Raw cannabis contains a lot of THCA which is not psychoactive (and what’s the fun in that?). When you smoke weed, the THCA molecule loses its carboxylic group (COOH) in the form of water vapor and carbon dioxide and becomes THC. Long story short, THCA becomes THC and your cannabis becomes psychoactive. This process is called decarboxylation or decarbing.
When you smoke or vaporize marijuana, the cannabis is decarbed by the heat. If you ingest cannabis and want the full psychoactive effect, you need to first decarb your cannabis before you cook with it.
The lower the temperature, the longer it’s going to take to decarb your cannabis. Keep in mind that a lower temperature will allow you to lose less terpenes.
What are Terpenes?
Terpenes are the pungent oils that color your cannabis with distinctive flavors such as berry, mint, citrus and pine. There are many medicinal benefits to terpenes; some will successfully relieve your stress while others will promote focus and awareness.
Table: Decarboxylation Temperatures and Times
|Temperature||Heating Mode||Plant Material Time||Kief / Hash Time||Cannabis Oil|
|310F||Oven||10 – 18 minutes||5 – 10 minutes|
|250F||Hot oil bath||Until bubbles taper off|
|240F||Oven||50 – 60 minutes||30 – 40 minutes|
|212F||Boiling water bath||90 minutes||90 minutes|
Tip: Grind your cannabis first! A course grind will allow your weed to evenly dry without losing potency from over grinding.
- Preheat your oven (see table above). Use an oven thermometer to check the temperature.
- Sprinkle your cannabis in a pie plate and then cover it well with silver foil by crimping the foil along the edge of the plate.
- Place in the oven (see table above) – less time for older drier material, more for fresher material.
- After required time, turn the oven off, and remove cannabis. Let it cool down slowly before you unseal the container to allow any cannabinoid/terpenes vapor to reabsorb into the cannabis.
- Preheat oven (see table)
- Sprinkle hash/keif on pie plate, cover with silver foil and crimp foil along edge of plate. Place sealed dish in oven for (see table).
- Remove plate and let it cool down slowly without removing cover to allow any vapors to reabsorb into cannabis.
Boiling Bag method:
- Place the cannabis flower/keif/hash into a boilable cooking pouch. Seal it.
- Place in boiling water for 90 minutes. Make sure water does not boil dry.
- Take bag out of water. Let it slowly cool before opening.
- Place heat proof container of cannabis oil into a cooking oil bath (canola oil works well). Heat cooking oil to 121C/250F.
- Stir cannabis oil to break up bubbles.
- Remove cannabis oil from heat when bubble formation starts to slow down — or leave on heat until all bubbles stop for increased sedative effect.