How to make Cannabis Capsules (Canna Caps)
Cannabis is a plant that can be consumed orally and form part of a healthy diet, but too often, the characteristic flavour of this plant can be a turn-off, and it’s not easy to find tasty new recipes to which we can add our weed.
Preparing cannabis in the form of capsules allows us to get over these two limitations and orally ingest cannabinoids in a simple and effective way. In this article, we’ll show you how to make your own cannabis capsules, or “canna caps” for therapeutic and recreational use.
Cannabis oil capsules or Canna Caps
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.
The cannabis used to make the capsules
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)
Cannabis mixed with the coconut oil
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.
Strain the oil from the cannabis with a sieve
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.
Coconut oil infused with the medicinal properties of cannabis
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.
Filling the capsules with cannabis oil
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.
Dry rice works well if you don’t have a capsule machine
What kind of cannabis can be used to make the capsules?
For recreational purposes, we would use varieties that are high in THC, the compound responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis. For therapeutic purposes, on the other hand, we would use cannabis varieties containing CBD as well as THC , aiming to benefit from the properties of these two cannabinoids in a balanced ratio.
Those consumers who do not tolerate the effects caused by THC but still want to enjoy the benefits of CBD can make their own CBD capsules with any of the low THC varieties which are CBD-rich while barely containing any THC.
The effect of the capsules will greatly depend on the cannabis used in the extraction. The higher the cannabinoid levels, the more potent the effect will be. To increase potency, we can also choose to infuse our coconut oil with cannabis resin that has already been extracted. This can be any of the solventless concentrates such as Dry Sift, Bubble Hash or Rosin, as well as BHO and FECO/RSO, although for oral consumption we prefer to use resin extracted in a natural way, without the use of solvents.
The oil in these cannabis capsules is solidifying
Proceed with caution when dosing these oils, they will be more potent and should be taken with care. When we made our first rosin capsules here at Alchimia, we used 1 part resin with 20 parts of coconut oil as a ratio to start with, but we later adjusted this to 1:10 to get the desired effect, due to our tolerance being fairly high!
We can also add other types of ingredients to our cannabis capsules to obtain a synergistic action. For example, if we wish to benefit from the anti-inflammatory properties of the cannabinoids, we can add some powdered cumin (with a pinch of black pepper) to further potentiate and augment this anti-inflammatory effect.
As usual, when consuming cannabis orally, its effects will appear about 45/60 minutes after ingestion, once cannabinoids have been assimilated into the digestive system and entered the bloodstream. We must be careful, start by taking a single capsule and wait at least 1 hour before consuming a second capsule if necessary, and so on until you find the appropriate dose.
The articles published by Alchimiaweb, S.L. are reserved for adult clients only. We would like to remind our customers that cannabis seeds are not listed in the European Community catalogue. They are products intended for genetic conservation and collecting, in no case for cultivation. In some countries it is strictly forbidden to germinate cannabis seeds, other than those authorised by the European Union. We recommend our customers not to infringe the law in any way, we are not responsible for their use.
How to Make Your Own Cannabis-Infused Coconut Oil Capsules
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.
Ingredients and Materials Required for Cannabis Capsules
- 7-14 grams of cannabis (ground flowers are preferred for this recipe, though you can use kief and/or ground trim if you desire)
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup of organic extra virgin coconut oil
- 1/2 tsp soy lecithin
- Oven or slow cooker
- 45 to 50 empty gelatin capsules (preferably size 00)
- Capsule Filling machine
- Syringe: 10mm oral irrigators with tapered deep reach tips
- 1 cooking pot with lid
- 1 glass bowl
- 1 baking tray
- 1 sheet of parchment paper
- 1 piece of cheese cloth
- 1 small bowl
- 1 rubber band
- 1 spatula
STEP 1: DECARBOXYLATION
Preheat your oven to 220 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare your material by grinding it finely with your grinder and spreading the grounds across a sheet of parchment paper that has been placed over a baking tray. Ovens tend to fluctuate in temperature, so it’s important to note that you do not want the oven hotter than 250 degrees. Any hotter and you begin to risk cooking off valuable cannabinoids. The material will need to bake for about 30-45 minutes before you can achieve a proper decarboxylation, though you can continue this process for longer if you prefer. Once finished, pull the tray from the oven and proceed to step 2.
If you plan on using your oven for the remainder of the process, keep the temperature at 220 degrees.
STEP 2: INFUSION
1. OVEN- Begin by filling your cooking pot 3/4 of the way full with water and bringing it to a soft boil. Add your coconut oil and soy lecithin to your glass cooking bowl and place it within the rim of your cooking pot so that the bowl sits about 1-2 inches above the soft boiling water. After several minutes, your coconut oil and soy lecithin will melt down and you can add your finely ground and decarboxylated cannabis. Mix the material together until everything is homogenous. Empty the hot water out of your cooking pot and then add the oil mixture. Place the pot back in the oven (still at 220 degrees) for an additional 30-45 minutes. Check in a few times to stir, if necessary. You may cook the mix for longer if desired. This may affect the potency of your end product because it will allow for a further degradation of THC to CBN, a conversion known to add a more sedating effect to your finished capsule.
2.SLOW COOKER- Add your decarboxylated starting material, coconut oil, and soy lecithin to your slow cooker and turn the unit to LOW HEAT. Allow the material to cook for 2 hours (longer if desired) to achieve as proper decarboxylation, stirring several times per hour. Slow cookers tend to cook around 200 degrees on the low setting, so make sure you check beforehand to get a better estimate of how much time you will need.
STEP 3: FILLING CAPS
While your oil is finishing in the oven, prepare the size 00 empty gelatin capsules and capsule filling machine by following the instructions on the package. These devices are designed to make capsule filling a much easier, more streamlined process, though the machine is not required — you can always poke some holes in a cardboard box with a pen to help hold the capsules in place while you fill them. (In my opinion, the small amount you will pay for the machine is worth the convenience.)
Now take your cheese cloth and secure it over the rim of your small bowl using the rubber band. When the oil is finally finished, remove it from the oven and strain the oil through your cheese cloth and into the small bowl, catching the unnecessary particulates along the way. Afterwards, be sure to let the oil cool to a temperature less than 100 degrees Fahrenheit before proceeding with filling your syringe. Gelatin capsules tend to melt over 100 degrees, so make sure that your oil is as cool as you can get it before letting it solidify.
Once the oil has cooled to your desired temperature, it’s time to fill the syringe. Do so by following your syringe’s instructions, and make sure the oil remains warm enough to stay liquid. Use the syringe’s tapered deep reach tip to feed the oil into the gelatin capsules, one at a time, until you run out of oil; repeat this process accordingly. Once finished, use the instructions on your filling machine to close each capsule. During this process, you may find that you have over filled a few caps. Use a hand towels or tissue to wipe the remaining residue. The finished caps can be store in a cool, dark place (like a refrigerator) until you are ready to use them. If done properly, this recipe will produce around 45-50 capsules (this amount is only an estimate and will depend on the ratios of starting material and oil you used).
Dosing will depend on 3 variables:
- Potency of starting material
- Ratio of oil to starting material
The easiest and most accurate way to test the strength of your caps is to take them to a lab for testing. If you’re looking for a rough estimate of how strong your caps are, take the potency of your starting material and convert it to milligrams. Once you have this figure, divide it by the net weight of your final yield and shave off 10% or so to account for decarboxylation. This should land you in the ball park of how potent your whole batch will be. Take this figure and divide it once more by the number of capsules you filled and that will leave you will an estimate to work with.