If you want to whip up the perfect pot recipe, remember one essential step – decarboxylation. Before thinking about cooking, baking, or extracting anything, you must turn on those awesome cannabinoids like THC and CBD. So, ready to learn all the deets about where, when, why, and how to decarb weed for some killer edibles and more? Let’s dive in!
Keys to How to Decarb Weed
- The reason you need to decarb before making edibles
- 240°F for 40 minutes is perfect for THC
- Tips and tricks to ensure your home decarb experience is smooth
TL;DR Instructions: Place THC-dominant flower in an oven-safe baking dish and bake at 240°F for 40 minutes.
The Herb Decarboxylator Infuser is designed with user convenience in mind. It features effortless cleaning, allowing you to simply rinse off any residue for a quick clean-up. The machine is made from food-grade materials, ensuring perfect odor control during the decarboxylation process, making it ideal for indoor use without worrying about lingering smells.
The Herb Decarboxylator Infuser 2 in 1 is priced at $89.99 and is eligible for free returns. It is sold by ÉcruNewJersey and ships from Amazon. The product is highly rated with 4.6 out of 5 stars from 670 ratings, making it a reliable choice for your herb decarboxylation needs.
The Ardent Nova is constructed from premium quality materials, including a durable metal canister and a silicone protective cover. It can hold up to 1 oz of flower or 5 oz of kief, making it a versatile choice for various botanicals. The odor-proof lid design ensures that your house remains fresh, adding to the device’s appeal.
Say goodbye to the mess of butter or the smell of buds with the Ardent Nova Decarboxylator. Load your herbs, press the start button, and wait until it turns green. Once the process is over, you have your botanicals with increased potency, all in an odorless and mess-free manner.
Why You Will Love This Guide
A common question when making cannabis edibles is, “What exactly is decarboxylation, and why do we need to do it, anyway?”
Decarboxylation is the first step you need to take before infusing cannabis into oil, butter, tinctures, edibles, topicals, and more.
If you were to eat raw or dried cannabis, you would not likely feel any intoxicating effects of THC.
This is because cannabis does not contain high amounts of cannabinoids like THC; instead, it contains cannabinoid acids like THCA.
Cannabinoid acids have their health benefits but are not intoxicating, meaning they won’t get you high.
To get the activated, psychoactive compounds we want, like THC, decarboxylation must occur.
Decarboxylation can easily be done in your kitchen at home by baking the dried cannabis in the oven at a low temperature for a certain time.
This guide will show you how to decarb weed in your oven and explore the science behind the process; plus, I’ll share my expert tips and tricks so you will feel confident trying the process on your own.
Decarboxylation Equipment & Ingredient Notes
- Oven-safe baking dish: Using an oven-safe baking dish is the best practice. From a glass pie pan covered with foil to an old Pyrex baking dish with a lid, you want to ensure you are using something specifically designed to be used in an oven. It is not recommended to place mason jars in the oven; see FAQ below for more details.
- Digital scale: Weighing your material is optional, but using a scale is helpful if you use my edible dosage calculator to guestimate the potency of your final product.
- Digital thermometer: Optional, but a thermometer can help you reach your ideal temperature for your specific oven.
- Cannabis: This tutorial will work for any type of cannabis, including flowers, buds, trim, leaf, or shake. Check my other guides for how to decarb kief and decarb concentrates. Remember, it does not matter how much you decarb at once. From a gram to an ounce, the process remains the same.
Note: The recipe card below has a complete list of ingredients with amounts and printable instructions.
How to Decarb Weed Step-by-Step
- Step 1 – Check the General Decarb Temperature Recommendations chart to determine what temperature to preheat the oven. Preheating the oven to 240° degrees Fahrenheit for THC-dominant flowers is commonly recommended.
- Step 2 – Using a digital scale, weigh the cannabis to your desired weight. This step is optional but helpful.
- Step 3 – Gently break up the cannabis buds into small pieces, remove any seeds, and stems as necessary. Do not grind.
