How to decarboxylate cannabis properly is an important step when making edibles. It will increase your potency and allow you to maximize the results. This weed edible guide will go over everything you need to know about decarboxylating cannabis!
What is Decarboxylation?
The literal definition of decarboxylation is: “a chemical reaction that removes a carboxyl group and releases carbon dioxide (CO2)”
For your weed edibles to work the way you want them to, there is a very important step. That step is decarboxylation. All this means is that you need to activate the THC, that way you get the psychoactive effects you intended for.
The importance of decarboxylation when making weed edibles:
Decarboxylation is crucial because it will turn the THC-A molecule into the psychoactive THC molecule. If you were to smoke cannabis this would already be happening naturally when you burn it. But, since in the case of making edibles, there is no cannabis being burned. Therefore, we need to do this extra step when using cannabis to make edibles.
How to Decarboxylate Cannabis
I mentioned earlier that burning cannabis creates decarboxylation naturally. That is close to what we’re going to be doing here. Instead of burning, we’re going to be heating the cannabis up to a certain temperature. At this temperature, THC-A converts to THC. This is the same process as when your vaping cannabis.
Step by step guide to decarboxylating cannabis:
Preheat oven to 240 F (116 Celsius). Get an oven-safe baking sheet and cover it with parchment paper or aluminum tinfoil.
Get a grinder or pair of scissors and grind up your cannabis buds. Evenly spread the ground up cannabis across on the baking sheet.
Place cannabis in preheated oven for 40 – 60 minutes. The cannabis should come out with a darker green/ light brownish colour.
Notes: If you are using kief, follow the same process as buds, just skip the grinding step. The same goes for using sugar leaves!
What temperature activates the cannabis when decarboxylating?
The temperature that you should be heating the cannabis to is a bit of a debate. There might be better temperatures out there, and you will have no trouble finding people that claim theirs is the best. To their defence, they might be right. But, the temperatures that we have here are backed by some scientific evidence. At the end of the day, you’re going to have a hard time finding temperatures with a noticeably different effect than these. In other words, these temperatures will do the job!
240 degrees Fahrenheit is the number that I’ve had success with.
There has also been some good research done by our friends over at Marijuana Growers HQ. They did a great decarb experiment and noted their results:
As you can see from the two charts, 30 minutes was not quite enough time to completely decarboxylate the cannabis trim. In my experience, 30-40 minutes for kief, and 60 minutes for cannabis trim are the most optimal times.
Jake Randall is a journalist, author, and student with expertise in all things cannabis (especially edibles), along with knowledge in economics, the environment, and everything in between. Originally from Canada, Jake has taken on the role of a senior cannabis correspondent at The Cannabis School.