How to Decarboxylate Cannabis

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About: 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 you useful skills that you can use to grow, process, and medi...

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

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

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

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!

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128 Discussions

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Booboogin

3 years ago

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

4 replies
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jonesey0423Booboogin

Reply 2 years ago

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). :) :) :)

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LucasW31Booboogin

Reply 2 years ago

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

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LisaL280

Question 4 months ago on Step 1

Once i have finished decarbing, do i need to use it right away? If not, and i need to wait a few days before i make the butter, what is the best way to store it until i make the butter? Also, is there a way to minimize the smell? (This is why i can’t decarb and make the butter in the same day as my room mate hates the smell lol

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Carper1986

Question 6 months ago on Introduction

I have ground up cannabis in a “miscellaneous” jar that’s been leftover from various uses. Can I decarb this for making butter even though it’s already been ground up and no longer in bud form? I don’t want it to just burn. Thanks!!

1 answer
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AlexS137Carper1986

Answer 4 months ago

You can buy shake (the small stuff that falls of the bud in the bag or jar) for edibles which is essentially just that. I use a vape. I save up the vaped bud and use it in peanut butter cookies. I swear the cookies work better than the vape. It just takes longer (at least an hour) to get the effect.

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Parkeringo

Question 5 months ago on Step 3

How to de carb granular hash ?

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Envernie

2 years ago

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

3 replies
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brainiakdumdumEnvernie

Reply 1 year ago

LSD and psilocybin has clinically been shown to reduce cluster headaches and some forms of neuralgic and neuropathic pains, as well as some psychosomatic pain, psilocybin has been linked to lowered frequency of migraines.

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RogerW98brainiakdumdum

Reply 7 months ago

That's micro-dosing and only LSD is used. And it is only used for cluster headaches.
They are trying to use micro-dosing with kids who are autistic or have ADD or other
similar disorders. I myself believe it should be used by everyone. Depression,
panic, anxiety, paranoia, I believe using LSD in a very structured environment that
will allow those who have these problems to experience this high in a protective,
peaceful, non-aggressive habitat, with both music and art to allow the patient
to be a little more open to other people. It really should be used in a small group
of people in the same place, same dose and same exposure to outer surroundings.

Is it a cure? I don't think so, but it will open up those who have shut down because they can't handle the emotions from the outside world.

Using psychoactive drugs in outpatient treatment rooms can have a big impact
on how those who could not interact with other people.

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jonesey0423Envernie

Reply 2 years ago

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

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brownsarah

2 years ago

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?

6 replies
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JackOfHeartsSRLbrownsarah

Reply 2 years ago

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.

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ClanManJackOfHeartsSRL

Reply 8 months ago

Max oven temp to decarb varies on who you ask but 220F - 240F or 105C to 115C is the temp you want for 30 - 60 mins depending on dried or fresh material.

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

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brainiakdumdumbrownsarah

Reply 1 year ago

Because the process is slowed by being suspended in a medium rather than heat being applied directly to the surface area of the solids.

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Kimi0925brownsarah

Reply 2 years ago

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.