In this online series, Herb walks you through the decarboxylation process and why it is necessary for making cannabis edibles.
What is decarboxylation? Put simply, decarboxylation activates compounds in cannabis for ingestion. More specifically, THCacid is converted to THC at a rate of 87.7%. THCacid (THCa) is a non-psychoactive precursor to THC.
Everything you need to decarboxylate your cannabis using an oven at home:
- Aluminum Foil (Thick)
- Sheet Pan
- Oven Thermometer (Optional)
Preheat your oven to 240° F/116° C.
Before you start, I am making the assumption that the smell of cannabis isn’t an issue. This process will produce a fragrant bouquet, so take this into consideration.
Next, prepare your cannabis, in the case of dried cannabis, it is beneficial to pick apart any major stems, we only want the buds here. Grinding is popular but can be time-consuming. A rough chop with clean scissors or a knife is enough. If you think blending cannabis in your coffee grinder would be easier, consider cleaning the grinder afterwards. Cannabis resin is sticky.
Weigh your cannabis prior to baking it, be sure to write this number down. It is used in calculating potency later on. Here, I’m using whats known as ‘already been vaped’ cannabis or ABV for short. The leftover brown plant matter left over after you vaporize cannabis still contains active compounds. Instead, try saving it to bake with it. One of the main benefits of vaporizing cannabis is having the waste cannabis to turn into edibles. Smoking cannabis produces ash, don’t ingest ash. Cannabis can be stored in a cleaned used LP bottle or for best results use a sealed glass jar, and store in a cool dark place.
Let’s get started on activating our cannabis.
Take out twice as much foil as the length of your pan. We will use the foil to create a seal around the cannabis.
Place your prepared cannabis, in my case ABV (that’s why it’s already brown), on top of the aluminum foil. Cover the cannabis and seal your edges by folding over each side twice onto itself.
Why bother? We want to keep the contents trapped (but not so much it cant off-gas) to preserve as much potency and flavour as we can.
Bake at 116°C /240°F for 60-75 minutes. While you’re waiting, feel free to check out my cannabis tasting journal. It can help you keep track of the batches of edibles you make.
The journals are handmade in Fredericton, New Brunswick. It makes a great gift and helps support this website. Visit our Etsy Store.
That’s it, you’re done! Your cannabis is decarboxylated (decarbed). Now that you have activated your cannabis, treat this dried herb like an edible. It can be made infused into anything with a high-fat content, such as butter or coconut oil. You could also simply add the dried herb as seasoning to your favourite meal. For more accurate dosage, filling capsules with decarbed cannabis provides an option if consistency is paramount.
When calculating potency, treat decarbed cannabis via the oven method at approximately 70% of the strength of full decarboxylation.
Why? Decarboxylation is a delicate process and home ovens are not designed to perform highly accurate heating. If you plan on making edibles regularly and need to have accurate potency among multiple batches, consider investing in a decarboxylator to ensure minimal loss of compounds like THC. If you lose 30% potential THC using the oven method, the cost of wasting potency can add up quick. I personally use and would recommend Ardent’s Nova. Not only does it decarboxylate but it eliminates the unique bouquet.
How do you know how much to use of ABV versus dried cannabis?
This is a tricky one, and in my experience, it depends. Factors such as the temperature of vaporization and how old the ABV is are just a couple. If you’re like me and put multiple different strains together in one jar, this further complicates accuracy.
My rule for estimating the ratio of ABV to Dried Cannabis in a given recipe? Start with twice as much ABV as you calculated for dried cannabis. If it’s too strong, you can dilute it. If it’s underperforming? You can adjust recipes to include more oil by volume.