From pot brownies and weed cookies to cannabis coffee and gourmet ganja-infused meals, edibles are amazing. Before cannabis makes it into an edible form, however, the weed that’s used to make them needs to go through a bit of a process.
Did you know that consuming raw weed won’t get you high? True story. In order to feel the psychoactive effects of THC strains or the medical benefits from high-CBD strains, these cannabinoids must be activated. Whether you’re smoking weed or eating it, THC or CBD must be triggered into doing their thing.
In its raw form, the two most common cannabinoids in weed are THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) and CBDA (cannabidiolic acid). By themselves, these cannabinoids won’t do much to elicit the effects cannabis is known for. They need to be activated to get the THC and CBD we’re all familiar with.
On a small scale, activation occurs when freshly harvested flowers are dried. But drying your weed doesn’t fully release THC and CBD from THCA and CBDA. And fully activating these cannabis compounds all comes down to one simple thing. Heating them up. It’s a process known as decarboxylation and is necessary to reap the countless benefits of cannabis.
Cannabis Must Be Heated to Get You High
Whether you’re smoking weed or eating it, the cannabis you’re consuming must go through a heating process for you to get high. This heating up process is different for smoking weed vs. eating edibles.
When you smoke weed, you just fire it right up. When weed is made into edibles, it must go through a process known as decarboxylation.
Here we’ll take a look at both.
There’s a reason you light up a bowl or a joint and smoke it rather than just sprinkle weed on top of your salad or pop it into your mouth like a grape. It needs to be heated up to get you high.
When you light that bowl or joint on fire, your weed immediately goes through the decarboxylation process. THCA is converted into THC. You light the bowl, inhale, and you experience the euphoric head high weed is famous for. Straightforward and simple to understand, yes? You’ve got to heat up your weed to get high. The same thing goes for edibles. The cannabis that goes into these infused edibles must go through the same decarboxylation process that happens when you smoke it.
When you make edibles, you don’t just toss raw weed into your recipe. You’ve got to decarb your weed to activate cannabinoids THC or CBD. The easiest (and most common) way to do this is with an oven.
While it’s a super simple process, there is a bit of an art to decarbing your cannabis. You’ll want to preserve the terpenes of your weed as much as possible. Responsible for each strain’s unique characteristics, terpenes not only give your weed it’s flavor and effects, but they also work with cannabinoids to increase the plant’s recreational and medical benefits.
Terpenes start to break down at 310 degrees Fahrenheit. The best temperature to decarb your weed then, is right around 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
How to Decarb Your Weed
Now that you know why you need to decarboxylate your cannabis, it’s time to learn how to decarb your weed. Following is a step-by-step process to easy decarboxylation to ensure you’re cooking up the best cannabis concoctions you can:
- Preheat your oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the perfect temperature that’s not too low and not too high. If you try to decarb your weed at a temperature that’s too low, there’s a possibility that the THCA won’t completely convert into THC. Cook your cannabis at a temp that’s too high and you run the risk of burning it. 225 degrees is the perfect temperature to make certain you’re not losing terpenes or flavor.
- Most growers will use some of their excess trim when they decarb their weed rather than use dried buds. If you’ve got trim, awesome. If not, break up your dried bud into small pieces and spread evenly onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Be sure to remove any stems in the process.
- At 225 degrees you’ll want to bake your weed for 30-40 minutes. To ensure that it’s cooking evenly, you’ll need to stir it a bit with a spatula or wooden spoon. Do this every 10 minutes are your cannabis will cook and decarb evenly.
- After 30-40 minutes, remove the cookie sheet from the oven and let your cannabis cool. You’ll know its ready when the color of your weed has gone from green to a light to medium brown color. It will be dry and crumbly, which is exactly what you want.
- When your cooked weed has cooled, the next step is to put it into a food processor or grinder until coarsely ground. If you plan on using this weed in smoothies or drinks, you can grind it until it is the consistency of powder.
Now that you know how to decarb your weed (and why you need to), you’ll have exactly what you need to make your own cannabutter and some amazing cannabis-infused recipes. What are you planning on cooking up with cannabis? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below.