Sometimes you may happen along someone talking seeming nonsense about decarbing weed. However silly the expression may sound, it’s a very real thing when we are trying to make edibles or tinctures or teas.
So what does it mean? Well, THC is the component of weed which gets you high, right? It’s the most psychedelic component of weed, it’s the one that gets you straight tripping. The other cannabinoids are important to create differences between strains, but the THC is the potency, as we know it.
The thing is, the THC that you inhale from a bong or spliff is actually found on bud in a different form, THC-A. Only by combusting the bud – adding a significant amount of heat, does the THC-A decarboxylate, and turn into THC.
Unfortunately, THC-A doesn’t really have any psychoactive properties. That’s why you need to decarb weed, because you don’t want to really be making edibles that are full of THC-A. While they may be useful medicinally, and give you a little body buzz, it’s not going to get you very high, if at all.
Decarb Weed in the Oven
Decarbing weed is pretty straight forward. THC-A gets converted with heat of or above 220 F (105 C). Baking it in the oven is perhaps the cheapest and easiest way to do it. If you don’t have an oven, a toaster oven works too, or a crockpot. The crockpot will take a bit – or a lot – longer though.
- Bust the Weed
Some people say that the weed has to be busted up, others say you can decarb weed in full nug form. I’ve found that the full nug method does definitely work, but something tells me that fully ground flower will get better results.
Grinding the weed too fine will definitely cause it to burn before any of the weed gets decarboxylated. Therefore, try to maybe break it up a little bit, but still leave some chunks of weed big enough to withstand the heat.
- Apply parchment/foil, and spread weed evenly
One thing is for sure, you need an oven tray with parchment – or aluminum foil – on it. Preheat the oven to at least 220F (105 C), you can safely go up to around 240 F (115 C). In terms of time, anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour is your range. This will depend on how hard you want to bake it, and how hot you’re baking.
- Cook for 30 minutes to an hour
Lower temps will need to be pushed for a bit longer, whereas cooking at 240 could be done in 30m-35m easy depending on the over. At any rate, I wouldn’t cook for longer than an hour, as the more delicate terps begin to decay at this point, and you risk losing some of the good stuff.
In a crockpot, you will have to slowly cook for many hours, and let it blast at full setting for at least 50 minutes. Crockpots take a long time, but they do make some pretty nice product. Some people will let it cook on lowest setting for up to 18 hours! That method makes some good product.
Other Ways to Decarb Weed
So, we know heat will decarb weed, and now we know how long to cook the weed for. What else will decarb weed? Well, time actually decomposes THC-A somewhat. The curing of weed does tend to get the decarb process started, especially if you are one to cure weed for a month plus.
The use of solvents can sometimes help. For example, using certain oil additives in the crockpot can assist in decarbing weed.
However, concentrates are generally not decarboxylated, and are still mostly THC-A. Butane hash oil for example, does not get decarbed from the butane, as some people tend to think.
Heat and time are the two only ways to decarb weed.
Now, there are some great poducts out nowadays which can help you get a 100% THC-A to THC conversion, without wasting any due to decay. Check out the Nova Decarboxylator, or the Magical Butter Machine if you would like to make decarbed butter, tinctures, and lotions easy.
Decay of Terpenes
Unfortunately, with heat and time comes the decay of other terpenes as well, not just THC-A into THC. You will want to preserve as many of these other cannabinoids as you possibly can, so always cook at a lower range, don’t over-do it.
Cooking at 300 F, while it might feel good to roast the weed and know you’re getting full conversion, will actually destroy other compounds. This can result in a bad taste, reduced positive features of smell and body buzz, and can also even destroy THC.
Taking it at a slower pace with a little bit lower temperature (under 240F) is the way to go for sure. Some people reference this chart:
But it’s BS. It was done on a weed extract, by heating it on a hot plate. Using nugs in an oven is a lot different. Besides, the chart is not really helpful, is it?
To get the perfect decay of THC-A into THC without destroying other terpenes, follow this chart:
It should be noted that as THC-A turns in to THC, and CBD-A turns to CBD,
Decarboxylation of CBD
You might think, with all this talk about unleashing psychedelic effects, that medical cannabis to be eaten does not need to be decarbed. That’s wrong, because CBD is also inactive in its natural form, CBD-A.
Some people say that upon going through the liver, CBD-A is metabolized into CBD, and then the medicinal effects are available. However, the body needs to exert effort to do this, and there will be no “rush” of freely available CBD to medicate the body, it will be made slowly and manually.
Therefore, you will want to follow the same guidelines for decarbing CBD as was listed for decarbing THC. The same rules apply to both chemicals.
I think that just about covers it, don’t you? I hope that this guide to decarboxylating weed has been resourceful to you. It is a hard process to understand at first, but once you do, it makes a lot of sense, and will help you make fantastic edibles.
At the end of the day, don’t over-think it, just take my guidelines to start, and experiment. Watch the weed close so it doesn’t burn, and you should do just fine.
Just remember, making edibles out of raw weed won’t do much for you, decarboxylation has to happen first. Enjoy your home made brownies, tinctures, or whatever else you’re making; peace out.