How To Decarb Weed: Decarboxylation Explained

September 30, 2022
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How to Decarb Weed

In this article, we will teach you everything you need to know about how to decarb weed. We’ll go over cannabis decarboxylation, and why you need to decarb kief, concentrates, wax, as well as whole flower.

What is Cannabis Decarboxylation?

As we discussed in How to Clean Your Cannabis for Cooking, decarboxylation, or “decarbing” is a chemical reaction in which a carboxylic acid group (COOH) is removed from a molecule, releasing carbon dioxide in the process. The opposite reaction is carboxylation, which is the first chemical step of photosynthesis. In cannabis, decarboxylation activates the psychoactive compounds. Raw cannabis flower must be processed for the Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, or THCA, to become tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. THCA has an extra carboxyl ring, but heat removes this ring (i.e. decarboxylates THCA).

How to Decarb Weed

Cannabis can be decarbed either by heat, which is fastest, or by oxygen and time, which is much slower. The first step in the decarboxylation process is understanding how temperature affects the process. For example, if you’re decarbing at a lower temperature, it will take a longer time to transform the THCA into THC. However, many people decarb weed at a low temperature to keep the terpenes profile as intact as possible.

How Long to Decarb Weed

Here is an overview of how long to decarb weed at different temperatures:

  • 212°F - Temperature for Sous Vide Decarboxylation (90 to 120 minutes)
  • 230 - 240°F - Temperature for Oven Baking in a Mason Jar (45 to 60 minutes)
  • 240°F - Temperature for Concentrates (20 to 25 minutes)
  • 240 - 250°F - Temperature for Kief (30 to 45 minutes)

Sous Vide Decarboxylation

In the past few years, sous vide cooking has taken the world by storm. “Sous vide” means “under vacuum” in French. This method of cooking places food in a vacuum-sealed bag which is then immersed in water for a long period of time and cooked at low heat. When it comes to sous vide decarboxylation, this process allows cannabis to “sweat” or release moisture while converting THCA into THC. Individuals who choose to decarb weed with a sous vide set up often report that their flower is decarbed without burning any cannabis, which is a common issue.

How to Decarb Weed with Sous Vide

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to decarb your cannabis using the sous vide method:

  1. Place cannabis into a thick cooking bag (or a gallon Ziplock bag) and seal.
  2. Place your bag of weed into boiling water for around 90 to 120 minutes. Check your boiling water every 10 minutes or so to make sure there’s still enough water to fully immerse the bag.
  3. After 90 to 120 minutes (depending on your time frame) take the bag out and let the cannabis cool.
  4. Let your cannabis cool, and use as you would regularly decarbed cannabis.

If you’re short on time, you can decarb your weed in 15 minutes with this method. But for the best flavor and highest THC content, it is best to keep your cannabis under heat for two hours.

How to Decarb Concentrates

Let’s learn how to decarb wax or any other cannabis concentrate. Place your wax, shatter, or concentrate onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Set your oven to 240°F. Place your baking tray in the oven for 20-25 minutes, checking your concentrates at the 12-minute mark. Take your concentrates out after they’ve melted down, just as bubbles begin to appear. This is one of the most critical parts of decarbing weed concentrates and wax since they can easily burn after being melted down. Now you can use your concentrates to make edibles.

How to Decarb Kief

Did you know that you need to decarb your kief before adding it to your edible? To decarb kief, it is best to use at least a 1/4 cup of kief. Depending on your oven, we recommend heating to 240- 250°F. Spread your kief on an oven-safe, parchment-lined, baking sheet and bake for at least 30 minutes. Like decarbing concentrates, decarbing kief can be tricky. Kief burns quite easily due to its fragility, so check your kief every 5 minutes or so. For the highest THC content, we recommend decarbing your kief for around 45 minutes.

Get Started on Your Cannabis Wellness Journey

Have you started your cannabis wellness journey? Jointly is a new cannabis wellness app that helps you discover purposeful cannabis consumption so you can achieve your wellness goals with cannabis and CBD. On the Jointly app, you can find new cannabis products, rate products based on how well they helped you achieve your goals, and track and optimize 15 factors that can impact your cannabis experience. These 15 factors include your dose, the environment in which you consume cannabis, who you are with when you ingest, how hydrated you are, the quality of your diet, how much sleep you got last night, and more. Download the Jointly app on the App Store or the Google Play Store to get started on your cannabis wellness journey.

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