oh hey, before we start the review, I want to pull you aside and remind you that this website is written by one person only. There’s no checks or approvals. Nobody pays me to write these, and as such, nobody can edit my words. I appreciate you being here, and thanks to everyone who engages with me, both positive and negative.
Today, we review three soft gel products from three producers; Aurora, MedReleaf and Tweed. We’ll talk about each of them briefly. Then we’ll get into dosage, my perception of their strength, and cost.
Aurora Sativa Soft Gels
These were procured from Aurora’s medical store at a cost of $51.86 per 30 soft gels ($1.73 per soft gel)
Aurora gives a range of content (8-10 mg per capsule) and the actual content displayed on the package I received is 7.8 mg of THC per capsule. Cannabinoids in these soft gels are extracted using CO2, MCT oil is used for dilution.
Shape of the capsule is a smaller oval. The capsules are orange in colour. The seam of the capsule is noticeable, some appear worse than others. I’d tell you the capsules emit no odour.
These were procured from the Alberta Cannabis website at a cost of $48 for 15 soft gels ($3.20 per capsule).
Tweed gives a static 10mg THC for their capsules. Like the Aurora product, these are extracted with supercritical CO2 and the ingredients list MCT as the carrier oil.
Shape of these capsules are oval, the capsule is transparent but the darker oil inside makes them appear an amber colour. The capsules emit no door and appear similar to other gel caps available.
Also purchased from the Alberta Cannabis website, these MedReleaf soft gels cost $25.99 for 30 soft gels ($0.86 per capsule).
This was listed as THC dominant but the product received was CBD dominant. Content listed by the vendor is 2.5mg THC and 1.6 mg CBD per capsule, the product I actually received was 2.85mg THC and 3.83mg CBD. These are extracted with CO2 and the ingredients list the carrier oil as high oleic sunflower oil (which I’m told is an expensive oil).
Shape of these capsules are an elongated oval, much thinner in diameter than the other two. The capsule is transparent, colouring was a bit lighter compared to the Tweed product. These capsules did have a detectable odour but it did not permeate the container.
This review will be different than the rest of my reviews, for a couple reasons. First, my reviews are mostly qualitative. Apart from describing the look of these soft gels to you, there isn’t much to discuss qualitatively. Second, I rarely discuss effects in my reviews, but here it is all we can discuss.
Alright, let’s layout the context for this review.
I purchased two packages of the Aurora Sativa Soft Gels (60 capsules, less 5 for ‘testing’), one package of the Tweed Bakerstreet (15 capsules, less 5 used for ‘testing’) and one package of MedReleaf’s Harmonic (30 capsules). That’s 95 capsules total.
The timeline for this review is 8 days and 7 nights, which is about 11 capsules per day. The review area is a contained space where cannabis use is, uh, strongly frowned upon.
I’ve tracked my soft gel usage throughout the period. Usage is shown by day below. I break counts down into producer and by time of day (AM or PM).
Alright, so we can all see my rough average is about 100mg per day, mostly THC. I tend to use CBD first thing in the morning or late at night. In the case of this review, I usually took the CBD dominant capsules (MedReleaf Harmonic) with another THC dominant capsule, usually Aurora’s Sativa capsule.
On days 3, 4 and 6 I left the review area and consumed one gram of cannabis flower by combustion (in addition to the soft gels I took). On day 6, I chose not to take soft gels in late afternoon because I had smoked flower earlier.
Let’s talk about strength first. I had no limits on consumption, I took what I wanted to, and when I felt like taking more, I did. My dosage is about 50mg before lunch, which is comfortable. I’d take 50mg more between lunch and dinner, which maintained the effect of the initial dosage, but didn’t surpass it. After dinner, I’d take 10-30mg more, which made no perceivable difference.
I find a 10mg dosage detectable, but not strong. Perhaps underwhelming to the sober mind, but helpful when I was re-dosing later in the afternoon. Maybe in the morning I would have appreciated a soft gel in a 50mg increment, but it would have been less functional in the afternoon and evening. At times I had to take multiple pills, but I personally didn’t find it cumbersome.
By day 7, I was tired of being so high all the time. When inhaling THC or CBD, the onset is quick and the effects drop off soon after. If I were to graph my level of intoxication for a day of inhaling THC, the graph would show frequent peaks and lows, gradually increasing throughout the day. For edibles, the same graph of intoxication would have a broader curve, building upon itself throughout the day. By the time evening came around, I didn’t really feel the need to take many more capsules.
Some of the pills I purchased were sativa and some were indica, I’d tell you there was no perceivable difference between the two. Aurora says they add terpenes to their oil, Tweed’s were mycrene dominant and MedReleaf’s were Bisabolol. Terpenes for the latter 2 are shown relatively, which tells us nothing about the actual amount of terpene content. Again, I’m reluctant to say I can sense any of this content. To me, the sativa soft gels were the same as the indica ones. Don’t let those words detract from your personal experience, if you can sense the terpenes, great. Even if you think you can sense the terpenes, well that’s probably just as good.
In terms of negative observations, I’m hard pressed to think of one. I suppose there was some variance in listed cannabinoid content versus what actually arrived, but this was of little consequence. Cost aside, I was quite happy with the performance of all three products.
Let’s chat cost now. These soft gels are expensive, ok? But there is extra work required to get this product. I’ve never made a soft gel, so I’m guessing there are at least two extra major processing steps involved here, both requiring industrial equipment and trained operators.
The average cannabinoid content of any dried flower is about 17% THC + CBD, or 170mg per gram. One container of Tweed soft gels contained 150 mg of THC, less than one gram equivalent, but cost was $48 ($3.20 per 10mg THC/CBD). Aurora is a bit better, a 30 capsule package houses about 250 mg of cannabinoids, equivalent to about 1.5 grams of cannabis, which they sell for $50 per package ($2.00 per 10mg THC/CBD). MedReleaf is the cheapest in this review. 200 total mg of either CBD or THC for $25.99. Using the general equivalency, just above a gram required to make the 30 Harmonic soft gels ($1.29 per 10mg THC/CBD).
For consumers, it helps to look at the cost of these products in increments of 10mg of any cannabinoid, the average in the medical market is about $1.60 per. I can’t comment on the recreational side, I have most of the soft gel data, but I’m more interested in flower personally.
Back to medical, THC seems to be more expensive than CBD, CanniMed, CannTrust. Emblem and Spectrum offer 10mg CBD under $1, but nobody seems to have a similarly priced THC offering, they’re all over the dollar mark.
For those wondering, it’s really easy to make your own capsules. Empty capsules are available for purchase online or from a health food store. If you’re capable at making your own cannabis oil, its as simple as filling them up. I make mine from rosin, slightly diluted with coconut oil. I cook the mixture a bit light, to have a mix of decarboxylated and acidic cannabinoids.
Let’s wrap this up. What’d we learn here? Nothing really, you have to try these yourself, but I have 4 observations based on my experience.
I felt like the 10mg dosage was appropriate, but I took multiple soft gels on most occasions.
Soft gels are more expensive than other cannabis products– groundbreaking revelation, I know.
By a general measure, about 1-2 grams of cannabis flower is required to create a 15-30 unit container with ~10mg capsules.
Here’s their largest selling point, in my opinion. They’re virtually undetectable, only the MedReleaf capsules had a discernible odour. If they were removed from their original container and placed in, say, a fish oil capsule container, someone would have to test them to know what they are.