Decarboxylation, or decarbing, is an essential process in making cannabis edibles. Cannabis is not psychoactive in its raw form and this process ensures that valuable cannabinoids, such as Delta-9 THC, are properly activated. In addition, the process of decarboxylation also prepares cannabis for bioavailability, a process that allows cannabis to have an effect as an edible substance. Learning how to decarboxylate cannabis will become an essential foundation in any cannabis consumer’s knowledge.
Usually, all that is needed to decarboxylate cannabis for infusions and edibles are cannabis buds, a baking tray, a conventional oven, and high-quality parchment paper.
Cannabis affects everyone in a different way, it is important that you know your own tolerance to cannabis edibles. If you need to explore more about cannabis “flower to oil ratio”, click here.
This is arguably the easiest, and traditional, way to decarboxylate cannabis for edibles and infusions, but, there are also other methods available, many of which will be explained at the end of this article.
Learn how to decarboxylate cannabis with our easy method below.
What is Decarboxylation?
Decarboxylation is the scientific process that takes place when cannabis is exposed to heat. In scientific terms, decarboxylation refers to a reaction of carboxylic acids that remove a carbon atom from a chain of atoms present within a plant such as cannabis. When heat is applied to cannabis, it will remove a carboxyl group from the THCA cannabinoid (non-psychoactive) and creates the psychoactive Delta-9 THC. Decarboxylation also occurs when cannabis is smoked or vaporized.
How to Decarboxylate Cannabis For Edibles
- Preheat conventional oven to 240 degrees Fahrenheit (115 Celsius)
- Grind/break up cannabis in a coarse manner (do not over grind)
- Line baking tray with parchment paper
- Place ground cannabis evenly across the parchment paper
- Once the oven has heated, place cannabis inside the oven
- Set timer for 30 minutes
- Once 30 minutes have passed, rearrange cannabis on parchment paper to ensure an even decarboxylation
- Set timer for another 30 minutes
- Turn oven off and remove decarboxylated cannabis
- Set aside for 15 minutes
- Now, you have learnt how to decarboxylate cannabis for edibles
- Infuse into butter, oil etc
This cannabis material is now ideal for infusions and edible creations. Storing this cannabis in a dark, cool cupboard is recommended if the infusion cannot take place for days, or even weeks.
How to Decarboxylate Cannabis: Other Methods of Decarboxylation
Mason Jar Decarboxylation: Learning how to decarboxylate cannabis in a mason jar is a relatively straightforward process. Instead of using just a baking tray and parchment paper, use a mason jar on a baking dish (image below) or resting on a lined baking tray.
Sous-Vide: Sous-vide decarboxylation takes place at a lower temperature, usually 204 degrees Fahrenheit (95 degrees Celsius) than regular decarboxylation. Sous-vide cooking involves vacuum-sealing food (cannabis in this case) within a bag and cooking at a precise temperature in water. The advantages of sous-vide decarboxylation include consistency, less mess to clean up, and results that are impossible to achieve with any other method. Cannabutter or cannabis oil can also be infused using this method.
Vaporization: After vaporizing dried cannabis, a consumer is left with brown, often brittle, cannabis flower material. Before throwing this material away, take a minute to reflect on the process of decarboxylation. Vaping dried cannabis achieves a very similar result, depending on the temperature of your vaporizer, and this ‘waste’ material can be used to infused butter, oil and more. The maximum temperature you should operate a vaporizer at if you want the use ‘Already Vaped Bud’ in cannabutter or cannabis oil is 440 degrees Fahrenheit (227 degrees Celsius). At higher temperatures, combustion begins to occur and the cannabis flower material is no longer useful for cannabis infusions. Vaped cannabis is often high in a cannabinoid known as CBN, a potent sedative. Using vaporized cannabis in infusions or edibles may have a different effect on the consumer than traditionally decarboxylated cannabis.
Machine Assisted Decarboxylation: The contemporary market for at-home cannabis cooking equipment has seen the release of many machines that can decarboxylate cannabis for you. Many of these machine’s primary function is to make cannabis infusions such as butter or oil, but, some of the newer devices will also decarboxylate cannabis for the consumer.
How to Decarboxylate Cannabis: What is a Passive Decarboxylation?
Passive decarboxylation involves infusing butter or oil with cannabis, as well as decarboxylating it at the same time. This method is ideal for those who want a one-step process, as well as giving a cannabis consumer the ability to (somewhat) pair terpenes and ingredients to create a synergy like no other. Passive decarboxylation can be achieved through all of the processes outlined above, however, this method is only advised for those who have consumed cannabis edibles before; the flavour of a cannabis infusion made with a passive decarboxylation is much stronger than an infusion that is made with a traditional, mason jar, or, sous-vide decarb.
This guide on how to decarboxylate cannabis will be forever expanding as we incorporate additional methods into our repertoire.
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