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From this moment on, consider yourself an edible master. You won’t need to buy any cannabis-infused treat ever again. Doesn’t matter if you’re doing it for fun or to aid your health; you can now learn how to decarb weed and make your own personalized edibles and infused oils. This is a crucial step when it comes to handling weed for consumption, and it’s an easy process anyone can do with just kitchen items.
We’ve compiled a list of clear steps and tips to guide you through this process.
What Does Cannabis Decarboxylation Mean?
This intimidating scientific term refers to the process of making cannabis compounds lose one carboxyl ring, turning them into psychoactive substances. But what does this mean? Simply put, it’s the process of heating your weed to activate its cannabinoids like THC and CBD.
Without decarbing, you won’t get the potency or “high” effect of weed, nor the medicinal benefits of this plant, and you’ll be wasting your flowers.
How Decarbing Works?
As it was mentioned above, decarbing turns raw weed into a cocktail of psychoactive components by altering its chemical structure. By subjecting it to high temperatures, molecules like THCA and CBDA lose the extra carboxyl ring (the “A” stands for acid), which is replaced by a hydrogen molecule. This means the cannabis will be activated, gaining its desired effects, and you’ll now have a high percentage of THC and CBD.
This is a simple yet delicate process that works when there's an optimal balance between a combination of time and high temperatures. It should be done before grinding and cooking, so you’ll get effective edibles.
To bring out the desired levels of THC, you’ll need a combination of high temperatures for about half an hour. On the other hand, CBD takes longer to be activated and should take about double the time THC takes.
What Methods of Decarbing Weed Are There?
There are several methods one can do in the comfort of own home, each with its pros and cons.
This is the most common and effective method. It’s easy to control time and temperature, and the process is pretty straightforward. It consists of preheating the oven, baking for an adequate amount of time, stirring halfway through, and storing the final product.
Without an Oven
- Microwave. Microwave is less effective and reliable since it’s harder to regulate temperature and easier to burn your weed. Despite this, microwaving is the fastest process aside from actually smoking the cannabis, but it's also the one requiring more care and work.
- Stovetop. Stovetop offers the process with the least probability of burning the flowers, while is also the one that takes longer since you’ll have to spend at least half an hour to get the activation completed. It’s the process with the biggest potential of overheating or creating unevenly activated cannabinoids.
What Is the Best Way to Decarb Weed?
From the methods presented above, the oven is definitely the winner. Easier to control, simple, and less laborious, this should be the choice for anyone learning how to decarb cannabis and who wants to use common household items.
For those who are okay with investing and don’t want to risk failing this important step, there are decarbing machines available. These devices do all the work for you and get amazing results.
How to Prepare a Bud for Decarboxylation?
The main problem is the issue of shedding cannabis. On the one hand, grinding can produce even pieces of marijuana and thus better control the heating process. But on the other hand, most of the trichomes will remain in your grinder, not on the deco.
Besides, small ground pieces allow more chlorophyll to be absorbed. The component gives a bitter, earthy aftertaste and is not pleasant for everyone. We recommend manually chopping the cannabis to popcorn size and baking that way first.
Also, cannabis gives off an odor when heated. Of course, you can enjoy this scent, but it may disturb other residents or neighbors. To avoid that, you need to bake the marijuana in an airtight container.
How to Decarboxylate Weed in the Oven?
To get a successful decarboxylation in oven, follow the instructions below to make sure you are able to bring out and activate the cannabinoids.
- Oven-safe dish
- Aluminum foil or parchment paper
- Wooden spoon
- Airtight container
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 250 ºF (120 ºC)
Step 2: Get a dish or baking sheet and cover it with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
Step 3: Break up the marijuana into smaller pieces. This should be done manually so as not to over-grind.
Step 4: Cook weed for 20-30 minutes.
Step 5: Halfway through, gently stir the bits with a wooden spoon.
Step 6: Once the time is up, take it from the oven and let it cool. It should look slightly brown or golden in color.
Step 7: After cooling, store it in an airtight container in a cool, dry, and dark place, and use it as you please.
