Decarboxylation is one of the most essential and key step to making great edibles that are potent and delicious. This step cannot be looked over and has to be done before you make any sort of butter, oils, or tinctures. Without this step your edibles are going to just be normal food that won’t give you the sort of psychoactive effects that most people are interested in.
What is Decarboxylation
Decarboxylation is the process of heating your cannabis up to activate the THC molecules in your cannabis. For those that don’t know, the THC molecule is the ingredient that will give you the feeling of being “high”. Without decarboxylation the natural compound THC-A will not be able to transform into THC.
So how exactly does the decarboxylation process work? Well let’s get a little scientifical (I know that’s not a word. it’s just supposed to be a joke… HAHAHA its funny, right?). Decarboxylation is really a lot more simple than you might think. The process is simply a chemical reaction that removes a carboxyl group and releases carbon dioxide (CO2).
As far as cannabis is concerned, decarboxylation removes the COOH group from the THC-A molecule by releasing H2O (water) and CO2 (carbon dioxide), turning it into the psychoactive molecule known as THC.
This process happens instantly when you burn the cannabis flower in order to smoke it, but the process has to be done beforehand for it to make edibles work the way you would like them too. It does happen somewhat naturally in the heating process when making something such as cannabis butter, but it only works to a certain degree. Whereas when you decarboxylate it first you are able to make sure that you get the most out of your cannabis, effectively reducing waste and increasing the potency.
How Long and How Hot
This is a huge question. How long should I cook it and at what temperature. I spent a little bit of time browsing the web looking for the best answers that people had for how to get the most effective results. I can tell you that there were some pretty crazy answers out there. I found answers ranging from one end of the spectrum to the other, but luckily I was able to come across this great article by Marijuana Growers HQ.
In this article they did an experiment in which they cooked both kief and cannabis flower at 240°F for a duration of 30 min and 60 min and tested the molecules in the cannabis to see what times were the most effective.
The first thing you might be wondering is why did they choose 240°. Well the vaporization temperature of THC ranges from 246.2°F to 435.2°F. So you want to make sure that your cannabis stays below that temperature threshold to make sure that you don’t start to actually burn off the THC that you are trying to activate. And here are the results that they came out with.
|Compound||Before decarb||30 min decarb||60 min decarb|
|Compound||before decarb||30 min decarb||60 min decarb|
As you can see, the results of the test shows that 30 minutes was not enough time to activate all of the THC and will actually cause you to waste a portion of the cannabis. So it seems to be the most effective way to go about this process it to cook your cannabis at 240° for 60 minute. This time can be adjusted depending on the moisture content in your flower but 60 minutes seems to be the most effective time.
In the end it has been decided that the best way to decarboxylate your cannabis is to cook it at 240° for 60 min. So here is how you go about it exactly in more of a recipe format to make it simple.
- Preheat your oven to 240°.
- Cover your baking sheet in foil and spread any amount of your cannabis flower (grinded) or your kief onto it.
- Put a layer of foil over the top of you cannabis and put it into the oven.
- Wait for 60 minutes and remove.
Note: It is best to keep a thermometer in the oven since conventional ovens tend to not hold temperature well and do seem to differ from the temperature that you have set. You want to make sure that it does not go over the 246° threshold so it doesn’t burn the cannabis.
Thank you for reading and I hope it helped!