• Post last modified:December 6, 2021
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Cannabis’ popularity has grown immensely over the past decade. However, despite the favorable legislation and numerous companies selling cannabis-derived products, thousands of individuals don’t know much about the plant. For example, do you know how many compounds are present in weed? Do you know how these compounds are activated to serve their recreational or medical purpose? The answers to these questions are; over one hundred and through the process of decarbing weed, respectively. 

Decarbing weed sometimes is also known as decarboxylating weed, cannabis decarboxylation, etc. but they all refer to the same process.

Decarbing weed is the process of activating the psychoactive and therapeutic cannabis compounds through the loss of one carboxyl group (-COOH). Sounds complicated? Don’t worry. This article explains everything in the simplest way possible. It explores what decarbing weed is, why it is essential, how to decarboxylate weed, and how to use the decarbed weed. 

What is decarbing weed? An explanation of cannabis decarboxylation at molecular level

When heat is applied to cannabis plants (hemp and marijuana), the chemical structure is altered, giving rise to a highly potent product. This occurs when the extra carboxyl group found in freshly harvested cannabis is removed.

Fresh cannabis has minimum potency. This is because it mainly consists of cannabinoid acids like THCA, CBDA, CBNA, and CBGA. Subjecting cannabis to high temperatures changes the molecular structure of these acids, converting them to a more potent form (THC, CBD, CBN, and CBG). 

Decarbing Weed
Cannabis Decarboxylation Chemical Structure Explained

When the cannabinoids are activated and consumed, they can easily interact with the Endocannabinoid System to promote optimum body functioning. 

During harvesting, drying, and curing, the cannabis plant undergoes minimum decarb thanks to the heat it is subjected to. However, the temperatures are not adequate to activate all the cannabinoids. That’s why it is impossible to feel the effects of cannabis when one consumes the plant while raw. 

What is the ideal temperature for decarbing weed?

Cannabis is made up of cannabinoids, flavonoids, terpenes, and oils. All these work together to offer a consumer a synergy of beneficial effects. Consequently, while decarbing weed, it is crucial to work with temperatures that preserve these essential compounds. 

According to experts, the ideal decarboxylation temperature is between 230⁰F to 250⁰F (110⁰C to 121⁰C). THCA requires less heat compared to CBDA to carboxylate to their respective cannabinoids. The former requires around 220⁰F for 30-45 minutes, while the latter works best at 245⁰F for 45minutes. Research has Indicated that decarbing cannabis at CBDA-ideal conversion temperatures does not interfere with THC levels or potency. 

During the decarboxylation of cannabis, not all acidic cannabinoids are converted into THC, CBD, CBN, or CBG. Traces of the acidic components will be left behind, which explains why you will see lab test results that include THCA, CBDA, CBNA, and CBGA. 

TEMPERATUREDECARBOXYLATION TIME 
230⁰F 35 to 45 minutes
250⁰F 25 to 30 minutes
280⁰F 20 minutes
300⁰F 5-10 minutes
(not recommended since with such high temperatures, the risk of destroying vital compounds is high)

Is decarbing weed really necessary?

The short answer is, yes. Research has shown that CBD and THC have potent anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anxiolytic, antiemetic, anticonvulsant, and neuroprotective properties. However, without the process of cannabis decarboxylation, CBD and THC would not be present in sufficient quantities. To activate the psychoactive and therapeutic potential of THC, CBD, and others, decarbing weed is essential. 

Recent studies have indicated that the acidic precursors might have potential medical benefits. The research is still ongoing, but the therapeutic potential of the acidic cannabinoids is promising. Anyone looking to tap into the full benefits of raw and decarbed cannabis might benefit from combining the two when making oils and topicals. 

How to decarboxylate weed? Various methods of decarbing weed discussed

Decarbing=heat. Sounds easy and quite straightforward, doesn’t it? True, the basic principle of decarbing weed is heat application, but there are various ways to achieve the goal.

Some individuals prefer heating it on a stove, others in a crockpot, some in a double-boiler, while most opt for an oven. The first three methods require constant monitoring, stirring, and flipping…plus, there is a potential risk of overheating or unevenly decarbing the cannabis. Why take the risk? Oven decarbing is precise and effective. Additionally, you don’t need to be overly involved in the process. All you need to do is place the cannabis in the oven and wait for the magic to happen.

Below is a simple procedure on how to decarboxylate weed in an oven.

The process of decarbing weed in an oven

You will need:

  • Your cannabis strain of choice
  • An oven
  • Baking dish/tray
  • Parchment paper
  • Airtight container

Note: Decarbing cannabis emits a strong aroma that will fill the hours for some hours. Be warned!

