11 EASY Ways to Use Decarbed Cannabis
Once you’ve learned how to decarb weed and your bud is ready, the sky’s the limit with what you can do. If you are decarbing with FX or Nova, you’re getting a fully activated product – meaning a more accurate and potent dosage.
Here’s a short list of some of our favorite easy post-decarb fixes. Feel free to share your own in the comments below.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Instant Edible Capsules
For people that use medical marijuana, capsules are a lifesaver. They’re discreet, effective, and fit into your daily routine better than smoking, vaping, or eating extra calories via edibles. You can use them to help with chronic pain, sleep issues, anxiety, headaches, and so much more.
Pairing cannabis with other vitamins and nutraceuticals is a great way to enhance its benefits and create personalized medicine tailored for optimal health and wellness.
Just use your favorite decarbed strain and place into the capsules to create an instant and complete therapy. You can also add vitamins, oils or other supplements to your caps for enhanced benefits.
Some of our favorite formulations include:
- Fish oil and melatonin – best paired with decarbed indica for sleep
- Coconut oil and b-12 vitamin – best paired with a decarbed sativa for energy
Use empty capsules, available online or in-store at vitamin shops, to create the perfect blend for your needs. To make dry herb capsules, simply put your decarbed weed right into the capsule. Yes, that’s right – just decarb your cannabis in Nova or FX and then you can make your capsules with no infusion or additional processing!
You can add other vitamin or supplement powders into the capsule for an extra nutritional boost. For oil-based capsules, create canna oil with any oil of your choice and use a syringe to fill the capsules. Last thing you need to do is close them up and you’re done!
2. Facial Toner
Did you know that after proper decarboxylation you can make a simple tincture with rubbing alcohol that has powerful antibacterial and antiseptic properties?
Studies using cannabis to maintain skin health show promise:
“Our preclinical data encourage one to explore whether endocannabinoid system-acting agents can be exploited in the management of common skin disorders,”
Use it just like you would any other toner with a cotton ball or pad for a quick cleanse.
You can make an effective facial toner for acne treatment with just rubbing alcohol and bud decarbed in Nova or FX.
- Put 1 gram of decarbed flower into a small jar
- Fill with rubbing alcohol
- Shake it
- Apply it with a cotton ball
Both THC and CBD have regenerative a great anti-inflammatory properties and the rubbing alcohol makes the solution anti-bacterial and perfect for acne treatment. If you are sensitive to alcohol, try using infused propylene glycol as an addition to your regular toner to get the benefits alcohol-free.
3. Pain Salve
Cannabis infused topicals are known to have anti-inflammatory, pain-reducing and regenerative properties that can be used for joint pains and minor skin issues.
Making a cannabis pain salve at home is easy and once you start using it, you will make it be a permanent part of your medicine cabinet. There are almost endless ways to prepare cannabis infused salve at home. It can be as easy as infusing coconut oil and then mixing with your favorite pain cream. It’s also very simple to make cannabis pain salve from scratch.
- Decarb your cannabis and make infused coconut oil
- Add 5 parts infused oil to 1 part beeswax in the FX or Nova and melt.
- Stir and cool the mixture and your salve is ready!
Once it has hardened, it’s ready to use for chronic or acute localized pain from arthritis, sore muscles, and tension. Immediate relief without psychoactive effects is one of the main draws of using cannabis-infused pain salve.
4. Medicated Massage Oil
Take your massage to the next level by incorporating weed-infused coconut oil.
Here’s how to make your own:
- 10 drops sandalwood
- 5 drops juniper
- 4 ylang ylang
- 2 drops lavender
- 4 oz. infused coconut oil
Mix all ingredients in FX or Nova until fully heated and blended. Cool and pour into a squeeze bottle. Use to soothe and inspire during your next massage.
5. Protein Shake
Decarbed bud makes a great addition to smoothies and shakes and can be a part of your healthiest snacks! You can add your decarboxylated flower right into the smoothie or add a tablespoon (or less) of infused coconut oil for an extra creamy drink. Many athletes report increased focus and endurance with the addition of THC or CBD to their regimen Follow our cannabis shake infused recipe below for yourself:
- 1 scoop protein powder
- 2 cups ice
- 4 oz vanilla unsweetened almond milk
- 1/3 banana
- 1 – 2 tbsp organic peanut butter
- .2g – 5g of decarbed flower
You can also try a little in your post-workout protein shake to reduce inflammation and aid your recovery.
