Introduction: How to Decarboxylate Cannabis

Picture of How to Decarboxylate Cannabis

If you're wanting to make edibles or tinctures from cannabis, decarboxylation is a crucial step! Decarbing the cannabis you use in medibles and tinctures will make them safer and more effective.

Decarboxylation happens very slowly when cannabis is cured, but we can use an oven to speed up and complete the process. Decarbing your cannabis allows you to convert the THCA found in your dried buds and trim to THC. This will allow your medibles and tinctures to be more potent and take effect more quickly. Decarbing most often occurs when cannabis is smoked, so this process doesn't have an opportunity to occur when making butters, oils and tinctures - you have to do it beforehand!

Beyond turning the THCA found in cannabis to THC, decarboxylation also has one other awesome benefit: lowering the risk of botulism in your medibles. If you don't properly decarb your cannabis, the moisture from it can cause botulism bacteria to grow in your tinctures, butters or oils. And I'm assuming you probably don't want that on top of why you're medicating with cannabis already. ;)

For more information on decarboxylation and also a nice scientific experiment, I recommend reading this article.

In this instructable I'll cover how we choose to decarboxylate cannabis - there are loads of ways to do it, but this is our preferred method.

Step 1: Tools + Materials

Picture of Tools + Materials

To do this you'll need:

  • an oven set to 220 F/105 C
  • a baking sheet
  • parchment paper
  • sugar leaf trim, ground bud, or kief

If using sugar leaves or kief, no other processing is necessary. If you're using full buds, grind them roughly before proceeding. You want things to be broken down well so the cannabis releases all the moisture it's holding.

Today I'm decarboxylating 40 g of Doctor Who trim - we're going to turn it into coconut canna oil.

Step 2: Prep

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Preheat the oven to 220 F / 105 C.

Place a sheet of parchment paper on your baking sheet and spread your cannabis out over it. If you see any large pieces, break them up with your hands.

If you have more cannabis than will fit nicely on one sheet, divide it in half. You just want one fairly thin layer. If you crowd it it will not dry out properly.

Step 3: Decarboxylate

Picture of Decarboxylate

Place the baking sheet in the oven and let it hang out for 25 minutes.

For well dried trim, kief, and bud this should be long enough. However, if the cannabis you're using is more fresh you may want to take it an additional 25 minutes.

A hygrometer can be useful for double checking to see how much moisture is left, too - just put the cannabis in a closed jar or bag with it.

Once the cannabis is nice and dry, let it sit out on the counter until it's entirely cooled. Now you can use it for whatever medible application you'd like!

Comments

PaulNorbs made it! (author)2017-09-07

I dry the raw 30g cleaned product in my pre-heated oven at 105C for 30min, and it seems quite dry, then I leave out the oven for around 15 min to cool off. I then pour around 600ml of extra virgin olive oil in a glass bowl with the 30g raw product and take an electric hand mixer and give it around 15sec of blending. It turns into a kinda a fine sludge. Then, I cover and leave overnight and the debris sinks to the bottom. I use a syringe to suck up the oil about 10mm into the top of the oil. and fill 10ml bottles to store. In the pic the oil in the syringe seems quite clean, after the overnight settling.

Q. Should I have simmered (Low heat) the 15sec blended mixture for an hour before pouring into a glass container, to let settle overnight, to increase the potency or the THC leaching (blending) process into the oil ?

brownsarah (author)2016-12-05

I just started decarbing for my butter, but can someone clarify for me why the process of decarboxilation doesn't happen while I'm cooking my butter. Or is it just making it stronger to first decarb?

You decarb in the oven before to convert the THCa to THC. The THCa can't be processed by the body. This doesn't happen unless you get the temperature over 100C, higher than the boiling temp of water or butter.

Butter
is an emulsion of fat in water - thus boliling starts at about 100 deg
C. As it is not pure water, but solution of proteins, salts and
hydrocarbons its boiling point will be higher thus 110-120 deg C

Kimi0925 (author)brownsarah2017-07-08

Decarbing, removes the acid, makes it more potent, & removes the moisture. It's the same as drying fresh herbs in the oven. When you do it with fresh herbs, it brings the oils out, enhancing the flavor.
You want a dry mix to make your butter.

