Decarbing Your Cannabis: An Analysis of the Process


Decarbing Your Cannabis: An Analysis of the Process

When most people think of cannabis, they generally think of the more well known cannabinoids THC and CBD. However, in its raw state, cannabis contains THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) and CBDA (cannabidiolic acid) rather than THC and CBD. In order to fully enjoy the benefits of your cannabis, you need to convert the THCA and CBDA to THC and CBD through a process called decarboxylation.

What Is Decarboxylation?

Decarboxylation (also referred to as decarbing) is a process that uses heat to convert THCA and CBDA into THC and CBD. When raw cannabis flower is heated via smoking or vaporization, it is decarboxylated. The vapor and smoke contains decarboxylated cannabinoids that are absorbed almost instantly by the lungs, providing quick relief. However, baking or cooking with raw cannabis often falls short of processing THCA and CBDA entirely, making decarbing an essential step.

How to Decarb Cannabis

The following tips will ensure that you’re set up to prepare the best cannabis concoctions:

  • Decarbing can be a bit of a smelly process. Opening windows or running an air purifier can help reduce some of the smell. If you live with someone who is sensitive to strong smells, you may want to wait until they’re not home.
  • Preheat your oven to 240°F. If you cook your cannabis at higher temperatures, you risk burning it. At 240°F, you can ideally preserve the terpenes.
  • Break up your cannabis into smaller pieces. There’s no need to grind it up if you’re making an infusion later on as this makes it more difficult to strain out the plant matter after your infusion is finished. Skip this step if you’re using shake as it’s already broken up.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or tin foil and spread the cannabis out evenly.
  • The recommended bake time is between 45 and 60 minutes. You may need to periodically stir up the cannabis every 10-15 minutes to achieve the best results.
  • You’ll know the cannabis is finished decarbing when it turns from green to a mild brown colour.

How to Use Decarbed Cannabis

Once you’ve finished decarbing your cannabis, there a few different ways to use it. You can grind it up and mix it straight into things like cake batter, smoothies or guacamole. However, a lot of people opt to make infusions like canna-oil or canna-butter which can be incorporated into any recipe that calls for regular oil or butter. For a step by step tutorial on how to make your own canna-butter, check out this videoon our YouTube channel.

Another option is to grind up the decarbed cannabis and fill gelatin or vegetable capsules. This can be helpful for people who don’t digest cannabis oil well or who want to medicate on the go without having to worry about oil filled capsules leaking.