Decarbing is a simple but necessary process when making marijuana edibles.
Whether you’re baking weed brownies or cooking a cannabis-infused meal, you won’t get the traditional effects unless you decarboxylate your plant material first.
The scientific word “decarboxylation” may make the process seem long and complicated, but it’s actually the easiest and first step in making edibles. Let’s take a look at why decarbing is necessary.
What is Decarboxylation?
Decarboxylation (or decarbing) is the heating process used to activate cannabis. Dried marijuana doesn’t have any psychoactive properties on its own, meaning it can’t get you high.
Smoking or vaporizing heats up cannabis enough to decarb it. On the other hand, if you eat dried bud, there will be no psychoactive effects. This is why you need to decarb your cannabis before making an edible.
Dried cannabis contains a cannabinoid called THCA, or tetrahydrocannabinolic acid. While THCA has some benefits, it must be converted into THC for cannabis to have psychoactive properties and for a patient to gain the medicinal effects.
The process of converting THCA into THC begins as the plant dries and ages. However, the plant material must be heated, or decarbed, to speed up that conversion.
Why is Decarbing Necessary?
Some people mix bud into their batter and believe that the marijuana will be decarbed as their cookies or brownies bake. However, that’s untrue.
The marijuana in the crust of the brownie may decarb, but since the inside doesn’t reach the correct temperature, the rest of the cannabis will only contain THCA. Your brownie won’t be potent and it won’t taste very good, either.
How To Decarboxylate: Step by Step Guide
The quickest and easiest way to decarb cannabis is to spread out the pieces on a baking sheet and place it in the oven.
The decarbing process usually takes about 20-30 minutes when baked at 250°F.
1 oz. ground cannabis (bud, flower or trim)
Parchment paper (optional)
Step 1: Grind cannabis thoroughly.
Step 2: Preheat oven to 250°F.
Step 3: Line baking sheet with parchment paper (optional).
Step 4: Spread out cannabis in a thin, even layer on baking sheet.
Step 5: Place baking sheet in oven for 20-30 minutes.
Step 6: Remove from oven and let cool.
- You can use more or less than an ounce of cannabis when decarbing, as long as it fits on your baking sheet without spilling or piling up.
- If your cannabis contains more CBD than THC, bake at 275°F for 45 minutes instead.
- When properly decarbed, cannabis should be light to medium brown in color.
- If you don’t have a baking sheet handy, you can wrap the cannabis in aluminum foil and place it in the oven directly.
- Make sure your cannabis is ground into small pieces and spread out evenly or else some pieces may decarb more than others.
- You can tell when the cannabis is almost finished decarbing once your oven starts to emit a scent.
- If you live in an apartment, you can turn on the exhaust fan and put a towel underneath the door to minimize the smell.