What is Decarboxylated Cannabis?

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Disclaimer: The information provided here is intended solely for informational and entertainment purposes. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read here.

You don’t have to be an expert on cannabis jargon in order to get the gist of it, but if you want to expand your knowledge and sound like a know-it-all, you’ll want to know the basics about decarboxylation. If you’ve ever smoked, vaped, or baked cannabis, you’re already a “decarboxylator”.

We’ll get into the specifics down below, but decarboxylation is just cannabis that has been exposed to heat to convert THCA into THC. Decarb is a word mostly used when referring to baking cannabis into food and it’s the only way to create psychoactive edibles. If the weed isn’t decarboxylated, it’ll be just like any other brownie (with some weed scent and flavor).

Whether you want to make edibles, show off to friends, or just gain some insight into the cannabis world, we’ve got your back. Let’s explore the intricacies of cannabis decarboxylation.

Key Takeaways

  • Decarboxylation is when heat is applied to cannabis, turning non-psychoactive THCA into psychoactive THC.
  • Cannabis that has not been exposed to heat has no psychoactive effects.
  • Decarboxylated cannabis is often infused into edibles, tinctures, and vaping devices.
  • You can decarb cannabis at home with household kitchen items.

What is Decarboxylation?

Decarboxylation is the chemical process that turns THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) into THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). In English? Decarbing is exposing weed to enough head so it makes you high.

There’s a reason why people smoke weed as opposed to eating a few raw nugs - decarboxylation is necessary in order to create THC. Decarboxylation can happen over time, but most people don’t want to wait that long and the effects are not as potent as the ones you get from that exposing cannabis to heat.

Any product that you find with THC has to go through the decarb process - from cookies and oils to tinctures and gummies. If you get just herb, you already know you have to burn it in order to achieve the desired effects, whether that means rolling a joint, packing a bowl, or turning on the stove.

How Does Decarboxylation Work?

Since decarboxylation isn’t exactly a subject your high school chemistry professor went over, you’ll have to do the homework now. To put it simply, decarboxylation is the chemical process that removes a carboxyl group (COOH) and releases carbon dioxide (CO2) in order to form a new compound. In case that was confusing, here’s the gist of it: fire turns cannabis into highness.

This process turns THCA into THC, which is psychoactive. Interestingly enough, THCA is found in all cannabis and is referred to as the “mother cannabinoid” because it’s the direct precursor to the THC that we know and love. Many different methods are used to decarb cannabis, like smoking, but we’ll be exploring alternatives like baking.

When to Decarb Cannabis

So, when should you decarb your cannabis? When you want to use it for psychoactive reasons, of course. If you’re thinking about whipping up some brownies, adding some cannabutter to pasta, or serving a THC lemonade, you’ll need to decarb the weed first in order to achieve psychoactive effects.

Decarbing comes naturally in the smoking world because it’s easy to light up a joint, but the edible one requires a little more attention. If you want to make an infused cannabis product, you’ll need to decarb it first by exposing it to heat for a prolonged period of time so it decarbs without burning.

This process can be time-consuming, but it’s your best bet and getting the most out of your cannabis if you want to decarb it instead of directly smoking it. Once it has gone through the decarboxylation process, you can infuse it into butter or oil and add it to any edible you want.

Why is Decarboxylation of Cannabis Necessary for Edibles?

In order to achieve psychoactive results in edibles, cannabis needs to be decarboxylated. Raw cannabis may have benefits, but you sure won’t get high on it without exposing it to heat. Without decarboxylation, THCA won’t fit into psychoactive receptors in the endocannabinoid system.

When the molecular structure is changed through decarbing, THC fits like a glove into the receptors that are responsible for making you feel high as a kite. A lot of edible recipes ask for cannabis butter, which can be made by decarboxylating cannabis and then infusing it into butter or oil so that it can be used in practically any recipe.

Cannabis butter and oil made from decarboxylated weed can wake up your creativity and let you explore the culinary world with a touch of THC.

Ways to Decarboxylate Cannabis

There are a few ways you can decarboxylate cannabis, although most of them will leave your space with the strong odor of marijuana for a while, even days. Keep this in mind no matter what the method.

Even if cannabis is legal where you live, not all neighbors are fans of a strong weed over. Make sure to ventilate and let your neighbors know (or wait until they’re out of town).


Oven Decarb Method

Decarbing using an oven is a classic that’s been around for decades. All you need to do is preheat the oven to 225°F, spread ground cannabis evenly in a baking tray, cover with foil, and bake for 30-45 minutes. Once it’s evenly browned, it’s decarboxylated.

Microwave Decarb Method

Sometimes you want the easy way out, and that’s fair. You can decarb marijuana in the microwave by spreading it evenly on a plate and microwaving it for 30-second intervals until it turns brown. Keep in mind that this does kill off some valuable cannabinoids and terpenes, and it’s not the best method but it’ll get you out of a pickle.

Decarbing Using a Mason Jar

A mason jar is convenient and can be filled with ground weed and your choice of oil or butter. This way all you need to do is to place it in a 240°F oven or in a slow cooker filled up halfway with water until it’s completely infused and browned. This way, all you need to do is strain out the flower and keep the oil or butter.

Decarbing Using a Decarboxylator Device

If you’re decarbing on the regular, a decarboxylator device is the most efficient, odorless, and convenient way to do so. Think of it like an air fryer just for weed. You can get them at some cannabis stores or online and are the best way to decarb, although you might not want to invest in one if you aren’t decarbing often.

What is the Ideal Decarboxylation Temperature and Time?

