Making your edibles at home can be a convenient method to take in cannabis. Whether you use it for medical or recreational purposes, oils and edibles make the process simple when you need it the most.
However, despite being easy to consume, the buds need to go through a decarboxylation process first.
Decarbing is a process that taps into the potency of raw cannabis to produce a stronger version. The method alters the chemical structure of the compounds within the cannabinoid, to create something more intense.
Normally, when cannabis is first harvested, the molecular structure has an extra molecular chain attached to it. This chain is known as a carboxyl ring or COOH. Decarboxylation removes this ring changing the compound from a THCA to a THC (or a CBDA to a CBD).
This process can happen naturally, but it takes a long time. Adding heat to the process allows us to get to the THC/CBD stage faster.
Smoking weed ignites the THC/CBD decarboxylation process, but when you’re creating oils or edibles you don’t set the buds alight. This means you need to activate this process beforehand.
Why Do You Need To Decarb Your Weed?
Without the decarboxylation process, you cannot receive the THC or “high” that you expect from cannabis. Eating a raw cannabis flower will give you nothing but a dry mouth. The CBD that medical users are after, doesn’t exist without decarbing first.
As we said before, the buds start off as THCA and CBDA. It’s the chemical reaction of heat that changes it from a drab flower to anxiety-relieving medication.
The buds you normally receive won’t have gone through the decarb process yet, as it is expected to occur when lighting weed in smoking form. Unless you already have treated cannabis, you will have to decarb the bud before using it as an oil or edible. Otherwise, you will not be receiving the desired effect.
Quick Guide To Temperature And Decarbing
Generally speaking, here are the time scales and temperatures needed to decarboxylate your cannabis:
Changing THCA To THC
Bake the flower for 40 minutes at 240 degrees Fahrenheit or 116 degrees Celsius.
Changing CBDA To CBD
Bake the flower for 90 minutes at 240 degrees Fahrenheit or 116 degrees Celsius.
Changing THC To CBN
Bake the flower for 180 minutes at 240 degrees Fahrenheit or 116 degrees Celsius.
Changing CBGA To CBG
Bake the flower for 60 minutes at 220 degrees Fahrenheit or 104 degrees Celsius.
Two Methods To Decarb With Heat
There are two methods to decarb cannabis. The first is to buy a tool like the LEVO II. As you can expect the LEVO II is a decarboxylation machine that can produce the exact temperatures you need. This along with other premade machines are dishwasher safe and can manipulate your buds into whatever form you need. They make the process quick, easy, and repeatable, as all you need to do is press a couple of buttons.
The second method is to use what you already have in your kitchen – your oven.
As you can see from the times and temperatures above, you need to put the cannabis on a low heat for a long period of time. The heat and temperature are important to get the correct result, but you cannot forget the original categorization too. If you use the CBDA time on THCA then you won’t get the outcome you desire.
The goal is to heat the flower without burning or destroying it. The flavonoids and terpenes should be intact by the end of this process.
THCA dominant flowers don't need as much time to decarb as CBDAs. This is because of the amount of terpene attached to each bud. The terpene is what holds the effects you are looking for, so if you are using a bud with a lot of terpenes, then you know it needs less time to reach the decarboxylation.
No matter which method you use, you need to maintain the temperature to stop the heat from destroying the buds. This is where decarboxylation machines have the upper hand. The manufacturers know how important stable heat is, and so don’t allow for fluctuating temperatures. Traditional ovens, however, can dip between 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit as it tries to stay close to your desired temperature.
Although decarboxylation sounds extremely scientific and technical, it’s all about baking your buds at the right temperature. It might take you a while to get the balance right, especially if you are using an oven. But once you’ve reached a blissful heat, it’s smooth eating from here.