Decarboxylation Weed – Everything You Need to Know & More!
Alright, friends! Buckle up for this one because there’s lots to learn about decarboxylation. What it does for your weed, and, more importantly, the edibles you dream of making with your buds, is worth the time it will take for you to master the process! In this article you’ll find details on four different types of decarboxylation: in the oven with a baking sheet, microwave, sous vide and ardent nova. At the bottom you’ll find a list of FAQ’s and a summary.
Decarboxylation is a chemical reaction that does two things: it removes a carboxyl ring from the molecular structure of cannabinoids, and it releases carbon dioxide. This is usually a reference to a reaction of carboxylic acids, where a carbon atom is removed from a carbon chain. In weed terms, it’s a necessary process to make your weed potent while changing the cannabinoid content when making edibles. Without this process, a lot of the chemicals will remain deactivated, a.k.a. your edibles won’t carry the high that make them fun to consume in the first place!
What is the point of decarboxylation?
- You must activate the active ingredients in cannabis before making edibles.
- Without doing so, only partial decarboxylation will take place during the cooking.
- This means that the goodies you make will not be as potent.
- You want max potency with cannabis edibles in controlled dosages.
- This is the most efficient and most likely the healthiest way of taking cannabis.
- There is no combustion when eating weed, so it’s very healthy.
The marijuana plant itself is not actually psychoactive. In its natural form, it doesn’t actually contain THC (delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol) which is the main psychoactive chemical in cannabis. It’s the chemical that gives you the high feeling. Instead, a raw marijuana plant contains tetrahydrocannabinolic acid or THCA. So what exactly is decarboxylation (decarbing)? Decarbing is when you heat the raw cannabis flowers in order to activate it. This is why you smoke cannabis, because by heating it you are essentially activating it. Simple enough!
Toasty buds mean toasty highs! Photo: @ sweetgrasskitchen
The reason nuggets are normally used for smoking and the rest of the plant is used for other things, is because you need more THC when simply smoking it than when you’re using oil or edibles. The buds of the plant contain the highest amount of THCA, and, thus, they make for the best smoke. Making edibles and oils with the other parts of the cannabis plant (trimmings etc.) is very popular, as this is an incredibly inexpensive method of creating Butane Hash Oil (BHO), edibles, wax, shatters, concentrates, etc.
Decarboxylation is necessary regardless of whether you’re eventually going to cook the recipe, so don’t just use raw cannabis when making cannabutter for example. This is because the cannabutter decarboxylation temperature is met during the process of making the butter on a stove. Decarbing beforehand makes the edible a lot more potent, and is definitely worth it. The heat removes the carboxyl group from the raw THCA, creating the psychoactive chemical THC. The exact same thing happens in the plant with the other most well-known chemical, CBD. CBD becomes CBD after you heat the marijuana plant, changing it from CBDA into CBD.
The down and dirty details of decarboxylation. Photo: @viridesco.oil4life
Decarbed weed vs. Raw weed
Decarbed weed, photo: @bestapplicationinworld
In order to get the psychoactive ingredients from cannabis, you must first heat it. However, that doesn’t mean that the raw marijuana plant does not have any medical benefits. Both THCA and CBDA have anti-inflammatory properties, and more information and research is happening on all of these chemicals everyday. It’s a very popular treatment in the US. You can simply take some cannabis buds straight from the plant and put them for example in a mason jar, do not dry or cure them. Simply refrigerate and make a weed smoothie or tea. Be careful with tea, however, as (obviously) you may feel a little bit high from it. The fact that these raw compounds (THCA & CBDA) are non-psychoactive makes them a great treatment for children. This means that you can safely give children with severe treatment resistance problems raw cannabis, and they will not get high. They will also (providing that their illness reacts to treatment) have symptom relief. As soon as you decarboxylate cannabis, this is when it becomes psychoactive. Just be careful of this should you attempt to administer a dosage of THCA/CBDA to children. This should also only be done with proper medical observers.
If you are more interested in the health benefits that cannabis can offer and would like to try something new out, the CBD Salve from Endoca is a great product to start from!
This organic and vegan salve is suited for everybody, even babies. Use it all over your body and feel that soothing moisturizing relief.
Thank you to Endoca for the amazing picture. All rights reserved.