How to Decarb Weed Without an Oven?
If you can’t decarb weed in oven, try the alternative methods mentioned above. Here’s how to achieve active cannabinoids in a microwave or stovetop.
- Microwave safe bowl
- Wooden spoon
- Airtight container
Step 1: Break the weed manually into smaller bits.
Step 2: Place in a microwave-safe bowl or dish.
Step 3: Cook for around 1.5 minutes on high.
Step 4: Remove and check the flowers. Make sure none are burnt and that they’re exuding a strong smell.
Step 5: Stir well and microwave for another minute.
Step 6: You might have to repeat this last step until you get the desired results. Keep in mind that weed might not change color when decarbed like this, so it might be harder to make sure the process is complete.
Tips on How to Decarboxylate Weed to Eat
Now that you know how to decarb weed in the oven and with other alternative household items let’s make sure everything goes well, and you feel confident in your discernment. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Make sure you don’t break the weed too small. This will make it burn faster, and the decarbing process will not go well.
- Never grind the weed to prepare for decarbing.
- Don’t expose it to the sun. Don’t let the decarbed weed be stored in contact with direct light since it will become moldy and lose potency.
- Try to use weed within 3 to 6 months. It’s not like it will go bad, but it loses effectiveness over time, especially if you’ve been decarbing to activate THC. This cannabinoid turns into CBN, the “sleepy” weed compound. If you don't know what to do with decarb weed, try planning ahead or working with smaller batches.
How Long Does It Take to Decarb Weed?
This will depend on the temperature, the decarbing method, and on the amount of activation of the cannabinoids you’re looking for. Although it’s advised to use temperatures around 250 ºF (120 ºC), extremely high temperatures can also get high levels of THC in under 10 minutes.
But sticking with the average temperature of 230-250 ºF (110-120 ºC), it will take about 20 to 30 minutes to decarboxylate in oven and for THC to be significantly activated (around 15%). CBD will need about twice as much time as THC to be properly activated (from around 45 minutes to 1 hour).
You might want to rush the process and get it done as fast as possible, but in this case, slow is better and will get you incredible results.
How to Tell if Weed Is Decarbed Enough?
Depending on the method you use, it might not look all the same. For oven decarbing, the weed should look light brown or golden. The change of color and dry, crumbly pieces are usually the best signs to ensure the process is over.
A strong, pungent weed smell without a burnt undertone is also a possible indication. If it smells like burning before time is over, reduce the temperature instead of assuming it got ready faster than you intended.
How to Store the Finished Product?
You can store cannabis in an airtight container in a cool place. However, do not forget to take care of the humidity. Too high levels of it can lead to mold. You can also choose a freezer as a storage place, which will effectively save the potency of cannabinoids.
Decarboxylation itself looks like an easy process at first but take it responsibly. Decarbing has its charm of curiosity and experimentation, so if you're sure of what you're doing, it's worth trying something else. Perhaps, you will find more convenient ways for yourself.
How Long to Decarb Dry Weed?
How long do you decarb dry weed will always take anywhere between 20 to 45 minutes when done in an oven. In alternative methods, weed takes about 3 to 5 minutes to decarb in the microwave and 90 minutes on a stovetop.
How to Extract THC from Decarbed Weed?
After the weed is decarbed, THC is active and can be used for raw edibles, other cooked foods, infusions, and oils. The THC is already active, so no matter how you consume the weed, you’ll be reaping its effects.
How to Activate THC?
The easiest way to activate THC is through decarbing or subjecting the cannabis to heat. This process will activate psychoactive compounds like THC and CBD and can be done with simple household items.
Do We Need to Grind Weed Before Decarb?
The weed needs to be broken apart into smaller pieces but should not be ground down. Grinding can be an issue, as it can easily lead to burning that will ruin the weed.
Is It Possible to Get High from Decarbing Weed in the Oven?
Absolutely. That’s what decarboxylation is for; to activate the compounds that give you the “high” feeling of weed. Decarbing weed in oven is not different from what happens when it is smoked. This process allows the weed to be integrated into different forms, like food, beverages, and infusion oils.