Weed Decarboxylation: How to Decarb Weed in 4 Easy Ways

Weed Decarboxylation

Written and Fact Checked by: S. Zulfiqar

One of the many ways to enjoy cannabis is by snacking on edibles. Edibles are sweets, confections, cookies, brownies, etc., infused with THC. They are more potent; hence, the ‘go low go slow’ slogan for them. However, before you can make those yummy goodnesses, you need to decarb your weed.

What is weed decarbing? What is so special about it? How can it be done? Well, this article will teach you how to decarb weed and everything you need to know about the process.

What Is Weed Decarbing?

Despite what the movies show, eating a bag of dry cannabis flowers will not get you lit. That is because the psychoactive substances in the dry plant materials of cannabis are inactive.

Decarboxylation is the process of using heat to activate cannabinoids so they can interact with the body’s receptors and induce psychoactivity. In this process, THCA and CBDA will convert to THC and CBD. You need to do this process before consuming cannabis in any form besides smoking and vaping. Example: edibles, tinctures, salves, oils, salves, etc.

Decarboxylation, aka decarbing, should be done slowly at a low temperature to preserve cannabinoid quality. According to experts, 110-121°C is the optimal temperature for this. You can do this using an oven, bain-marie, sous vide or microwave. Timing ranges from 3 to 120 minutes, depending on the technique you choose.

We know this all sounds sciencey but don’t worry, it’s pretty simple. So, let’s discuss how to decarb weed with the following methods.

Using Oven
Using Oven

1. Using An Oven

Decarbing with an oven is called baking. This method is widely used because it requires little supervision. It is also a favourite because of the uniform distribution of heat.

If your desired product is THC, bake for 40 minutes. If it is CBD, bake for 80-90 minutes. Anything higher, and you risk destroying the cannabinoids and terpenes.

It might be in your best interest to have a digital oven-safe thermometer. This device would give you accurate temperature measurements. Also, opening the oven during the process should be minimal.

Steps

  1. Preheat the oven to 116°C.
  2. Select and weigh your cannabis strain.
  3. Break up flowers/buds into smaller pieces, remove any stems or seeds. If you wish to grind it up, do so loosely. You will have to monitor the ground cannabis closely to keep it from burning.
  4. Spread the cannabis on a sheet-lined baking tray evenly. Ensure that there are no clumps.
  5. Cover tray with lid or tin foil.
  6. Put the tray in the oven and close the door.
  7. Bake for 40 minutes for THC or 90 minutes for CBD. Your cue is a golden brown colour and robust fragrance.
  8. Remove the tray from the oven and let cool with the lid on.
  9. Use decarbed cannabis or store it in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for later.

microwave

2. Using A Microwave

You can also decarb your cannabis by ‘baking’ in a microwave. This method is swift, easy and you run no risk of burning your flowers in the microwave. Some people believe that microwave heat can denature terpenes and cannabinoids. However, you can tell from the resulting smell and effect that it gets the job done to an extent.

Steps

  1. Select and weigh your cannabis strain.
  2. Break up flowers into smaller pieces. You can also grind but be sure to monitor closely during the process.
  3. Spread out thinly on a flat plate.
  4. Cover plate with a lid. Please do NOT use tin foil in the microwave.
  5. Heat for 3 minutes at medium power.
  6. Take out the plate and allow it cool with the lid on.
  7. Use decarbed cannabis or store it in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for later.

baine marie

3. Using A Bain-Marie

Decarbing with a bain-marie uses the principle of double boiling. This method is not a favourite for two reasons. One, it’s time and labour intensive. Two, there is the possibility of heat being distributed unevenly among the buds.

You will need a vacuum packer, thermometer, plastic bag, and saucepan.

Steps

  1. Select and weigh your buds.
  2. Break the buds up. Do NOT grind them. The bits for this have to be larger than those in the methods above.
  3. Pack the bits into a plastic bag and seal the bag up with the aid of the vacuum packer.
  4. Bring water in a saucepan to boil.
  5. On boiling, reduce the heat so that the temperature is no more than 95°C.
  6. Place the sealed bag in the pan and let cook for 1 hour.
  7. Take out the bag, let it cool, then dry it.
  8. Use or store.

sous vide

4. Using A Sous Vide

The sous vide method uses a low-temperature long-time technique. Despite being time and cost-intensive, it ensures uniform distribution of heat and odourless. It also preserves the terpene profile, flavour and quality of the weed.

This method requires a ziplock bag or mason jar, container and immersion circulator.

Steps

  1. Select and weigh your buds.
  2. Grind them into a fine dust.
  3. Fill the mason jar or bag up with the cannabis dust.
  4. Fill a container (or saucepan) with water and place the immersion circulator in it.
  5. Skip to step 6 if using a jar. Seal the bag up with a vacuum packer or using water displacement (Zip-up 80% of the bag and gently lower it into the container. When the water level is almost at the zip, close completely). PS: you can weigh it down with tongs.
  6. Set the immersion circulator to 90°C and wait 2 hours.
  7. Remove the bag or jar, let cool for 15 minutes, then wipe water.
  8. Use or transfer your decarbed weed into an airtight container and store it in a cool, dry place.

Conclusion

If you’re working with wax, we suggest oven baking at 110°C for 45 minutes.

There you have it, step-by-step guides showing you how to decarb weed with several methods. We hope this article will be of great help to whatever process you choose. Happy 420!

 

Related stories: Do You Really Know How to Eat Shrooms, The Best Practices for Storing Cannabis, Beginner’s Guide to Cannabis Edibles

Sources:

  1. Extractions of Medical Cannabis Cultivars and the Role of Decarboxylation in Optimal Receptor Responses. Accessed April 11, 2021, at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6757234/
  2. Decarboxylation of Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid to THC. Accessed April 11, 2021, at https://eiha.org/media/2014/08/16-10-25-Decarboxylation-of-THCA-to-active-THC.pdf
  3. Cannabis Terpenes. Accessed April 11, 2021, at https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/25/24/5792/htm

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