Cannabis Flower Decarboxylation temperature chart
30 Minutes marijuana Decarboxylation. Trim or flower
60 Minutes marijuana Decarboxylation. Trim or flower
This table shows that 30-45 minutes of decarboxylating cannabis is not enough. You do not activate the full potential of your plant unless you heat it for 60 minutes. It may seem strange to whack your weed on a baking sheet in an oven and smash up the temperature for a period of time, but just remember you’re activating the juicy THC and CBD content inside for you to create marijuana edibles later.
Kief decarboxylation temperature chart
30 minutes marijuana decarboxylation Kief
60 minutes marijuana decarboxylation Kief
What is Kief?
Kief is the term used to refer to the small, dusty parts of weed that collect at the bottom of certain 3 or 4 piece grinders. This is why most people favour 3+ piece grinders, as they have what is known as a kief-catcher at the bottom.
You can use this kief for many different things, you can sprinkle it on-top of joints or blunts, you can add it to your trusty flower vaporiser, or you can decarboxylate it with the oven method and use it to make edibles. As you can see from the tables above, Kief has in comparison to other plant matter parts a much higher percentage of THCA and, after decarbing, THC content.
Just look at this black walnut beauty! Grind up your favourite cannabis strain and collect that juicy kief with this stylish 4-pieced Wooden Grinder from Marley Natural!
Thank you for this esthetic picture @marleynatural! All rights reserved.
How to decarb weed
Well, now we get down to the nitty gritty:
How to decarboxylate your weed
Decarboxylation temperature degrees
115 degrees celsius
100 degrees celsius
What you see here is CO2 oil that is almost finished, and is undergoing a final decarboxylation step to ensure complete activation of the cannabinoids that remain acidic (ie CBDA to CBD). Photo & text: @valensgroworks
How to decarboxylate weed with the oven method
Full of love for the decarboxylation process, photo: @malora.rdkk
- Make sure that the oven temp is up to 115 degrees celsius.
- Grind your weed once, and then again. Keep going until it’s fine.
- Spread the ground up weed onto a baking tray, baking dish, baking sheet, parchment paper, etc.
- Place it on the oven rack.
- Do not take it out after 45 minutes because you’re high and worried!
- Leave it for no less than an hour.
- After an hour has passed take it out.
- Mix the decarboxylated cannabis with an cooking oil like olive oil or coconut oil or even with some other fat and create an edible.
If this is your first time decarbing then just remember that the weed is supposed to go brown/less green than it is now. The whole objective is to cook it! The number one piece of advice you can have for your first decarb attempt is to avoid undercooking it. You want the full potency to be unlocked. Don’t worry about questions such as “at what oven temperature does THC burn at;” just let it do its thing in there!
How to decarboxylate cannabis in a microwave
Don’t have time for the oven method? Try microwaving it instead! Photo: @dabtown
- Preheat your microwave (jk don’t do this, if you did you’re definitely high)
- Grind up your weed
- Place it on a microwaveable dish
- Put it on high
- Pray for the best.
- This works and is quicker, but isn’t great potency-wise in comparison to the oven method
This will probably not work particularly well with kief because there’s very little moisture in there, but you can try it with a little bit and find out. Just experiment with what works for you. Remember that edibles take a hell of a long time to kick in though! Sometimes up to 3 hours for the full effects, so be patient.
Microwave weed butter can be made this way, but you will have to mix the butter and the weed afterwards using a pan. The video here is a great example of how to easily make cannabutter using a microwave.
Some tasty cannabis oil to use as you please! Photo: @iamsmudgegirl
- Make sure that the oven thermometer shows 120 degrees celsius
- Place the amount of BHO you want to consume on a silicone liner onto an oven-safe dish and then on the oven rack
- Cook in the oven for about 25 minutes
- Monitor the shatter. It’s much more difficult to predict what will happen due to different methods of creating concentrates
- Let it cool at room temperature or just simply dissolve straight away into a fat or oil
When you cook your shatter in the oven watch the bubbles. At first you’ll see large, voluminous bubbles, but you’ll want to wait until they look smaller, like this image below, before you consider them done.
Sous Vide decarboxylation
This method was created by Sir Benjamin Thompson for this exact reason. Okay, we’re joking. SBT was known for his perfectly, evenly cooked mutton shoulder, not his decarb techniques. The evenness of his roast inspired cooking tokers though, as SBT’s method has been adopted in the cannabis world. Today, stoners across the globe use the Sous Vide decarboxylation method to make their beautifully decarbed weed.
