What is Decarboxylation?
Decarboxylation or decarbing is a heating process used to activate cannabis. Decarbing is necessary because raw cannabis doesn’t provide much if any of a high unless it is sufficiently heated.
Instead of THC and CBD, raw cannabis mainly contains THCA and CBDA. The “A” stands for acid and it means that a carboxylic acid is attached to the compound. This carboxyl group must be removed in order to convert these compounds into their active forms.
THCA has some benefits, such as an anti-inflammatory, but it does not have psychoactive effects and does not get you “high.” So, if you’re trying to make edibles that will get you high, you’ll need to decarboxylate your cannabis first.
How Does It Work?
In simple terms, decarboxylation is heating cannabis up in order to convert THCA to THC. This process happens when smoking or vaporizing cannabis because these methods expose the cannabis to heat.
Why Decarb Cannabis Prior to Cooking?
Cooking cannabis doesn’t heat the cannabis enough to decarboxylate it. Cannabis needs to reach a temperature above 220°F in order to decarboxylate, and the inside of any food you’re cooking won’t get that hot.
Decarboxylate – Step by Step Instructions
The quickest and easiest way to decarb cannabis is to spread out the cannabis evenly on a baking sheet and place in the oven for 20-30 minutes at 220-250°F.
Shortening the temperature will reduce the potency slightly and so will reducing the time spent in the oven.
7g to 14g cannabis (bud, trim or sugar leaf)
Parchment Paper (optional)
Step 1: Grind cannabis thoroughly but not to a powder. If you do not have a grinder, break the cannabis up as evenly as you can.
Step 2: Preheat oven to 250°F.
Step 3: Line baking sheet with parchment paper (optional).
Step 4: Spread out cannabis in a thin, even layer on baking tray.
Step 5: Place baking sheet in oven for 20-30 minutes.
Step 6: Remove from oven and let cool.
Step 7: Store in an airtight container (glass preferred) in a cool, dry and dark place.
Why decarboxylate cannabis? Why do most of us enjoy weed? We like the feeling of being stoned! The main psychoactive component in cannabis is THC and it’s THC that is responsible for the high feeling associated with marijuana. If you actually just ate a bud of cannabis without heating it first it would not get you high.THC Acid (THCA) converts into THC through the process of decarboxylation – activation by heat. When cooking with cannabis, we recommend decarboxylating your cannabis before doing any sort of cooking or baking. Outside of cooking, when making tinctures, only a tiny amount of THCA is converted to THC…even more reason to make sure you decarboxylate cannabis.
In addition to activating the THC for digestion via your edibles, there are other benefits of decarboxylating marijuana. If you don’t add heat to your operation, the moisture in your cannabis can cause dangerous bacteria to grow inside of your tinctures and cannabutter. We can safely assume nobody wants that…especially when thinking about consuming those products. Now that you know what it is and why decarboxylation is important, you probably need to know how to do it. We’ve put together a step by step guide on exactly how to decarboxylate marijuana.
Steps For Decarboxylating Cannabis
Before you get started, we’ve compiled an ingredients list:
- Finely ground cannabis, nugs, or Kief of your choosing
- Wax/parchment paper
- Aluminum foil
- Baking Tray
Now onto the details…exactly how to decarboxylate marijuana…
- Preheat the oven to 225 F. This temperature is ideal for cooking time and temperature. It the heat is too low, it might not be able to convert all of the THCA to THC and if it is too high, you could burn your bud. If you’re a novice, prevent any potential cannabis catastrophes, stick with 225 degrees.
- Grab your baking tray or cookie sheet and line it with the wax paper.
- Get your weed ready. Make sure you spread your bud evenly so that the heat can evenly distribute.
- Pop your cannabis into the pre-heated oven for a total of 50 minutes. If you want to be a rule breaker and speed up the process, you can go up to 250 degrees for 30 minutes. On the opposite side, if you want to take your time to retain as many terpenes as you can, bake it for 75 minutes at 200 degrees. In case you are sampling any other products while in the kitchen, we highly recommend setting a timer to ensure you don’t forget your freshly decarboxylated bud.
- After the buzzer, remove your cannabis from the oven and let it cool. It is normal if the color has changed.
- Take your brownish buds and get your recipe book out – these guys are ready to be put into cannabis oil, cannabutter or tinctures. A lightly toasted nug is full of THC and flavor.
Get Cooking With Cannabis
Now that your cannabis has been decarboxylated, you’re ready to go! Get creative with your products and recipes. Make sure you stop into The Spot 420 to stock up on the best bud around. Our friendly Budtenders are waiting to chat about your experience and provide more tips on the decarboxylation process. And remember…if you get caught up in the process and decide you’d rather just buy some ready-to-go edibles, we’re here with a full inventory of products.
If you want to get the most out of your cannabis recipes, it is vital to carry out the decarboxylation process before cooking.
After activation of the cannabis material, it can be used to infuse oils, alcohols, butter, or as a psychoactive spice in making pasta. You can infuse any strain after decarboxylation into the butter to and use it to make your favorite dishes, from entrees to brownies.
One of the critical aspects to take into consideration during decarboxylation includes checking the temperatures. If the temperature is too low, the process will take much longer. And if you try to decarb your weed at too high a temperature, you could end up burning off the psychoactive compounds you’re trying to preserve.
Decarbing weed doesn’t have to be difficult, and the following tips can help preserve as many cannabinoids as possible.
- Arrange the cannabis evenly so that there is even distribution of heat.
- Use low, steady heat. Too much heat might lead to the evaporation of flavors, THC, and oils in the herb.
- Take the herb out when it starts to get a toasted coloration.