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What Is Decarboxylation? This Is What You Need to Know

Cannabis edibles are more popular than ever, thanks to just how convenient and effective they are. With legalization continuing to sweep the world, more and more people are trying their hand at making their own edibles. Unfortunately, many of these people don’t know about decarboxylation, leading to ineffective home-baked edibles.

What is decarboxylation, you ask? Keep reading to learn everything you need to know.

What Is Decarboxylation?

Decarboxylation, also known as “decarbing,” is a method of activating the compounds of your bud before baking it into edibles.

Many people think you can just throw raw bud into a recipe and experience the effects of the marijuana. This isn’t the case at all, unfortunately. Cannabinoids need heat to activate, and the small amount of heat applied as you bake raw cannabis into brownies isn’t going to do the trick.

Eating an edible with un-decarbed cannabis in it is kind of like taking a big bite of a marijuana bud. It’s not going to taste pleasant, and it’s not going to do anything for you.

When you smoke marijuana, you’re putting your cannabis through a quick and aggressive decarb process by lighting it. When you decarb marijuana before making edibles, you’re putting it through a more careful, slow decarb process. You’re not burning the marijuana, just heating it up, therefore activating the THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids in the strain.

A slow decarb is best, as it lets you utilize all the cannabinoids. It also keeps the bud in usable shape, unlike fire which burns it to ash. This is why most people decarb their weed at a low temperature for at least an hour or longer.

What Is the Perfect Decarboxylation Temperature?

220-degrees Fahrenheit is generally considered the perfect decarboxylation temperature.

Some people prefer it a little hotter, but you should not go over 300-degrees Fahrenheit. At high temperatures, you’ll start to burn the marijuana and compounds. The idea is to activate it without burning it.

It’s not just about temperature, though — it’s also about time. At 220-degrees F, the marijuana will start decarbing after about 35 minutes. At that point, it still needs at least an hour if not more to fully decarb.

How Do You Know When the Weed Is Decarbed?

Decarbed weed looks brownish-yellow with hints of green remaining. You may see a few different shades between brown, orange, and green in well-decarboxylated cannabis.

Typically, the less pure-green the better. If the marijuana starts to go dark-brown or black, you should take it out of the heat immediately. That means it’s starting to burn, either because it’s been in too long, or because the heat is too high.

How to Decarb Marijuana

There are a few different methods of decarbing marijuana. The most popular method is to use an oven.

First, preheat the oven to 220-degrees Fahrenheit. While it’s preheating, get your cannabis and grind it finely. Don’t grind it to a powder, but make sure it’s fairly broken up — a little larger than rice-sized pieces.

Get a baking tray, line it with parchment paper, and spread your cannabis evenly and thinly over the tray. Once the oven is preheated, pop the cannabis tray inside for an hour or longer. Make sure to check on it regularly, and wait for that perfect decarbed weed color.

It’s that easy! Wait for the cannabis to cool off before using it. You can even store it in a jar now for use later!

If you’re looking for an in-depth description of how to decarb marijuana, Magical Butter has you covered. See their directions here.

How to Use Decarbed Marijuana

There are a few different ways you can use decarboxylated cannabis. Here are some of the most popular.

Make Cannabis Oil

If you want to make cooking with cannabis simple and versatile, do this.

Take a medium-sized pan and a few measuring cups. In one measuring cup, pour a cup of high-fat cooking oil. In another, pour a cup of ground marijuana.

Set your stovetop to low — almost a simmer — and mix the oil and the cannabis. Use a 1:1 ratio of oil to cannabis for even effects, or use more oil for a less-intense high (and less for a more intense high). Keep this on the heat for at least an hour (you can keep going, just make sure the weed doesn’t go brown or black) then strain the marijuana from the oil using a cheesecloth and fine strainer.

You can now use this weed-infused oil in any recipe that requires oil. Just substitute your cannabis oil for the called-for oil in the recipe.

Make Dry Cannabis Capsules

If you want a quick and easy way to feel the effects of your favorite strain on the go, consider making capsules.

All you need to do is decarb some weed, buy some empty capsules, and fill them with as much of the weed as you want. Start with a small amount to test the waters. The decarbed weed, now that it’s active, will hit you just like an edible when you swallow it as a capsule.

Make Quick Edibles

If you can’t wait to bake some edibles, you can eat the decarbed weed dry and feel the effects.

You can mix it into a smoothie, onto your food like an herb, or into something like oatmeal. Some people like to put peanut butter on crackers, mix in some decarbed weed, and eat it. The dry herb isn’t the most pleasant, but it gets the job done in a pinch.

Never Forget to Decarboxylate Your Marijuana

So, what is decarboxylation? Only the most important step in baking edibles.

The worst mistake you can make when baking edibles is forgetting to decarboxylate your cannabis. It leads to weak, ineffective edibles that taste or just plain don’t work. Never make that mistake again — get to know decarboxylation and become an edible master.

For more informative articles on a wide range of topics, look around the rest of the blog.

Written by Marcus Richards

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