- Vacuum sealed bags/machine
- Weed grinder
- Sous vide precision cooker
- A pot
- Some pot (weed)
Grind up the weed first, then put it in a vacuum-sealed bag. The idea is to cook your weed evenly using water, so make sure you protect the weed from the water by sealing the bag as tightly as possible. Heat some water up using a heating element. Put the temperature of the heating element at 100 degrees and then place the weed inside once the water hits the correct temperature (which you can tell by using a thermometer). Leave the sealed bag in the water bath for around 1.5 hours.
This should decarboxylate cannabis nicely, and give you a very potent decarboxylated ingredient to use to make brownies.
When science becomes the stuff dreams are made of! Photo: @muv_chemist
Ardent Nova Decarboxylator
The Ardent Nova, photo: @xoticsmokeshop
The Ardent Nova Decarboxylator is one of the best automatic decarboxylator on the market. Its cannabis decarboxylation abilities are second to none, and the best thing about it is how simple and easy it is. However, they are very expensive, and although they simplify the process, you’ll want to weigh what sort of investment you want to make, as making decarboxylated cannabis isn’t all that challenging to do on your own.
How to use an Ardent Nova Decarboxylator
- Place cannabis into your NOVA Decarboxylator.
- Press the start button to begin decarboxylation process.
- Pour your decarboxylated cannabis like a true hipster in a mason jar and use your now activated cannabis to create whatever you feel like.
Why buy an auto-decarboxylator like the Ardent Nova
- Quiet and odourless (the cooking process of decarbing weed normally smells. A LOT)
- Is very herb-efficient because you activate all of the THCA/CBDA
- You can use this decarbed weed to make practically anything
- Make edibles the way you want, strain specific
- Get a consistent dosage so you know how strong your edibles will be
Another option to use besides the Ardent Nova decarboxylator is the Infuser Machine from Active Gear Guy!
It’s the perfect tool to help you cook the edibles you have been dreaming about for such a long time. Just smash your stash inside and wait for the magic to happen!
Thanks to the people at Active Gear Guy for the stock image. All rights reserved.
Drying weed in the oven
It is not recommended to dry your weed in the oven. Unless you’re attempting to decarboxylate it, it will ruin the potency. That is likely because of the decarboxylation process that will happen to some of the THCA already.
However, what happens when you put weed in a microwave for a short period of time, on very short bursts for like 30 seconds each, is that you can make freshly picked marijuana dry enough to smoke. This is different from decarboxylation, and only has a very niche use. You could probably dry out weed which has become damp for whatever reason, be it rain or falling in water or whatever.
If you want to dry your weed by microwaving it:
- 30 second blasts, quick
- Potency suffers
- Taste suffers
- Wait patiently for the rest of your weed to cure
This is the only use (apart from decarboxylation) for microwaving weed.
Can you decarboxylate stems?
Yes. You can decarboxylate stems. You can either make stem tea right away, or make edibles using decarboxylated stems. It’s definitely better to simply make tea, but try it out and see what you get. You can instantly make stem tea by doing the following:
- Grind or cut up your stems
- Put some butter into boiling water
- Chuck your plant material in (the more the better)
- TURN THE HEAT SOURCE DOWN TO VERY LOW TEMPERATURE
- Leave it boiling for about 10 minutes
- At this point you can either take it out and wait for it to set (for cannabutter)
- Or you can add tea to this mix at let it get some flavour
- Finally, strain the tea and enjoy.
If you want to sip on tea, but don\’t want to go to the trouble of making it yourself, order a bag of CBD tea.
One of our favorites is the Hemp & Green Tea from Optamia Teas. All natural hemp combines with California-grown lemons to provide a smooth tasting tea that relieves stress and inflammation.
Our thanks to the pro photogs for this quality stock image. All rights reserved.
Slow down and relax. Enjoy a fresh pot of stem tea! Photo: @ hipptravels
Frequently Asked Questions about decarboxylation
Do you need to decarboxylate cannabis before making cannabutter?
It’s not 100% necessary, but you’ll get a better end product if you decarb beforehand. If you’re immediately melting the weed into the butter (as this gives it partial decarboxylation), you’ll be okay. However, the potency goes right down unless the flower is completely decarbed.
What happens if you microwave weed?
As mentioned in the article, when you microwave weed it decarboxylates it to some extent. However, an oven works a lot better, as do the auto-cannabutter makers.
How to Decarb shatter?
You only need to decarb shatter if you’re intending on putting into an edible. For instructions on how to actually decarb shatter, see the article above.
Do you need to decarboxylate hash?
Not really, no. You can simply dissolve it into butter on a stove and this is enough.
