If you’d love the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) in weed, you’ll have to “heat” it up a notch. Apparently, THC and CBD don’t exist in significant amounts in cannabis but they can be created through heat. According to Healthline, raw weed has tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA). In order to convert those into THC and CBD, you’ll have to decarb the weed. Here’s what you need to know about decarbing weed.

Feature Photo Source: Unsplash

Decarboxylation weed scientific process 

Simply put, decarboxylation is a chemical reaction that involves the removal of a carboxyl group and the release carbon dioxide. A carboxyl group consists of a carbon atom that’s double-bonded to an oxygen atom and at the same time singly bonded to a hydroxyl group.

In the diagram below, the carboxyl group is highlighted in blue on the compounds to the left. One carbon and two oxygen atoms are removed to give you THC and CBD when THCA and CBDA are exposed to heat.

A picture showing decarboxylation for THCA and CBDA Source: Medisenol

What is decarbing and what do people use it for?

People decarb weed when they’re making tinctures, edibles, or other products. For example, if you wanted to make edibles, you’d weigh the cannabis, then decarb it before you started to add it to your food. 

Cannabis decarboxylation first ensures they’ll have THC and CBD readily available. 

How long to decarb weed

Decarbing weed generally takes about 40 minutes in the oven.

How to decarb weed without smell

Before you get started it’s important to know that decarbing weed is smelly business. This is especially the case if you are decarbing a whole ounce or more. However, using a mason jar or even a turkey bag can help suppress the smell. We also recommend cracking a window and using fans to help circulate the air.

How to decarboxylate weed in the oven

Decarbing weed in the oven is probably the most popular method. The oven is a great tool to use because it can provide the heat necessary for decarboxylation to take place. It’s also convenient since ovens are popular and found in most households. 

Tools needed to decarb weed in the oven

Fortunately, you don’t need a lot of items to decarb weed in the oven. You’ll need:

  • Pyrex dish or baking pan 
  • Baking sheet paper
  • Oven thermometer
  • Weed

Steps to decarb weed in the oven

  1. Preheat your oven to 240 degrees Fahrenheit. (Some opt for over 250 degrees to avoid the risk of botulism) Make sure the internal temperature is really 240 degrees Fahrenheit (or whatever decarb temp you choose) using an oven thermometer.  
  2. Break up the cannabis into small pieces using your hands. Sprinkle it across the baking pan or pyrex dish. Make sure the pieces have space and aren’t packed on top of each other.
  3. Toast it for about 40 minutes but regularly check in on it. The weed should turn brown.

If you’re more of a visual learner you can watch these videos: 

How to decarb weed in a mason jar 

Some people opt to use a mason jar to hold the weed as they decarb it in the oven. 

Tools needed to decarb weed in a mason jar

This method also needs very few and many of the items are probably already in your home. You’ll need:

  • Pyrex dish or baking pan 
  • Baking sheet paper
  • Oven thermometer
  • Weed
  • Mason jar

Steps needed to decarb weed in a mason jar

  1. Preheat oven to 240 degrees Fahrenheit (the decarb temp may vary depending on who you ask)
  2. Break up the cannabis into smaller pieces
  3. Place cannabis inside a mason jar
  4. Put the lid loosely on the mason jar
  5. Place the mason jar into the baking dish (Pyrex). The Pyrex should be lined with baking sheet paper
  6. Put mason jar and pyrex into the oven and leave for 30 minutes
  7. After the time has elapsed, shake the mason jar gently to move the weed around and reposition the jar. Be careful it’s hot!
  8. After another 30 minutes have elapsed, turn off the oven and leave the jar in there for another 30 minutes
  9. Once the weed has cooled down gradually you’re done and free to use the weed to do whatever you want

If you’re a more visual learner, you can watch the steps here:

How to decarb weed using the sous vide method

There is also another method called the sous vide method. It requires more tools, it can be more expensive but it’s not hard to do. Just to let you know, the sous vide machine is essentially a water bath. 

Tools needed to decarb weed using the sous vide method

You’ll need:

  • A vacuum seal bag
  • Weed
  • Pump (to remove air from the bag)
  • Sous vide machine

Steps needed to decarb weed using the sous vide method

  1. Preset your sous vide machine to 207 degrees Fahrenheit 
  2. Break down weed using your hands
  3. Place in vacuum seal bag
  4. Use the pump to remove all the air from the bag.
  5. Place the bag of cannabis into the sous vide machine and let simmer for 90 minutes.
  6. Remove bag and use weed as you see fit

If you’re a more visual learner you can watch this video:

Other ways to prep weed

The methods we outlined above are not the only ways to decarb weed. There are a variety of methods. Some people skip the oven and use: 

  1. A slow cooker
  1. A Toaster oven

You can also put your weed in a mason jar and put it in the sous vide machine. 

Conclusion 

The takeaway is that decarbing weed is fairly simple and can be done at home. If you want to make tinctures, edibles, or other cannabis products and want to feel the full effects of THC and CBD then decarbing the weed is the way to go.

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