Decarboxylation is a mouthful, but its an easy process, and you’re doing it already if you are used to smoking or vaporizing cannabis! It’s also the first essential step to making the best cannabis oils, butters and tinctures. “Decarbing” effectively brings out the full flavor potential as well as turns the cannabinoid acids (THC-A, CBD-A) into THC and CBD by releasing H2O (water) and CO2 (carbon dioxide), activating the medicinal properties and allowing your body to metabolize it. This being said, many people report anti-inflammatory health benefits of THC-A and it is non-psychoactive unlike THC. Try adding your raw bud or fan leaves to a smoothie, juice them or even make capsules instead of decarboxylating.
Each strain of cannabis contains unique compounds found in the glandular trichomes on the plant. Examples of these compounds are cannabinoids (i.e. THC, CBD, CBG, CCN, THC-A, etc.), terpenes & flavonoids (taste, smell and cause the chemical affects in our bodies)
These compounds evaporate at different temperatures, so getting the most out of your material means gone are the days of throwing your bud in a frying pan cooking it over medium heat! Simply adding dried product to a recipe is also not ideal; the compounds before decarbing are hard to digest and can be bitter in taste. The cannabinoids become more palatable and efficient when they are bound to fat.
Methods of cooking and temperature of heat that is applied, length of decarboloxation, as well as the amount and type of herb that is being cooked with all factor into the experience you will feel. Generally speaking, the lower the temperature you use, the longer the decarb process takes, but you will lose fewer terpenes along the way! (Check out my other post on Terpenes to get more information about these important compounds!)
What You Need:
Pyrex dish (or rimmed baking sheet)
Cover or tinfoil
10+grams of your favourite strain
Decarb as much bud or shake as needed. I recommend only decarbing enough to use in your butter/oil recipe as it will stay preserved better. The minimum I decarb is usually 10 grams at a time around 18-20% THC. I would combine this in approximately 2 cups of oil for my recipes.
Before you pre-heat your oven, what cannabinoid are you trying to activate? This handy chart from Leafly shows all of the different boiling/vaporizing points of a number of cannabinoids and terpenes. You’ll notice that CBD has a higher boiling point than THC.
Break up bud into smaller, even sized pieces and spread out into an oven-safe dish being careful to not to overcrowd (glass is best, baking sheets can get hot spots and burn). Cover with tinfoil and to activate THC, bake for 40-50 minutes at 200°F and to activate CBD, bake at 50-70 minutes at 240°F. Check the progress quickly and carefully at 40 minutes. Cannabis should be dried and have turned a light brown. Buds that are smaller and drier will of course take less time than big, moist buds.
Let cannabis cool completely, covered, for about 10-15 minutes then break up with your hands while wearing gloves. You can now consume your decarbed bud, infuse it in your favourite butter and oil recipes, or in your Magic Butter Machine! Store your bud in an airtight container once cooled if not using right away.
Please note: a toaster oven works more efficiently at keeping consistent temperatures compared to an oven. Reports show that a fluctuating temperature can cause up to 33% loss of your cannabinoids! Try and avoid opening your oven until the cannabis has finished decarboxylating.
Not feeling confident about this whole process? Check out the Licensed Producer The Hydropothecary. If you are a medical patient, they sell pre-decarboxylated cannabis so you don’t have to worry about getting the temperature or time right! Once you’ve “decarbed” you can calculate your dose and either put it into capsules or just ingest as is! I like to add 1/2tsp of their CBD Decarb to my morning smoothies because it’s so quick and easy. It takes about 30 minutes to kick in and lasts for 4 hours!