- Step 4 -Add the flower to an oven-safe baking dish and put the lid on. You can cover the dish with tin foil if you don’t have a cap.
- Step 5 – Place the dish in the oven and bake for the time according to the chart, typically 40 minutes for THC-dominant flower.
- Step 6 – Carefully remove the dish to cool completely with the lid on.
- Step 7 – Your decarbed flower is now ready to use!
- Step 8 – See the storage instructions below to store your decarbed flower for future use.
Note: complete step-by-step printable instructions are located in the recipe card below.
Why You Need to Decarboxylate Weed
If you’re new to cannabis or edibles, you may be frantically going down a rabbit hole searching all things decarbing.
What is this? Why do I need to do it? And why didn’t I know this sooner?
You probably did and didn’t know it! If you’ve ever smoked cannabis, the heat from the lighter touching the material decarbs for you, and then you inhale. The same is when you push the button on a vape pen.
So eating dried or raw cannabis flower that has never been decarbed will provide little to no intoxicating effect or high.
This can be good or bad, depending on your desired experience!
Decarboxylation is a chemical reaction that removes a carboxyl group and releases carbon dioxide.
Raw cannabis contains tetrahydrocannabinolic acid or THCA for short.
This non-intoxicating substance can be converted into the intoxicating substance tetrahydrocannabinol, as you know it Δ9-THC, through decarboxylation.
This process can also convert cannabidiolic acid, or CBDA, into cannabidiol or CBD, though both forms remain non-intoxicating.
While THCA and CBDA have their own potential health benefits, most people prefer to use the process of decarboxylation to enjoy active THC and CBD.
While there is a general understanding of the science behind the decarboxylation process, truthfully, it is all just one big experiment in a home kitchen.
Ultimately, they all get you to the same place – decarbed cannabis flower with the psychoactive effects you desire.
How to Decarb Weed at Home
Decarboxylation occurs when cannabis is exposed to heat, light, cofactors, or solvents.
The easiest way to decarb in your at-home kitchen environment is with heat, like an oven or an Instant Pot.
The goal is to heat the material at a low temperature to allow decarboxylation without destroying the other beneficial compounds like terpenes or flavonoids.
This becomes difficult because each cannabinoid decarboxylates at its own specific temperature.
THCA begins to decarboxylate at approximately 220°F after around 30-45 minutes of exposure, with full decarboxylation typically taking longer.
If you are working with CBD flowers, know that CBDA requires more time to achieve decarboxylation than traditional THC-dominant flowers.
Each individual terpene may have its own therapeutic health benefits but also carries its sensitivity to heat.
Also, know that the type and strain of cannabis you are using will impact your final results.
This is why you will want to consider each strain’s best temperature and cooking time before starting.
General Decarb Recommendations
• THCA to Δ9-THC → bake at 240°F/116°C for 40 minutes
• CBDA to CBD → bake at 240°F/116°C for 90 minutes
• CBGA to CBG → bake at 220°F/105°C for 60 minutes
• Δ9-THC to CBN→ bake at 240°F/116°C for 180 minutes
Experiment With Different Temperatures
Feel free to experiment with other recommendations to see what you like best; there are many ways to reach the final destination.
If you want to decarb weed at higher temperatures, know you will need less time to achieve decarb.
Just be wary of extreme temperatures or methods that may introduce high temperatures, like broiling, microwaves, or grills.
While heat is needed to decarboxylate, extreme temperatures can destroy many important compounds contributing to positive health outcomes.
Cannabis Decarboxylation Lab Tests
I DIDN’T HAVE ACCESS TO LAB TESTING when I wrote this post nearly four years ago. I went with “what everyone recommended,” baking at 240°F for 40 minutes.
Thankfully, times have changed, and I can run lab tests and gather real-world data.
While this test is just a single test subject to all of the different variables of an at-home kitchen, these results were exciting.
