Guide: How To Decarboxylate Cannabis (Including CBD Flower/Hemp)

Decarbing your weed is something every cannabis user should learn how to do.

Scientifically speaking, decarboxylation is the chemical reaction that removes carboxyl and releases CO2. Although you may think this is useless information, it’s actually very important – especially for those wanting to make edibles.

Consuming cannabis in its raw form contains no active THC or CBD. Rather, raw cannabis contains THCa and/or CBDa – the acidic precursors to THC and CBD.

Decarboxylation (which is done through the use of heat) converts THCa and CBDa into THC and CBD, respectively.

THC – not THCa – is what gets you ‘high’. This is why eating raw weed will not have any psychoactive effects.

Additionally, while CBDa does have its own health benefits, CBD is the active form which is thought to offer most of the beneficial effects

Decarboxylation also unlocks the full medicinal value of lesser-known cannabinoids such as CBC, CBN and CBG.

This guide will take you through the best ways to decarb your weed and unlock its full potential!

The oven method

Using an oven to decarboxylate your weed is the most popular method. Just follow these steps:

  1. Simply place your cannabis or cannabis concentrate (like hash) in an oven-proof dish lined with baking paper, cover with foil, and then place in a preheated 105°C oven for roughly 15 minutes to remove any moisture.
  2. After this, cook at 100-110°C for 1-2 hours.
  3. Once the cook is complete, remove your weed from the oven – you should notice its now browner, smells a bit toasty and may have lost a bit of volume. These are all normal signs of decarboxylation. Your weed has now been decarboxylated and is ready to use in cooking recipes.

The Ardent Nova Decarboxylator (easiest)

If the oven method sounds like too much hassle, why not try the Ardent Nova Decarboxlator?

This amazing piece of kit was designed especially for decarbing weed and takes all the hard work out of the decarboxylation process.

decarboxylator

The great thing about this method is its ease of use – just put your weed in the container, push the button and return in 2 hour’s time to find your weed fully decarboxylated!  

Another advantage of the Ardent Nova is it doesn’t produce any smell like the oven method. This is particularly handy for those wishing to be discrete.

decarboxylator

You can find out more information about the Ardent Nova here. And we have found one shop in the UK that stocks them here.

How long should I decarb my weed for?

The length of time you spend decarbing depends on your goals.

The decarboxylation process occurs between 90 and 140°C. Therefore, using the oven method you can either: (1) heat at a higher temperature for a shorter period of time or (2) heat at a lower temperature over a longer period of time.

Most weed enthusiasts prefer option 2 as heating at a lower temperature prevents the terpenes from evaporating allowing the plant to keep more of itsflavour and smell.

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Additionally, some like to simply use a microwave to decarb their weed. However, we don’t recommend this approach.

Although using a microwave is a convenient method that only takes 3-5 minutes, the heating process can be extremely uneven and may cause terpenoids or cannabinoids to evaporate.

Decarboxylating CBD strains

It is important to note that CBD-rich strains need more time to decarboxylate. While many CBD concentrates or isolates may have been decarbed already, CBD flower will contain mostly CBDa, not the activated CBD.

One way to check if your CBD product has been decarbed is by looking at the label – if it lists high CBD content as opposed to CBD-A, it has probably already been decarbed.

To decarb CBD strains, Sensi Seeds recommends the following two-step oven approach: 15 minutes at 105°C (to dry the plant) and then 60 minutes at 120°C.

Now your cannabis has been decarbed and ‘activated’, you’re ready to start cooking with it! 

Check out our guide to making cannabutter.

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