If you have never experimented with cannabis in the kitchen, you probably know little about cannabis decarboxylation.
Whether you choose to make pot brownies or try out preparing homemade cannabutter, you need to decarb weed first. But how to decarb marijuana? Why is it important? Is it possible at home? Worry not.
If you want to learn how to decarb weed like a pro, you have clicked your way to the right spot.
I have also shared a few useful tips on cannabis decarboxylation, along with its importance. So let’s dig in.
What Is Decarboxylation?
Decarboxylation, aka decarbing, is a process by which the chemical compounds in cannabis plants are activated.
For example, the psychoactive compound THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is present in an inactive form of THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) in cannabis flowers.
THCA does not give you the ‘high,’ although it does have a few anti-inflammatory properties.
Therefore, the cannabis plant’s careful heating to a certain temperature removes the carboxyl group (COOH) from THCA, releasing carbon dioxide and leaving behind THC in its active form.
Similarly, CBD(cannabidiol) strain exists as CBDA (cannabidiolic acid) in the trichomes and leaves of cannabis plants.
CBD is not psychoactive, but this compound plays its role in salves, tinctures, and ointments to relieve pain and treat acne.
So if you make one of these at home from weed, you won’t be reaping many CBD benefits unless you decarb cannabis first.
Why Is It Necessary To Decarb Weed?
Decarbing weed not only makes cannabinoids (CBD and THC) active, but it also reduces the risk of botulism (an infectious disease that causes the weakening of muscles and facial nerve paralysis).
The bacteria that cause this disease grows in canna oil and butter over the passage of time.
Therefore, decarboxylation of weed beforehand kills these bacteria, making them safe for use.
When To And When Not To Decarb Pot?
If you roll joints or fill up your vapes, you don’t need to decarb weed in advance. Because when you light it up, the high temperatures of heat convert the cannabinoids to their active forms.
However, when you make butter or oil or try to make tinctures or salves, decarbing weed is necessary. The same goes for pot brownies and cannabis gummies.
How To Decarb Weed Like A Pro: Step By Step Guide
Following are the four methods for decarboxylation of weed that you can apply at home. They are all easy and require little skill.
1. Oven Method
This method is pretty simple, and you can use it if you want to decarb marijuana in bulk.
Things You’ll Need:
- An electric or gas oven
- Baking sheet/ parchment paper
- Baking tray (with raised edges)
- Oven mittens
- Wooden spoon
- Cannabis (flowers, nugs, buds, trimmings)
Step 1: Preheat the Oven
You need to preheat your oven to a temperature of 235℉ or 180℃ for about 15 minutes before placing the weed inside.
Skipping this step will not heat the oven’s insides properly, so carboxylation might not occur due to inadequate temperature.
Also, make sure you place the oven rack in the middle, as this part of the oven receives an adequate amount of heat, reducing the chances of burning.
Step 2: Prepare the Baking Tray
Now, lay parchment paper on a baking tray. Break your cannabis into smaller pieces, about half-inch pieces.
You don’t need to grind the pieces too small, or they might burn. Now lay these pieces on the parchment paper, spreading them well.
Step 3: Baking and Waiting
Now place the tray in the oven, and set the alarm for 40 minutes.
After 15 minutes, remove the tray from the oven, stir the weed with a wooden spoon gently, and place it back in the oven. (don’t forget to wear oven mitts)
Step 4: Remove the Baking Tray
After the alarm goes off, wear your oven mitts and remove the tray from the oven. Your marijuana should look golden and toasty.
Place it on the countertop and allow it to cool for about 30 minutes to room temperature. Your decarbed weed is ready for use.
Note: If you are using fresh marijuana instead of dried weed, it might take about 90 minutes to decarb it.
2. Crock-Pot Method
This method is useful when making canna oil to use in cooking edibles or as therapeutic oil.
Things You Will Need:
- An electric slow cooker/crock-pot
- Olive oil/coconut oil
- Liquid measuring cup
- Weighing scale
- Dry cannabis (flowers, nugs, trims, etc.)
- Wooden spoon
Step 1: Measure the Ingredients
The first step is to measure the ingredients for adequate decarboxylation.
You need about 433 milliliters of oil, which you can take out using a measuring cup. And measure out about 64 ounces of dry cannabis using the weighing scale.
Step 2: Setting the Crock-Pot
Now put the oil in the crock-pot, and add the cannabis to it. Follow by giving it a stir using the wooden spoon. Then, set the cooker on high for one hour and close the lid.
Step 3: Lowering the Temperature
After one hour has passed, set the crock-pot at a low setting and fix the time for another two hours. Do not open the crock pot during the entire process, as this will affect the decarbing.
Step 4: Removing the Oil
In the end, remove the oil mixture from the slow cooker and keep it in a bowl to let it cool to room temperature. After about 20 minutes, place a strainer across another bowl and line it with a cheesecloth.
Pour the mixture through the cloth to separate the cannabis pieces from the oil. Your decarbed, cannabis-infused oil is ready.
3. Mason Jar Method
Don’t know how to decarboxylate weed without an oven or a slow cooker? Use a mason jar and your stovetop.