The first lab test shows the cannabinoid makeup of the flower before decarboxylation; this is our control and how we know where we’re starting.
The second test shows how the cannabinoid makeup changed after the decarb process.
You can see that the first test had 1.34% THC and 18.75% THCA, and the second test had 17.12% THC and 0.40% THCA.
While not 100%, these tests show nearly perfect conversion.
This helps me sleep at night, knowing that the recommendation to decarb at 240°F for 40 minutes is effective and accurate.
What If I Don’t Decarb Cannabis?
If I had a dollar for every time I heard: “Back in the day, we didn’t do that decarb thing. We just left it in the crockpot for 24 hours, and it was plenty strong!”
And that is true, and I bet the butter was super strong – and green and grassy.
Decarboxylation occurs on a time-temperature scale, meaning that decarb can be achieved at different times and temperatures.
They didn’t think they were decarbing back in the day, but they were!
Leaving the material in a 160°F crockpot for 24 hours caused decarb to occur at a lower temperature and longer.
The reason we recommend the new, quicker oven method of decarbing before infusing is multifactored; it helps ensure maximum cannabinoid activation and terpene retention.
But ultimately, it makes your butter, oil, and other edibles taste better.
Long infusion times cause the plant material to release a lot of a green pigment called chlorophyll. While chlorophyll is harmless, it is NOT tasteless.
This is what gives homemade edibles their sometimes unpleasant taste.
By decarbing quickly and then opting for a quicker 4-hour infusion, the goal is to end up with a more potent, better-tasting end product.
This is my favorite way to create all of my popular staple oils, including:
- Cannabis coconut oil
- Cannabis olive oil
- Cannabis MCT oil
- Full-extract cannabis oil (FECO)
Remember, without decarboxylation, you will not experience the full range of active ingredients like THC and CBD.
It’s Not Going to Be Perfect
While variations of each method are slight, they are usually accompanied by years of experience and personal preference.
It’s important to remember that this is not a perfect process in a controlled lab environment, nor does it need to be.
Each cannabis plant is unique and contains a full spectrum of compounds, including cannabinoids, terpenes, and more.
The ratio of compounds varies from plant to plant, and each one decarbs at a different temperature, making perfect, consistent results challenging.
On top of that, we all have different kitchen setups with different equipment available to work with.
However, this is not to discourage you.
While this sounds like one big science experiment in your kitchen, it is as simple as putting cannabis in the oven and baking it.
Ultimately, we all arrive at the same goal, activated THC and CBD that can be used in homemade edibles, topicals, and more.
If you strongly desire to be as precise as possible, here are a few considerations to remember.
Temperature fluctuations can vary greatly from oven to oven, making tight temperature control difficult.
Many variables can impact the final temperature of the oven, and even two same-brand ovens may vary in temperature by 5-10 degrees or more.
For this reason, I recommend using an oven-safe thermometer to track the temperature in the oven you currently have.
I also recommend limiting the number of times the oven door is opened during the cooking process, as this alters the oven temperature significantly.
Opening the door will cause the temperature to drop, altering your time and temperature recordings’ reliability.
You are not limited to using an oven for this process; other equipment, like an Instant Pot, air fryer, or decarb machine, can be used.
Anything that can hold a consistent temperature of around 240°F can be used – I’ve even seen a guy use a smoker to decarb cannabis and another using a toaster oven outside in the garage.
Different methods will have different temperature controls, so I recommend using a thermometer throughout the process.
Small variables in the different types of cooking equipment may impact your final product, but it is a great idea to experiment with different options to find what works best for you.
If you want to contain the smell as much as possible, using an Instant Pot or LEVO machine can help. Read the review of the best cannabis infusion machines.
It is recommended to store the decarbed cannabis in an airtight container, like a mason jar, in a cool, dark place.
If you have a vacuum sealer, you can use it to seal your product in an airtight bag.
Don’t forget to add a Boveda pack or another moisture and humidity control option.
The freezer works well to help preserve the potency of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids.
