Contributor: kc scannell
Isn’t legalization great?
For many, this is a whole new world of enjoyment. They’ve long since known about the floral variety of cannabis, but perhaps it was only when their home state went full recreational that they were finally introduced to the various other mediums of marijuana.
I’m talking about vape pens, concentrates, and even topicals and tinctures. It, quite literally, was a whole new world being opened to these lucky newbies to the cannabis community. And, I must admit, I’m a bit jealous. If only they knew the fun and relaxation that was in store for them.
Everything You'll Need To Know About Decarboxylating Your Cannabis
But, while all of those aforementioned products may blow the mind of the common “noob” in a dispensary, the new cannabis enthusiast is usually already beyond intrigued by the edible section the second they walk into the building. They’ve likely heard tale of, or seen in movies, people taking edibles. The “horror stories” that have been circulating for decades about bad experiences have sullied the otherwise good name of edibles.
It’s all about dosage, but these newbies don’t know that. The only thing they’ve ever known is that edibles are unreliable, and potentially panic-inducing. While that couldn’t be further from the truth, it takes experience for a message like that to truly get through to someone. So, once they have a couple positive edible endeavors under their belt, they quickly realize just how awesome and therapeutic these digestible forms of marijuana can be.
Before long, they’ve tried the entire line of edible products at their local dispensary. Which leaves them with only one option: they need to learn how to make some edibles of their own.
Lucky for them, making edibles is simpler and more reliable than it’s ever been. Through trial and error, the cannabis community has all but perfected the common edible, and its various forms. But what’s really exciting is that there is no end in sight. The possibilities of cannabis culinary options are limitless, so it’s fun to experiment with new recipes and whatnot, to see if you can make the “next big thing” in edibles.
However, before you crack open any cookbook and get to work, you’ll need to decarboxylate some cannabis flower in order to achieve any sort of potency.
For those of you who are unaware, decarboxylating marijuana is the process in which, through low and slow heating methods, the psychoactive component of cannabis (THC) becomes activated.
In this activated state, it is ready to adhere to any substance that’s ready to take on its potency. In many cases that’s any sort of cooking oil or butter. You’d then take that THC butter or oil, and use it in recipes.
It’s really that simple.
What’s even better is that there is more than one way to decarboxylate your marijuana to get it ready for cooking. You could do it in an oven, by sous vide, or even in a mason jar.
Let’s start off with the oven method, as that is the most traditional way to go about it.
In order to properly decarb your bud with an oven, you’ll first need to grab a nearby baking sheet, and line it with parchment paper. Then, you’ll want to get your hands on some cannabis flower. You can use any amount that you’d like, but I find that anywhere between 8 to 10 grams usually works best.
Gently break down your buds on top of the parchment paper. When you’ve gotten those nugs down to the size of a piece of rice, you can cover the contents with another piece of parchment paper.
At this point, you’ll want to have your oven heated up to a solid 225°. When it’s nice and hot, be sure that you are utilizing the middle rack of the oven, as anything too close to the top or bottom would result in overheating. When everything is all good to go, throw in that baking sheet full of covered, broken down cannabis, and let it bake for 45 minutes.
After that time period has elapsed, take it out of the oven, and set it on the counter to cool for a half hour or so. You’ll know everything went well if the bud looks just slightly toasted. Then, when it’s cool enough to handle with your hands, you can toss it into a container for storage.
And that’s how you decarboxylate marijuana with an oven.
Next, let me tell you how to accomplish that same goal by sous vide.
These immersion circulator devices help you achieve a more precise temperature and environment for the bud to decarboxylate. But, to be fair, it’s quite a pricey investment, at around $100 or so. However, if you make edibles all the time, this may be a route worth entertaining.
To properly decarb bud with this method, you’ll want to get a tub, or large water bath of some sort, and fill it a little more than halfway with hot water. After that, place the immersion circulator inside. At this point, you should be sure to set the circulator to an exact 203°.
As that gets going, grind down your desired amount of cannabis, but this time make sure you grind it down as finely as possible. You’ll do this because you’ll want to take up the most space in your bag possible. Plus, since the heat is so exact, any fear of overheating has gone out of the window.
In a Ziploc-type bag, pour in your cannabis, and press it to make it as flat as you can. This, again, has everything to do with achieving the optimal amount of surface area coverage.
Now, you can place that sealed bag of marijuana into the water, and let sit there for an hour and a half. At which point, you’ll want to remove the bag, and let it mellow out for 20 minutes, until it gets back down to room temperature.
Before you open it, dry off the bag, and then dump in your newly-activated cannabis into a storage container to use at a later date. Pretty easy, right?
Lastly, you can fully decarboxylate your ganja with the help of a mason jar.
In order to do that, you’ll need to preheat that oven of yours to 240°. Also, be sure to utilize the heating properties of the middle rack once more, to ensure there is no overheating.
As your oven warms up to that desired temperature, you can break down your cannabis, again aiming for rice-sized pieces. Take all of that ground up bud, and toss it in a mason jar, and gingerly screw the lid back on. You don’t need anything to be super tight here, so use finesse when securing the lid back on the jar.
Now, you’ll want to slightly dampen a kitchen towel, and place it over a nearby baking sheet. Atop that moistened towel, you’ll place your mason jar full of bud, on its side. The towel is mostly there to keep the jar from toppling over. Close the oven, and allow that jar to bake for an hour.
However, be sure to carefully shake up the contents of the jar every fifteen minutes or so. Remember to use heat-safe gloves or oven mitts to complete this step. The shaking helps ensure that all of the THC inside is getting an even amount of heat throughout the process.
Once that hour is over, remove that sucker from the oven, and let it cool for a half hour or so. When 30 minutes has passed, you can now officially use it for a recipe. Or, if you’d like to store it away for a future endeavor, you simply have to secure the lid, and place it in a cool, dry area.
And that’s it. Those are the three best ways to decarboxylate your weed for cooking purposes. There are no wrong answers in this regard, so whichever way you feel is best for you, and your current situation, go for it.
Happy cooking, my fellow enthusiasts!