If you’re looking for an effective and efficient way to orally dose your cannabinoids in a manner that’s free of unwanted calories and unnecessary ingredients, then cannabis capsules may just be your answer. Canna caps, as they are often referred to, have become a staple across the cannabis industry as they offer a safe and effective oral delivery method that can be easily dosed and optimally metabolized. Most dispensaries carry some variation of the canna cap, and depending on where you purchase them, they may differ in their potency and ingredients.
Cannabis-infused capsules are also a perfect DIY project for anybody looking for a safe, inexpensive, and relatively simple at-home infusion. The required materials can be procured inexpensively, either online or at your local health food and/or drug store. This at-home project takes just a few hours and can be accomplished several different ways, depending on what ingredients and equipment are available to you.
Our recipe utilizes an infusion derived from coconut oil and soy lecithin. Combined, these two act as a terrific metabolizing agent for the cannabinoids as they pass through our digestive systems, enabling us to get more bang for our buck when dosing orally.
Keep in mind that dosing will vary considerably depending on a number of factors, such as the potency of your starting material and the ratio of the ingredients used. There is no standard ratio, but you can use our ratio(s) as a rough guideline and experiment to find what is right for you. The only way to fully know how potent your capsules are is to take them to a lab for testing, so don’t be afraid to use this option if it is available to you.
SHOULD I DECARBOXYLATE CANNABIS FOR CAPSULES?
If you want to get high from canna caps … THCA becomes THC through the process of decarboxylation. Without decarboxylation, you will not get high from cannabis.To perform this process, heat dried flower or concentrates in the oven at 240°F for 25 to 30 minutes. Reduce cooking time depending on the amount of heat used in processing concentrates.
If you don’t want to get high from canna caps … skip the decarboxylation process. Although it doesn’t get you high, THCA has purported medicinal properties. It is used by some people for relief of inflammation and nausea and as an appetite stimulant. Many people believe that THCA in concentrated form fights cancer, although there need to be more studies.
Use either virgin coconut oil or liquid coconut oil. Virgin coconut oil makes longer lasting cannabis capsules, but must be utilized before mixture solidifies. Otherwise, the syringe will become clogged. Liquid coconut oil is easy to work with but can result in leaky capsules.
Capsules are available in either vegan (cellulose) or gelatin. There are two common sizes which are “0” (small) or “00” (large). Large capsules are easier to fill.
Capsule holders make the job of filling canna caps easier. They are available in health food stores or online. Alternatively, you can make your own capsule holder by drilling holes in a piece of raw wood. Filling each capsule by hand can be tedious and very messy and is not recommended.
An inexpensive syringe makes filling capsules a breeze. A 10 mL syringe is a comfortable size for filling capsules.
Recipe to make cannabis capsules with coconut oil
In this recipe, we’ll use coconut oil to extract the principal active ingredients from the cannabis plant. Coconut oil is particularly useful because of it’s characteristic of remaining in a solid form at room temperature; if the capsules are stored at temperatures below 25ºC we can stop the oil becoming liquid and avoid any risk of the capsules leaking. This vegetable oil is also useful because it contains high levels of medium-chain triglycerides (MCT), which guarantee maximum absorption of the cannabinoids.
Material necessary to make approx. 100 cannabis capsules:
- 10g of dry cannabis flowers (or sugar leaves/resinous trim)
- 100g coconut oil
- Empty gelatine capsules, 00 size (if using gelatine-free capsules they will quickly degrade upon contact with the oil, so must be consumed within a short time)
- Capsule machine (optional, but very useful. Alternatively a shallow dish filled with dry rice will hold the capsules while you fill them)
- Pipette, dropper or syringe
- Sieve for filtering
- Laser thermometer (to monitor the temperature during the extraction)
1) Break the cannabis up finely with a grinder.
2) Heat the coconut oil to around 90ºC in a bain-marie (water bath), add the cannabis and simmer gently for about 15 minutes.
3) Remove the mixture from the water bath and cook it on a low heat (120ºC) for 1 hour approx., to ensure a proper decarboxylation of the cannabinoids. Important: avoid overheating the mixture, as from 157ºC the THC will start to evaporate.
4) Return the mixture to the bain-marie and cook for a further 2 hours (approx.) at 90ºC so that the cannabinoids fully infuse the coconut oil.
5) Filter the resulting mixture using a sieve, squeezing it well to extract every last drop of the precious infused oil.
6) Allow the mixture to cool to around 40ºC. Meanwhile, prepare the capsules in the filling machine, which allows us to fill 24 capsules at one time. Place the larger half of the capsule in the bigger tray and the smaller half in the small tray.
7) Using a pipette, dropper or a syringe, carefully fill the larger halves of the capsules, leaving a margin of 1mm at the top to facilitate closing the capsules later on.
8) Close the capsules following the instructions for the capsule machine. If not using the machine, close the capsules manually, one by one. This may be easier once the oil has solidified.
9) Remove the capsules from the machine and store them in the fridge. The coconut oil will solidify, meaning you will be able to keep and transport the capsules more easily.
10) Repeat the operation with 24 new capsules and so on until the cannabis oil is all used up.
These cannabis capsules can be stored for several months in the fridge, away from humidity. They can also be frozen for optimal conservation. Where possible, always protect the capsules from light, for example, using a tinted glass jar for storage.
It’s a great idea, where possible, to analyse a capsule with laboratory testing to know the exact cannabinoid content and to verify that they are fully decarboxylated.
HOW MUCH OIL DO YOU NEED TO MAKE CANNA CAPS?
Each “00” capsule holds .75 mL product. Therefore, in order to make 30 canna caps, use 23 mL liquid including oil and dissolved concentrate.
Each “0” capsule holds .5 mL product; use 15 mL liquid including oil and dissolved concentrate to make 30 capsules.
SHELF LIFE OF CANNABIS CAPSULES
Virgin coconut oil will last on the shelf 6 months at 24°C without going rancid.
Because liquid coconut canna caps tend to leak oil, don’t make more than a 15 day supply at one time.
Store capsules in a dark container since sunlight degrades THC.
SAFE STORAGE OF CANNABIS PRODUCTS
Always store cannabis capsules in childproof containers safely out of reach of children and pets.