Cannabis edibles are the most popular form of cannabis whether used for medical or recreational purposes. This has inspired many people to make their own edibles at home. While not hard, cooking with cannabis can be a little bit tricky and does take some patience and attention to detail. It’s ok though because we’re going to go over the steps you need to take to properly decarb your bud, terms you need to know, and info about different cannabinoids you can use to get the most out of your edible experience.
To better understand how to cook with cannabis, we first need to talk about bioavailability. Bioavailability is a term used to describe how easily a substance is absorbed into the bloodstream. When THC is in raw cannabis it’s in its acidic form and known as THCa. When cannabinoids like THC are in their acidic form, the body has a pretty hard time absorbing them because they are not very bioavailable. However, once the cannabinoids are heated up, they give up a carbon dioxide molecule – known as decarboxylation – and transfer to their neutral state thereby becoming much more bioavailable.
Decarboxylation happens due to two factors; heat and time. These delicate cannabinoid acids can even begin to decarb at room temperature and, given enough time, can turn almost all of the cannabinoids to their neutral state. The decarboxylation process is much quicker, however, when you apply a greater amount of heat like, say, a flame from a lighter. This is why you can eat raw cannabis and you won’t really feel much of an effect unless it’s a little old or has been in the heat.
Getting Your Bud Ready to Decarb
Decarbing your cannabis is literally the easiest thing in the world as long as you have a couple of items. They are:
- A good oven with an accurate thermometer and timer
- Cannabis or coffee grinder
- Baking tray
- Cannabis, of course!
Decarboxylating Your Cannabis
Once you have these items, take your cannabis and grind it up in your grinder to a fine powder. You want it to be a small as possible so that you can spread out the weed on the baking tray. The finer you grind it, the more surface area you have exposed. This makes it possible for more cannabinoids to be decarbed giving your edibles a more potent effect.
Now you need to preheat your oven. This can be the tricky part as you don’t want to make the temperature too high and burn your weed, but don’t want to make it too low or it’ll take too long for the cannabis to decarboxylate. Generally, you’ll want to have a minimum temperature of 212°F and a maximum of 410°F. Once temperatures go above 410°F all of the cannabinoids will have evaporated and been lost.
It should also be noted that you’ll want to make sure that your oven’s temperature setting is calibrated correctly. This will ensure you don’t under- or over-‘cook’ your cannabis. It’s super easy to calibrate your oven, though.
All you need to do is place a thermometer in the oven while it’s preheating. Once the oven is preheated, check that the temperature reading on the thermometer is the same as your oven. If the temperature reading on the thermometer isn’t the same as that on the oven, adjust the oven’s temperature up or down depending on the temperature you are trying to achieve.
One of the faster ways to decarb your weed is by putting your ground up cannabis in the oven at 266°F for 12 minutes. This will active most of the THC in the cannabis but isn’t the most effective. 266°F is hot enough to burn the cannabinoids away if left in longer than 12 minutes so a lower temperature would be preferred.
Preheating your oven to 240°F and putting your cannabis in for 45 minutes is one of the most effective ways to decarb weed. 245°F is a low enough temperature that it not only converts all of the cannabinoids to their neutral state (making them more bioavailable), but it gives all of the THC time to decarb making the cannabis more potent and of higher quality.
If you wanted to get the most out of cannabis, it’s best to know the boiling points for some of the major cannabinoids so you can tailor your edibles to give you the affects you need. Here’s a short list of the major cannabinoids starting with the lowest boiling point to highest:
- CBG – 248°F
- THC – 315°F
- CBD – 329°F
- CBN – 365°F
- CBC – 428°F
So, now we know that the cannabinoids in cannabis have to be bioavailable in order for our body to absorb them. The cannabinoids achieve greater bioavailability by giving up a carbon dioxide molecule which is known as decarboxylation. Decarboxylation occurs due to heat and time. This process requires less time when more heat is applied, but too much heat can destroy all of the cannabinoids.
And there you have it! You now have the knowledge to decarb your cannabis. You can use this decarboxylated weed to make cannabutter, infused oils (tinctures), canna-coconut oil, and many other infusions. The possibilities are endless!