6. Kief Infused Hot Cocoa
Decarbed kief and concentrate are a great addition to infused marijuana beverages, especially if you are looking for a potent dose. Try our hot cocoa recipe for decarbed kief. If you are not familiar with kief, it is the sticky, pollen-like substance on your bud, known as the trichomes. Since the trichomes contain all of the cannabinoids, kief is a more potent concentrate than bud. You’ll only need a little bit in your hot cocoa and it’s better to start with a small dose than to overdo it and potentially end up with an unenjoyable high.
To make kief hot cocoa:
- Decarb your kief in FX or Nova. Our Concentrate & Infusion Sleeves make this step extra easy
- Mix the decarbed kief with your hot cocoa (add a drop or two of coconut or MCT oil if you have trouble feeling edibles, not needed for most people)
Be aware that kief is usually over 40% THC, so in one gram of kief, there’s over 400 mg of THC. Therefore be very careful when you are using kief and concentrate, which averages over 70% THC (700mg per gram) in your edible creations 😮
7. Easily Make Tinctures
Tinctures and marijuana-infused alcohol are both a great way to discreetly consume cannabis. They can be eaten like a regular edible or administered sublingually (under the tongue) for a much quicker uptake than traditional edibles.
In addition, tinctures are very easy to make, simple to dose, and have a long shelf life if stored properly. Making them popular with both recreational and medical marijuana users. Especially those that prefer not to partake in the various ways to smoke weed due to the health risk and micro-dosers who prefer small, controlled doses.
Check out our guide to making CBG tinctures with Everclear alcohol, and learn more about vegetable glycerin tinctures.
Cannacream and cannamilk can be a great traditional oil or cannabutter alternative. They can be used for cooking, added to your morning coffee, smoothies, shakes, and any other recipe you use that adds dairy.
The process of making cannamilk and cannacream is identical to making cannabutter and canna oil, but because they contain less fat, they aren’t as effective at extracting the cannabinoids like THC and CBD. That being said, they can add even more variation to the types of food you can make into an edible. Learn more about infusion rates for cannamilk and cannacream in our tutorial, complete with testing results.
We promise, your morning cereal and coffee will never be the same!
9. Cannabutter & Cannaoil
Do you have to decarb weed for edibles? Well, decarbing is a must when making cannabutter or cannaoil. You will not have a well-activated oil without decarbing your cannabis first, which means that you’ll be missing out on valuable THC or CBD. We tested how long to infuse weed and found that infusions for 45 minutes, an hour, or three hours all had excellent extraction rates, so you have flexibility there based on personal preference.
Cannabutter and cannaoil are used to make a variety of edibles, everything from brownies to salad dressing and sauteed veggies. You can control the potency of your infusions by increasing or decreasing the amount of cannabis you use in your infusions. If you want to know more about this, here’s how to infuse cannabinoids for the best results.
10. Cannabis Infused Tea
Cannabis tea is growing in popularity and is very simple to make. Two of the most popular ways:
- Add infused coconut or MCT oil to your tea after brewing
- Use the flower left over after your infusion (called raffinate, this “leftover” has plenty of cannabinoids still available – perfect for steeping in tea), place the raffinate and loose leaf tea into a tea bag, steep and enjoy.
11. Eating Decarbed Weed
Can you eat decarbed weed? Yes! You can actually just eat your cannabis after it’s been through the decarboxylation process with no further processing. Because precision activation gives you an average of 100 -250 mg THC per gram, depending on the potency of your starting flower, you can take just a small amount of your decarbed cannabis and put it right into your food. Once your weed is activated, you can literally do anything with it and you will feel the effects – including eating it plain or sprinkling it on whatever food you’re craving!
Which is your favorite way to use decarbed weed? Are there any uses we missed? Let us know in the comments below!
What can you do with decarbed weed? Once you decarb your bud, the sky's the limit! Here are 11 ways to use decarbed cannabis edibles & more
Decarboxylation: How to Decarb Your Weed
by Sirius Fourside
Table of Contents:
- Introduction: What Is Decarboxylation?
- Why Is Decarbing Important?
- Using Small Pieces of Weed vs Grinding Your Weed
- How to Decarboxylate Your Weed
- Natural Method (Slow!)
- Baking Sheet
- Oven Bag
- Mason Jar
- Ardent Nova (Decarb machine)
What Is Decarboxylation?
