October 30, 2018

Decarboxylation: what is it?

Decarboxylation: the science

Decarboxylation is quite a mouthful and is commonly referred to simply as “decarb”. Decarbing is the act of heating dried cannabis flower to activate the cannabinoids into their bio-available form. Sounds like a lot of science, but it’s really not hard and if you’ve consumed cannabis by smoking or vaping, you’ve already done it!

The cannabinoids and terpenes in cannabis do not need to be lit on fire and combusted for you to feel their effects. By simply heating your dry flower to a temperature of 154°C – 188°C, the cannabinoids and terpenes will vaporize and change into their bio-available forms.

THCA will turn into THC and CBDA will turn into CBD, along will all of the other cannabinoids. The “A” stands for “acid”, which is the form most cannabinoids are in before they are heated, or decarboxylated. When a cannabinoid is heated, the acid is removed from its molecular structure and the cannabinoid is now able to interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system. This is why raw cannabis won’t get you high but dried and heated cannabis will! Want to know more about the endocannabinoid system? Click here!


Decarbing during smoking and vaping:

Decarboxylation during smoking and vaping

By smoking or vaporizing your dry flower, you are decarbing it: heating it enough to create the chemical change in the cannabinoids that turns them into their bioavailable form. If you are smoking your cannabis, you’re combusting it and that’s the end of its use: it’s been completely burned into ash. If you are vaping your dry flower, you are applying just enough heat to create the chemical change and vaporize the cannabinoids and terpenes. Learn more about smoking and vaping here! When vaping dry flower, you can keep your AVB (already vaped bud) and make infused butter or oil out of it – pretty cool! Click here for strep-by-step instructions.

Decarbing to make edibles:

Decarboxylation to make oil & butter & edibles

For many people, smoking and vaping cannabis is not their preferred method of consumption so they look for edibles, oils or topicals instead. To make these cannabis products, the cannabis needs to be decarbed first. The easiest way – though most time-consuming – is to save your AVB from your vaporizer (see the link above). If you want to make infused oil or edibles, you’ll need a helping hand from some special kitchen gadgets:

Magical Butter (Version 2e) On Sale! $255

Decarbox for $64

Decarbox for $64

LEVO II – coming soon!


Why is the DecarBox better than using your ovens settings? Well, it’s a little known fact, but conventional ovens use temperature ranges and blast heat to get up to temp, then it dissipates – then the oven blasts more heat, and over and over again through the cooking process. Ovens are just like your furnace system at home: once the thermostat reads the low end of the temperature you’ve set, the furnace turns on for a brief time and blasts new hot air to raise the temperature. That being said, you can always go the old school route and put a pan of ground dry flower in your oven to decarb it – but be very careful to monitor it closely and you will likely get a strong odour filling your house!


Infusing Cannabis into Fats:

Once you have your decarbed cannabis, it’s time to infuse it into a fat! The most common ones are butter and coconut oil, but you can infuse it into whatever fat you’d like! You can follow the same instructions found here and do it simply by stove top. Many people prefer to use a dedicated appliance like the Magical Butter Maker or the LEVO oil infuser.

Note that the LEVO oil infuser is low in stock – call to place your order. The LEVO II will be in stores and online asap! The new LEVO does it all: decarbs AND infuses oil!


Cooking with Cannabis Oil:

Now that you have your infused fat (oil, butter, etc.) you’re ready to make edibles, topicals, bath bombs, and more! Stay tuned for our next article where we’ll give you step by step instructions to make cannabis gummy bears!

Want to learn more about cooking with cannabis? Check out our selection of cookbooks! Not sure what the difference is between edibles and smoking? Learn more here!


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Stay tuned for the rest of Cannabis Supply Co.’s educational series on all things cannabis!

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