Whether you’re new to cannabis use or are an experienced enthusiast, you might’ve heard about decarboxylation and that it is crucial to get the most from weed. But what exactly is decarbing and how can you do it yourself? Find all the answers in our detailed decarboxylation guide.
In This Article
What is Decarboxylation?
Decarboxylating cannabis is a scientific process where you heat it and activate compounds inside the plant.
When you smoke marijuana, you light it on fire or heat it. When you make pot brownies, you heat them. These are the fundamentals behind decarbing cannabis.
Let’s start with some basics. THC and CBD are the leading compounds that produce psychoactive effects in cannabis or cannabis edibles. However, THC and CBD are actually synthesized from THCA and CBDA through high temperatures and the decarbing process.
You can learn how to decarb marijuana at home using simple things like an oven and a baking sheet.
How Does Decarboxylation Work?
THCA and CBDA are found in raw cannabis. If you look at a raw bud, you’ll see crystalline droplets all over the outside. These droplets are trichomes. Cannabis trichomes are glands where flavonoids, terpenes, and cannabinoids are produced. This is where you find THCA and CBDA.
When you decarb cannabis and expose it to heat, the THCA and CBDA lose the “A” (what makes them acidic) at the end of the molecule. This leaves behind THC and CBD.
Why Do You need to Decarboxylate Cannabis?
You need to learn how to decarb marijuana if you want any of the euphoric aspects of THC or the health benefits of CBD. Consuming raw cannabis or edibles that haven’t been decarbed won’t give you the same effects because the plant simply won’t have THC or CBD yet. It needs the chemical reaction of decarboxylating the cannabis flower.
When you put a lighter on your joint, it ignites the cannabis and gives you the THC and CBD you want. However, simply burning instead of decarboxylating cannabis reduces the THC and CBD compounds available.
That means learning how to decarb cannabis can give you better effects from any plants you grow or obtain. It also means you can make any food into an edible by adding things like cannabis-infused oil.
What Is The Best Temperature For Cannabis Decarboxylation?
Temperature matters. When you are learning how to decarb marijuana, you have to take things slow and steady. If you apply higher heat in order to decarb faster, you might not activate the THC or CBD, you might not get as much as you want, and you might burn your weed.
The perfect decarbing temperature for cannabinoids like THC and CBD is between 220° and 240° F.
How Long Should You Decarb Weed?
The length of time that you should decarb your weed for depends on several factors, including the type of product you’re making, the potency of your weed, and the desired end result.
In general, a decarb time of 30 to 45 minutes at a temperature of 220-240°F (104-116°C) is recommended. However, some people prefer to decarb their weed for longer periods of time at lower temperatures to ensure that all of the psychoactive compounds are activated. This can help to ensure that the final product is as potent as possible.
Ultimately, the best way to determine the optimal decarb time for your cannabis is to experiment with different times and temperatures and see what works best for you. Just be sure to keep a close eye on your cannabis while it’s in the oven, and never exceed the recommended temperature range, as this can result in the degradation of the psychoactive compounds and a decrease in potency.
The key is to pick a temperature and monitor the color changes for your raw cannabis. Like watching something caramelize or bake in the oven, you’ll know if it’s too brown and burned.
Is Decarboxylation Necessary for Edibles?
Yes. If you are making edibles that you bake, you can use cannabutter, but otherwise, you’ll need to decarb your cannabis first. If you don’t figure out how to decarb cannabis, uncooked edibles won’t have any of the THC or CBD you want.
How to Decarb Weed in an Oven
You can leave natural marijuana on its own, and the drying and curing process will happen naturally, but there’s no quality control, and that means you don’t know how long it will take (it could take years), and you don’t know how much THC and CBD have been converted from the THCA and CBDA.
Instead, you can learn how to decarb weed in oven bags or baking sheets if you want to expedite the process.
The materials you need include the following:
- Baking sheet
- Oven bags
- Aluminum foil
- Mason jar
- Parchment paper
Materials will differ slightly depending on how you want to decarb your marijuana.
Step-by-Step Guide to Decarboxylation
Here is a simple guide for decarboxylating cannabis in an oven:
- Preheat the oven to 240°F (120°C).
- Grind the cannabis into small, evenly-sized pieces.
- Spread the ground cannabis in a single layer on a baking sheet.
- Cover the baking sheet with aluminum foil to prevent the plant material from drying out.
- Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, stirring the cannabis every 10 minutes.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let it cool.
- The cannabis should now be fully decarboxylated and ready to use.
- Store decarbed weed in a tightly sealed mason jar.
You can also use your oven bags for a similar decarboxylating cannabis process. Oven-safe bags are sold online and at most grocery stores.
- Start by grinding your raw cannabis plant and placing it in an oven bag.
- Tie the oven-safe bag and put it on a baking sheet in the middle of your oven.
- Cook it at the same temperature and for the same length of time.
Tip: If you don’t have a working oven or want to do multiple batches, you can put the ground-up cannabis in the same oven bag and place it in a pot of boiling water. You have to make sure the water remains boiling for 90 minutes. You don’t risk cannabis burning with this method compared to putting it in the oven, but it takes three times as long.
You can also use a mason jar if you don’t want your house to smell like weed. This method still requires your oven at 220 to 240° F.
- Cover a baking sheet with baking paper and a wet towel and put ground cannabis in your Mason jar.
- Lightly screw the mason jar lid on but don’t make it too tight, or it will explode.
- Put the jar on top of the towel and bake it in your oven for 60 minutes.
- Carefully remove it and shake it every 20 minutes and when it’s done, let it cool for at least 30 minutes.
- The mason jar will be extremely hot to the touch, so if you can let it sit for even longer, you reduce the risk of burning your fingers.
Note: It is essential to monitor the temperature closely to ensure that the cannabis does not burn. The time may vary depending on the oven, so it is best to keep a close eye on the process to prevent any waste.
Heather Wilson is a passionate cannabis enthusiast who has dedicated over four years of her life to working as a budtender. With a deep understanding of the difference between marijuana strains, cannabinoids, terpenes, and their effects, she has helped countless customers find the perfect product for their needs.
In addition to her work as a budtender, Heather is also an enthusiastic cook who loves to try new recipes incorporating cannabis. Whether she's whipping up a batch of infused cookies or cooking a delicious meal with cannabis-infused oil, Heather is always eager to explore the culinary possibilities of this versatile plant.
For Heather, cannabis is more than just a recreational substance. She uses it for her health and is an advocate for safe and responsible use. With a strong desire to spread awareness about the benefits of cannabis and fight the stigma that still surrounds marijuana, Heather is a true champion of this misunderstood plant.
Through her work and cooking, Heather is helping to change the conversation around marijuana and show the world that this plant has a lot to offer, both medically and recreationally. Heather joined with Brian to found Concept420 in 2022.