolism, body weight, absorption rates, and the unique endocannabinoid system.
The experience of edibles can vary greatly from person to person.
A More Potent Experience
When cannabis is swallowed and processed through the digestive system, it can result in a more potent, powerful, and intoxicating experience for many people.
This is due to the digestive process, where the available THC is absorbed into the bloodstream and travels to the liver, undergoing the hepatic first-pass metabolism.
During this process, enzymes hydroxylate Δ9-THC to form 11-hydroxytetrahydrocannabinol (11-OH-THC), a potent psychoactive metabolite that readily crosses the blood-brain barrier.
It is this potent, intoxicating metabolite that causes potentially unwanted, or wanted, mental and physical effects.
Longer Onset & Duration Times
The typical onset time for an edible varies greatly, ranging anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours, or even longer.
While the effects are delayed, they tend to manifest stronger and last longer, with a peak onset time occuring between 1 to 3 hours post-consumption.
The effects of cannabis edibles can last anywhere from 6 to 8 hours or more, but this does vary greatly from person to person.
Convenient and Discrete
One of the many reasons my community members love cannabis capsules is because they are convenient and discrete.
Once they are made, they are inconspicuous, virtually odorless, easy to swallow, and can be a convenient way to dose.
Of course, dosing is not always easy with cannabis, as I explain in the section below: Determining Final Product Potency.
Less Cannabis Taste
Some new cannabis consumers unfortunately find that they are turned off by the taste of cannabis itself.
In this case, putting the finished product into a capsule may be the best way to consume the butter or oil without having to taste it.
Options to Fill Cannabis Capsules
As with all things cannabis, there are endless ways to make something.
For these cannabis capsules, there are many different options for filling the capsule ranging from flower, oils, concentrates and more.
It is important that you choose an option that is right for you, based on your own personal tolerance.
If you are unsure, it is best to follow the golden rule of "start low and go slow" while you experiment to find what option is right for you.
Below we will cover all of the following options you can choose to fill your capsules with:
- Decarbed Cannabis Flower or Kief
- Various Cannabis Oils
- Cannabis Coconut Oil
- Cannabis MCT Oil
- Cannabis Olive Oil
- Homemade CBD Oil
- Homemade CBN Oil
- Full-Extract Cannabis Oil (FECO/RSO)
- Other Cannabis Concentrates
- Leftover Cannabis Pulp
Fill Capsules with Cannabis Flower or Kief
One note is that all raw or dried cannabis must undergo a process called decarboxylation to enjoy the active forms of CBD or THC.
Cannabis flowers, buds, and leaves contains what is known as cannabinoid acids.
These cannabinoid acids are found in raw cannabis plant material and contain their own powerful health benefits.
However, these cannabinoids are not intoxicating in their natural state, meaning they will not make you high.
The most common are tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA).
If you want the benefits of THCA or CBDA, you can skip the decarboxylation process and fill the capsules with the cannabis flower.
By definition, decarboxylation is is a chemical reaction that removes a carboxyl group and releases carbon dioxide.
Decarboxylation can easily be done in your own kitchen at home by baking dried cannabis in the oven at a low temperature for a certain period of time.
The goal of cannabis decarboxylation is to heat the flower at a low temperature to allow decarboxylation to occur without destroying the other beneficial plant matter such as the terpenes or flavonoids.
This becomes tricky because each cannabinoid decarboxylates at its own specific time and temperature.
This means it is important that you know which cannabinoid acids you have present in your starting material, and decarb according to that cannabinoid's requirements.
- The most common recommendation for decarboxylating THCA to THC is to bake the flower at 240° F for 40 minutes.
- The most common recommendation for decarboxylating CBDA to CBD is to bake the flower at 240°F for 90 minutes.
- The most common recommendation for decarboxylating CBGA to CBG is to bake the flower at 220°F for 60 minutes.
- The most common recommendation for degrading THC to CBN is to bake the flower at 240°F for 180 minutes.
