How to Decarb Your Cannabis: 3 Methods
Updated: Sep 19, 2022
So you’re looking to make your own edibles – maybe you’re trying a Frckn’ Delicious! DIY Gummy kit for the first time. That’s great! But you need to decarb your cannabis, and you’re not even quite sure what that is – or why you need to. If that’s you, don’t sweat it. We’re here to show you how to decarb your cannabis, and why you don’t want to skip it.
Why Decarb Your Cannabis?
“Decarb” is actually short for “decarboxylate”, and it’s the process that turns cannabinoid acids into cannabinoids.
Cannabinoid acids are the precursors to cannabinoids. They’re an acidic chemical structure found in the trichomes of the cannabis plant. While cannabinoid acids have some health benefits of their own, they’re not as strong as cannabinoids.
The two most prominent cannabinoids are THC and CBD. Before being decarboxylated, THC and CBD are THCA and CBDA, their acidic form. These cannabinoid acids can’t cross the blood-brain barrier in order to activate your endocannabinoid system, so you’re not going to be getting the effects you’re looking for.
Decarbing is the process that changes the chemical structure of cannabinoid acids. It activates the cannabinoids in your plant matter, so you can consume it however you want.
How to Decarb at Home
It may sound complicated — but it’s really not. The easiest way to convert cannabinoid acids into cannabinoids is through exposure to heat. That’s why you don’t need to decarb cannabis before smoking it. The flame does that part for you.
If you’re not smoking your cannabis, you need to expose it to high heat for long enough to convert the acids into cannabinoids. You can do this in an oven, in a hot water bath, or even in a slow cooker. We’ve got instructions for each method!
How to Decarb Cannabis in the Oven
If you’re using an oven to decarb your cannabis, remember to keep an eye - and nose - on it to ensure it doesn’t burn. While the oven may be the most convenient way to decarboxylate weed, not all ovens run at the same temperature even on the same settings, so you’ll want to stay close by.
What you’ll need:
A baking sheet - preferably Pyrex, though metal will work too
Your oven & your cannabis
First, preheat your oven to 230 degrees Farenheit.
Break your cannabis into small pieces by hand. You don’t want to grind it yet - pieces that are too small are more likely to burn quickly. Aim for pieces between the size of a dried pea and a grain of rice.
Take a piece of aluminum foil large enough to cover your baking dish and crumple it up slightly; this will prevent your cannabis from coming into direct contact with the hot baking sheet and cooking too quickly or unevenly. Spread the cannabis on the foil and put it in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes.
Your cannabis is done when it is lightly toasted looking, slightly golden brown. If it smells like it’s burning, take it out of the oven right away. Then you’re done! Let your freshly decarbed cannabis cool before storing in an airtight container.
How to Decarb Cannabis in a Slow Cooker
A slow cooker is the slowest, but potentially most convenient method of decarbing cannabis. While it takes some hours longer than other methods, it’s very “set it and forget it”. Many people prefer to use a slow cooker because there’s little to no odour with this method of decarbing, so it’s much more discreet.
All you’ll need is:
An airtight mason jar and lid
Your slow cooker
Grind your cannabis into small pieces by hand and put in the mason jar. Ideally, you’ll want enough to fill one quarter to one half of the jar.
Put the jar inside your slow cooker, and fill the cooker with water until about half full - you’ll want all of the cannabis, and about half or more of the jar, under the water line.
Turn your slow cooker on HIGH, and set a timer for about four hours, then put the lid on and let it do its thing!
You’ll want to check it fairly often - about once an hour or so- to make sure you still have an appropriate level of water. Halfway through the process, remove the jar and shake it up a bit to ensure the heat is being distributed evenly. Other than that, the slow cooker method is fairly hands-off.
When the time is up, gently remove the jar from the slow cooker - it will be hot, so be careful. Let the jar come to room temperature before you open the lid so you don’t lose any terpenes.
How to Decarb Cannabis in a Hot Water Bath
The hot water method is preferred by many as the most accurate way to decarb cannabis. Unlike ovens and slow cookers, which may vary in temperate, water boils at the exact same temperature every time no matter what stovetop or pot you’re using.
A stove and a pot that conducts heat evenly
A cooking bag (sealable and boilable) or an airtight mason jar
Grind your cannabis by hand and put it into the jar or bag. Seal tightly.
Put your bag or jar into the pot and fill with water. You’ll want to leave some room at the top, but make sure that all of the cannabis in the container is below the water line.
Set the pot on the stove and bring to a low boil. Leave for 90 minutes - because water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit, decarbing in a water bath takes a bit longer than the oven method, which is hotter. However, decarbing your cannabis in a jar or bag will help prevent you from losing terpenes during the decarboxylation process.
Again, you’ll want to keep an eye on the pot while it boils and make sure your water isn’t evaporating to below the “cannabis line”. If it does, add more water slowly to ensure you do not lose your boil. For this reason, a low boil (just a simmer) is recommended over a vigorous, rolling boil so you lose less water to the evaporation process.
Once your timer goes off, remove the bag or jar from the pot and allow it to cool completely before opening.
Now You’re Ready to Make Edibles!
Have fun! Remember to enjoy responsibly,