Decarboxylating Cannabis for Edibles, and Oils

October 2, 2019 7 By Canna_Educator_

Decarboxylating cannabis for edibles and oils, is an important step in getting the best out of your crop. With the rise in popularity of cannabis edibles, more and more people are getting high or medicating with cannabis by adding it to their food.

Before you make cannabis edibles, you should ensure your cannabis is decarboxylated, if it isn’t, you will only be receiving a small amount of the active ingredients.

For the full effect you want from your edibles, decarboxylating is a must! It is easy to do, and it will improve the effects from your edibles massively!

Here is a simple, easy to follow guide on decarboxylating cannabis for edibles and oils. It will help you understand why decarbing is important, and take you through how to do it, step by step.

If you need any extra help or advice with decarboxylating cannabis, then feel free to post a question in our cannabis growers forum!

Contents

What is Decarboxylating Cannabis

When cannabis is heated, decarboxylation takes place. The levels of cannabinoids like THC and CBD are very low in a cannabis plant, until it is heated. When a bud is heated, decarboxylation occurs, and the conversion of cannabinoids takes place.

Heating the buds will remove carboxylic acids, and convert inactive cannabinoids such as CBDA and THCA into a more psychoactive compound THC and CBD.

When cannabis is smoked, it is heated when it is lit. This causes the cannabinoids to convert into their more psychoactive counter parts. But when making edibles and oils, sometimes you will not use any heat, and THCA and CBDA will not be able to convert to THC and CBD.

This is why decarboxylating cannabis before you use it for for edibles and oils is important.

THCA and THC

THCA is a less active compound than THC. Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) is converted into THC when it is heated. THCA will have little psychoactive effect on you, and only when the cannabis is decarboxylated, will it turn into the active cannabinoid THC.

CBDA and CBD

CBD is another well known cannabinoid. It doesn’t have a psychoactive effect to it, but has been shown to have many medicinal properties.

CBDA and CBD differ slightly in their medicinal properties, so in some cases, CBDA might be better option for you than CBD.

The same process occurs with CBDA as with THCA and THC, when it is heated, the carboxylic acid is released, and it is converted into CBD.

Why Decarboxylating Cannabis is Important

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If the cannabis you use, isn’t decarbed, the cannabinoids will not be able to convert to their more psychoactive compounds, and the effect from the cannabis will be minimal.

Decarboxylating cannabis is a great way to increase the potency before you ingest it. It is easy to do, and it will really make a huge difference, especially if you’re using cannabis in edibles.

Smoking and Vaping Cannabis

When cannabis is smoked, or vaped, the buds will be heated to a level where they vaporise, or combust. Because this takes heat, it decarboxylates the cannabis whilst it is burning.

Though smoking and vaping will decarb your cannabis, it will not be able to fully decarboxylate it. For best results, it should be heated slowly, for a long period of time.

So even if you only smoke cannabis, decarb some before you smoke some next, and see they difference in the effect it has on you.

Cannabis Edibles

Eating cannabis, or any cannabis extracts, can have different effects on people. Some people claim to be hit really hard by it, some don’t feel much at all. This can be down to the fact that the cannabis was not decarboxylated before it was used to make the edibles.

Even when you’re going to use the cannabis in something you cook, it should be decarboxylated first to get the best results.

What you need to Decarboxylate Cannabis

Decarboxylating cannabis is easy, and it doesn’t take very long. You only need a few things to do it too:

1: Cannabis
You can use buds, sugar leaf or keif. If you are using buds, then you should break the buds into small pieces before decarbing them

2: Baking Tray
Something to put the cannabis onto whilst it is decarboxylating in the oven

3: Parchment/ Greaseproof Paper
This will be placed on top of the baking tray, and then the cannabis will be placed on top of it, in a fine even layer

4: An Oven
An electric or gas oven will be fine. You should preheat it before adding the cannabis on the tray into the oven

How to Decarboxylate Cannabis

Here is an awesome video guide to decarbing from Cloudy Kitchen! Decarbing is real easy to do, this video is a few minutes long and will give you all the info you need to decarb your cannabis:

Preheat Your Oven

Before putting your cannabis into the oven, you want to ensure the oven is preheated. When your cannabis goes into the oven, you want all of the heat working on decarbing, not heating up the oven.

Preheat the oven to

230F ( 105°c)
If using a gas oven, this will be about half way up to gas mark one! Very low.

By preheating you ensure the buds will be heated evenly, at the correct temperature, for the correct amount of time.

Break Buds Down

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Break down the buds, but do not grind them. You don’t want the layer to be too thin, but rather have the buds small enough for heat to disperse evenly through them.

If the buds are too big, then the inside will not be decarbed to the same level as the outside. For a nice even result, the buds should be broken down before placing them into the oven.

Place Buds Evenly on a Tray

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After placing a layer of parchment paper over your baking tray, you can lay your buds evenly across it. Don’t pile it into heaps, or have a thick layer. Just a thin, even layer spread out across the baking tray.

Bake in the Oven

With the oven preheated at the correct temperature ( 240°F), you can now place the baking tray, with the cannabis on it, into the oven.

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If the cannabis you’re decarboxylating is dry, then you should bake it in the oven for around 20-25 mins.

If you are using cannabis that is wet, and has just been harvested, you should add an additional 20 minutes to the time in the oven to ensure it fully dries out.

Remove and Let it Cool

After the correct amount of time in the oven (25 minutes for dry buds, 45 minutes for wet buds) your decarbed cannabis will need to stand for ten minutes to cool down.

Once the cannabis is cooled, you can use it for edibles and oils, and it will be much more potent.

When You Should Decarboxylate Cannabis

If you’re using cannabis for oils or edibles, then you should decarboxylate it first. You can even try decarboxylating cannabis when you’re smoking it. Though the THCA does get converted into THC when you smoke and vape cannabis, it isn’t as efficient as it could be.

By decarbingiting your cannabis, you will see a huge improvement in the potency, especially if you’re using it for edibles and oils that do not use heat in the process of making it.

I hope this guide helps you. If there is anything we didn’t cover, or any extra questions you have, then sign up to our cannabis growers forum and ask a question. We are always happy to help.

Thanks for reading!