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Decarboxylation is the process that activates acidic cannabinoids like cannabidiolic acid (CBDa) and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCa) into their more common forms, CBD and THC, respectively. It’s also necessary to know how to decarboxylate cannabis if you want to make your own edibles.
If you’d like to learn more about how decarboxylation works or where the name comes from, please see our in-depth explainer here.
In the rest of this post, we’ll cover how to decarboxylate cannabis flowers step-by-step.
Note: We’ll be using the term “cannabis” to refer to all flowers from the Cannabis L. Sativa plant. That includes both CBD hemp flower plants and recreational cannabis “weed” plants.
What You’ll Need To Decarboxylate Cannabis Flower
You’ll need to gather a few things to properly decarboxylate your cannabis flowers.
“Cannabis flowers” includes stems, trim, and small buds that you’ve collected. More important than the form of the flower are the trichomes present on the material. That’s where all of the cannabinoids are.
Related: What Is Kief?
Because decarboxylation is a low and slow process, you’ll need access to a full-sized or countertop toaster. We wouldn’t recommend trying this process in the microwave.
Cannabis Grinder (Optional)
A cannabis grinder is not necessary, but it makes evenly decarboxylating your cannabis much easier.
- Metal baking sheet or roasting pan
- Aluminum foil or parchment paper
- Cutting board or other clean work surface
How To Decarboxylate Cannabis Flower
Now that you’ve gathered all of your tools, it’s time to decarboxylate your cannabis flower.
Step 1: Preheat The Oven
Set your oven to “Bake” at 220°F (104°C). We don’t want to use higher temperatures because too much heat can boil away the cannabinoids and impact the potency of our final product.
Optional Step 2: Prepare Cannabis Flower
You can prepare your cannabis flower with your grinder. Grinding your flower will increase the surface area and allow for a more even decarboxylation. Skip this step if you’re decarboxylating just stems or trim.
Step 3: Prepare Your Baking Tray
Line your baking sheet or roasting pan with either parchment paper or aluminum foil. Doing so will make clean-up easier.
Pro-tip: After step 4, you can also cover your roasting pan with aluminum foil in order to cut down on the cannabis smell that will pervade your space. Some believe doing this will also help protect the terpenes in your cannabis. If you don’t want your whole space to smell like cannabis, there are a few advanced techniques you can use to curb your bud’s aroma.
Step 4: Spread Your Cannabis Evenly
When your pan is lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil, spread the cannabis on the pan out evenly making sure not to crowd. If you didn’t grind up your flower beforehand, leave some spaces in between your buds for more uniform heating.
Step 5: Bake In The Oven
Place your baking sheet in the upper half of your preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes. If your cannabis flower is older, you may shorten the amount of time you bake for.
You’ll know when your decarboxylation is complete when your cannabis flower turns from green to amber brown.
Step 6: Cool Down
After you pull your decarboxylated cannabis from the oven, let it cool completely. There is likely to be some residual heat in the buds and if you pack them away prematurely, you may introduce moisture into your decarboxylated cannabis.
Step 7: Storage
If you’re not using your decarboxylated cannabis for an infusion immediately, store it in an airtight container like a glass Mason Jar. Place that airtight container in a cool, dark place until you’re ready to use it.
How To Decarboxylate Cannabis For Different Effects
Once you’re comfortable decarboxylating your cannabis and infusing it into lipids, you can try preserving your terpenes with different techniques.
- Cover your cannabis flower with foil during the decarboxylation step.
- Lower your decarboxylation temperatures and experiment with the timing
- Decarboxylate without using heat
- Note that this method can take years
Different cannabinoid and terpene ratios will affect your experience. Experiment until you find a recipe that you like.
Terpene Boiling Points
|Terpene||Boiling Point (F)||Boiling Point (Celsius)|
You’re Ready To Infuse
Now that you’ve decarboxylated your cannabis flower, you’re ready for an infusion. For more information about how to make edibles and how lipid infusion works, check out our other blogs here: