Why You Want To Decarboxylate Weed For Weed Edibles
Decarboxylate weed is the crucial step, once you are about to cook your first-class bud or will it be shake (trim and leaves) for making good ol’ weed edibles. The great variety of weed cooking recipes — marijuana tinctures, candies, brownies, cheesecakes, gummy bears or whatever else weed infused yummies, they all require weed to be decarboxylated as the very first and the most important step!!
Buds are good for edibles; also, a shake (trim and leaves) may work perfect. Use either, but never underestimate the decarboxylation and perform it in advance BEFORE making your pot be packed into butter or oil, either for storage or immediate cooking. The resulting pot edibles shall not hit in full if you skip decarb, or even shall not hit at all; simple as that.
Decarboxylation (as it follows from the name) is a chemical process that removes carboxyl compounds and mainly releases from the cannabis plant carbon dioxide, which is CO2. The reverse reaction is called carboxylation and is basically a part of photosynthesis, which is the addition of CO2 to a compound.
When you cure cannabis, it is decarboxylation that happens when the THCA acid (where “A” stands for “acid” and it is not yet a THC) which dominates in trichomes in a raw plant, slowly turns to be a THC. You smoke — this is the same chemical process, but we need now to make the half-way, to generate THC and keep it, but not to burn or otherwise destroy it. This is a simple yet comprehensive guide on how to activate THC in your stuff for cooking the best cannabis edibles from it.
Why do I need to Decarboxylate weed?
Sometimes referred to as “decarb” — a fancy word.
It is already very well-known information that you need heating to activate THCA in cannabis, by burning it down you convert THCA into THC. Consequently, the latter one is affecting the consumer’s brain in a desirable way; but not THCA itself makes you high.
Technically speaking, there are two processes running when you light it up: first, the THCA-molecules turn to be a THC (decarboxylation), and then under more heat THC changes from solid state into gas (vaporization), and you puff it up and it absorbs into the body, and then blood delivers it into brain, and finally it hits into your mind! Bham!
The same release of water and carbon dioxide naturally occurs during the drying process (called “curing”, and that is why it is such an important step too); and when you burn one down, it’s the same transformation on the molecular level, but this time it is instant.
It’s alright to have slightly under-cured weed when puffing, it happens all the time and especially for the street weed or of a lazy-greedy grower. Provided that it shall not harm to decarboxylate weed for smoking, such is called curing in a normal academic growing, but you can enforce it by exposing weed to temperature if one is badly cured.
When burning a blunt in a flame (regular smoking), we lose a certain number of desired compounds, including THC. It comes too hot and too fast, apart from the fact that some smoke flies away while it contains vaporized cannabinoids. As for my personal experience, if I decarb weed before smoking (simply try to heat a ready blunt over a lighter for a short while), even a cured one, the whole process goes mild and higher too. I think this is because there is more of THC in the same blunt, and it evaporates kind-of skipping “phase one”. Check about the color of trichomes, as they are milky or amber for a reason.
For the edibles, decarboxylation is absolutely necessary, unless you wish to waste time and material, unless you want just yummy eliminating an ounce of weed getting only a smell from it. Obviously, you’re not for “just yummy” on this page. Decarboxylation makes your edibles and tinctures be potent, the only possible way.
How to Decarboxylate weed?
So, you need heating, an exposure to temperature. Not too hot to prevent THC from being destroyed, and this temperature high limit is 350℉ (176℃), neither too cold in order to ignite the THCA conversion into THC compound. Say, you wish to hold it at 220-235℉ (105-112℃) during the entire process. Because the heating regime is very much critical, I’d recommend using your own calibrated cooking thermometer (the one we use for candy-making or steaks) and be in charge when doing it, and do not forget to roll one before you start — such shall add patience to your whole decarb-operation, ha-ha.
The message is that the main factor is temperature. Prepared everything ready in advance, grind buds gently, do everything with care — always keep your “weather eye” on reading the temperature. All is fine once its value lies between 220-235 Fahrenheit (104-112 Celsius). Do not hesitate to use a cooking thermometer, maybe the most useful gear for cannabis edibles. Stir gently every 10-15 minutes, helpful for the best decarboxylation.
To start — grind your stuff, unless it is a trim or a shake already. Trim and/or shake, by the way, may fit all your marijuana edibles nicely and be recommended instead of burning because you’ll most probably get even higher (wasting less material, reaching a higher efficiency, if you wish).
This image is the courtesy of the real Chef 420
Preheat the oven to 220 Fahrenheit, which is about 105 Celsius. It is always preheated for marijuana edibles as the best recommendation. For regular cooking, preheating is effective too (as soon as you start being a gourmet, and you are because you read this page). Some sources state 240℉ as the main temp, okay, whatever, as soon as it is lower than a cannabis vaporization point. Keep it below 240℉, and 220℉ is just safer.
Cooking slowly is the proper approach for the cannabis edibles because they are critical to heat. Keep experimenting bravely yet applying reasonable caution. Keeping notes of what you’ve done is another perfect idea to master the skills.
Place a sheet of parchment paper on your baking sheet and spread your cannabis trim out over it into one fairly thin layer. It may fail to dry out properly if you crowd it.
Place the baking sheet into the oven and let it hang out for 25-35 minutes. Do not forget to mind the temperature. If the trim is dry enough, it rarely takes longer than 20-25 minutes, but for a completely raw plant, it may even take a double amount of time. As many 420 chefs speak about it, as many tricks and opinions we have, but you experiment by yourself to discover the best way of your own. Your edibles, your rules, after all.
Once marijuana appears nice and dry in the oven, take it from there: when the dacarbed buds are ready, they break easily apart in fingers as if they were some super-dry plant or a spice. Let it rest at the room temperature until entirely cooled. At this point, your decarboxylated weed for whatever marijuana cooking application.
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