What Does it Mean to Decarboxylate?

Updated: Sep 19, 2018

It sounds like serious science, it can sound intimidating, it can sound like a complex process, but it’s not. On a scientific level, decarboxylation means to take out the carboxylic acid group from an organic compound. As it relates to weed, it just means to heat weed up. Decarboxylation is the process of applying heat and time to cannabis

You’ve been decarboxylating your weed for years, you just never called it that. Every time you use a lighter to smoke a bowl or turn on a vaporizer you are decarboxylating your weed.

Cannabis is not psychoactive in its natural plant form. You need to heat the plant to convert non-psychoactive THCA into psychoactive THC.

THCA will begin to convert into THC when heated at 220 Fahrenheit after 30-45 minutes but may need more time to fully decarb.

This process is necessary when making edibles because unlike when it’s smoked and ingested into the lungs, the cannabis may not be heated to appropriate levels if you just throw cannabis into whatever you’re cooking. That’s why you need to heat it to a precise temperature for a precise length of time before adding it to your food.

Once your plant matter is heated and is dry and brown, allow it to cool down before pulsing it in a food processor or coffee grinder. After it’s been heated, cooled and ground you add it to food, oils or beverages.

Below is a helpful graph for how to decarb depending on what method you are using.

Have fun with the process and remember the golden rule of edibles: You can always eat more, but you can’t eat less. So start low and move your way up. Edibles can take hours to kick in so don’t take them when you are looking for an immediate high.

Decarboxylation Method Graph

1. Oven

● 40 minutes to 60 minutes

250 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit

2. Microwave

● 1.5 to 3 minutes

On high setting

3. Sous Vide Decarboxylation

● 1hr 30 mins to 1 hr 40 mins

200 to 240 degrees

4. Ardent Nova Decarboxylator

● 120 minutes



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