What is decarboxylation?
Decarboxylating converts inactive THC into active THC by heating the dried herb at low temperatures for up to eight hours.
Cannabis plants contain THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid), which won’t give you a buzz, but must be converted into THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol) before you feel any effects. This conversion happens through heating, using a vaporizer, or baking.
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in cannabis plants contains an extra carbon atom, which makes the molecule bigger. When heated, the extra carbon atoms separate out, or de-carbolyze, the molecule, hence why we call it “decarboxylate.”
How does decarboxylation work?
When smoked or vaped, cannabis compounds become immediately available for your body’s absorption.
After drying and curing cannabis at home, some decarboxylation may happen over the course of weeks or months.
Oxygen can help speed up the decarboxylating process, so by keeping your cannabis or marijuana products in an oxygen-free environment, you’ll be able to preserve their freshness and potency longer.
Decarboxylation is needed for edibles because they need to be
Edible cannabis requires decarboxylating prior to consumption, just like any other type of cannabis product. However, unlike other types of cannabis, edibles don’t require heating to achieve activation.
To create cannabis edibles, you heat up marijuana flowers in an oven first to remove the THC from the plant material, and then infuse the dried flower material into a medium such as fat or oil for use in baked goods.
It’s important to heat up the buds in an oven before infusing them because otherwise they won’t carry any THC into the infused product.
What temperature does decarboxilization happen at?
Decarbing marijuana happens when the temperature reaches between 200-245°F (93-115°C). We recommend heating buds at 220°F for 30-40 minutes.
When making edibles, compared to smoking and vaping, heating cannabis at a low temperature for a long period of time helps retain the potency of both THC and CBD. Volatile compounds like terpenes will evaporize at high heat, which may leave undesirable tastes and smells behind.
You shouldn’t heat cannabis flowers at temperatures above 300°F (149°C) because they’ll lose their medicinal benefits and won’t give you any psychoactive effects when smoked.
Decarboxylation temperature chart
According to a 2016 report by the National library of Medicine, these charts show how quickly THCA breaks into THC and CBDA into CBD at different temps.
|Time (in minutes)
If you decarb for too long, what happens?
If you heat up your marijuana enough, or at a high enough temperature, you may end up burning off some of its active ingredients.
Should you grind your weed before decarboxylation?
Grind your buds first if you want them to be evenly decarbed throughout. This will ensure they’re decarbed at the same rate.
How to decarb cannabis in an oven
It’s important to keep in mind that when baking marijuana at high temperatures, the temperature gauge on your stove isn’t always accurate.
Cannabis can vary by up to 20 degrees Celsius (36°F), so be sure to check it frequently. If it starts to smell burnt, turn down the temperature. Get an oven thermometer if baking with cannabis is something you plan on doing often.
What you will need to decarb in an oven
Aluminum foil or parchment pape
Put the oven on medium heat (220°C) and put the oven rack in the centre. Ovens tend to be hottest at the top and coolest at the bottom, so putting it in the middle ensures an optimal decarboxylation temp.
Prepare the baking sheet by lining it with either regular paper or aluminum foils. Don’t be afraid to crush the buds slightly before placing them on the pan. You don’t want them to burn.
Heat the mixture for 30–40 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes.
Let it sit out for 30 minutes at room temp. It should be slightly toasted and golden colored.
Once cooled down, place the decarboxylate into butter, oil, or any other base for an infusion, then store in a refrigerator for later usage.