You can also drop it into a coffee or a tea. Some types of hash may need decarboxylation, and you do need some heat and something for the cannabinoids to dissolve into (fat or oil).
Is smoking decarbed weed possible?
You can. But it’s not recommended at all. Most of the potency is gone. It’s probably not safe to do. If you insist on doing it regardless, it makes a decent substitute for tobacco if you want to smoke without tobacco. There are lots of reasons not to smoke decarbed weed: it tastes completely awful, it will make you cough, and it is almost certainly not good for you. But you do you!
What is already vaped bud (AVB)?
Already vaped bud (AVB) is marijuana which has already been vaporised. You can effectively use your bud twice, which makes for a great and cost-efficient way of smoking weed. It’s also healthier, provided that your buds are certified organic. Simply mix your cannabis with oil or fat and eat it. The easiest and fastest way of doing this is putting it on some toast with butter or margarine on and eating it. To increase potency, use the bud originally on a lower setting.
Enjoy the psychoactive effects of your ground cannabis twice!
The Gaia Vaporizer from Linx gives you the power to vape at whatever temperature you prefer. While you’re vaping, you’re also decarboxylating cannabis in the all quartz chamber, which you can enjoy in an edible to keep your high going!
Thanks to the folks at the @linxvapor insta for this photo of Gaia.
Decarboxylation marijuana is vital for the edible making process. Decarboxylating weed is simple and easy, provided that you follow a few key steps:
- Temperature : You should always check that your heat source is at 115 degrees celsius
- Time : You should always cook your bud for minimum one hour
- Mix : Ensure to mix your decarboxylated weed with oil or fat before eating
You can use either an oven, a microwave, or a vaporiser to decarboxylate your bud. If you’re using a vaporiser, ensure that it’s on a low heat.
Whew, that was a lot of info! Too stoned to read any of it? Check out this video for the lowdown:
Written by Hamish
What have your experiences with the decarboxylation process been like? Tell us in the comments below!
Decarboxylation is a chemical reaction which does two things: removes a carboxyl group, and releases carbon dioxide. In weed terms, it’s a necessary process to making your weed potent when making edibles. Read all about how to decarboxylate here!
Quick and Easy Decarboxylation Methods
So you’ve probably heard the word “decarboxylation” being thrown around a lot lately, but what does it mean exactly?
Decarboxylation is the step before the infusion step where it is turned into a cannabis-infused butter or oil. It is highly recommended that you decarboxylate marijuana before you consume it through food. This process releases the molecule A from THC-A to become THC which makes it psychoactive. When you roll one up and smoke it, the heat from the flame causes decarboxylation. But when it comes to cooking and baking, it becomes a whole other process. Have no fear, it’s actually quite simple using the methods in this article.
For a more in-depth explanation of the decarbing process and a quick cannabutter recipe, check out my previous article: https://myedibleschef.com/the-weed-decarboxylation-process/
The microwave method
Place your bud, whole or ground, in a microwave safe bowl & cover it with a turkey roasting bag. Microwave for 1 minute and 30 seconds, repeat 3 times. This method holds in all the flavors and aromas for a far superior flavor and also to prevent your house from smelling like a grow-op! The microwave is also the only oven that does not “brown” so it’s almost impossible to scorch your bud.
Sous vide your weed
That’s right, you can put your ground weed in a vacuum-sealed bag. Place it in a 212°F/100°C water bath for about 1 hour and voilà! All the decarbing action with zero mess or smell. This method is very convenient since you can use a timer to set and forget it.
You can also use the sous vide method to infuse your weed with fats or alcohol.
Kill two birds and get stoned with this all-in-one method. Lay out some graham crackers, split them in half, spread some nut butter of your choice (peanut, almond, chocolate hazelnut, etc.) onto one half, then sprinkle the desired amount of ground up weed onto the nut butter. Sandwich with the second half of the graham cracker, individually wrap them in tin foil and bake them in a 325°F/160°C oven for 25-30 minutes. These will be the easiest edible you ever make!
Experimentation is everything, there are many ways to decarb but these are just some of the quick, easy and less fuss methods. Every new batch of the bud is going to be slightly different. Some may be drier or some may be more moist and sticky. Use your discretion during the process of decarboxylation, and always remember, practice makes perfect. Happy Decarbing!
Quick and Easy Decarboxylation Methods So you’ve probably heard the word “decarboxylation” being thrown around a lot lately, but what does it mean exactly? Decarboxylation is the step before