G-Nasty (author)brownsarah2016-12-17

I've been wondering this too! The moisture in the butter may inhibit decarb. However, I'd bet using clarified butter (ghee) would do the trick of decarb as this type of butter contains no water.

mbecks (author)2015-03-02

that all sounds great. Its illegal here so it hard to get the right stuff unless you get a prescription.

crank_girl (author)mbecks2015-03-06

That's what the dark net is for. :)

DarleneD13 (author)crank_girl2016-05-29

Yes. That's all good IF you know how to get onto the dark net . I sure would like to know!! Can't get ever clear here. Or a few other things I'm looking for.

StephenH111 (author)DarleneD132016-06-27

you can use 91% or better isopropyl alcohol instead!

radradley (author)StephenH1112016-07-19

Do not use isopropyl for anything you're going to put in your mouth! It's poisonous if ingested! It's a poor substitute for ethanol (even for making shatter, imho)!

jonesey0423 (author)radradley2017-06-06

We use 99.9% isopropyl alcohol all the time........there is no alcohol left in the oil extracted, as it is all boiled off. IF there is any residue left after boiling the alcohol off it is such a tiny amount how would one know it is there? My husband has been making RSO for months with this method, and I have been curing my cancer with it, and have had NO ill effects what so ever, and no spread or return of my cancer (Breast cancer with 2 positive nodes and NO clean margin on lumpectomy)!!!!

G-Nasty (author)radradley2016-12-17

The isopropyl has to be fully evaporated afterward it's done it job

Ekincaidaz (author)DarleneD132017-06-05

I hear you on that. I'm in the same boat about understanding tech safety today

StephenH111 (author)DarleneD132016-06-27

you can use 91% or better isopropyl alcohol instead!

Curiouscat1 (author)2016-10-05

Can you do this on wax paper,foil,or just on cookie sheet??

jonesey0423 (author)Curiouscat12017-06-06

NO!!!

G-Nasty (author)Curiouscat12016-12-17

Yes

The Punisher-1 (author)G-Nasty 2017-03-17

G-Nasty - You are giving out bad info here. You do NOT want to use wax paper. It is much different than parchment paper and it will leave a waxey residue on the weed.

G-Nasty (author)The Punisher-12017-03-18

Thanks for the clairification. I made the incorrect assumption wax and parchment paper were the same.

DarleneD13 (author)2016-05-29

Why do some recipes call for ever clear during decatboxylizing and some do not? WHICH is the better method?

LucasW31 (author)DarleneD132016-10-14

It depends on what you are trying to create. If baking or using the extract in cooking you wouldn't want the alcohol because it is NOT SAFE around heat sources or can be unsafe for certain types of consumption. The alcohol does not have anything to do with decarboxylation process, it is used to extract the THC and CBD from the plant matter after decarboxylation

PJH10 (author)LucasW312016-12-24

Hey I was wondering if I sprayed the everclear on before baking the flower @ the 240 did I ruin the process?

jonesey0423 (author)PJH102017-06-06

yes.

The Punisher-1 (author)PJH102017-03-17

Why would you do that? The idea is to subject it to steady temperature for a specific period of time to activate the THC from the THCA. Why spray alcohol on it?

Stef4chase (author)LucasW312016-10-16

Is there an easier way to decarb so I can make butter and corn syrup

Stef4chase (author)Stef4chase2016-10-16

Like to where is doesn't smell as bad. Can I do it while cooking the oil?