Capsules Made with Kief
Because kief is so potent, you may not need a lot to fill your capsules.
You can fill the remaining space of the capsule with a carrier oil, like coconut oil, to get the fat you need for better absorption in one simple dose.
If you've never worked with kief before, you can get my full guide to decarbing and making edibles with kief here.
Important: Pair These Capsules With A Meal
If you use cannabis flower as outlined above to fill your capsules, it's important to ensure you take the capsules with a meal.
This is because cannabis is better absorbed by the body when paired with fat.
In fact, studies show that cannabinoids are 2.5-3x more bioavailable to the body when paired with a fat source, so consider adding some fat to the meal you are consuming for the best overall experience (1).
Fill Capsules with Various Cannabis Oils
Before you get started filling your capsules with cannabis oil, there are a few important things to know.
The first is that you must use a capsule that is meant to hold oil, or else you will end up with a soupy mess from using a capsule that is not meant to hold liquids.
These are the capsules meant to hold oil that I recommend.
The second thing to know is that you can fill your capsule with any cannabis oil that you like, depending on the experience you are going for.
We will review all of the different types of oil that can be used to fill capsules below.
While not technically an oil, yes, you can make cannabis capsules filled with cannabutter.
This is a great option if you have made cannabutter and don't like the taste or want to quickly and easily use up any excess cannabis butter.
If you plan on using cannabutter to fill capsules, avoid trying to put any solid matter in the cap and instead gently melt down the butter until it is liquid and easy to pour.
Cannabis Coconut Oil Capsules
One of the most popular infused oils, you can easily fill your capsules with cannabis-infused coconut oil.
Just like cannabutter, you are going to want to make sure your cannabis coconut oil is gently warmed and melted and into a liquid state before trying to fill your capsules.
Cannabis MCT Oil Capsules
Popular for sublingual use, cannabis-infused MCT oil can also be used to fill your cannabis capsules.
One important thing to note is that MCT oil has a reputation for causing digestive distress in some individuals.
Be sure to test out small amounts of your cannabis-infused MCT oil and assess your tolerance before filling a lot of capsules.
Cannabis Olive Oil Capsules
For those who don't want or can't have coconut products, cannabis-infused olive oil is another popular infusion option.
Olive oil is a generally well tolerated oil and can easily be added to capsules for a convenient, easy way to consume.
CBD Oil Capsules
This is a great option for people who find the taste of CBD too overwhelming or want an easier way to consume compared to the sublingual method.
CBN Oil Capsules
CBN is a cannabinoid called cannabinol which has been given the nickname 'the sleep cannabinoid'.
This oil tends to have more sedative effects and many people report using it right before bed to help them stay asleep.
Paired with the delayed onset time associated with the edible consumption method, this is a great option for people to try to stay asleep longer.
If you're new to CBN, you can learn how to make your own CBN oil here.
Full-Extract Cannabis Oil (FECO/RSO) Capsules
For those who find the taste of FECO too bitter or overwhelming, adding it to a capsule may be a great solution for more enjoyable consumption.
If you've never consumed FECO before, an entire capful may be way too much for your tolerance and leave you feeling uncomfortably high.
When getting started, it is recommended to consume a grain of rice sized amount of FECO before working your way up to larger amounts.
If you know you can only tolerate a drop or two, but still want to consume it in capsule form, you can add the small drop of FECO to the capsule and fill the rest with a carrier oil like MCT, olive oil, or coconut oil.
Cannabis Concentrate Capsules
While not as popular, it is possible to fill your capsules with various types of cannabis concentrates.
Cannabis concentrates are often used for smoking, vaping or dabbing, but they are starting to make their way into edibles, too.
As long as they are decarbed before consumption, they remain very versatile and very potent.
Like the FECO noted above, these are concentrated products, meaning that you can accidentally take too much if you were to fill an entire capsule and swallow it without knowing your personal tolerance levels.
Always remember the golden rule, start low and go slow when experimenting with new products.
