What is Decarboxylation? (and How to Decarb Weed)
Have you ever heard of decarbing weed? Don’t let the scientific name scare you off; decarboxylation is not as complex as it sounds. Yet, if you plan on making edibles at home, you must understand the basics of cannabis decarboxylation.
With a quick read-through of this article, all your decarbing questions will be answered — including three methods to try in your own kitchen.
What Does Decarboxylation Mean?
In scientific terms, decarboxylation, or decarbing, happens when a chemical reaction removes a carboxyl group and releases carbon dioxide.
Weed decarboxylation turns non-psychoactive THC acid into psychoactive THC. Psychoactive THC is what you want in your weed because it provides the high.
Why Is It Important?
Decarbed weed is important because a raw cannabis plant does not contain psychoactive THC. Raw cannabis only contains THC-A, an acidic form of THC.
An extra group of carboxyl causes the contents of THC-A in raw cannabis. When you decarb cannabis, THC-A will convert to psychoactive THC. Without the psychoactive form of THC, you won’t receive the high benefits of your weed.
What Causes Decarbing?
The decarboxylation of weed can be caused by heat and time, heat being the more practical route. Over time decarboxylation will occur, causing some flowers to have minuscule traces of THC before being exposed to heat.
Using the time method will only partially decarb weed. To get the full effect of decarboxylation, you will want to use a heating method.
When using heat, cannabis decarboxylation happens more efficiently and effectively. When smoking or vaporizing, decarboxylation will occur naturally; however, studies suggest that if you decarb weed beforehand, it will enhance the quality of your high.
What Needs to Be Decarbed?
If you want to experience a high, you need to decarb dried cannabis flowers, trim, and kief. Flowers, trims, kief, and hash are all good candidates for decarboxylation. Edibles, oils, and other processed products have technically already gone through a similar process.
How to Decarb Weed
Decarbing weed can be done in a few different ways. Some of the more popular at-home methods include using an oven or mason jar. If longer baking times aren’t your friend and you have some extra money to spare, you can also invest in an at-home decarboxylation device.
Decarbing Weed in an Oven
Using your home oven is an excellent way to decarb weed. To get started, all you will need is some parchment paper, a baking sheet, a grinder, and an oven mitt.
Your first step will be to preheat your oven to 220-235 degrees Fahrenheit. While the oven is preheating, you can finely grind up your weed until you have your desired amount.
Place parchment paper on a clean baking sheet and begin spreading your cannabis out in an even and thin layer over the parchment.
Once preheated, you are ready to decarb weed in the oven for 30-45 minutes. After removing the baking sheet from the oven with your oven mitt, let it cool down before using.
Mason Jar Decarb
One benefit of choosing to decarb in a mason jar is the minimization of the cannabis odor. You also have less of a chance of accidentally burning the cannabis this way. You will need a mason jar with a lid, a kitchen towel, a baking sheet, and an oven mitt for this method.
Start by preheating your oven to 240 to 250℉ (115-121℃). For the best bake, make sure the oven rack is positioned in the middle.
While the oven preheats, you can begin to break down the cannabis. You want it to be small enough to where it is close to the size of a grain of rice. Once it is all broken down, you can place it in the mason jar. Close the lid lightly.
Once done preheating, place the baking sheet in the oven and set a 60-minute timer. Every 15 minutes, remove the mason jar with the oven mitt and lightly shake for evenly dispersed cannabis.
When the 60 minutes is up, you can remove the mason jar and let it cool down for 30 minutes before use.
For those who worry about how long to decarboxylate, using a decarboxylation at-home device will help. Decarboxylation devices come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and price ranges. Many options come with stainless steel-like finishes to seamlessly blend in with the rest of your kitchen appliances.
These devices are beneficial to those who decarb weed at home often. Most models come with an odorless guarantee and are equipped with all the necessary tools and instructions. Decarboxylation mechanisms are also great for those who like to experiment.
Many devices are perfect for making small batches quickly. You can decarb your favorite flowers more efficiently than waiting for the oven. With a device, you also avoid the possibility of burning the cannabis due to varying oven temperatures.
Some older ovens will vary by almost 10 degrees in baking temperature. With a device-specific for decarboxylation, this problem is avoided.
How to Decarb Kief
Kief, the crystals covering cannabis flowers, can be decarbed too. Accumulating enough for it to be helpful can be time-consuming. Luckily, most states where weed is legal will sell it by the box in dispensaries.
To decarb kief, you will need to preheat your oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. While the oven preheats, make sure you have the correct amount of kief you will need for your recipe of choice. On a baking sheet or dish, spread your kief out evenly. Once the oven is at 250 degrees, place the kief inside the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
Once the kief has been decarbed, you can make more potent edibles than if the kief was not previously decarbed. Depending on the age of your oven, the desired temperature for baking the kief may vary by 10 degrees. Experimenting with temperatures can be a fun part of the process.
Decarbing Weed is the First Step, Making Edibles is the Second
Once you’ve successfully decarbed your fresh flower, what will you make first? Try a batch of cannabis-infused butter, to make a deliciously potent brownie. Or what about a jar of cannabis-infused olive oil for a more savory dish?
We’d love to hear about your cannabis experiments in the kitchen. Tell us what THC-rich concoctions you’ve been making!