Decarb weed

When decarboxylating your cannabis in an oven, it’s important to remember that the temperature dial on an oven is more of an average temperature than an exact one. Ovens can fluctuate in temperature by 20 or more degrees, so keep an eye on your cannabis. If it turns brown too quickly or smells like it is burning, turn the oven down. An oven thermometer is a good investment if you’re going to be using your oven regularly for cannabis cooking.

What Is Decarboxylation?

Decarboxylation is a chemical reaction that makes cannabis edibles feel more potent. The sciency-sounding word describes the process of turning THCA, which isn’t that psychoactive, into the THC we all know and love. Since cannabis typically contains THCA instead of THC before it’s heated or smoked, decarboxylation is essential when processing cannabis for eating. The regular cooking process typically isn’t enough to decarb cannabis fully, and it doesn’t happen naturally in your stomach.

That’s why in most recipes for cannabis edibles or tinctures, decarboxylation (or the informal verb, “decarbing”) is the first step you take.

When you smoke or vaporize cannabis, the heat of the fire/vaporizer makes the decarboxylation process happen. The heat turns the THCA in your cannabis to THC, you inhale that THC and feel its effects.

When you decarb, it forces the same transformation to happen, yet leaves all that good stuff on the bud so you can eat it or cook it into something like butter or oil.

decarb weed

Did you know? Heat isn’t the only way decarboxylation happens. Even if you never heat your cannabis, the process of decarbing also occurs naturally over time at regular temperatures. So older cannabis is often already decarboxylated.

Why Is Decarbing Important?

Why decarb? Because decarbing is what makes edibles work! Decarboxylation could be seen as the most important step in making edibles since it’s the process that makes your weed actually feel like weed when you eat it.

It may seem counterintuitive to “cook” your weed by itself. Wouldn’t that burn off all the good stuff and make it less potent? No, it won’t reduce the potency as long as you follow the instructions in this tutorial.

In fact, it’s the opposite. If your buds are not decarbed before being eaten, you won’t feel the psychoactive effects of your weed. You could eat a whole ounce of raw bud and only be left with a breath that smells like a dispensary!

How to Decarb Weed

Now we know the rough guideline of 1 hour at 230°F but how does one get there? For that, we’ll be listing three methods, each with their own pros and cons, and leave the final decision on methodology up to you. First is one of the most common:

How To Decarboxylate Cannabis In the Oven

The classic, though not without its flaws. For the decarboxylation of cannabis in the oven you’ll need the following:

  • An oven; a traditional, large oven works best – A small toaster oven can substitute but be careful getting your tray too close to the heating elements
  • A baking sheet tray
  • Parchment paper
  • An oven thermometer (optional); a probe thermometer for your oven will help you track temperature
  • Cannabis bud (or kief); broken up into small buds.

1. Preheat your oven to 230°F, placing the probe thermometer inside.

2. Line your baking tray with parchment paper and then place your cannabis on top. Try to maintain an even layer, as this will help with the cooking process.

3. Once preheated place the tray into the oven, monitoring your temperature closely. Stir occasionally and remember: Most modern ovens have temperature variances of at least +/- 10°F, so make sure to keep a close eye on things.

4. After one hour has passed your cannabis has been decarboxylated and is ready for use. 

You’ve gotten to the point now where all the THC in your bud has been activated, and now you can go ahead and take your decarbed cannabis, grind it up and infuse it into oil for use in edibles. 

  • Fastest method
  • Most likely to see highest decarboxylation conversion of THCA to THC
  • Can be tricky to reach/maintain the proper temperature
  • Wasteful if not carefully monitored

How to Decarboxylate Cannabis Using a Slow Cooker

This is a relatively no-fuss method that will yield results, but due to it’s lower temperature means the decarboxylation process is slower and less efficient than using direct heat. You’ll need the following:

decarb weed
  • A large water-proof, lidded jar
  • A slow cooker with lid
  1. Fill your jar with your cannabis and make sure the lid is on tight, then fill your slow cooker halfway full of water.
  2. Turn your slow cooker on High and place the jar of cannabis inside.
  3. Place the lid on top of the slow cooker and let cook for four hours; check on the cooker once every hour to both ensure the water level hasn’t dramatically fallen. If possible, use a pair of tongs to shake the jar of cannabis while it cooks to ensure even heating.
  4. After the four hours is up remove the jar from the water and let cool completely before opening.
  • Simple, doesn’t require complicated equipment
  • Hard to mess up
  • Lower temperature means lower THCA to THC conversion
  • Water can leak into plant matter if seal isn’t tight enough.
  • Decarboxylate temperature may not remain constant through the process

Using a Sous Vide Machine for Cannabis Decarboxylation

Sous vide machines, also known as immersion circulators, are a culinary tool designed to heat food to very precise temperatures in a water bath environment. This method for decarboxylation works much the same as the above but removes some of the potential temperature variance over a shorter period of time. You’ll need

  • Sous vide machine
  • Vacuum sealer with bags
  • Fastener to attach bag to machine (ie: alligator clips)
  1. Fill a vacuum bag with your cannabis and vacuum out the air, double-sealing the end.
  2. Place this into your water-filled sous vide machine set to it’s highest temperature (205°F – 208°F is most common) and fasten to the side with your clips.
  3. Let this cook at heat for about 1 hour and 30 minutes before removing from the water with tongs.
  4. Allow the bag completely cool before opening and extracting your decarbed cannabis.
  • No smell
  • Less chance of leakage than slow cooker
  • Precise temperature control
  • Temperature still too low
  • Requires costly equipment

1 thought on “Decarb weed”

  1. Is it better to decarb a couple times at various tempratures, such as 225 F for 30 minutes, 250 for 30, and 270 for 30 minutes before it sits in butter for 90 minutes at 260, orrrr is it better to just decarb once at like 225 for 30-45 minutes and then straight to the butter?

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