The ideal temperature and time for decarboxylation really vary on the method, type of cannabis, moisture, and desired level of potency. As a general rule though, between 200°F and 300°F for 30 to 60 minutes will do the trick.

As you can imagine, a lower temperature will add to the time the cannabis needs to fully decarb, while a high temperature can get it done quickly, although you risk losing some potency (or burning the nugs completely). The slower the decarb process, the more intact the cannabinoids and terpenes will stay.

Can You Smoke Decarboxylated Cannabis?

While you can smoke decarboxylated cannabis, you might not want to. Since it’s already decarboxylated, adding fire will burn and destroy some cannabinoids and can produce effects way less potent than you might hope for.

If you want to make the most of your decarbed cannabis, try infusing it into edibles, tinctures, or vaping devices. If your cannabis is already decarboxylated, your best bet to experiencing the full range of effects is making edibles or vaping. Vaping lets you enjoy the sensation of smoking without the smoke, and edibles are a popular way to achieve potent psychoactive effects.

Final Thoughts

Knowing about decarboxylation doesn’t make you an expert on all things cannabis, but it’s a good place to start. Plus, it’s a way to explore the different ways you can experience the green goddess while exploring your creativity and even learning some science. Decarboxylated cannabis is versatile, effective, and relatively easy to make (it just takes time).

If you have some time on your hands and want to get down and dirty with THC, decarbing your own weed and exploring different ways of using it is a great way to get up close and personal with cannabis. It also allows for more precise dosing! One piece of advice: edibles are more potent than smoking, so tread carefully.

My Personal Experience Trying to Decarb Cannabis 🤦‍♀️

You might think the word ‘decarboxylation’ sounds like a chemistry word, and it is, but you probably don’t know what it means or why it matters. Decarboxylation is one of the most important processes for both veterans and newcomers to cannabis. If you ever want to make your own edibles or ‘dose out’ your stash in small amounts to experience the psychoactive effects of cannabis, you need to know about decarbing.

I’m a long-time cannaisseur and have been making my own weed edibles for a while now. Some of my experiments were successful; others not so much. I’ve made my fair share of mistakes with decarbing at home, but I’ve also picked up a few tips along the way. Here’s what I’ve learned.

When I first tried to make brownies infused with cannabis, I quickly discovered that tossing raw cannabis into the mix isn’t going to do the trick. My very first batch of pot brownies were more of an anticlimax than anything else; I didn’t get high when I should have. This disappointment led me to delve into the process of decarboxylation, a necessary step of heating cannabis to a point that converts non-psychoactive THCA to psychoactive THC.

Equipped with a kitchen oven and a purpose, I started playing around with temperatures and time to dial in my decarb protocol: 240°F. Finely ground cannabis. In the oven. For about 30 to 40 minutes. This seemed to fall in the sweet spot between activating as much THC as possible, and preventing the degradation of the harmonious terpenes that impart the plant’s fragrance and taste.

The difference in potency between my first and final batches was day and night. Properly decarbed weed also meant my edibles were more pleasant to eat. The high was much more profound, and I gained a greater appreciation for the role of heat in getting baked.

I’ve also learned to use the mason-jar barrier trick to contain smell when decarbing, which is key for people who live with others. Just put ground cannabis in a mason jar, tightly seal it, and put it in the oven to bake. It helps to contain the smell and keep the cannabis from getting too toasted.

Where to Buy Cannabis Edibles Online 

Weed has been a controversial topic in the modern world for generations, although it was highly regarded in many societies. While the world doesn’t worship marijuana, it has become more common and less scary. Nowadays, you can even get cannabis edibles online.

At Botany Farms, we are happy to carry many high-quality cannabinoid products for every price point and preference but let's take a look at some of our favorite gummies. For example, you can put our delicious CBD Gummies in your cart and carry on. These gummies have 25mg of relaxing CBD per gummy and come in assorted fruity flavors that are sure to make every palette happy. The broad-spectrum hemp oil makes sure that relief is just around the corner and the natural flavors don’t leave an earthy taste in your mouth. If you want to try a different cannabinoid, our Delta 8 THC Gummies will do the trick.

You’ll get a whopping 30mg of delta 8 and 2mg of delta 9 for every tropically-flavored gummy, which will have you feeling giggly and ready to take on the world. Not only are the effects great, but the pineapple, mango, and peach flavors are to die for. This is one of our most potent products, so have fun but make sure to take it easy. You can enjoy the benefits of THC without getting super high - and our Delta 9 Microdose Gummies prove it.

Microdose the psychoactive cannabinoid and make the most of the subtle but present effects that’ll lead you on a smooth ride. With 5mg of delta 9 and another 5mg of CBD and tropical and fruity flavors, these gummies can turn a frown upside down.

Sources Used for this Article:

  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5549281/
  • https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.iecr.0c03791
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9225410/
  • https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.iecr.2c00826
  • https://www.analyticalcannabis.com/news/scientists-pinpoint-ideal-decarboxylation-conditions-to-maximize-thc-and-cbd-312843

Note: This article is provided by Botany Farms for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The content is intended to offer insights into the practice of dabbing and the use of cannabis concentrates, reflecting current knowledge and research within these areas. It is not aimed at diagnosing, treating, curing, or preventing any diseases or health conditions. As the legal status of cannabis varies across different regions, it is the responsibility of the reader to be informed about their local laws regarding cannabis use. Botany Farms advises all readers to consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions about cannabis consumption to understand fully the potential risks and benefits. Botany Farms and the authors of this content disclaim all liability for any adverse effects that may arise from the use of information provided in this article.

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