Procedure

Step 1: Set your oven to 250⁰F and let it preheat as you prepare the cannabis

Step 2: take the parchment paper and line it on the baking sheet/dish/tray

Step 3: Take the cannabis and cut it into smaller bits. You can do this with bare hands or with a pair of scissors. Some people prefer to grind the weed. All approaches are okay. 

Step 4: Put the cannabis into the oven at 250⁰F for 25minutes to half an hour. 

Step 5: After 30 minutes, remove the weed from the oven. Check the color to confirm it has turned from green to a light shade of brown. 

Step 6: Let it cool and then transfer it to the airtight container. Close the container with a fighting lid.

Step 7: Store the decarbed cannabis in a cool, dry, and dark place for future use. 

Step 8: You can use decarboxylated weed in a variety of ways. You can use it to make oils, cannabutter, cannasugar, topicals, and edibles. In perfect storage, the decarbed weed can stay fresh for up to a year. However, THC gradually degrades to CBN. This is a cannabinoid that has numerous therapeutic benefits, including sleep-inducing properties. Staying too long without using cannabis will result in a CBN-rich compound with a powerful relaxing and sleepy high. 

What features should you look for in a strain before decarboxylate weed?

While decarbing, it is best to select a strain that will make potent edibles, oils, and topicals. Consequently, you should not choose strains randomly. First, you need to ensure that the flower is properly dried and cured. This ensures that the terpenes and cannabinoids are preserved while avoiding bud rot and mold caused by moisture. 

The flowers don’t have to be meticulously manicured. If you are using homegrown cannabis, pick the dense and loose buds for this process. Lastly, opt for strains that have the cannabinoids composition that fits your needs. If you are looking for a recreational flower, the ideal choice would be one that offers euphoria, bliss, elevated moods, and social. A medical strain will combat different conditions such as pain, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, tension, and appetite-related issues. 

Top recreational strains for decarboxylate weed (decarbing weed)

Bruce banner: Bruce Banner makes an excellent wake and bake strain. It provides a high that keeps the consumer energized, happy, and positive throughout the day. 

Girl Scout Cookies: For a hard-hitting, delicious treat, look no further than the GSC. This multiple award-winning hybrid offers a long-lasting high that will provide you with a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

Gorilla Glue 4: GG4 boasts an impressive potency of up to 28% THC. Its sticky buds are resin-filled, indicating what it has to offer as one of the most potent strains in the world. Expect a thrilling mix of cerebral and body-centered high. 

Top medical strains for decarbing

Harlequin: This strain is one of the top medical cannabis hybrids. It has very high CBD at 10% – 15% and THC of 7%-10%. Patients use it for pain, nausea, sleep, and appetite. 

Blueberry: Looking for a relaxing, chilled-out high? Blueberry is the ideal strain. With average potency and substantial CBD content, this hybrid makes an excellent medical choice. It helps with sleep-related issues, nausea, pain, depression, anxiety, and stress.

White widow: This world-famous strain is a balanced hybrid that offers the best of both Indica and Sativa effects. It is outstanding in helping consumers maintain focus and promotes creativity. Its powerful analgesic properties help combat pain associated with arthritis, fibromyalgia, and muscle spasms.

Frequently asked questions on decarbing weed (FAQS)

Does decarboxylation destroy other cannabinoids like CBD, CBG, or CBN?

No. Under the optimum temperatures, decarboxylation converts the acidic precursors THCA, CBDA, CBNA, and CBGA into their respective cannabinoids (THC, CBD, CBN, and CBG). What decarb does is increase the concentration of these cannabinoids, making the cannabis highly potent and therapeutic. Below are the boiling temperatures of each cannabinoid.
CBC: 428°F/220°C 
THC: 314°F/157°C 
CBN: 365°F/185°C 
THCV: 428°F/220°C 

Do I need to decarb my weed before smoking?

NO. When cannabis is smoked, dabbed, or vaped, heat is involved. This heat converts the acidic cannabinoids present into CBD, THC, and others. 

Are edibles and topicals decarbed?

Yes. All edible and topical products contain decarbed cannabis. This makes it easy to administer THC and CBD into the body for therapeutic benefits. They come ready to use and consume.

Can I smoke decarbed weed?

A lot of people are curious about this. The answer is not really. Decarbed weed is fragile and may turn into dust when touched. It could also burn at a much faster rate and produce a harsh smoke. The ideal cannabis to smoke is the dried and adequately cured variety. 

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