By Laurie Wolf
First of all, I love that I can finally say “decarboxylation” perfectly every time. Pronouncing that word properly took months of practice.
For those of you new to the world of using cannabis for anything other than smoking, decarboxylating, or “decarbing,” cannabis is the process of heating the marijuana to turn the non-psychoactive THCA to THC, which produces the feeling of being “high.”
This happens naturally when you are smoking or vaping the plant, but when ingesting marijuana, you should first decarb the flower to be sure you are getting the full impact of the THC.
When you decarboxylate at a low temperature, you preserve terpenes, the essential oils in the cannabis plant that inform the flavor profiles of the cannabis and provide health benefits independent of the presence of cannabinoids.
My edibles company, Laurie + MaryJane, is required to have lab tests for potency performed each time we infuse a batch of oil or butter. Our tests indicate that when we decarb before the infusion process, all the THCA is converted to THC. Without the decarb process, we get close, but often the full conversion is not there.
If you have the time — it only takes 45 minutes — do it.
If the odor of cannabis is problematic, there are a couple of tips that will work:
Decarb in the oven by placing the cannabis in a turkey bag and placing the bag on a baking sheet. I decarboxylate pounds at a time in my commercial kitchen. It’s pretty awesome, and I have eliminated the smell entirely.
If you have a sous vide machine, decarbing your cannabis in a vacuum-sealed bag works beautifully. Place the cannabis in a sealed Mason jar in a slow cooker half-filled with water. Burp the jar every half-hour to relieve the pressure that will build up inside the jar.
Any amount of cannabis, buds or trim
- Preheat your oven to 240 degrees Fahrenheit, or about 115 degrees Celsius.
- Break apart any very large buds with gloved hands.
- Spread the cannabis on a baking sheet with sides and place it in the oven.
- After 45 minutes, the cannabis should be lightly browned and decarboxylated.
- Once cooled, place the cannabis in a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground.