The Economics of Marijuana Edibles: To Buy or Make It Yourself 

By  Cheri Sicard

 February 19, 2017

If you regularly buy commercial marijuana edibles because you don’t think you can afford to cook with cannabis, you might want to rethink that equation. The fact is, even if you buy dispensary weed to cook with you’ll, still save by making your own. Not only that, when you make it yourself you can craft your edibles from the foods you like to eat – or that meet your dietary needs. You’ll also get edibles that deliver the exact dose that YOU need (if you don’t know how, take my free online class Precise Dosing for Homemade Marijuana Edibles).

But let’s talk cash. Is it really less expensive to make your own instead of buy commercially made edibles? Let’s look at some typical scenarios and do the math.

For the examples in this article, I went to one of my favorite marijuana dispensaries, Pure Life Alternative Wellness in Chatsworth, California and picked out three strains at various price points. Pure Life was a great dispensary to choose as all their marijuana is lab tested, so I was able to figure out exactly how much you are paying per gram of THC.

Pure Life also carries shake at an exceptionally low price. They only have it in limited quantities and it is for regular patients only. This is a good example of why it pays to be loyal to your favorite dispensary.  For those unfamiliar with the term, think of shake as the marijuana equivalent of the crumbs that fall to the bottom of a bag of potato chips. Shake is the small pieces that break off the flowers and fall to the bottom of a large bag of marijuana. It’s still potent but it is WAY less expensive than flowers, although not usually as inexpensive as it is at Pure Life. In most dispensaries shake will be more in the range of $100.00 an ounce or even more, yet still more economical than flowers.

Economics of Marijuana Edibles
Commercial Versus Homemade Marijuana Edibles By the Numbers:

Before we look at cooking material, let’s look at some popular commercial edibles, what they cost, and how much that works out to per mg of THC. As you can see, the lower amount of THC per edible, the higher price you are paying, so from a purely economic point of view, it is far cheaper to buy an extremely high dosed edible and cut it into smaller dosed portions than it is to buy several lower dosed edibles.

  • Korova 1000 mg Brownie - $49.99 = .05 /mg
  • Miss Mary Jane’s Brownie 240 MG for $20.00 - .08/mg
  • Kush Cake Pops 225 mg for $26.00 = .12/mg
  • Kiva Chocolate 120 MG for $32.00 = .25/mg

Now, let’s look at how much it would cost if you bought the marijuana to cook with at Pure Life. As you can see, even buying some of their top shelf material, it’s still less expensive to make your own. And when it comes to the high quality shake offered in limited supplies to regular patients, they are practically giving it away!

  • Shake -- $30.00 an ounce (for regular patients ONLY); 10% THC; works out to about a penny per mg THC
  • Shake -- $100.00 an ounce (about what you might pay elsewhere); 10% THC; works out to about 3 cents per mg THC
  • Casa Humboldt Dream Queen - $195 per ounce; 16.3% THC; works out to about .4 cents per mg THC
  • Hash Train -- $200.00 an ounce; 21% THC; works out to about .3 cents per mg THC
  • Firebird Platinum Glue -- $280 an ounce; 24.2% THC; works out to about .4 cents per mg THC

It's interesting to note that, when it comes to making edibles, the more expensive marijuana is not necessarily so, as you can see by comparing the Casa Humboldt Dream Queen and Hash Train strains above.

Of course, if you grow marijuana, or have regular low or no cost access to trim, you almost can’t afford NOT to cook with cannabis.  But as illustrated above, even when buying top shelf, and even accounting for the fact the you won't be able to extract 100% of the THC when cooking, making your own is still a thrifty proposition.

If you are new to cannabis cooking, or have gotten less than perfect results when you’ve tried it, be sure to check out my comprehensive online course Cannabis Cooking for Home Cooks. It’s two hours of video instruction and demonstrations, quizzes, resources, recipes and more.

About the author

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  • Great article!

    I think you’re off by a decimal point on these:

    Casa Humboldt Dream Queen – $195 per ounce; 16.3% THC; works out to about .4 cents per mg THC
    Hash Train — $200.00 an ounce; 21% THC; works out to about .3 cents per mg THC
    Firebird Platinum Glue — $280 an ounce; 24.2% THC; works out to about .4 cents per mg THC

    These should be 4, 3, and 4 cents per mg. (For example, Dream Queen is almost twice as expensive as the $100/oz shake, and only slightly higher in THC percentage, so the price per mg THC should be almost double the 2 cents/mg THC cost of the shake.

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