How To Decarboxylate Weed
Do you make your own cannabis oils? How about edibles? If the answer is yes, then there is an excellent chance that you’re aware of the process of decarboxylation. To truly get the most potent effects out of your favorite flower, you need to know how to decarboxylate weed.
[caption id="attachment_6050" align="alignright" width="1920"] Decarbed cannabis turns a golden brown color when ready.[/caption]
What Is Decarboxylation?
Decarboxylation is the process of fully activating all of the THC compounds in your cannabis to enhance its potency. When you smoke cannabis traditionally, the heat is decarboxylating the flower and releasing all of the cannabinoids into the smoke or vapor.
That smoke or vapor is, in turn, inhaled and absorbed into our lungs, producing the “high” you feel. When cooking with cannabis, however, you must first decarboxylate it to utilize its full effects. That includes those you get from CBD too, another active compound in marijuana.
You can think of decarboxylation almost like preheating your weed before you can use it in a recipe. You want to make sure it’s warmed enough to activate the right components but not burnt, as then it’s already spent.
Why Do You Need to Decarb Weed for Edibles, Tinctures, and Other Homemade Goodies?
If you eat 1/8th of raw cannabis flower (not advised) we’re not saying that you won't feel any effects at all. However, they will likely be underwhelming. Again, we do not recommend eating raw bud!
The marijuana plant is not nearly as psychoactive in its raw state; it doesn't yet contain THC, the psychoactive compound that gets you high. What it does contain, however, is tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA).
Heating THCA converts it to THC – and is where the process of decarboxylation comes in. This results in bud that contains active THC, which can then be used to make edibles. CBDA becomes CBD, too.
Decarboxylation Temperatures and Times
According to a 2016 research study, these are the best temperatures and times for decarbing your weed.
|THC-forward (THC/THCA)||230 degrees||30 minutes|
|265 degrees||9 minutes|
|CBD-forward (CBD/CBDA)||230 degrees||45 minutes|
|265 degrees||20 minutes|
Step by Step: How to Decarb Cannabis
You'll only need a few things to get started on the decarboxylation process (apart from the oven that’s already in your kitchen):
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper
- ¼ oz cannabis (ground)
- Preheat your oven to 240 degrees Fahrenheit.
- If your weed isn’t ground already, place the flower into a cannabis grinder and break it down into smaller pieces. Make sure they are even, and don’t pulverize your bud. If you don’t have a grinder, you can use a cheese grater.
- Line your baking sheet with parchment paper to cover the entire surface area.
- Once your paper is in place, take your ¼ oz of ground cannabis and spread it evenly across the parchment paper.
5. Place your baking sheet in the center of the oven and let it bake for approximately 40 minutes. Make sure not to leave your cannabis in for much longer than 40 minutes because, while the heat is necessary for converting the THCA into THC, if left in for too long, the cannabis can begin to burn. Set a timer and keep a close eye on your bud.
6. Remove your weed from the oven and let it cool.
You can either cook with it straight away, or if you need to save it for another time, make sure to store it in a cool and dark place. A sealed jar or glass Tupperware is perfect.
And that's it! It's not a hard or laborious process at all, and now you have unlocked an entire world of things you can do with your cannabis beyond simply smoking it. Why not try this simple cannabis oil recipe or spice up your dinner with weed spaghetti or cannabis burgers?
How To Reduce the Smell of Decarbing at home
If you’re baking marijuana in the oven, it’s naturally going to smell like, well, marijuana. So if you live in an apartment and need to cut down on odors, you can use a turkey bag. This is just an oven-safe bag that you can place around the baking sheet.
You can also use heat-resistant glass containers with proper lids, such as mason jars, to bake your weed in. Only do this if you have the right equipment in the kitchen. You can blow away additional smells with a fan.
A Million Ways to Get Decarb Cannabis at Home
There are a million and one ways to properly decarb cannabis. Some people use a Sous Vide machine, others their Instant Pot. There are also specialty small kitchen appliances now catering to cannabis home cooks, like the Ardent and the Magic Butter Machine.
Still, no matter how you go about it, now you know why it’s important to decarb your cannabis before baking with it, and how to decarb weed like a pro without all the fancy equipment.