Have you ever tried to eat a raw nug of weed? Maybe you’ve dreamed of having a cereal bowl full of beautiful nugs for breakfast. Well, you most likely would feeling nothing, since need to heat cannabis up to get high.
Raw cannabis contains THCA, which is not psychoactive and needs to be heated to do the trick. This heating process, decarboxylation, converts THCA into delta-9-THC, aka the good stuff (it’s the stuff plants crave!).
What is Decarboxylation?
There is some serious science going on behind the process of turning THCA into THC. The trichomes of raw cannabis flowers contain THC and all other cannabinoids (CBD, CBN, etc). These cannabinoids have an extra carboxyl ring or group (COOH) attached to their chain. To break this ring, you introduce heat or time. So, while the science may seem serious, the process is very simple.
While aging cannabis can lead to decarboxylation, it’s not nearly the most efficient way to cause the process to happen. When you are smoking cannabis, this decarbing happens easily because you are introducing fire directly to the THCA.
When making edibles, this process is slightly different. It doesn’t work to just put raw weed into your recipe. While aging the weed beforehand will produce THC, it won’t produce the highest potency results. You have to slightly precook the herb, which is known as decarbing your weed. Once you have successfully decarbed, you are ready to make some quality edibles.
Whether you are looking to get the benefit of THC or CBD from your edibles, you should absolutely be decarbing your cannabis before baking.
How to Decarb Weed
- Preheat the oven to 240° F. / 115° C. You can also use other temperatures, but we will cover that in another section. This is for a basic version.
- Break up cannabis flowers and buds into smaller pieces with your hands. This version of the recipe is for one ounce, but you can use more or less.
- Put the pieces in one layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Make sure the pan is the correct size so there is not empty space on the pan.
- Bake the cannabis for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes so that it toasts evenly.
- When the cannabis is darker in color, a light to medium brown, and has dried out, remove the baking sheet and allow the cannabis to cool. It should be quite crumbly when handled.
- In a food processor, pulse the cannabis until it is coarsely ground (you don’t want a superfine powder). Store it in an airtight container and use as needed to make extractions
Pro Tip: While nugs of weed may be the ideal form of cannabis for smoking, it’s not the best idea to use whole nugs for baking. You can get the same THC value from shake, and if you have trim available that is super valuable for edibles.
Weed Decarb Chart
As with any other chemical process, there are certain conditions that need to be present in order for the chemical components to change their structure.
For decarboxylation to happen, we need to raise the temperature of the THCA molecules found in raw cannabis.
Decarbing weed at the right temperature can be key to getting the proper experience out of your cannabis, whether that be simply releasing THC or preserving the natural terpenes as well. Terpenes are the natural flavor compounds in cannabis and other plants.
While decarboxylation happens at high temperature, determining how high of a temperature and how long to keep it at that temperature is the key.
At the end of the day, if you plan to make edibles, you absolutely need to decarb your weeb. It’s impossible to get high from the raw weed and who wants to eat brownies with a weed taste that don’t get you high?