Decarboxylation is a chemical reaction that can be used to make cannabis edibles potent. The sciency-sounding word describes the process of turning THCA, which isn’t 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 an essential step when processing cannabis for eating. The regular cooking process typically isn’t enough to decarb cannabis fully, and it won’t happen naturally in your stomach.
That’s why in most recipes for cannabis edible or tinctures, decarboxylation – or the informal verb, “decarbing” – is the first step you take.
Don’t worry, it’s simple. Decarbing simply means subjecting your weed to high temperatures (
250°F) over a period of time before using it in your recipe.
These cannabis buds are about to get decarbed
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.
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!
Break buds up to prepare them for decarboxylation
Small Pieces of Weed vs. Grinding Your Weed
There’s a bit of debate about how to prepare your bud before decarboxylation. But in our opinion, as long as you break it up a little bit there isn’t a whole lot of difference.
Breaking your weed into smaller pieces means it all gets baked a lot more evenly than if you had used whole nugs. The downside to breaking your weed up by hand as opposed to grinding is that it’s slightly more time consuming since grinding can be done with machines like a food processor.
Don’t get scared off though, it’s easy to do. If you have enough finger mobility to break up broccoli florets with your hands, you can break up your bud. It only takes a few minutes and it’s free!
I used my fingers to break this weed up into small pieces before decarboxylation
A huge benefit to grinding up your weed instead of breaking it up with your hands is that you can use a machine like a food processor to do all the work for you. You just put some bud in, hold a button for a few seconds and dump out the finished product!
This is the method I typically use because it’s a bit easier to do than breaking up nugs. It’s hard to mess up because you can’t really grind your bud too small/fine. I’ve made edibles with weed ground so fine it ends up as a powder. Some growers claim that grinding the weed can cause it to lose potency, but I never noticed that in my experiments.
You can use a food processor to save time compared to breaking weed up by hand
I had this older model food processor for almost 6 years. I miss ya, pal.
However, there is a downside to grinding: it’s easier to lose material the finer your weed gets. You can lose some herb to the sides of the grinder, some in transferring containers or some in the container you use for decarbing. If you’re concerned with saving every last bit of bud, you might want to break buds up by hand. That being said, you can save the vast majority of your ground-up material by just making sure to be a little careful about collecting and moving your weed.
Extra Note: Some devices that help make edibles (like the Magical Butter Machine) suggest that you don’t grind up your weed before using it in their recipes. So, if you’re thinking about using a Magical Butter Machine, break your buds up by hand. If you’re going to make edibles without a machine, grinding is a solid solution.
How to Decarb Your Weed: Overview of Methods
Alright, let’s get into details. We’ll go through the popular methods of decarbing, how to do them, what supplies you’ll need, and grade them based on convenience and how much smell they make.
Natural Decarb (Time Method)
Did you know time turns THCA to THC? Weed that sits around long enough decarbs on its own. Just wait for a long, long time. In all honesty, this method is so time-consuming and inconsistent that it isn’t really a viable technique for making edibles. That being said, sometimes it works out. Nebula and I grow a lot of weed, and once we had a particularly high-yielding harvest sitting in jars in our cupboard for over a year as we slowly went through it. After a year, the weed was still fantastic to smoke, but had clearly gone through changes as it had turned into a rich golden-brown color.
We could’ve added it directly to food and felt psychoactive effects without decarbing. But if we had used that weed for edibles, we still would have decarbed it separately just to ensure all the THCA had turned to THC.
Smell Containment: 10/10
- Wait a long time, or use a different method if you want your edibles in less than 12+ months.
There are better ways to decarb than just waiting!
This is the most common method growers use to decarb their weed because many people already have all the materials they need to do it without needing to make a trip to the store.
It’s also worth noting that this is by far the smelliest method for decarbing. If you’re going to use this method, just know that your home is going to be flooded by an unignorable, pungent, unmistakably weedy smell. Running a fan with an attached carbon filter helps a lot, but it’s still going to get funky.
Smell Containment: 1/10 (smelliest method)
- Baking Sheet
- Foil or Parchment paper (no wax paper)
- Preheat oven to 250°F
- Line baking sheet with foil or parchment paper
- Place your broken-up or ground cannabis on the baking sheet
- Bake cannabis for 30 minutes
- The cannabis should change to a brownish color
This is an ounce of cannabis before being decarbed on a baking sheet…
…and this is the same ounce of weed after being decarbed on a baking sheet at 250°F for 30 minutes.
