Over the years, pot growers have bred cannabis plants that have more and more of what we love most, THC. When we vaporize or smoke it, all that wonderful psycho-active substance gets activated and absorbed. If you are making edibles, however, there is a very important step that makes the difference between wasted and a complete waste.
Decarbing is short for decarboxylation, or the process of applying a controlled heat to transform THCA into THC. Essential if you want to get the space into your Space Cake and the baked into your baked brownies. Tetrahdrocannabinolic Acid is abundant in the natural form of marijuana, but only a small fraction of it is actually in the form of Tetrahydrocannabinol.
Decarbing is a chemical reaction that releases the carbon dioxide (CO2) from the natural carboxylic acid. Drying causes this to occur naturally, albeit very, very slowly. When cannabis is smoked, vaporized, or in some cases baked into goodies, this process is inherent. Making the most of the herb in your recipes means making the most of your THC! Why use 2 ounces when you only need to use half of 1?
Knowing when to decarb
Making cannabis tinctures does not require heating the plant matter; if you are wanting the psychoactive qualities of THC, you will want to decarb. There are several conditions, however, where large doses of THC are beneficial, but the concentrations would give an overwhelming “high” that might be uncomfortable for some users.
This is where using a non-activated form is a great idea. Many doctors who recommend large doses of THC for medical relief will suggest tinctures or oils for this reason. It allows a medical strength dosage of THC in the form of THCA, without distracting psychoactive effects.
The Line Between Too Little And Too Much
Decarbing you cannabis requires a steady heat, and a controlled temperature for several reasons. If you heat it too little, the process will not take place. Too much, and your plant material will lose all of its oils, terpenes, and THC to evaporation.
The boiling points of the major cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids in cannabis range from 246.2° to 435.2° Fahrenheit. The ideal temperature is just below this range, at 240°F. It is important to note that most ovens heat in a cycle, so a varying internal temperature can occur, especially in gas ovens, or older models with inaccurate thermostats.
The best way to be safe is to use a digital thermostat, and a baking stone to place under your baking tray to stabilize temperature while avoiding opening the oven unless necessary. The process can be completed at lower temperatures to safeguard your herb, as long as you increase your baking time accordingly. To learn more about the decarbing process, go here.
For The Over-Achievers
To dial in the perfect temperature for your decarbing process, here is a list of major cannabinoids and terpenes with their respective boiling points. Now you can dial in the process and know how decarbing will affect not just potency, but the flavors that remain in your particular strain after the process is complete.
Boiling point: 157° C / 314.6° Fahrenheit
Properties: Euphoriant, Analgesic, Anti Inflammatory, Antioxidant, Antiemetic
Boiling point: 160-180°C / 320-356° Fahrenheit
Properties: Anxiolytic, Analgesic, Antipsychotic, Anti Inflammatory, Antioxidant, Antispasmodic
Boiling point: 185°C / 365° Fahrenheit
Properties: Oxidation, breakdown, product, Sedative, Antibiotic
Boiling point: 220° / 428° Fahrenheit
Properties: Anti Inflammatory, Antibiotic, Antifungal
Boiling point: 175-178°C / 347-352.4° Fahrenheit
Properties: Resembles Δ-9-THC, Less psychoactive, More stable Antiemetic
Boiling point: < 220°C / <428° Fahrenheit
Properties: Analgesic, Euphoriant
Terpenoid Essential Oil Components of Cannabis
Boiling point: 166-168°C / 330.8-334.4° Fahrenheit
Properties: Analgesic. Anti Inflammatory, Antibiotic, Antimutagenic
Boiling point: 119°C / 246.2° Fahrenheit
Properties: Anti Inflammatory, Cytoprotective (gastric mucosa), Antimalarial
Boiling point: 177°C / 350.6° Fahrenheit
Properties: Cannabinoid agonist?, Immune potentiator, Antidepressant, Antimutagenic
Boiling point: 198°C / 388.4° Fahrenheit
Properties: Sedative, Antidepressant, Anxiolytic, Immune potentiator
Boiling point: 224°C / 435.2° Fahrenheit
Properties: Memory booster?, AChE inhibitor, Sedative, Antipyretic
Boiling point: 176°C / 348.8° Fahrenheit
Properties: AChE inhibitor, Increases cerebral, blood flow, Stimulant, Antibiotic, Antiviral, Anti Inflammatory, Antinociceptive
Boiling point: 156°C / 312.8° Fahrenheit
Properties: Anti Inflammatory, Bronchodilator, Stimulant, Antibiotic, Antineoplastic, AChE inhibitor
Boiling point: 217-218°C / 422.6-424.4° Fahrenheit
Properties: Sedative, Antibiotic, AChE inhibitor, Antioxidant, Antimalarial
Boiling point: 209°C / 408.2° Fahrenheit
Properties: AChE inhibitor. Antibiotic
Boiling point: 177°C / 350.6° Fahrenheit
Properties: Antibiotic, Anticandidal, AChE inhibitor
Boiling point: 210°C / 410° Fahrenheit
Boiling point: 168*C / 334.4° Fahrenheit
Properties: Anti Inflammatory
Flavonoid and Phytosterol Components of Cannabis
Boiling point: 178°C / 352.4° Fahrenheit
Properties: Anxiolytic, Anti Inflammatory, Estrogenic
Boiling point: 250°C / 482° Fahrenheit
Properties: Antioxidant, Antimutagenic, Antiviral, Antineoplastic
Boiling point: 182°C / 359.6° Fahrenheit
Properties: COX inhibitor, LO inhibitor
Boiling point: 134°C / 273.2° Fahrenheit
Properties: Anti Inflammatory, 5-α-reductase, inhibitor
-Table thanks to marijuanagrowershq.com
What is your favorite flavor profile in your weed? Do you decarb at a specific temperature to preserve or remove flavors? What is your favorite thing to make with decarbed cannabis? Let us know on our social media page or in the comments section below.
His other positions include Co-founder and product design for Cool Vapes and Creative Director for Ergrow Systems.
He is also Founder / President / Creative Director for The Official Cannabis Book of World Records.
Unity through Compassion!