In order to make cannabutter or oil for homemade edible, you need to start by decarbing your weed flower. Decarboxylation is required because it’s the process that activates the psychoactive compounds in cannabis so that you can get a high from the THC.
If you don’t decarb your weed before consuming it, you won’t get baked. Continue reading to learn more about what decarboxylation is, why it’s necessary for edibles, and how to do it at home using a few different methods.
As mentioned above, decarboxylation is the chemical process that activates the psychoactive compounds in weed.
In other words, a nug straight off the stem contains THCA that needs to be converted into THC. The most common way to convert THCA into THC is through heat. This is exactly what you’re doing when you heat up and take a rip from your dab pen or torch a bowl. To get a little more scientific, the THCA in weed has an additional carboxyl ring withing its chemical structure. The application of heat gets rid of that ring, or decarboxylates, the chemical compound.
When vaping or smoking there’s enough heat to instantly decarb the THCA compounds in weed and get it ready to absorb into your lungs. It’s also possible for some decarboxylation to happen overtime as your weed is cured and dried after harvest.
Proper weed decarboxylation typically occurs between 200-250ºF. It’s important to keep in mind that the various cannabinoids and terpenes found in cannabis react to varying levels of temperature. These compounds can be activated, changed molecularly, or even destroyed when cooked at different levels and amounts of time.
When it comes to decarboxylation, the key is to go low and slow at around 230-240ºF. This allows you to activate the most THC without destroying the other precious cannabinoids and terpenes. You can read more about how fast THCA breaks down into THC, and CBDA into CBD, at different temperatures in this 2016 study.
The Activation 420 Decarboxylator Herbal Activator from STX is one of the most technologically advanced options. It boasts a 120 watt heater that can be controlled with the included thermostat. This allows you to heat your bud to the perfect temperature every time.
We love this decarbing machine because it’s super easy to use and features pre-programmed options to help you get up and running. The container is slightly smaller than other devices as it only holds up to 2 ounces of flower, but we think that’s plenty in most situations.
The Arden FX Decarboxylator is the priciest option on this list, but that price is justified by it’s various features. This model is 3-1 meaning it allows you to not only decarb your weed, but it also designed to infuse, bake, and then melt your cannabis for use in oils or butter. Don’t let the variety of features fool you because it’s super simple to use whether it’s your first or 100th time decarbing cannabis. You also pay for quality construction featuring food-grade & BPA-free silicone.
This decarboxylation machine from ECRU is a high-quality option that doesn’t cost a fortune. This glass box decarboxylator is simple, but it works just as well as any other product on the market. The glass container holds your flower while a lid attached to the main device works to activate the THC. As an added bonus, there are 4 pre-set modes and an easy to use touch screen.
We would never advise trying to decarb your weed in a microwave. That’s because you can’t control the temperature and you won’t be able to heat up the bud low and slow. The dry heat from an oven or specialized decarboxylation machine always work best. You can even use a toaster oven at a low temperature if you’re in a pinch.
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