Decarboxylation (pronounced de-carb-OX-yl-a-tion) might not be a term that is part of one’s everyday vocabulary, but if you’ve ever sparked up a joint, you actually already know what this word means. Heating cannabis up, like lighting it ablaze, is one way of many to “decarb” your buds — and it’s a crucial step if you want to get high. So whether you’re making edibles or just want to know more about this process, read on for our guide to decarboxylation.
What is decarboxylation?
Decarboxylation — or decarb for short — is a process that transforms the non-psychoactive compound THCA into the psychoactive compound that we all know and love, THC. In other words, without this process, you won’t actually be able to get high when you consume cannabis.
The cannabis plant naturally contains the cannabinoid THCA which turns into THC once the dried buds are decarbed. This is most commonly done with heat like that found in the fire of a lighter, a torch with a dab rig, the atomizer in a vape pen, or the oven when making at-home edibles. Heat is the secret ingredient because THCA has an extra carboxyl ring in its chemical structure and heat removes that ring — aka de-carboxylates the cannabinoid.
How does decarbing cannabis work?
Decarboxylation happens with a combination of heat and time. The high temperatures weed undergoes when vaping or smoking instantly decarbs your flower, making them immediately available for you to enjoy.
Some decarboxylation can also occur over time during the drying and curing process after fresh flower is harvested. Additionally, oxygen can impact the decarboxylation process, which is why it’s important to store your stash properly.
Why do you have to decarb weed when making edibles?
No matter what kind of cannabis product you make, decarboxylation must occur before consumption in order to get high from them. Which, let’s be honest, that’s the goal, right?
In most cases, roughly ground flower is heated in the oven at a low temperature to decarboxylate them and then infused directly into a cooking medium like butter or coconut oil. Why? Because THC is lipophilic, meaning it binds easily to fat, which makes ingredients like butter and oil the perfect carrier. Both have many different purposes in the kitchen, have a light flavor, can effectively carry THC — and thus, get you super lit. While you can toss decarbed flower straight into your edibles and skip the infusion, it will not get you as high and could even result in a stomachache.
To get the most out of your homemade edibles, toasting cannabis in an oven before infusion is essential to activate the THC so it can be carried into the infusion, into the edible, and finally, into your belly.
How do you decarboxylate weed in an oven for edibles?
Activating your weed in the oven is a really simple process that just requires a little bit of patience and a few essentials.
What You’ll Need
- Baking sheet with a lip
- Aluminum foil
- JARS cannabis
- Grinder, optional
- Preheat the oven to 235ºF, with the oven rack in the middle position.
- Line the baking sheet with aluminum foil and carefully break up your buds onto it. It does not need to be ground too fine, to prevent burning your weed.
- Heat for about 45 minutes, making sure to mix it around once it is about halfway done to ensure even toasting.
- Once the timer goes off, the weed should look slightly golden in color. Now that your weed has officially been decarbed you are ready to make an infusion, like cannabutter, and make some delicious edibles.
Want to learn more?
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