Estimating The Potency – THC Dosage Calculator
Perhaps the only downside of making homemade edibles is that it is nearly impossible to determine the final potency of THC or CBD per serving.
This is a disadvantage because it is hard to dose correctly and accurately, and then it becomes difficult to assess and track how each option makes you feel.
Unfortunately, without lab testing, it is nearly impossible to accurately assess the final product’s total cannabinoid concentration, like total mg of THC or mg of CBD.
This uncertainty increases the risk of underdosing or overdosing, ultimately preventing you from experiencing the desired health benefits.
However, you can use my edibles dosage calculator to gauge your final potency.
This calculator is the first to offer the ability to account for the natural potency loss associated with the decarboxylation process, which is calculated at 0.87%.
This means that if you started with 100mg of THCA, in a perfect scenario, you would get 87mg of THC in the end.
How to Use Decarbed Weed
Once the decarbing process is over, the world is your oyster!
You can use it to make butter, oils, tinctures, topicals, and a wide range of cannabis products – you dream it, you can make it.
Or, you don’t have to do anything; you can grind the weed into a fine powder and enjoy the decarbed weed as-is, similar to how other dried herbs are used.
This powder can be sprinkled onto food, added to your favorite recipe like my cannabis ranch dressing, or put into capsules for easy consumption.
Others will move forward to use the decarbed cannabis flower to make a cannabis-infused oil or cannabis-infused butter with a simple infusion process.
Decarb Cannabis FAQs
What is cannabis decarboxylation?
Decarbing cannabis is the process of activating THC and CBD compounds. It requires heating the cannabis at a lower temperature for a specific time to transform the compounds into a form that the body can easily use.
How do I properly decarboxylate cannabis at home?
To properly decarboxylate your cannabis at home, first grind it into small pieces. Then, spread it out onto a baking sheet and bake it in the oven at a lower temperature, usually between 220-245 degrees Fahrenheit, for about 30-45 minutes. Once it’s finished, take it out of the oven and let it cool before using it.
How long does it take to decarb cannabis in the oven?
Decarbing cannabis in the oven usually takes around 30-45 minutes. The time can vary depending on the strain of cannabis and the oven temperature.
Why is it necessary to decarb cannabis before making edibles?
To experience the full effects of THC and CBD when consuming cannabis edibles, it’s important to decarb the cannabis beforehand. This process activates the components of cannabis, which would otherwise remain inactive and provide no effects.
Are there different ways to decarb cannabis?
There are alternative methods to decarboxylate cannabis instead of the usual oven method. These methods include a decarb machine, crockpot, or sous vide machine. Each method has its own benefits and drawbacks.
Can I use decarboxylated cannabis the same way I use regular cannabis?
Yes, you can use decarboxylated cannabis the same way you would use regular cannabis. However, remember that because the decarboxylation process activates the compounds in cannabis, the effects can be stronger.
What’s the best way to decarb cannabis for edibles?
The most popular and successful way to decarboxylate cannabis is by using the oven method. While everyone’s preferences may differ, this method is known to be highly efficient in accessing cannabis’s components. By using this method, your edibles will have a stronger and more consistent effect.
Can I decarb weed without an oven?
You can decarb weed without using an oven. Other options include using a slow cooker, a decarb machine, or a sous-vide cooker. The important thing to remember is that you want to activate the compounds in the cannabis without burning it, which means exposing it to a lower temperature for a longer period of time.
Is there a risk I can burn the cannabis during the decarboxylation process?
It’s important to be careful with cannabis and avoid exposing it to high temperatures or leaving it in the heat for too long. If this happens, there is a risk that the cannabis could burn. To prevent this, it’s crucial to follow a guide for cannabis decarboxylation and ensure that the right balance of heat and time is maintained.
How can I use decarboxylated cannabis?
Once the cannabis is decarboxylated, you can use it in various ways. It can be infused in oil or butter to cook with, blended into a hash, used to make edibles, or even consumed directly.