Call it care-a-mel, care-mel, or car-mel – the only thing that really matters is if you have a sweet tooth or not. And if you like cannabis, or need a way to dose your medicine – or hand out bite size edibles to your friends in the parking lot before the next PTA meeting, then you really can’t go wrong with a batch of cannabis caramels.
Why edibles should be a universal right
Life is about choices, and the same goes for weed. Few things can compare to a perfectly-rolled joint of top-shelf cannabis, alone or with the people you like to smoke with, on an afternoon when no one needs to reach you. But there’s a lot to be said for edibles, and it’s no mystery why they’re so popular.
Edibles are an experience and a bit of a process. It takes a while for the high to kick in, and the instant gratification of a joint is replaced by a delayed high that can come on in waves and can have you feeling warm and cozy with a grin on your face that lingers for a few hours.
Also, edibles can be a great way to manage your cannabis dosing, and enjoy the plant even if you don’t like smoking or want a more discrete option. And like pot caramels, edibles can be tasty too.
How to avoid an edibles mistake
Stop us if you’ve heard this one (or skip ahead and keep reading) – a person wants to try a new batch of edibles so they pop a THC caramel, a brownie, or a gummy. About an hour later they don’t feel high or the effect is too mild for their taste. Convinced the edibles are weak, they double down on their dose, and soon enough they realize they should have waited for the first dose to kick in.
While it’s true that you can’t overdose on cannabis, getting way too high on edibles can be an unpleasant experience, especially if it’s not what you had planned for the evening. Your best bet is to just be patient, especially if this is the first time you’ve tried out a particular type of edible. That first time around, wait at least an hour and a half for the edible to kick in before adjusting your dose. It can take some trial and error, but that’s better than an unpleasant high that you just want to wear off.
The other mistake is an easy one too – that’s for those unfortunate folks who thought that eating edibles literally just meant eating weed as is, and didn’t think or know how to decarboxylate.
What is decarboxylation and why does it matter?
When you smoke weed, a funny thing happens. The flame that hits the weed causes a chemical process to take place, one that’s called decarboxylation.
This process simply entails heating up cannabis to activate the cannabinoids in the plant. This includes THCA, which converts into THC, the magic cannabinoid that gets you high. This process is essential when making edibles, because otherwise, the cannabis you eat won’t get you high.
And the best part? Decarboxylating weed is quite easy. All you need to do is bake some broken up cannabis on a sheet in the oven for about 30-45 minutes at around 220-245°F (105-120°C). At the end, the cannabis should have a rather brown appearance, and there should be a toasty aroma wafting through your kitchen.
Check out our step-by-step directions: How to decarboxylate cannabis
How to make cannabis butter
For many cannabis recipes – especially ones that involve baking or preparing sweets – making an infused cannabis fat is essential. Cannabis butter is a go-to infusion for countless edible recipes, and it’s versatile enough to be used in everything from making cannabis omelettes to brownies to caramels.
There are basically three main methods people use to infuse butter with cannabis:
Each method involves the same ingredients:
The easiest method is arguably the saucepan. All you need is to simmer a cup of water and a cup of butter together until the butter melts, and then add in the cannabis and stir. Let the mix simmer for 2-3 hours at around 160-180°F (70-80°C), keeping a watchful eye that it doesn’t boil. After 2-3 hours, let the mixture cool and then strain it through the cheesecloth into a container.
With a slow cooker, stir in the butter and cannabis, cover, and set the temperature to 160-180°F (70-80°C). Stir occasionally over the next three hours and then remove from heat, let it cool, and strain into the container of your choice.
With a double boiler, just put water in the bottom pan and place the butter and weed in the top section and simmer on low for about an hour.
Cannabis caramels recipe
We scoured the internet and found this homemade caramels recipe on tastesbetterfromscratch that sounds perfect for making edibles, and only includes five ingredients. All you need to do is substitute cannabis butter for the butter in the recipe, and you’re all set. Keep in mind that making caramels does require a little bit of care and technique, but nothing that a novice can’t handle.
1 cup cannabis butter (2 sticks) (you can also do half normal butter for a less potent blend) 4 cups granulated sugar2 cups light corn syrup24 ounces evaporated milk (2 cans)1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Line a 9×13’’ inch pan with parchment paper and set aside. Take a heavy-bottom saucepan and add the butter, sugar, and corn syrup and set on medium heat. Stir on medium until it comes to a boil, around 5-10 minutes. This part could be tricky – gradually add in the evaporated milk, taking about 12-15 minutes per can, stirring constantly. The trick is to make sure the mixture stays at a constant boil so that the caramels don’t curdle. Stir constantly until the mix reaches a “firm ball stage” – about 240-245 degrees fahrenheit on a candy thermometer, according to the recipe. The recipe also suggests taking a spoonful of the hot caramel sauce and chill it in ice water. Then mold it with your fingers, and see if it feels firm and pliable, but still a bit sticky. When it reaches this stage or 240-245 degrees Fahrenheit, remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Poru the caramels into the prepared pan and refrigerate until cooled and hardened. This should take at least several hours. Remove from the refrigerator and at room temperature, cut the caramels into small pieces. You can then wrap them individually with wax paper if you want.
The recipe calls for 80 caramels, but the number of servings really just depends on how big you cut them.
How many marijuana caramels should I eat?
When it comes to dosing and edibles there are several things to take into consideration. Your cannabis tolerance will play a big factor in how large a dose you should take, but the potency of that dose will also depend on the strength and amount of the cannabis used in the recipe.
While it is not an exact science, some simple math can give us a rough estimate of how strong the caramels should be. If you use 10 grams of 15% THC cannabis to make one cup of cannabis butter, then the butter will contain a total of 1500mg THC. If you divide this into 80 caramels, then you should have about 18mg of THC per caramel. If that’s too potent a dose, then using 7 grams of the same cannabis would produce about 13mg THC per dose. You could also use half regular butter in the recipe, and come out with about 9-10mg of THC per dose.
Ultimately, certain principles are consistent no matter what is in the edibles recipe: Your first time trying them out, go with a modest dose and see how you feel after about an hour and a half. Worst case, you get to eat more caramels.