What is “Decarboxylation”?
If you’ve ever put raw marijuana on a cracker and tried to eat it, you probably didn’t feel a darn thing. The sublime effects of edibles can’t be achieved by eating cannabis raw. It is missing a very important step.
This step is called Decarboxylation. This is a fancy science word for a chemical reaction which removes a carboxyl group from the chemical in question and releases carbon dioxide. In the curious case of cannabis, decarboxylation turns tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) into the active ingredient THC, which is the compound that actual gets you feelin’ all good inside.
Decarboxylation is basically caused by applying heat over time. When cannabis is dried and cured slowly, it can partially decarboxylate the flower. When you smoke or vape your bud, that high level of heat will cause the decarboxylation to happen almost instantly, which is why when you inhale the heated vapor or smoke, you feel it’s effects. The heated vapor or smoke is easily absorbed by your body through your lungs.
The thing is, it’s really rather tricky to trap that vapor and put it in your nummy treats. To get around this, you can decarboxylate cannabis by heating it slowly over time in an oven. This allows the cannabis flower to retain it’s structure which can then be easily infused into food.
To properly decarb your bud, you want to place it in a preheated oven to about 220 degrees Fahrenheit, and let it get all warm for between 30 minutes to an hour. You can also try a considerably lower temperature and longer amount of time, which could potentially allow you to preserve certain terpenes, which would just evaporate away at higher temperatures. To do this at home, simply preheat your oven to between 190-240 degrees Fahrenheit, and throw some very finely ground cannabis flower onto parchment or aluminum foil, and let it mingle for 30 minutes to an hour (longer for lower temperatures).
Don’t be afraid to experiment and see if you can notice the difference! Once done, you can take your newly decarbed weed and steep it in a favourite cooking fat, allowing for easy infusions later on. But we will save that for another article. Happy trails!
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