Introduction to Decarbing Cannabis
Decarboxylation, the long word that holds much power in the world of cannabis and medicating. By definition, "Decarboxylation is a chemical reaction that removes a carboxyl group and releases carbon dioxide (CO2). Usually, decarboxylation refers to a reaction of carboxylic acids, removing a carbon atom from a carbon chain." (Wikipedia)
To simplify, from here on we will refer to this as "decarb" or "decarbing." In the marijuana world taking perfectly good cannabis and baking it in an oven seems like a crazy proposition. The result makes this out of place idea worthwhile.
The point of decarbing is to use heat to change the structure of the oils on the plant; from THC-A which is non-psychoactive into the usable THC, which is psychoactive. Heat causes the chemical reaction, whether from a lighter in a bowl or heat from an oven, cannabis needs heat to be active in the body. The act of just adding marijuana to food and cooking the oven will work but is not optimal. To get the most from your cannabis, it is crucial to decarboxylate properly.
The temperature and length of time you leave in the oven will affect all the cannabinoids in the plant. A longer time in heat will make more THC but can strip the plant of CBD or CDG. The balance is using the right temps for the correct time.
The lower the temperature used, the longer the time needed to fully decarb. This extra time is not a bad thing as it tends to preserve some of the terpenes; adding additional medical value and leaving a bigger terpene profile. The optimal temperatures for decarbing, fall into the 180-240 degree range. Remember the higher the temperature, the shorter the amount of time in the heat.
You will need:
Getting it done
The process is simple, and anyone can do this at home. It should be noted, that not all ovens are created equal and using a separate thermometer are crucial to success. These are cheap and can be found in most grocery stores.
Preheat your oven between; 220 and 240 degrees. Once the oven is preheated, you will add the marijuana.
Take the amount of cannabis product you have chosen and chop it coarsely, but not too fine. You want to make the cannabis flower equally coarse. If you are using a hash, kief or bud, keep it on the center rack of the oven while decarbing.
Place a piece of parchment paper on your baking sheet and cover with cannabis. Distribute evenly in the pan and put in the oven.
Set timer for desired time. Usually 30mins is a safe time for most temperatures that do not exceed 240 degrees. At 220 degrees time in the oven will increase. It is not unheard of to decarb for an hour or more, but the temperature range will decrease as time increases.
When your time is up, remove the cannabis and let cool. That is it; the cannabis is now decarboxylated and ready for application in other things. Store in a sealed jar for as long as you need for a variety of uses from cooking to making vape juice.
The Science Section
Below you will find a variety of marijuana compounds, their uses, and boiling temperatures. These temperatures are handy if you know you are trying to isolate a certain terpene or cannabinoid to ensure you do not exceed the particular boiling temperature. This breakdown of the plant's composition will be handy for target specific decarboxylation.
Boiling point: 157° C / 314.6° Fahrenheit
Properties: Euphoriant, Anti-Inflammatory, Analgesic, Antioxidant,
Boiling point: 185°C / 365° Fahrenheit
Properties: Oxidation, breakdown, product, Sedative, Antibiotic
Boiling point: 160-180°C / 320-356° Fahrenheit
Properties: Anxiolytic, Analgesic, Antipsychotic, Anti-Inflammatory, Antioxidant, Antispasmodic
Boiling point: 220° / 428° Fahrenheit
Properties: Anti-Inflammatory, Antibiotic, Antifungal
Boiling point: 175-178°C / 347-352.4° Fahrenheit
Properties: Resembles Δ-9-THC, Less psychoactive, More stable Antiemetic
Boiling point: < 220°C / <428° Fahrenheit
Properties: Analgesic, Euphoriant
Essential Oils (Terpenes) in Cannabis
Boiling point: 166-168°C / 330.8-334.4° Fahrenheit
Properties: Analgesic. Anti-Inflammatory, Antibiotic, Antimutagenic
Boiling point: 119°C / 246.2° Fahrenheit
Properties: Anti-Inflammatory, Cytoprotective (gastric mucosa), Antimalarial
Boiling point: 177°C / 350.6° Fahrenheit
Properties: Cannabinoid agonist, Immune potentiator, Antidepressant, Antimutagenic
Boiling point: 198°C / 388.4° Fahrenheit
Properties: Sedative, Antidepressant, Anxiolytic, Immune potentiator
Boiling point: 224°C / 435.2° Fahrenheit
Properties: Memory booster, AChE inhibitor, Sedative, Antipyretic
Boiling point: 176°C / 348.8° Fahrenheit
Properties: AChE inhibitor, Increases cerebral, blood flow, Stimulant, Antibiotic, Antiviral, Anti-Inflammatory, Antinociceptive
Boiling point: 156°C / 312.8° Fahrenheit
Properties: Anti-Inflammatory, Bronchodilator, Stimulant, Antibiotic, Antineoplastic, AChE inhibitor
Boiling point: 217-218°C / 422.6-424.4° Fahrenheit
Properties: Sedative, Antibiotic, AChE inhibitor, Antioxidant, Antimalarial
Boiling point: 209°C / 408.2° Fahrenheit
Properties: AChE inhibitor. Antibiotic
Boiling point: 210°C / 410° Fahrenheit
Boiling point: 177°C / 350.6° Fahrenheit
Properties: Antibiotic, Anticandidal, AChE inhibitor
Boiling point: 168*C / 334.4° Fahrenheit
Phytosterol and Flavonoids in Marijuana
Boiling point: 178°C / 352.4° Fahrenheit
Properties: Anxiolytic, Anti-Inflammatory, Estrogenic
Boiling point: 134°C / 273.2° Fahrenheit
Properties: Anti-Inflammatory, 5-α-reductase, inhibitor
Boiling point: 250°C / 482° Fahrenheit
Properties: Antioxidant, Antimutagenic, Antiviral, Antineoplastic
Boiling point: 182°C / 359.6° Fahrenheit
Features: COX inhibitor, LO inhibitor