What is decarboxylation?
It's a chemical process by which THC is converted from THC-A to THC using heat.
Why do you need to decarboxylate cannabis?
If you're going to prepare cannabis-infused products at home (such as edibles, tinctures, and topical treatments), you have to activate your cannabinoids by decarboxylating them. THC-A and CBD-A are also therapeutic, however THC-A is not psychoactive and without decarboxylation, edibles would be non-psychoactive.
How to decarboxylate your weed?
You can decarboxylate in the oven or in a mason jar. Scroll to the bottom of the article for the exact how-to on cannabis decarboxylation.
Most people think that decarboxylation is a technique you only need to know when cooking with cannabis. But it’s also an important step if you want to make tinctures and topical treatments too. Decarboxylation is easy enough to do at home with the tools you probably already have in your kitchen.
Decarboxylation, also known as decarbing, is the process by which you can activate cannabinoids using heat. For those who smoke cannabis, decarboxylation is achieved in the process of smoking. Enough heat is applied to the flowers as they burn to decarboxylate the cannabinoids.
If decarboxylation doesn’t take place, cannabinoids exist in their acidic form. For example, instead of THC, THC-A exists, and instead of CBD, CBD-A exists. Cannabinoids in their acidic forms are still active cannabinoids, but they aren’t psychoactive.
On a side note, cannabinoid acids are actually more bioavailable to the endocannabinoid system and have their own host of therapeutic effects. However, if it’s that delicious body stone and mental euphoria you want, decarboxylation is a necessary step.
Decarboxylation is essentially a cannabinoid degradation process that happens in the presence of light and heat. While being heated to a certain temperature, a carboxyl group is removed from the cannabinoids (hence the term decarboxylation), therefore converting them to their non-acidic forms. When the carboxyl group gets dropped, THC-A becomes THC and CBD-A becomes CBD.
If you plan to use cannabis in any kind of preparation, you have to decarboxylate your cannabis buds. And in this article, we’re not just teaching you how to do that, but the myriad reasons that you may want to.
Exploring the things you can make with decarbed weed.
Decarboxylation is a technique reserved for the lover of cannabis DIY. If you’re just going to be smoking your buds or you like to buy tinctures from the dispensary, you don’t need to worry about decarboxylation.
But let’s say you have a strain that you love. You want a tincture of that strain. Or you want a topical of that strain. Or you want brownies of that strain. It might not be that easy to find a tincture made with Alien OG or edibles made with Pink Kush. But if you know how to decarb your weed, you can easily stock up on your favourite strains and make all of the products you love — but with your favourite strains!
Here are some ideas for DIY projects using your favourite strains:
- Any kind of edible including brownies, gummies, hard candies, lollipops, chocolate etc.
- Tinctures — oil-based and alcohol-based
- Topical treatments such as creams, balms, and massage oils
- Cosmetic products such as facial serums, hair treatments, and face masks
Two ways to decarboxylate cannabis at home.
So you’ve decided you want to get creative in the kitchen with your favourite cannabis strains. In order to activate those cannabinoids, you have to decarb your weed. There are two ways to do this: naked in the oven or in a mason jar in the oven.
The mason jar method is just a variation of the oven method for extra protection of the buds. It’s not completely necessary to use the mason jar, but we’ve included instructions on how to do it anyway.
Naked decarboxylation in the oven.
Decarboxylation in the oven is the easiest and most accurate method for most of us decarboxylating at home.
You’re going to need:
- A baking tray
- Aluminium foil
- Your favourite strain of cannabis
Total Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Place the oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 100℃.
Ovens are hotter at the top and cooler at the bottom. By placing the oven rack in the middle of the oven, you get the most ideal temperature and the most even heating of your buds.
Cut a piece of aluminium foil slightly bigger than your baking tray and crumple it lightly. Lay it on the baking tray.
Use aluminium foil and not baking paper. Baking paper tends to get hotter, is a better conductor of heat, and can contribute to the burning of your buds.
Grind your weed until the pieces are roughly the size of a grain of rice. Spread it evenly on the baking tray. Then, lightly cover the buds with another piece of aluminium foil.
Don’t grind your buds to powder. This increases the risk of the buds burning in the oven. A light grind is the best for decarboxylation.
Let the buds cook for approximately 45 minutes.
They should look lightly toasted, darker than the original colour, but not burned. if your buds were nice and green when you put them in the oven, they should be golden brown when removed. If your buds aren’t golden brown but a darker green, it’s okay. You haven’t ruined your buds. The main thing is to be certain that you don’t burn your buds during the decarboxylation process.
Remove from the oven and let your decarbed weed cool for 30 minutes. Then store in a glass jar and use later.
Storing your buds in glass reduces any chance of spoilage or contamination.
Decarboxylation in a mason jar.
As we mentioned, this is a very slight variation on the method we just presented. The primary difference is that the buds will go into a mason jar and then into the oven. This means that less heat makes direct contact with buds, making it less likely to burn them. The other fundamental principles are the same.
You’re going to need:
- A mason jar with a lid
- A baking tray
- A kitchen towel
- Your favourite strain of cannabis.
The method is exactly the same as the method for naked decarboxylation in the oven. However, when you grind your buds, put them in a mason jar. Rest the mason jar on a kitchen towel on the baking tray. The rest of the process is exactly the same.
Tips for decarboxylation in a mason jar:
- The mason jar will be very hot when it comes out of the oven. Don’t handle it until it has considerably cooled down, or be careful to use oven mitts when handling it.
Decarbed weed is activated indeed.
Now your decarboxylated cannabis is ready for use in DIY projects. You’ve activated all of those psychedelic, psychoactive cannabinoids, and they’re ready to be prepared into cannabutter, tincture, topicals or any cannabis product of your choice. Check out our other articles for a range of inspirational articles of what you can make with your decarbed weed.
What have you made with decarboxylated cannabis? We want to hear from you in the comments!