Decarboxylation, How to decarboxylate weed

Published Jan 25, 2019 03:53 p.m. ET

What is decarboxylation?

 Decarboxylation is the chemical reaction that completely removes one carboxyl group, and releases CO2. Decarboxylation refers to the reaction of the carboxylic acids, which eliminates one carbon atom from the carbon chain. When you decarboxylate your cannabis, you are creating a chemical reaction that turns the THCA (tetrahydrocannabinol) into THC which is required to activate the psychoactive components of your weed. Without this step, you can eat quite large amounts of bud without feeling any effects. When you smoke bud through traditional methods such as a pipe, bong, vape, etc., you are heating it which does the decarboxylating for you. When preparing edibles, you will need to perform this process yourself if you if you want to feel the intoxicating effects of the THC.

What temperature does THC activate?

THC decarboxylation begins around 230 degrees F and requires 40 minutes of full exposure to that temperature to decarboxylate fully. While this is just a guideline, many folks also choose to heat their marijuana at much lower temperatures for extended periods of time to best preserve the terpenes. Terpenes are responsible for the smell and taste of cannabis and have been proven to have medical benefits, and much like in aromatherapy, terpenes can enhance your overall buzz.

How to decarboxylate weed

There are many ways you can choose to decarboxylate your weed in preparation for making edibles. Here, we will cover the simplest and most commonly used method which requires an oven.

Weed in the oven

This method takes approximately one hour from start to finish.
You will Need:

  • Access to an oven, a small convection oven can work if you can set the exact temperature
  • 1 cookie sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • A grinder

Instructions:

Step 1 - Preheat oven to 230 degrees F.
Step 2 - Finely grind your bud. Make sure to remove all stems and seeds.
Step 3 - Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper and evenly spread your ground bud.
Step 3 - Bake for 35-45 mins. Then remove from oven. Allow to cool.

You now have completely decarboxylated weed ready to be used! While there are other ways to decarboxylate weed, like a slow cooker. Most other methods require a solvent of some form like oil or butter, and the decarboxylation happens while the cannabis is being infused into them. The problem with butter and oil is that they must be stored much more carefully than pure decarboxylated bud. They also come with a shorter shelf life.  If making cannabutter or oil interests, you then you should check out our Cannabutter recipe here.

*Extra Tips- Make sure to regularly check on your bud throughout the process of heating. Unfortunately, some ovens can run either a little hotter or cooler and either could ruin the whole batch. If the ground bud ends up burnt, it will lose all the wonderful effects you are trying to activate. A light browning or yellowing is fine. When in doubt turn it down!

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