On the other hand, this could be a great option for those with extremely high tolerances who are looking for a way to get more milligrams in.
If you are interested in filling capsules with concentrates, be sure to check out my guide to making edibles with cannabis concentrates first.
Leftover Cannabis Pulp
The final option for filling your cannabis capsules is filling them with leftover cannabis pulp.
Even though it’s great to reuse and recycle cannabis plant byproducts wherever possible, the taste and texture of leftover cannabis pulp may be offputting to some.
That makes filling capsules with leftover cannabis pulp a perfect solution.
While not as strong, because most of the cannabinoids have been removed through the infusion process, it is believed the leftover weed material contains nutrients and even a few cannabinoids and terpenes.
Many of my Well With Cannabis Facebook Community members report that there is definitely some good stuff (i.e., CBD or THC) stuck in the leftover plant material, making it worth saving and enjoying.
Determining Final Product Potency
The most difficult piece of the cannabis consumption puzzle is accurately assessing the final product potency and determining the final dosages.
It is nearly impossible to determine the exact concentration of final cannabinoids like CBD and THC without lab testing.
This is a disadvantage for you because it is nearly impossible to accurately assess and track how much of each cannabinoid you will be orally consuming.
This uncertainty opens up the risk of you either underdosing or overdosing, which will ultimately prevent you from experiencing your edibles’ desired health benefits.
When making your own cannabis capsules, please follow the golden rule of "start low, and go slow".
Choosing The Right Materials to Get Started
Before getting started, it is important to note that capsules come in all different sizes and materials.
Below I will review the important things you need to consider when purchasing supplies to make your own capsules.
Choose Your Ideal Serving Size
Sticking with one size only is important when purchasing the capsules, a capsule filling machine, and determining your dose.
The size of the capsule you choose will have a big effect on your dosing, so be sure to choose the size that is best for you.
You can use the chart below to determine which option is right for you, based on the average weight in milligrams of volume in milliliters each capsule holds.
|Average weight in mg||163||118||95||75||60|
|Volume in ml||1.37||0.91||0.68||0.50||0.37|
Choose the Right Type of Capsule
Once you have determined which sized capsule is best, you need to decide whether you will fill your capsules with dry material, like decarbed flower or liquid material, like oils.
Not all capsules are made of the same material, and not all capsules are meant to hold just any type of material.
If you accidentally put an oil in a capsule meant for a dry ingredient, you may end up with ruined capsules.
That is why it is important to look at the type of capsule you are buying and ensure it is compatible with the ingredient you want to fill it with.
There are also many vegan and vegetarian capsule options available today.
- These are the capsules I recommend for filling with dry ingredients
- These are the capsules I recommend for filling with liquid or oil
- These are the vegetarian capsules I recommend for dry or liquid ingredients
A Capsule Filling Machine
While totally optional, you may want to consider a capsule filling machine to help make the job quicker and easier.
This is the capsule filling machine I used to make my capsules, shown in the photos below (size 00).
If you decide to purchase a capsule filling machine, ensure you choose the same size as the capsule you choose because they can come in many sizes.
Additional Helpful Items
Use An Infusion Machine For Your Edibles
Cannabis-infusion machines are countertop devices that do all the work for you by decarboxylating and infusing your butters, oils, and more.
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How To Fill Cannabis Capsules
- If you do not have an oil or cannabis flower prepared, you will need to do this first. Once that is ready, prepare your workstation with all of the things you will need to get started. This will ensure less mess and an easier process on your part.
- Set up your capsule filling machine according to the machine's directions.
- Fill the capsules according to the capsule filling machine's directions.
- Seal the capsules with the other end according to the capsule filling machine's directions.
- Once prepared, you can store your capsules in an airtight jar or container. These capsules can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer for 3-6 months.
- You do not need to use a capsule filling machine, you can fill the capsules by hand if you wish, but it does make the process quicker and easier.
- I used size "00" capsules in this guide, but you can choose a size that is right for you using the size chart above.