Three large cannabis flower nuggets with smoke swirling out of the top

Guide to Cannabis Decarboxylation

Decarboxylation is a vital step in enjoying the effects of cannabis. By understanding the science behind decarboxylation, learning how to decarb cannabis effectively, and appreciating the significance of decarboxylation, you can ensure your cannabis’s potential is fully unlocked during your next session. In this article, we’ll cover:

  • What is Decarboxylation
  • What Happens When Marijuana is Decarboxylated?
  • When Do You Need to Decarb Cannabis?
  • What is the Best Temperature to Decarb Cannabis?
  • What are the Different Ways to Decarb Cannabis?
  • How to Decarb Cannabis in the Oven (5 Steps)
  • How to Decarb Cannabis with a Sous Vide (3 Steps)
  • Answering FAQs About Decarboxylation

What is Decarboxylation?

Decarboxylation, speaking scientifically, is the chemical process of removing a carboxyl group from a molecule. In layman’s terms, for cannabis, it’s the necessary process of converting THCA into THC, the cannabinoid responsible for the effects commonly associated with consuming cannabis. Without decarbing your marijuana, you won’t feel any sort of intoxicating effects when consuming the plant.

What Happens When Marijuana is Decarboxylated?

When marijuana is decarboxylated, the cannabinoids in the cannabis are activated, including turning THCA and CBDA into THC and CBD. In these forms, the cannabinoids can interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system when marijuana is consumed. This process is necessary for cannabis enthusiasts to experience the sensations we’re familiar with when we enjoy marijuana.

When Do You Need to Decarb Cannabis?

Decarboxylation is necessary when using cannabis for homemade edibles or preparing infused products such as oils or tinctures—assuming you want an intoxicating experience. Raw cannabis contains predominantly THCA, which has no real psychoactive effect. That said, just because the THC isn’t activated doesn’t mean there’s no benefit to the cannabis. Researchers are still trying to understand if there are any benefits associated with THCA, CBDA, and the other cannabinoids. If you prefer not to feel intoxicated, you can always try consuming raw cannabis in order to understand how it feels in your body.

What is the Best Temperature to Decarb Cannabis?

The optimal temperature for decarboxylating cannabis ranges anywhere from 200-245°F (93-118°C). This temperature range ensures efficient conversion of THCA into THC without excessive degradation and without destroying the cannabinoids and terpenes by overheating them.

What are the Different Ways to Decarb Cannabis?

There are various methods for decarboxylating cannabis, but three common approaches include using an oven, the sous vide method, and a crockpot. For most cannabis enthusiasts, it’s about finding a method that works the best for you and then sticking with it. That said, the two most common of those three are decarbing in an oven and decarbing via sous vide.

How to Decarb Cannabis in the Oven (5 Steps)

So you’ve gone to the dispensary, purchased flower, and now you want to decarb it before making a tincture, infusion, or edible. If you’re interested in decarboxylating your marijuana in the oven, just follow these five simple steps:

Step 1: Preheat the Oven
Set your oven to the recommended temperature range of 200-245°F (93-118°C).

Step 2: Break Up the Flower
Break up the cannabis flower into smaller, evenly-sized pieces. You can do this by hand or with a grinder.

Step 3: Spread Out the Buds
Place the cannabis buds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and ensure they are evenly spread out.

Step 4: Bake
Carefully place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for approximately 30  minutes. Keep an eye on the cannabis to prevent overcooking.

Step 5: Let It Cool
Once the decarboxylation process is complete, remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow the cannabis to cool. It can then be stored for future use in a cool, dry place if you’re not planning on using it right away.

How to Decarb Cannabis with a Sous Vide (3 Steps)

Some cannabis enthusiasts prefer not to use their ovens for decarboxylation and opt for other methods. Follow these three easy steps to use the sous vide method:

Step 1: Grind Your Flower
Grind the cannabis flower to increase its surface area and ensure even decarboxylation.

Step 2: Seal in the Bag
Place the ground cannabis into a vacuum-sealed, heat-safe bag, removing any excess air to create a tight seal.

Step 3: Cook
Set the sous vide machine to a temperature of 230°F (110°C) and immerse the sealed bag in the water bath. Cook for about 90 minutes to achieve proper decarboxylation. If you don’t have a sous vide machine, you can also just use a pot that can hold enough water to cover the bag of cannabis.

Answering FAQs About Decarboxylation

Learning about decarboxylation is a critical part of ensuring you use your marijuana to its full potential. Here are a few additional things to know before you get started.

Can you eat decarboxylated cannabis?
Yes, decarboxylated cannabis can be consumed. It can be ground and added to edibles (as long as you don’t mind the flavor) or infused into oils, butters, and more. It can also be added to drinks. You can also use your activated cannabis to make your own homemade gummies.

Can you make cannabutter without decarbing cannabis?
Unfortunately, no. Decarboxylation is necessary to activate the THC in cannabis before infusing it into butter or oils. Without decarboxylation, the cannabutter would not have the desired psychoactive effects.

Can you decarboxylate cannabis in the microwave?
While it is technically possible to decarboxylate cannabis in the microwave, it is not recommended. Microwaves can be unpredictable and may result in uneven or inconsistent decarboxylation. It is generally better to use more controlled methods such as an oven or sous vide for reliable results.

Decarboxylation & Cannabis

If you’re curious about decarboxylation, why not visit one of our dispensary locations? There, cannabis experts can help you decide the best way to enhance and enjoy your cannabis.

Recreational cannabis is not available in all states. Cannabis is for medical use only and may only be used by certified patients in Pennsylvania. State laws impact what dispensaries can and can’t sell to recreational customers and certified patients. Not every type of product, consumption method, dosage form, or potency mentioned on this blog will be permitted in all locations.