Sugar is one of the many textures available when purchasing concentrates made from cannabis extract. Its viscous, grainy, wet texture differentiates sugar from other cannabis concentrates like shatter or budder. It is typically consumed like any other extract and is usually desired for its high terpene content. While sugar, also called sugar wax, is often produced intentionally, many less viscous solvent-based extracts will sugar up over time if they are not winterized.
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More about sugar
Sugar is no different. Like other concentrates, it's created when a chemical solvent is used to extract terpenes and cannabinoids from plant material. Sugar is usually the consistency of wet sand and a yellow or amber color.
How is sugar made?
The extraction process is roughly the same as that for making other solvent-based extracts. The solvents used for making sugar and other concentrates include butane, propane, ethanol, and supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2). One difference in the sugar-production process is that the substance is agitated and the temperatures and pressure are lower to encourage THC and CBD crystallization without damaging the terpenes.
Sugar can be made using either cured or fresh frozen flower, harvested from any cannabis cultivar, including hemp varieties. If sugar is made from cured flower, it will generally have fewer terpenes. If it's made from fresh flower that's been frozen, it will be called live resin sugar and have more terpenes, leading to a stronger flavor profile.
How to dab sugar and other cannabis concentrates
Dabbing is by far the most popular way to consume concentrates and extracts. Because concentrates are more potent than flower, dabbing is known for producing a much stronger range of effects. Additionally, because dabbing vaporizes rather than burns, the flavors and aromas you get from this method tend to be much cleaner and more robust.
Dabbing sugar follows the exact same process as any other concentrate: heat the nail, scoop some sugar onto it, and inhale the vapor. The key difference with sugar is that it's much better to use a spoon-shaped dab tool as opposed to a flat-tipped one. This makes it easier to scoop the sugar out of its container and get it onto the nail without any grains falling off.
You can also use any vape pen that allows you to dab actual globs of concentrate and doesn't restrict you to using cartridges only.
How to smoke sugar
Versatility is one of this concentrate's biggest benefits, and there are several simple ways to consume sugar. In addition to dabbing it like any other marijuana concentrate, you can also easily incorporate it into other smoking techniques.
One option is to add it to joints, blunts, or spliffs. Simply fill your rolling paper or wrapper with flower and sprinkle your sugar evenly across the top of the flower. Finish rolling, spark up, and smoke your sugar-infused joint, blunt, or spliff the same way you always do. The flower/sugar combination contains much more THC than flower alone, so plan accordingly.
You can also smoke sugar out of a bong or pipe. Simply pack the bowl with flower, top it off with a bit of sugar, apply heat, and get ready for liftoff.
How to store sugar
As with any form of cannabis, properly storing sugar helps maintain its aroma, flavor, and potency, and slows down the natural degradation of the extract.
Exposure to high temperatures, moisture, oxygen, and light speeds up the degradation process, damaging THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids. If this happens, you may notice your sugar becomes darker in color. You may also notice it beginning to lose quality in terms of taste, smell, potency, and effects.
The best way to ensure the longest shelf life possible is to store sugar in an airtight, lightproof container, away from direct light and out of extreme temperatures. Glass or silicone is ideal for this. You can buy good storage containers at dispensaries and head shops.
What about cannabis-infused sugar?
Traditionally, sugar has been one of the textures of cannabis concentrates alongside budder, shatter, wax, and others. But the advent of legalization has led home cooks to experiment much more with cannabis in the kitchen. Cannabis-infused butter, or cannabutter, has been popular for years but now cannabis-infused sugar is popping up in recipes online.
How to make weed-infused sugar
Here are the basic steps for making weed-infused sugar at home.
- Decide whether you want to decarb your cannabis or not. Decarbing will give you the most active THC and/or CBD, but that may not be your goal when consuming cannabis.
- Grind 3 grams of your choice of cannabis (the amount is up to you but this is a good starting point).
- Place the cannabis in a jar and cover it with 1 cup (236 milliliters) of grain alcohol, like Everclear.
- Seal the jar and shake every five minutes for about 20 minutes.
- Strain out the cannabis and discard it (all the good stuff has been extracted).
- Add 1 cup (200 grams) of sugar to the strained alcohol, stir, and spread in the bottom of a glass baking dish or sheet pan.
- Bake at 200 degrees Fahrenheit (93 Celsius) until the alcohol evaporates.
- Cool, store, and use as you would regular sugar.
A word of caution — as with any weed edibles, be careful. Because of the way edibles are processed in the body, the THC winds up much stronger. And because THC has to make it all the way through the digestive system first, it takes a while to feel the effects. This combination is why there are so many cautionary tales about people getting way, way too high from consuming edibles. If you consume THC-infused cannabis sugar, wait at least two hours, preferably 24, before ingesting more until you're sure how it affects you.