G-Nasty (author)Stef4chase2016-12-17

You can put it in a turkey bag in the oven. This will help to reduce, but not eliminate smell. As an added bonus, you can recover any resins that had settled on the bag surface. Can also use boiling water with the material in a mason jar in boiling water. Water boils at 212F so it's a perfect temp. Just make sure the cap on the jar is loose enough to allow pressure to escape otherwise the jar may pop

Max Flors (author)DarleneD132016-06-14

think you're confusing decarbing for edibles versus making qwet

LucasW31 (author)Max Flors2016-10-17

Probably are... Even when making qwet you are better off decarbing first

DarleneD13 (author)DarleneD132016-06-15

Oh OK! Thx....have bought a few books and done some research. Got great results w/o the spray on :)

Booboogin (author)2016-06-29

Can someone buy a 1/2 gram of harlequin from a dispensary and make tinctures out of it?

jonesey0423 (author)Booboogin2017-06-06

yes. My husband and I have been buying high CBD strains for months and making cannabis oil to treat my breast cancer (now, he has our own plants budding, so no more money going out to the dispensaries.....HOORAY). We have made really good high quality oil with Harlequin from the dispensary. P.S. (I refused chemo and radiation, and the cancer has not shown up anywhere else; they told me it would be everywhere by now without there poisons). :) :) :)

LucasW31 (author)Booboogin2016-10-14

1/2 gram of any bud will not generate any quantity of tincture. You need far more raw product to create any type of extract. When producing tincture you are extracting resin glands and minimal plant material. A .5g flower would leave you with MAYBE .025g of tincture

Envernie (author)2016-11-03

I suffer with chronic migraines and Rhumatoid Arthritis, I have been on severel different medications that have really made me sick.. I'm been doing lots of research on how Cannabis is helping in treatment. I live in a state where it's not leagal.. a state that would rather pump you up with narcotics, and have passed the law saying it no longer works for Chronic pain .. How do I know what strains to use and how to make cannabutter

jonesey0423 (author)Envernie2017-06-06

research. Leafly is a good place to get information. However, just Google 'medicale benefits of cannibis and you will find all kinds of information.

MobyNastro (author)2015-12-11

Cant we simply place the leaves+buds directly onto the tray instead of the parchment paper?

I have difficulty sourcing the paper. :(

Curiouscat1 (author)MobyNastro2016-10-05

I wondered same thing...did u ever find out?

Stef4chase (author)Curiouscat12016-10-16

I'm wondering how you decarb? I know the oven but it there another way that doesn't smell as strong?

jonesey0423 (author)Stef4chase2017-06-06

time will also decarboxylate THCa or CBDa, but it takes time and people usually don't want to wait. Flower that has been harvested for awhile has already lost some of the acid molecules and may not need to be decarboxylated, but if I were using it as medicaine, I would want to make sure to get the most benefit out of it.

LucasW31 (author)Curiouscat12016-10-14

Wax paper is all you need or you can use a paper bag but keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn in the oven

jonesey0423 (author)LucasW312017-06-06

bad advice. Wax paper has wax on it and gets into your product.

greenjeen (author)LucasW312016-12-12

Nooooo, don't use wax paper! It will leave wax on your material, parchment paper is different, you can order it online, or they carry it at most grocery stores by the foil and wax paper, I buy it at Costco, also available online @ Costco. Very reasonable, it last a long long time, and I use it several times a week.

jonesey0423 (author)MobyNastro2017-06-06

you can generally buy parchment paper anywhere you get wax paper

G-Nasty (author)MobyNastro2016-12-17

You can use the bare tray, foil or whatever you'd like.

CherylP46 (author)MobyNastro2016-08-22

Look in the same place you find aluminum foil in the grocery store.

radradley (author)2016-07-19

Wouldn't decarb happen when I'm boiling my coconut oil/water/bud mix for over 3 hrs at 212℉?

jonesey0423 (author)radradley2017-06-06

No. You still need to START with THC or CBD, not THCa or CBDa, and decarboxylation gets rid of the acid molecule so that the cannibinoids are active.

G-Nasty (author)radradley2016-12-17

The water may inhibit decar

JacobNealsDad (author)2017-01-28

I make lemon drop hard candies from keif. Is Decarbing necessary? The ingredients are boiled for approx. 5-7 mins at about 300 F.

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Bio: we're a couple of medical cannabis farmers that believe in responsible and educated use of cannabis for all! we hope our instructables will teach ... More »
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