Why is decarboxylation so important in making edibles? Decarboxylation or “decarbing” your flower or kief is a critical step in producing the most potent medicine.
Decarbing your marijuana (yes, it can even happen in your own oven) is the best way to ensure you get the most out of your cannabis.
Though it has some health benefits, consuming cannabis raw does not have the same medicinal effects. Or as Green Camp writes, “Decarboxylation is the magic behind making weed a potent additive to food.” Decarboxylation activates the THC and CBD in cannabis and allows you to get all its healing qualities.
Many patients want to know why the decarboxylation process is so important in producing edibles and how to do it properly at home. It’s a system that is commonly misunderstood. This post will address some of these questions and get you on your way to decarbing your own flower!
What is decarboxylation?
Decarboxylation is a chemical reaction that releases carbon dioxide. This process converts the acid form of cannabinoids THCA into THC and CBDA into CBD. When cannabis dries, it very slowly begins to decarboxylate naturally, and heating cannabis to the right temperature will expedite this process.
Why should I decarboxylate my medicine?
While THCA and CBDA are reported to have some healing properties, they are considered latent cannabinoids because they are not bioactive. For maximum efficacy of medical cannabis, decarboxylation must be achieved. When cannabis flower is smoked or vaporized, decarboxylation occurs instantly as the heat is applied. The process does not happen automatically in cooking, because dry heat and low oxygen conditions are required. Decarboxylating cannabis before cooking with it will result in more potent edibles and tinctures.
How do I decarboxylate?
- Find the right temperature The various cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids in cannabis are released at temperatures between 246° and 435° Fahrenheit. We recommend preheating your oven to between 240°F and 300°F.
- Grind your medicine coarsely (or use Baker’s Mix) and spread it in a thin layer on a cookie sheet or pizza stone.
- Bake between 15 and 60 minutes (bake for a longer time at lower temperatures and a shorter time at higher temperatures).
- Retain more natural flavor by covering the mixture with tin foil while baking. Leave the covering on for 5-10 minutes after removing from the oven to allow terpenes and flavonoids to reabsorb.
If you want to preserve your plant’s terpenes – what gives your cannabis aroma and flavor – keep your decarboxylation temperatures on the low side (between the 200-300 degree range).
How to decarb cannabutter
As with any other edible, before you can make your cannabutter, you must decarb your cannabis flower. Once you have decarbed your flower, grind your decarboxylated cannabis coarsely with a hand grinder and go ahead with your preferred recipe. If you don’t have one, check out the Wellness Connection’s cannabutter recipe and make it your own!
How to decarb kief
Kief is the name for the sticky crystals on the cannabis flower. Many patients can collect the kief off of their own flower (typically it takes a while for enough to add up) or you can purchase it at the Wellness Connection like any other cannabis product. You can use this kief in making your edibles to increase their potency. Green Flower provides these steps in decarbing kief (which is a faster process than flower):
Below are the steps to decarb kief:
- Acquire the required amount of kief for the particular recipe you are using.
- Spread out the kief on an oven-safe dish.
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place the dish in the oven and bake it for about 20 minutes.
- That’s it, your kief is ready to be used!
Remember to be a good neighbor—decarboxylation and cooking create strong aromas, so plan ahead for odor control. Try using an oven bag, or a turkey bag, during the decarb process to help contain the scents coming from your kitchen. These are also helpful for storing, preserving and transporting flower.
Have you decarbed your own flower? What was it like? Tell us about it! You can always drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or dm us on Instagram.