It may sound difficult, but decarboxylating your marijuana is easier than you think. This method is incredibly important because it affects every aspect of consuming cannabis. From eating edibles to smoking buds and concentrates, decarbing your weed is a necessary step in unlocking the psychoactive properties of THC.
Before you decide to consume an entire bag of raw cannabis flowers, read along to learn about the decarboxylation process and how to achieve this necessary task yourself.
What is Decarboxylation?
Decarboxylation is the process in which the non-psychoactive THC-A converts into its very psychoactive THC form. THC is the all-important compound responsible for the “high” feeling.
If you want to get scientific, THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol and it’s possibly the most important compound in the cannabis sativa plant, compared to the other 100 cannabinoids found in weed. Your inner chemist should rejoice that during the decarboxylation process, the carboxylic acid (COOH) that are attached to THC-A dissolves, thus activating the THC.
Decarboxylation is accomplished through heat or time. The drying and curing process after harvesting cannabis flowers naturally decarbs the buds partially. Even after buds are fully cured, the amount of decarboxylation that they’ve undergone is negligible.
Heat, on the other hand, completely decarboxylates your cannabis. It’s the reason why you immediately feel the effects when inhaling marijuana from a joint or pipe. The fire instantly converts the dormant THC-A into the much sought after THC.
The majority of cannabis-based edibles wouldn’t get you high if it weren’t for the fact that producers decarboxylated the cannabis buds or concentrate beforehand. Whether they use butter or cooking oils, their primary source of cannabis needs to undergo a certain degree of heat.
How the Professionals Decarboxylate Cannabis
The marijuana industry has found innovative ways to activate THC. Whether being used in edibles or concentrates, producers are continually searching for the next best method.
Concentrates are a great example, where manufacturers use state-of-the-art laboratory equipment to purge their products of residual chemicals. The majority of concentrates are extracted using chemical-based solvents, such as butane.
To remove residual butane that’s trapped within a concentrate, producers must heat the solution to a certain temperature where the given solvent evaporates. This necessary step results in clean concentrates and an entirely activated product.
As extraction techniques continue to gain widespread attention, edible producers are increasingly using pre-decarboxylated extracts for their baked goods. The reason behind this is because it unlocks new products that don’t require heat, such as sauces or beverages.
Decarboxylating concentrates requires a high level of skill, knowledge, and expensive equipment. It’s for these reasons that only professionals can accomplish this and not DIY enthusiasts at home. Combining heat and gas in an open environment can cause severe damage or even death, so we don’t recommend attempting this method at home.
The Best Method to Decarb Your Cannabis At Home
The process in which you can decarboxylate your cannabis flowers safely is done in a handful of steps. It’s imperative that you don’t exceed the maximum temperature because this will destroy the THC molecules.
First and foremost, neatly place all the necessary items clearly on a countertop or table. You’ll need:
- A scale
- Oven-safe tray (with baking sheet)
- Heat-resistant spatula
- Heat-resistant thermometer
The amount of cannabis is up to you. You can use buds, trim or even the collected trichome glands found at the bottom of bud grinders, known as kief.
Next, you’ll want to set everything up. Place a baking sheet over your tray. Now spread your cannabis throughout the tray. Make sure there is enough room in between and that the flowers aren’t touching each other.
Pre-heat your oven to 107-118℃. Using the lower end temperature adds a few minutes to the process, but ensures that your THC isn’t dissolving. The point of decarbing cannabis is to activate the THC and retain it within the flowers.
THC has been studied to break down above 148℃, so it’s best to stay well below this temperature. This is why we recommend using an external thermometer to guarantee that your oven’s built-in thermostat is accurate.
Now that you’ve preheated your oven and set up your tray, it’s time to decarboxylate your cannabis.
Place your cannabis into the oven and set your timer for 30-50 minutes. Use the 50-minute option if you set your oven at 107℃ and the 30-minute option if you are cooking at 118℃.
During this time, use the spatula to stir the cannabis around every 10 minutes to ensure an even decarboxylation.
That’s it! After 30-50 minutes your cannabis is thoroughly decarboxylated. Remove the tray from the oven and allow your marijuana to cool down. Don’t burn your fingers or mouth from over-excitement, as the cooldown process will only take a few minutes.
How to Use Decarboxylated Weed
Now that you have activated your cannabis, you must be wondering what you can do with it. The most popular option is to turn your newly-activated marijuana into cannabutter or canna-oil. It’s uncommon for even the most die-hard cannabis fans to consume decarboxylated buds directly.
Once infused with butter or oil, you can transform the THC into any recipe that you desire. Creativity is your only limitation, and any recipe that calls for oil can easily be converted into a cannabis-based meal.
It’s important to note that you should always eat small amounts once consuming cannabis edibles. These small but often potent snacks generally take 2-3 hours to break down into your bloodstream entirely.
Your New Perspective on Cannabis
Gaining knowledge of the decarboxylation process is an essential step in widening your perspective on cannabis. This technique is the reason why you feel THC’s effects and yet, it’s widely misunderstood or completely unknown. Now that you understand the decarboxylation process, your horizon for new and exciting cannabis-infused edibles is wide open.