Whenever someone is making cannabis-infused edibles, they oftentimes must decarboxylate, or decarb, their cannabis buds first. But why must they do this? As a collector of edible recipes, I wondered why buds need to first be cooked to be added into a recipe, often to simply be cooked again. So I dug out some facts and brought them here.
Simply put, if your buds are never decarboxylated, you would never get high from them. Decarbing is very important, so make sure not to skip over it! There is one cannabinoid that is the main reason why we must decarboxylate, and it is called THCa.
Cannabis does not directly produce THC, which is the main cannabinoid responsible for psychoactive effects. Because of this, we must turn another cannabinoid, called THCa, into THC before consuming it. But how?
The answer is simple: decarboxylate it! By blasting THCa at high temperatures, the cannabinoid begins a natural process of transforming into THC. Heat activates psychoactive effects within the cannabis buds, allowing users to get high.
THCa’s name derives from THC, it’s called “THC acid”. And this cannabinoid is not the only one that begins as an acid. Another example is CBGa, which turns into CBG. But let’s not get off topic, because we could talk about different cannabinoids all day…
What about smoking cannabis? Yes, decarboxylation also occurs when smoking weed. The high temperatures from combustion allow the natural THCa to convert into THC. This means that, when you smoke weed, you are combusting THCa while inhaling THC.
What Needs To Be Done
So what exactly needs to be done when decarboxylating? Does a certain temperature need to be hit? For how long should I bake my cannabis buds?
There are a few factors to consider when describing your buds. First, how much cannabis are you describing? Larger amounts will need to be baked for longer, while a few grams can take around 25-45 minutes. Use a baking tray and place your buds on a sheet of parchment paper when decarbing in an oven.
Some users prefer to bake their buds for longer at a lower temperature. This way, they are preserving most of the terpenes without burning them off. Either way, you will need to turn the heat up to at least 220 degrees F (105 C) for THCa to convert into THC.
Terpenes are molecules that give different cannabis strains their unique flavor and aroma. Many edible makers like to add terpenes to their recipes in order to give the edibles a unique flavor. This can be easily accomplished by adding terpenes to the decarbed buds during the baking process. This will add an extra layer of complexity to any recipe.
FAQ: Why Decarboxylate Buds When Making Edibles?
Decarboxylation is the process of heating cannabis or hemp to activate the plant’s cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD. It is required when making edibles, as it is the only way to make cannabis-infused food or drinks effective.
There are several ways to decarboxylate buds, including baking them in the oven at a low temperature for an extended period, using a hot water bath, or using a specialized apparatus such as a de-carving machine.
If you do not decarboxylate your buds before making edibles, the end product will not have the same effects as if you had decarboxylated the buds properly. The potency and effectiveness of the edibles may thus be significantly decreased due to the lack of activation of the cannabinoids.
Yes, you can test if your buds have been decarboxylated by taking a sample of the finished edible and having it tested at a lab. The lab results should confirm that the desired levels of cannabinoids have been decarboxylated.
After your buds have been properly decarboxylated, remove them from your oven and start cooking! These buds will be ready to use in any edible recipe, such as making cannabutter. Hopefully, your edibles come out delicious and you reached the right levels of THC! Thanks for reading!