How To Decarboxylate Cannabis
To unlock the ultimate healing elements of CBD and THC, you must decarboxylate your dry cannabis flower before integrating it into a recipe. Decarboxylation is a heating process that triggers the chemical reaction that releases the carboxylic acids from CBD and THC to fully activate cannabis. In other words, you are converting CBDA to CBD and THCA to THC.
While there are many approaches to decarboxylation, the method that I am most successful with exposes dry cannabis to heat between 240°F and 295°F (115°C–146°C) for 20 to 60 minutes. Heat for a shorter time at higher temperatures or for a longer time at lower temperatures between this range. For example, if you’re using a higher temperature (between 275°F and 295°F [135°C–146°C]), bake for 20 minutes max and be careful not to overcook. Overheating can degrade cannabinoids and terpenes!
To make this process easy, here's a decarboxylation technique that I've learned from professional cannabis chef Coreen Carroll of the Cannaisseur Series.
To decarboxylate cannabis properly:
Pre-heat your oven to 275°F (135°C). As your oven is heating, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Begin to break up the dry flower into pea-sized pieces with your fingers or scissors and spread the cannabis evenly onto your baking sheet. Once the oven is heated, simply put the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool, and store in an airtight sealed mason jar until you’re ready to infuse it into a recipe.
If you’re planning to make a variety of recipes, you can decarboxylate large batches of flower and save portions of it for future use. Please note that if you use the oven method to decarboxylate, your kitchen will fill with very potent cannabis aromas, so if you’re worried about attracting unwanted attention from your neighbors, it might be best to use another method such as sous vide or a decarboxylation device (the Ardent FX works wonders).
Regardless of what method you choose, as you’re decarboxylating, do not exceed 300°F (150°C) at any time—the hotter you heat the cannabis, the more likely it is that you’ll diminish the precious cannabinoids and terpenes that are there.
To learn more about activation temperatures and boiling points, please be sure to pick up a copy of my book, The Ultimate Guide to CBD, or Cannabis Drinks: Secrets to Crafting CBD and THC Beverages at Home. Happy cooking!
Photos By: Margo Amala and Add Weed // Unsplash
About the Author:
Jamie Evans is the founder of The Herb Somm and author of The Ultimate Guide to CBD: Explore the World of Cannabidiol and Cannabis Drinks: Secrets to Crafting CBD and THC Beverages at Home. She is an author, entrepreneur, and writer specializing in cannabis, food, recipes, wine, and the canna-culinary world. In addition to her work in the cannabis industry, Jamie has over a decade of wine industry experience and is a Certified Sommelier. Having represented a wide array of organizations and wineries, she is best known for her literary work and producing high-end events. She was also named as one of Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 Tastemakers in 2018. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @TheHerbSomm.