A Beginner's Guide To Decarboxylation
Whether you are a beginner or experienced in the world of cannabis, there is always something new to learn. Even some advanced marijuana enthusiasts may be familiar with the term “decarboxylation” without even really knowing what it means.
At first glance, it’s one of those long, confusing words that seem too scientific to really matter to your situation with cannabis. However, this specific term can apply to everyone who has tried to get the “high” effects from marijuana. If you still aren’t sure what we’re talking about, let’s get started with the basics of decarboxylation.
What Is Decarboxylation?
In the most simple terms, decarboxylation is the process that makes your weed work. By that, we mean that it is what causes the THC components in your cannabis buds to activate and offer the effects most marijuana users look for. While you can enjoy the effects of cannabis in many ways (edibles, smoking, vaping, etc.), some ways just won’t work if you are looking to get high.
That’s why decarboxylation is important! While cannabis edibles offer the same effects as smoking your bud, just eating plain cannabis won’t do the trick. In fact, you could eat more weed than you usually smoke with no effects at all. Why is that? Because this method does not involve decarboxylation.
How Does Decarboxylation Work?
If you want to reap the benefits of the THC in your cannabis, decarboxylation is a necessary process. It sounds complicated, but if you smoke marijuana– you’re already doing it all the time! This is because the process works mainly through two essential factors: temperature (heat) and time.
Decarboxylation activates the THC in your cannabis by converting it from the original form, known as tetrahydrocannabinolic acid– but we just call it THCA for short. THCA is an extremely abundant cannabinoid found on raw cannabis plants. However, it doesn’t provide the benefits of feeling “high” like THC does. Over long periods of time, THCA can naturally convert to THC through decarboxylation. On the other hand, smoking or vaping your cannabis will provide instant results.
So, if you want to get a buzz from your bud, you want to make sure it has transformed the THCA to THC through decarboxylation.
If you plan on decarbing through heated temperature, the THCA will most likely begin to process into THC at a temperature of 220 degrees Fahrenheit (for half an hour). When you are smoking your cannabis, these high temperatures will allow you to inhale these elements so your body can absorb them. After you absorb the cannabinoids is when the “high” feeling will start to occur. However, this process is much quicker when absorbed by the lungs through inhalation, whereas edibles may require some more time.
Making effective cannabis edibles isn’t as easy as stuffing some bud into your sandwich (although that would be convenient). You will have to use temperature and an extended period to complete the decarboxylation process, which you can use to start cooking some marijuana-infused goodies.
A few different methods of at-home decarboxylation include the sous vide method and the oven method.
The Sous Vide Method
If you are an edible enthusiast, decarboxylation is a skill you might want to learn. The sous vide method may sound a little bit fancy or extravagant, and it may be– depending on what you define as fancy. The benefit of this method is that you will be preserving the terpenes on your cannabis to maximize flavor & positive results.
What You Need: An immersion circulator, a large tub, your cannabis, and a vacuum seal bag.
This method essentially allows you to give your cannabis a luxurious bath to promote decarboxylation. It may sound odd, but it’s worth a try! Here’s how it works…
Step 1: Fill your large tub with warm water.
Step 2: Set your immersion circulator to 203 degrees Fahrenheit and put it inside your large tub of water.
Step 3: Grind your cannabis and put it inside your vacuum-sealed bag.
Step 4: Leave your bag of cannabis and the immersion circulator in the tub of water for one and a half hours.
Step 5: Take your bag of bud out of the tub and let it cool for 20 minutes.
The Oven Method
There’s nothing quite like baking your bud for decarboxylation with the oven method. This method is accessible to most people, especially if you don’t have an immersion circulation to try the sous vide method.
What You Need: A baking tray, parchment paper (aluminum foil works too), and your cannabis.
It’s important to note that not every oven will accurately tell the temperature, as they’re known to provide more of an estimation. That said, keep an eye on your cannabis throughout this process.
Step 1: Heat your oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit, with your oven rack placed in the middle row.
Step 2: Lay your foil or parchment paper across to fit your baking sheet, and try to be as accurate as possible.
Step 3: Grind your cannabis to regular size (think grains of rice) and try not to make it too finely ground.
Step 4: Place the ground cannabis evenly across the foil or paper, then lay another sheet on top of this layer.
Step 5: Bake for 45 minutes, remembering to check every so often to make sure your marijuana isn’t burning too dark.
Step 6: After baking, take out your baking sheet and let the cannabis cool for half an hour (it should look golden brown, not too burnt).
Once you have decarbed cannabis cooled down, the possibilities are endless! We recommend storing your cooked bud in a container while you figure out what edible recipe you are going to use it for.
While decarboxylation may seem like a complex, confusing process– it isn’t so bad, is it?
Now that you know the basics of this process, you can get the best out of your cannabis experience and maybe make some tasty marijuana treats, too! Enjoy experimenting with your favorite strains.