Many people make a very common misstep in the beginning stages of preparation when they are attempting to make edibles or tinctures at home with dried cannabis flowers. It’s very easy to forget the essential step of decarboxylation of cannabis when you are getting set to bake or prepare your medicinal or recreational cannabis treats and medicines. By foregoing this essential part of the process many of the beneficial aspects of cannabis are lost in the baking or blending of the product.
But what exactly is decarboxylation and how does it work? If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to decarb cannabis on your own at home we’ve provided all the necessary information here to get you started so you can prepare cannabis edibles and tinctures for medicinal and recreational use with the highest possible beneficial and medicinal value, preserving potency and lessening the impact cannabis is known to have on the flavour of the end product.
Ordinarily decarboxylation is a process that happens over a long period of time as cannabis is cured before it is ready to be trimmed and sold. This process turns the THCA found naturally occurring in the cannabis flowers into the psychoactive compound THC. Typically the curing process combined with heating or burning the material for smoking takes care of this conversion for us but when you plan to cook with weed there are some crucial steps to take to ensure that your goodies are as potent as possible and your weed doesn’t go to waste!
The typical cooking process does not provide enough heat for decarbing weed which means you will end up consuming cannabis which is still full of THCA instead of the compound THC. This is why the essential first step when you want to make your own tinctures or edibles is to be certain that you are always decarbing weed properly that you plan to use in this manner.
But don’t stress yourself too much over it. What sounds like an intimidating and technical process is actually just a very simple additional step to your recipe and is very easy to do with tools you certainly should already have available to you in your home.
How to Decarb Weed
When cannabis is smoked or vaporized the heat of this process will decarboxylate weed before it enters your lungs and bloodstream converting it THC from the non-psychoactive compound THCA. Without this essential step smoking weed would actually not affect the human body and mind with the same potency and level of intoxicating effects. In short decarboxylated cannabis is a required aspect of the process of getting properly high.
When you decarboxylate weed you force the same transformation to occur without combusting the plant matter and destroying it in the process leaving behind cannabis plant matter that is perfectly primed for use in baking or tincture making. Heat also isn’t the only way to get decarboxylated weed. If you happen to have a bag of old chronic laying around the house chances are extremely good that the decarboxylation of the cannabis has already naturally occurred. If you have a freshly bought sack however fret not as the process for decarbing weed is overall a simple one.
It may seem counterintuitive to cook your weed twice – once before you use it in your recipe and then again when you actually prepare your edible treats – as you would think adding heat to the cannabis would cook off the potency and cause the substance to be weaker however it is the exact opposite that is true. Without the crucial step of decarboxylation cannabis actually loses or rather fails to activate a vast majority of the potent medicinal THC trapped within it as THCA.
So you want to know how to decarboxylate cannabis? We’d have to assume so if you’ve made it this far! Let’s first refer to a few handy decarb weed charts which can help clear up some of the simple instructions.
As you can see by this first decarb weed chart different temperatures and durations are required to properly produce decarboxylated weed.
In this second decarb weed chart you can see the temperatures, times and different ways to decarboxylate cannabis expressed in another manner. Let’s go into deeper details now about the various methods of how to decarboxylate cannabis.
How to Prepare Your Bud
When you are first learning how to decarb weed an important first step is to prepare your cannabis for the process. You don’t want to just throw all of your bud on a baking sheet or into a mason jar as it is and hope for the best. Using one of the following methods will make certain that your decarboxylated cannabis receives an even treatment no matter which method you use and produces the highest potency level possible.
The first option is to simply pick your weed apart into smaller pieces that are all roughly the same size, say no larger than a dime. This can take some time and we suggest wearing a pair of disposable gloves to ensure your hands are not covered in residue by the end. The “rub” you develop on the gloves can also be recovered and utilized if you are a stoner who is a little more frugal and thrifty than your average.
Otherwise you can simply grind the material using a conventional weed grinder or even a coffee grinder or food processor. This is likely the best possible option as it produces a near powder version of the product that is certain to decarb evenly no matter what method you decide to utilize.
There is a subtle downside to using a grinder or food processor however as it is much easier to lose some of the product the finer ground it becomes. Whether it gets stuck in the grinder or the container you used for decarbing or you simply spill it by mistake when handling or transferring it. The extra concern here is completely up to user discretion and comfort and you will ultimately find a method that works best for you that you find comfortable with a little bravery and experimentation.
Method 1: Hurry Up And Wait
There’s nothing fun, exciting or particularly groundbreaking about the natural method but it certainly does work. If you are the patient sort and plan on making edibles some vague date in the future but not anytime immediately soon this method will suit your needs just fine. Time turns THCA into THC just as certain as heat does, it just takes an awful lot more of it!
If you are a person with a large quantity of cannabis on hand at all times this method may also suit your personal style. For the rest of us though it certainly is not the most convenient option available. That said there is no better method as far as smell is concerned – cannabis stored away for an extended period stinks up the apartment a whole lot less than popping some in the oven for an hour to slowly decarb!
Another advantage here is that all you really need is a supply of cannabis and some time. There are no other essential steps or ingredients required!
Method 2: Get Baked
Overwhelmingly this is the most common method used by marijuana growers and distributors or cannabis enthusiasts to make edibles as all the necessary tools are already sitting waiting for you in your kitchen! All you need is a baking sheet, foil or parchment paper (never wax paper!) an oven and the willpower to make your home stink like cannabis for an afternoon. Unfortunately there really isn’t any method to avoid the overpowering smell produced by this decarb method so if you live in a close knit apartment building with a Karen living down the hall this may not be your best option.
- 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
Once the cannabis has changed color and your apartment reeks to high heaven of baked pot you will be all set to use the decarbed weed in your next edible recipe!
Method 3: Weed Turkey Style
Another similar method you can use is to put your ground or broken up cannabis into an oven bag, also known as a turkey bag. This makes it much easier to collect after it is finished decarbing and has the added benefit of making your home stink a little bit less, however it certainly doesn’t eliminate the smell entirely. When the process is finished the bag will not be hot as it doesn’t conduct heat so it is easy to grab, handle and empty.
The only real downside to this method is the fact that you likely will need to make a special trip to the store to get yourself a turkey bag unless it happens to be around thanksgiving time or you happen to use them already on a regular basis. A minor inconvenience for a surefire method which cuts down on the pungent smell by about half that occurs when the cannabis is being decarbed.
- 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
Method 4: Mason Jars
You may have a few of these classic and handy glass jars in your pantry at home and if so then this is a great option for you. Otherwise mason jars are easy to find and shouldn’t pose too much of a problem if you would like to use this method and don’t already own them. Mason jars can be vacuum sealed and are a great option for decarboxylation as they keep the smell inside for the most part during the process. This is probably your best bet if you live in an apartment setting and have nosey concerned neighbours who are likely to complain about an overpowering smell of cannabis emanating from your home.
- Preheat oven to 250°F
- Place your broken-up or ground cannabis in the mason jar
- Screw the top on tight. The tighter the seal the less smell!
- 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.
Go Forth And Bake
Now that you are armed with several methods of how to decarb cannabis you can grab a fresh sack, decarb it and bake yourself or your friends and loved ones some yummy and powerfully potent THC treats! Or you can skip all the work if you like and buy some cannabis concentrates, weed candy, thc capsules, pre-rolled cannabis or enjoy some of our special $15 shatter!