How to Decarb Cannabis
Cannabis enthusiast and student of the art of solventless extraction
Decarbing cannabis involves the process of decarboxylation, which is a naturally occurring chemical reaction made possible with heat over time. Decarboxylation impacts cannabis by converting its beneficial compounds from their acidic form into a non-acidic form (e.g. from THC-A to THC). This transformation unlocks the full extent of the cannabinoids’ therapeutic value, most especially in regards to psychoactivity. Decarbing cannabis lets us enjoy the effects we most fondly associate with cannabis consumption.
Decarboxylation happens to an extent as cannabis flowers are dried and cured, but the high heat of combustion while smoking is still required for the cannabis to become psychoactive. Cannabinoids that remain in their acidic form don’t deliver a head change, which is why eating a handful of cannabis flowers won’t make you high.
But what if smoking flower (or dabbing rosin) isn’t the way you want to enjoy cannabis?
Rather than smoking or dabbing for instant decarboxylation just before the smoke is inhaled into the lungs, we can use another process to decarb cannabis in a way that makes it great for edibles, infusions, or capsules. You could even decarb cannabis flowers and eat them as-is, but that’s not the most enjoyable way to do it. Decarbing either flowers or solventless concentrates like rosin, bubble hash, and dry sift, and then using the decarbed cannabis as a source for edibles and infusions, is a preferred approach.
Another great application for decarbed rosin is in the production MCT Oil Capsules. Capsules are a great way to medicate with substantial concentrations of cannabinoids, aside from taking massive dabs or high-calorie edibles.
How To Decarb Cannabis
The best method to decarb cannabis depends on the type of material you’re decarbing. Decarbing flowers can be done on a tray and some parchment paper. Decarbing rosin, bubble hash, or dry sift can be done inside of a sealed mason jar.
Either way, the temperature and time ranges are the same for decarbing either type of material. And you can use a regular kitchen oven as the heat source.
TIME: 35-50 minutes
TEMPERAUTRE: 225-240 degrees Fahrenheit
Aiming for temps at the lower end of the range, and compensating for a few more minutes, can help with terpene preservation. Each batch of cannabis can react differently to the decarb process, so experimentation with your material is key.
A digital thermometer is a good idea, to ensure accuracy of your oven. Temperature readouts on your over aren’t always accurate within a few degrees. Digital thermometers are also good to have around if you’re pressing rosin, to ensure the correct temperature of heated rosin plates.
Decarbing Cannabis Flowers
The items you’ll use include:
- Baking Tray
- Parchment Paper
- Cannabis flowers or trim broken into small pieces no smaller than a grain of rice (and not ground into a powder)
- Digital Thermometer
After you have the equipment and supplies ready to go, follow these steps:
- Line baking tray with parchment paper, with silicone-coated side facing up
- Thinly and evenly distribute cannabis across parchment paper
- Bake for around 45 minutes
- If you smell burning, turn down the temperature
- Remove and let cool
Decarbing Solventless Extracts
Instead of using a tray for decarbing extracts, solventless concentrates do well in a sealed mason jar. As terpenes evaporate during the decarboxylation process, the inside of the mason jar will capture these terpenes.
When making MCT Oil Capsules, use the same mason jar to infuse the oil with rosin, and you’ll release some of those terpenes that were captured around the inside edges of the jar. If you use a tray, the terpenes will evaporate and be lost.
For mason jar method of decarbing, place the solventless extracts inside the mason jar and seal the lid. During decarbing, about every 10-15 minutes, use a pair of oven mitts to remove the jar and turn it slightly in a way that allows the cannabis to shift positions within the jar. This will ensure consistent and even heat exposure.
Some Cautions To Keep in Mind
- If browning happens within the first few minutes, or a strong burning smell at any time during the process, the temps are too hot.
- Burning is one of the worst case scenarios, as it diminishes the therapeutic value of cannabis. Burnt cannabis will also create a bad taste if using the material for edibles.
- Heat in ovens will rise to the top, so hotter temps at the top, lower at the bottom. Ensure the cannabis is placed in the middle tray of the oven.
- The space in which you decarb will smell strongly of cannabis for many hours! This is obviously pleasant to most cannabis enthusiasts, but can be a liability when you’re aiming for discretion.
Decarboxylating cannabis flowers or solventless concentrates is the first step in preparing edibles, infusions, and capsules.
A great way to reuse rosin chips (cannabis material that's already been pressed for rosin extraction) is to decarb the chips and infuse MCT Oil Capsules.
What's your favorite use for decarbed cannabis? Let us know!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is decarbing?
Decarbing is short for decarboxylating, which means to change cannabis molecules from an acidic to a non-acidic form.
Why do you have to decarb cannabis?
The acidic form of THC (THCA) is not psychoactive. Decarbing THCA turns it into THC, which is psychoactive.
Why don't you have to decarb cannabis before smoking it?
As cannabis flowers dry after harvest in preparation to smoke, decarboxylation naturally occurs to some extent. The high heat of combustion causes the remaining acidic molecules to decarb, therefore smoked flowers don't need to be decarbed beforehand.
What temperature do you decarb cannabis?
225-240 degrees Fahrenheit is a good range to decarb cannabis.
How long does it take to decarb cannabis?
It take between 35-50 minutes to decarb cannabis.
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