The oven bag (or turkey bag) method works just like the baking sheet but with a bit less work. You don’t need to line a baking sheet this way, and collecting the finished material is a piece of cake. Also, the bag doesn’t get extremely hot to the touch, so in that way, it’s safer than using something like a glass mason jar. There’s also much less smell than if you just bake the cannabis on a baking sheet.
The downside is that this method takes having something that probably isn’t in your house right now.
Smell Containment: 6/10
- Baking Sheet
- Oven bags (sometimes called turkey bags)
- Preheat oven to 250°F
- Place your broken-up or ground cannabis in the oven bag
- Tie a tight knot in the oven bag
- This keeps the weed and smell inside the bag
- Place the bag on a baking sheet (no foil/parchment needed)
- Bake for 30 minutes
- The cannabis should change to a brownish color
Place your broken-up cannabis in the oven bag, tie a tight knot, and bake for 30 minutes at 250°F on a baking sheet
Glass mason jars are great, aren’t they?
They’re great for curing cannabis, they can be vacuum sealed, they’re an amazing tool for decarboxylation, and you probably already have at least one in your house if you grow cannabis. Additionally, they’re pretty darn good at keeping the weed smell contained; even better than oven bags and WAY better than just baking the weed on a baking sheet.
Smell Containment: 8/10 (screw the lid on tight to keep the smell in)
- Preheat oven to 250°F
- Place your broken-up or ground cannabis in the mason jar
- Screw the top on tight. Real tight!
- A tighter seal means less weed smell will escape the jar
- Carefully place the mason jar on your oven rack. The jar should not be touching the heating element or sides of your oven.
- Bake for 30 minutes until cannabis changes to a brownish color.
- Important: The glass will be very hot when it comes out of the oven! Make sure to use oven mitts when you touch the jar and give it time to cool before opening.
The left is untreated weed and the right shows weed that has been decarbed in a mason jar at 250°F for 30 minutes
I didn’t even realize this was a thing until a reader wrote to me about it. The Ardent Nova is a machine with a singular purpose: decarbing weed. It’s a set-and-forget style system, meaning you can load it up, start it, and walk away. While you’re gone, the Ardent Nova will slowly and thoroughly decarb your weed and stop applying heat as soon as it senses the job is done. No need for an oven because it plugs directly into the wall. Plus it makes almost no smell whatsoever; I had to put my nose right up to it to smell anything.
Downsides? It takes longer to decarb your buds than the oven-based methods (up to 2 hours instead of the normal 30 minutes), you can only do an ounce of bud at a time (maximum), and it’s expensive ($190).
However, after trying out the Ardent Nova, I was converted. I live in a condo in a populous city, so my neighbors are pretty close to me. The total lack of smell was enough to make me a fan of the Ardent Nova all by itself, but being able to start the process and go run errands without worry sealed the deal.
Convenience: 9/10 (would be a 10 if not for the price)
Smell Containment: 10/10
- Ardent Nova Decarboxylator
- Weed (1oz maximum at a time)
First, consult the instructions that come with the device. Here are the general steps:
- Plug in your Ardent Nova
- The light on the front will turn green
- Take off the top and purple seal underneath
- Take out the metal container and load it up with weed, up to an ounce at a time
- Put the metal container back in, put the seal on top (it fits loosely), and replace the lid
- Press the button on the front of the Ardent Nova
- The light on the front will turn red
- Come back in roughly 2 hours (or whenever you feel like, it stops automatically)
- The light will turn green again when it’s done
- It takes about 2 hours to decarb a full ounce
After decarbing weed in the Ardent Nova, this is what the buds looked like inside
There you have it! You now have a handful of effective methods to decarb your weed and get ready to make butter, oil, gummies, tinctures, infused food, etc.
If you’re not sure what to do with your newly decarbed cannabis, butter is the best option in my opinion. Cannabutter is super versatile and can be used in hundreds of dishes that use butter or just as a topping on a “regular” dish (like a baked potato).
I ended up decarbing more than 6oz of weed while writing this, so stay tuned and we’ll have some great ways for you to use your decarbed weed coming in the next few weeks!
If you're looking to make edibles/tinctures/cannabutter/etc., decarbing your weed is the first step! Come inside and we'll teach you what you need to know!