How to Decarboxylate Cannabis ?
Consuming raw cannabis will not provide you with the kind of high you are expecting. It will not also give anyone any pain-relieving effect. To achieve all of these, the plant will have to undergo decarboxylation. Only then will the natural cannabinoids of marijuana be activated.
How to Decarboxylate Cannabis
What is cannabis “decarboxylation”?
The term "decarboxylation" must have caused you to twist not only your tongue but your brain, as well.
What does the word even mean?
Decarboxylation involves chemistry, for it refers to the chemical reaction occurring in cannabis molecules. So you see, THC is not naturally occurring in marijuana. Instead, it is THCa, which is low in potency and effect. Converting THCa to THC involves the process of decarboxylation.
The cannabinoids contained within the flower trichomes of a cannabis plant have an additional carboxyl ring or group (COOH) linked to its molecular chain. Such is the situation while it is growing or freshly harvested. The carboxyl group on the marijuana molecule detaches during the decarboxylation process. Through this method, passive THCa becomes active THC.
What is the relationship between temperature and decarboxylation?
To decarboxylate marijuana, you must apply heat to the plant until it reaches a point to remove the carboxyl group. Consequently, you have increased the potency of the weed.
Aside from THCa becoming THC, other cannabinoids, such as CBD, are enhanced by the process. These "activated substances" affect our endocannabinoid system more effectively.
Decarboxylation, also known as decarbing, aids in producing the high that many recreational users seek and the pain reduction and other therapeutic characteristics that medicinal users require.
Considering this fact, it is not an overstatement to say the critical relationship between temperature and decarboxylation.
Based on some experts in cannabis breeding, the carboxyl group drops when the temperature reaches approximately 220 degrees Fahrenheit around 30-45 minutes. However, complete decarboxylation may require a longer time.
In some cases, some growers decide to decarboxylate their cannabis in a more extended period at a slightly lower temperature to preserve the terpenes.
Many mono and sesquiterpenes are volatile, evaporating at higher temperatures, leaving behind potentially unpleasant tastes and odors. In addition, temperatures above 300 degrees F impair the integrity of both cannabinoids and terpenoids, which is why temperatures in the 200s are more advisable.
What are the advantages of decarboxylation?
Heating cannabis buds to release the carboxyl group has two significant benefits:
First, it increases the plant’s potency.
You see, from the chemical standpoint, decarbing allows the marijuana to become activated, particularly the cannabinoids it contains. Therefore, raw cannabis cannot provide you with the kind of experience you expect unless it has been decarbed.
By allowing the marijuana plant to undergo decarboxylation, the THC, marijuana’s most sought-after cannabinoid, is converted from THCa. Other holistic elements, such as CBD, experience the same thing.
Second, the process protects the plant from pathogens.
Decarboxylation has a protective impact as well. Although cannabis flowers are generally safer near the conclusion of the growing cycle, viruses can still infect buds during storage. Decarboxylation removes moisture from cannabis flowers, reducing the risk of microbial infections damaging your crop.
How do I decarboxylate cannabis?
We have now established the meaning of decarboxylation and its importance. The next thing about this subject is its execution.
The good news here is that you can decarb marijuana in your respective home. The process is simple and doable, although you still need to be hands-on as you perform it.
By Using an Oven
As you decarboxylate weed via oven, it is vitally important that you understand the temperature dial on an oven gives you average temperature rather than a precise reading.
What You Need:
- Baking sheet
- Hand gloves
- Aluminum foil or parchment paper
How to Do It:
- Preheat the oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Afterward, put the oven rack in the middle. Ideally, ovens are hotter at the top and cooler at the bottom. Therefore, when you place your frame in the middle, you ensure that the temperature is ideal for the process.
- Cut the aluminum according to the size that fits the size of your sheet. It would be best if you crumpled the aluminum first before laying it across the sheet. The idea behind this is to minimize the contact between the plant and the sheet. Also, because the sheet heats faster than aluminum, it may burn your cannabis.
- Grind your cannabis until it’s smooth enough to distribute onto a thin surface. Spread another aluminum on top of the cannabis. Place the baking sheet inside the oven and bake it for 45 minutes.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven after 45 minutes. Allow it to cool at room temperature for half an hour. Your marijuana must have a toasted and golden brown appearance.
- Place your decarboxylated weed inside a clean container.
- Keep your weed for future use.
By Using a Mason Jar
When you employ this method, you are avoiding the production of heavy odors during decarboxylation. Aside from this, the terpenes stick on the glass of the jar during the process. Lastly, the air in the oven cannot mix with your cannabis because of the jar.
What You Need:
- Baking sheet
- Mason jar
- Baking gloves
- Kitchen towel
How to Do It:
- Before doing the process, set your oven between 220 – 240 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, put your tray in the middle to achieve the desired temperature.
- Break your cannabis until it is the same size as a grain of rice. Place these inside the mason jar. Slightly close its lid.
- Wet the kitchen towel a little and place it on the sheet.
- Place the mason jar on the towel. The latter will prevent the former from falling over.
- Lay the sheet inside of the oven and bake it for an hour. For every 15 minutes, remove the jar and lightly shake it. This is for dispersing the plant equally.
- When the 60 minutes are over, remove the jar and allow it to cool for 30 minutes.
- Store the jar for future cooking.
By Sous Vide
Sous vide, which translates to "under vacuum," is a cooking method that involves vacuum-sealing food in a bag and then cooking it at a precise temperature in a water bath. This procedure extends to decarboxylating weed.
What You Need:
- Immersion circulator
- Vacuum sealer
How to Do It:
- Set your water bath by filling the container with hot water. Afterward, place the immersion circulator into the water. Ensure that you are following the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Make the circulator’s temperature 203 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cut the cannabis into refined grains. There is no need for you to worry about the temperature because of the circulator’s precision. However, surface area should be maximized, which is why you need to grind your weed.
- Seal the cannabis as flat as tight as possible in a vacuum sealer or a zip-top plastic bag using the water displacement method to reduce air pockets and optimize surface area.
- Place the sealed bag in the water. Let it stay for 1.5 hours.
- Remove the sealed cannabis bag from the water bath after 90 minutes and allow it to cool to room temperature for 15-20 minutes. Then, carefully dry the bag, unwrap it, and place your decarboxylated cannabis in a container for later use.
NOTE: In every method, it is always stated to store your decarbed cannabis. There are some considerations to observe in doing so. Read this blog where I explain the duration of storing marijuana.