Things You’ll Need:
- Heavy based pot
- Wide mason jar with lid
- Dried cannabis
- Kitchen thermometer
Step 1: Prepare the Cannabis
Break up your cannabis trims or buds into smaller pieces; make sure you have the dried-out marijuana here.
Step 2: Fill the Mason Jar
Now, place the cannabis pieces in the jar. (you can fill the jar to the top, but it’s preferable if you fill it only halfway). Then close the lid of the jar tightly.
Step 3: Setting the Pot
Now place a heavy-based pot on a stovetop and put the mason jar in the center of the pot. Fill the pot with water till it reaches about half of the jar. Now turn on the stovetop, and set the heat at low to medium-low.
Then, you can leave it to simmer for about 90 minutes. (keep an eye on the water, as you don’t want all the water to evaporate, which can end up cracking your mason jar)
Step 4: Checking the Temperature
You need to check the temperature of the water from time to time when using this method. To do so, dip the tip of the kitchen thermometer inside the simmering pot of water, making sure it doesn’t exceed 200℉.
(In case it does, remove the pot from the stove to lower the water’s temperature, and set the heat to the lowest before placing the cooled pot again)
Step 5: Removing the Mason Jar
After 90 minutes, remove the pot from the stovetop and allow it to cool. Once the water has cooled, remove the jar from the pot.
Now you have got decarbed weed in a jar, which you can store as it is or use as required.
4. Plastic Bag Method
Want to know how to decarb weed on the stovetop without a mason jar? You can use a regular plastic bag. However, you need to check on it now and then.
Things You’ll Need:
- Clear plastic bag (oven roasting bag or plain storage bags would do)
- String/rubber band
- Kitchen thermometer
Step 1: Preparing the Cannabis
Firstly, you need to grind up your dried cannabis material to a coarse powder. You can use buds, nugs, flowers, etc., for this method.
If you don’t have a grinder, you can also grind the cannabis by placing it in a ziplock bag and crushing it with a rolling pin.
Step 2: Fill the Bag
Now, put the crushed cannabis in the plastic bag, making sure you don’t fill it up too much. Because during the boiling process, air will accumulate in the bag, and if the bag is filled to the top, the bag might burst open.
So place only a small quantity of cannabis in the bag, loading almost a quarter of it.
Tie the bag up using a string or rubber band, making sure you don’t pack too much air inside. (deflate the bag by applying pressure on the ballooned area, and then tighten the rubber band further)
Step 3: Boil the Bag
Now place a pot on the stovetop and add plenty of water to it. Put the bag in it and turn the heat to high. Once the water starts boiling, set the alarm for 90 minutes. You’ll notice the bag will slowly inflate after a few minutes.
Keep an eye on the water level during the entire time to not let all the water evaporate, or your bag will burn if it touches the bottom of the pot.
Step 4: Remove the Bag
Once the time is up, remove the pot from the stove. Let it cool completely, and then take the bag out of the water. Then, allow it to cool further, for about 15 minutes.
Afterward, slowly open the bag, allow the steam to escape, and remove the decarbed cannabis. It’s ready for use.
How to Decarb Weed Without Smell?
When you decarb in the oven, your whole house can smell of weed. Plus, you can have neighbors finding out what you are cooking!
So, opt for the mason jar and plastic bag method to decarb without smell. They conceal in the aroma throughout the entire process, thanks to the lids and tight rubber knots.
You can also use a weed butter maker as levo 2.
How Long To Decarb Weed?
Decarbing pot requires time and patience. But what if you are in a hurry? Can’t you just turn the oven temperature to the highest setting and bake up the marijuana in only five minutes?
Unfortunately, that is not an option (no, you won’t be finding anything on ‘how to decarb weed in five minutes’ anywhere on the internet either).
Heat can destroy the valuable terpenes and cannabinoids in marijuana, leaving nothing behind. But low temperatures and an appropriate time save the cannabis from getting burned and losing its properties.
So whatever method you use for decarbing, the temperature should not exceed 200℉. And exactly how long to decarb weed? It depends upon what procedure you are applying.
I recommend you follow the exact instructions, time, and temperature settings I mentioned in the methods above, to save you confusion.
How To Decarboxylate Weed: Useful Tips
- When decarbing weed in the oven, make sure you don’t leave the oven door open for too long while checking. So when you remove the baking tray to stir the weed halfway through the baking, don’t forget to close the oven door immediately.
- Every time you check the water with a thermometer, it’s safer to wear oven mitts. This will protect your hands from scalds or burn accidents.
- If you can’t find a mason jar, any old marmalade jar would do. Just wash it thoroughly and dry it up before using it.
- If you want to use cannabis flowers directly in your pot brownies recipe, you need to decarb them first. Baking your brownies doesn’t decarb the added cannabis because the different ingredients like butter prevent its proper heating.
- Using decarbed cannabutter and oil in cooking and baking (adding further heat) doesn’t burn the useful cannabinoids. So it is safe to use decarbed fats for sauteing and frying too.
Last Thoughts about “Decarbing Weed”
Knowing how to decarboxylate weed at home gives the advantage of bringing all the goodness of cannabis into your daily life.
Instead of buying expensive cannabis oils and edibles from the store, you can decarb weed at home and use it however you may like. This is a necessary step you need to cover if you’re preparing the weed for cooking with it yourself.