If you've been to a dispensary lately or perused our edibles listings at all, then you know weed gummies are booming. All of the bright packages and kaleidoscope of flavors could lead you to believe that infused candy possibilities are endless. But as a gummy connoisseur, let me tell you: most weed gummies are virtually indistinguishable. Textures, shapes, and flavors aside, if they contain 10 milligrams of THC distillate per piece, they're effectively the same.
Why? Distillate is cannabis oil that's been stripped down to one specific cannabinoid — typically THC or CBD. You can dab it, vaporize it, mix it into topical oils and creams or add it to edibles like gummies. It's the concentrate of choice for most weed gummy brands because it's flavorless, potent, consistent, and relatively easy to obtain.
Distillates in gummies and the one-note effect
With distillate, you can pack a lot of THC or CBD into a gummy without muddying the color or adding a trace of grassy flavor. You also don't have to worry about the effects changing from batch to batch, even if you purchase your distillate from a variety of wholesalers. That's because you're only dealing with one cannabinoid as opposed to the source flower's natural blend of terpenes and major and minor cannabinoids, all of which can vary widely from harvest to harvest.
With distillate, you end up missing out on the entourage effect, or the unique high you experience when you consume the full spectrum of cannabis compounds. You're probably familiar with classifying strains as sativa, indica, or hybrid, but it's really these varying levels of cannabinoids and terpenes that determine whether a high is more energetic, sleepy, or buzzy and balanced.
It's no wonder then why pure THC distillate can end up feeling one-note. This downside also applies to new users who face a higher risk of paranoid meltdowns without other terpenes and cannabinoids to buffer the intoxicating effects of THC.
What to look for in the perfect gummy
This isn't to say all weed gummies are a lost cause. There are some THC-only gummies I'm quite fond of — namely Elefante's watermelon gummies and Flurish's sour apple variety. The problem is when you try pack after pack of chemically indistinguishable gummies expecting a different outcome. That, my friends, is the definition of gummy-induced insanity. To level up your gummy game, look for any one of these three things when scanning ingredient lists and packaging.
A ratio of cannabinoids
Remember what I said about THC-only gummies feeling one-note? Adding CBD or another cannabinoid to a THC gummy can fix this and make for a more interesting or targeted experience — even if both the THC and CBD extracts are stripped-down distillates.
More and more edible brands are going this route to differentiate themselves while still reaping all of the aforementioned benefits of using distillate. For low-dose consumers like myself, the explosion of gummies featuring a 1:1 ratio of THC:CBD has been a godsend. I've found these balanced highs to be infinitely more soothing than an edible with either THC or CBD alone.
But it isn't just about tempering the experience for low-dose users like myself. There is some evidence that low doses of CBD can actually enhance a THC high. If you've ever taken a 5 milligram CBD gummy after getting too stoned only to find yourself even more faded, then you know what I'm talking about. So mega-stoners take note: a little bit of CBD may actually give you more bang for your buck.
Cannabinoid-rich recommendation: PLUS Gummies
PLUS has been at the forefront of the weed gummy game for years, but they've really taken it to the next level with their effects-based formulations. Whether you're looking for a gummy to help you relax or feel uplifted, they have a specific ratio for that. It also helps that the desired effect is printed right on the package.
Find more PLUS products on Weedmaps
Similar to a ratio of cannabinoids, added terpenes can dictate whether your gummy high takes a turn for the energetic, buzzed, or sleepy. Terpenes are organic compounds that give cannabis and other plants their aroma and flavor, but they also interact with cannabinoids to influence your high. Linalool, for example, is also found in lavender and can send your high in a more relaxing direction, while limonene adds a citrusy aroma and a boost of energy.
Bottom line: when gummy brands add terpenes to their confections, they're selectively adding back compounds found in the plant naturally for a more tailored, unique experience. So even when THC is the sole cannabinoid present, the terpene blends make for a distinct, purposeful high.
Best terpene recommendation: Kiva's Camino Gummies
I'm obsessed with every flavor of Kiva's Camino gummies, but the Sparkling Pear variety is my all-time favorite. With 2 milligrams THC and 6 milligrams CBD per piece and a custom blend of terpenes, it's the weed equivalent of a glass of wine for me— minus the headache. You can eat one for a light, social high or double up for a full-body buzz.
I also love that I can share them with my super-cautious friends without fear they'll slip into a paranoid nosedive. For those with higher tolerances, Kiva has a range of 5 milligram THC gummies that are equally excellent with targeted effects.
Find more Kiva products on Weedmaps
Full-spectrum cannabis oil
While full-spectrum oils may result in an experience that's hard to replicate precisely batch to batch, it does mean you can expect a far more nuanced high. That's because full-spectrum oils are designed to retain as much of the original plant's natural cannabinoids and terpenes as possible.
You can count on these types of gummies having earthy undertones, but in my humble opinion, it only adds to the complexity of the flavor. If you're looking to replicate the high you get from smoking flower, these are the kind of gummies you should look for.
Full-spectrum recommendation: Rose Delights
As previously mentioned, full-spectrum is the way to go if you don't mind earthy flavors and somewhat inconsistent highs. Rose Delights fits squarely in this category while delivering on the complex, delightful experience front. To be clear, their confections are more Turkish delight than drugstore-variety gummy, which should only be a problem if you're opposed to feeling fancy.
Each 5-milligram serving is small enough and tasty enough for high-dose users to take down a whole box. Meanwhile, low-dose users can play it safe and stick with one.
As with all edibles, you can always eat more but you can't eat less once you've started. Newbies, begin with 5 milligrams THC or less and gradually work your way up until you find your perfect dose. Remember, no one's ever called the cops on themselves after taking too little.
Featured image by R+R Medicinals/Unsplash