Cannabis used in cooking, edibles and tinctures requires decarboxylation. This is a very important step that is often overlooked. This process is the difference between wondering if that edible will kick in… and questioning when that edible will wear off.
What is decarboxylation?
Decarboxylation is a chemical process that removes a carboxyl group and released carbon dioxide (CO2). By removing a carbon atom from a carbon chain, THCA is converted into pure THC.
THCA (Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid) is found during the growing and harvesting stages and is a precursor of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). THCA has anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects. THC provides the psychoactive effect that makes you feel high. THC is not often found during the growing or recently harvested stages.
If cannabis is used for cooking, edibles of tinctures and the decarboxylation process was not performed the effects won’t be as desired. The final products would be absent of the sought after THC, and instead have high-THCA levels.
The decarboxylation process naturally occurs when using a vaporizer (we review the top ten here), and is the reason you are left with more of a body buzz. Decarboxylation also takes place when cannabis is baked into butter or by adding hash or kief to a recipe to be cooked in the oven.
How can I decarboxylate my cannabis?
This process can be done in the comfort of your own home. There are however many different ways to do this. The easiest way is done simply on a pan in an oven. The process is essentially like drying out a flower or herb. You want to toast it.
To decarboxylate your own cannabis, follow these simple instructions (or watch the video below):
- To start off, preheat your oven to 240◦F (approximately 115.5◦C).
- Make sure you have an oven thermometer to give you an exact reading of the internal oven temperature. This is very important. Depending on the type of cannabis, your timing may vary, so stay close to the oven to look for signs of high heat and burning. A difference of 10◦ could burn the cannabis.
- Break up the cannabis into small pieces, and have it evenly spaced out on a pan or cookie sheet (Rambo from Marijuana Growers Headquarters says a glass Pyrex dish also works too). Spacing the cannabis out is necessary to ensure the heat is evenly distributed, and the cannabis has enough room to breathe.
- Toast the cannabis for a total of forty minutes (again, I can’t stress enough staying close to the oven to watch for burning). Check on your cannabis at twenty minutes, again at thirty, and then take it out at forty (or earlier if needed).
- When you’re checking, make sure not to leave the oven door open for too long as the heat will quickly escape. You can shake around the pan to ensure all of the cannabis is being exposed to the heat.
- The cannabis should go from a vibrant green, to a golden brown/dark green. Once it is done it is activated and ready to go. You may use it to bake or sauté with in your favorite recipes.
Do you have a favorite way to decarboxylate your cannabis? Be sure to share it with us on social media!