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Decarboxylation: A Beginner’s Guide

Despite its growing popularity, the general public still has lots to learn about marijuana. For example, few understand the chemical reasons why cannabis has to be heated – or decarboxylated – before consumption.

Let’s just say that if you were to consume a bag of raw weed, the effects would be very minimal. Decarboxylation converts the major phytocannabinoids in cannabis (THC and CBD) into active molecular forms that can influence our bodies’ neurotransmitters. In fact, without decarboxylation, marijuana would possess few – if any – of its medical and recreational properties.

Decarboxylation: A Requisite Chemical Reaction for Cannabis Edibles, Oils, and More

When you heat cannabis, you help activate the compounds contained within it. For example, if you decide to make edibles with marijuana, the flowers need to be decarboxylated first.

If you fail to decarb your weed, you’re doing little more than adding raw plant matter. As nutritious as raw cannabis is, it does little in terms of producing therapeutic benefits.

Raw Cannabis vs. Decarboxylated Cannabis

Raw cannabis is plant matter that has not been dried or cured. Once cured, a small amount of decarboxylation occurs. The rest takes place when the plant material is heated – or combusted – to temperatures above 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

However, marijuana still has beneficial uses in its raw, uncured form. Before curing and decarboxylation, THC and CBD – the two most active cannabis compounds – exist as acids (THC-A and CBD-A). These acids possess anti-inflammatory effects, similar to vitamins and minerals found in other plant-based foods.

DID YOU KNOW? Eating raw cannabis has many nutritional health benefits?

If you consume raw cannabis, use either the fan leaves or flowers that have been freshly-picked. Raw marijuana can be stored in your refrigerator just as long as other greens like kale or spinach. However, it is essential to monitor your raw cannabis because it is prone to wilting and mold. This is particularly true for densely-packed flowers that contain a high moisture content.

If left undisturbed, the active compounds in cannabis will decarboxylate over time. However, total decarboxylation of THC-A and CBD-A in raw plant material would take years. When exposed to heat, the compounds decarboxylate instantaneously.

What Is Decarboxylation?

Even though raw (carboxylated) cannabis possesses nutritional benefits, it is entirely non-intoxicating. In other words, it will not produce a high. To get the full effects of marijuana, it has to be heated – or decarboxylated.

As we mentioned above, the process of drying and curing can release a small number of psychoactive compounds. However, this pales in comparison to the number of cannabinoids released during decarboxylation.

The term decarboxylation refers to the chemical reaction that removes a carboxyl (COOH) group from THC-A and CBD-A. Carbon dioxide is released as a by-product of this reaction. To decarboxylate marijuana, all you have to do is apply heat. But how much heat is necessary? Or in other words, at what temperature does marijuana decarboxylate?

We will answer this question later in the article. First, let’s take a look at some of the other advantages of decarboxylation. That is apart from the fact that it produces chemically-active forms of phytocannabinoids.

Advantages of Decarboxylation

One of the most common mistakes people make when making edibles from marijuana is failing to decarb their cannabis. Unless you’ll be baking your edibles (pot brownies, cookies, etc.) before consumption, it is necessary to use an oven to heat the plant material and release the activated THC and CBD.

Give your cooking an extra kic…

Incidentally, when you decarb weed for edibles, you also reduce the risk of botulism. When you don’t go through the process correctly, botulinum bacteria can quickly grow in things like cannabutter and canna-oil.

Of course, every time you light up a joint or vaporize your weed, you are automatically decarbing it. In the absence of its carboxyl group, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can bind to the body’s cell receptors. But what about cannabidiol – does CBD need to be decarboxylated?

Why You Need to Decarboxylate CBD Strains

You may think that CBD decarboxylation is unnecessary. After all, why would you need to decarb a strain that’s already non-intoxicating?

In reality, the same decarboxylation rules apply to CBD as they do to THC. Because raw cannabis contains the acid form of CBD (CBD-A), CBD strains must be heated to release their active properties. Like THC-A, CBD-A has its health properties. It’s believed that if you consume CBD-A, your body will metabolize it and break it down into CBD on its own.

Decarboxylation of CBD increases its bioavailability, making more of it available to the body’s cells.

However, cells need to work harder to break down CBD’s carboxyl component. Moreover, much of the active compound is lost as heat during the exothermic reaction. In other words, having your body decarb CBD on its own would be extremely inefficient.

Exposing the plant material to sufficient heat decarboxylates CBD instantaneously, as described above. Products like CBD oils or CBD gummies, however, have already been decarboxylated. This is why you can consume them in their natural state, without having to heat them.

How to Decarboxylate Weed

Aside from smoking or vaping, there are many ways to decarboxylate weed and gain its therapeutic and recreational effects. We’re going to show you the most basic one. You’ll need the following equipment:

  • An oven
  • A baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Cannabis flower (trim, nugs, kief, etc.)

If you elect to use nugs, grind them coarsely before following these steps. In the following example, we used 40 grams of flower to produce coconut canna-oil.

Step 1: Preheat the oven:

Set the oven to 235 degrees Fahrenheit (120 degrees Celsius). Place the parchment paper on the baking sheet, and spread your marijuana flower across it. Make sure to break up larger pieces with your hands if necessary.

Step 2: Bake for approximately 40 minutes:

This should be a sufficient amount of time for well-dried weed. However, please note that if you’re using fresher marijuana with more moisture, it could take up to 90 minutes.

Some users invest in a hygrometer to check the level of moisture in their herb. It is easy to use; place the weed in a closed container with the hygrometer. After the weed is dry enough, leave it to completely cool.

Step 3: Remove and let cool:

After 30 minutes, remove the baking sheet from the oven and let it cool down. The decarboxylation process is now complete, and the majority of THC-A and CBD-A should be converted into THC and CBD.

Decarboxylation Temperature for THC and CBD

If you ask twenty different cannabis users what temperature they decarb their weed at, you’ll likely get twenty different answers. We can tell you that the lower the decarboxylation temperature, the longer the chemical process takes. But few people realize that if decarboxylation temperatures are too high for too long, you risk ruining the herb’s active ingredients.

There is a dispute over the exact decarboxylation temperature of CBD. According to studies, it appears to be approximately 230 degrees Fahrenheit (110 degrees Celsius).

As for the timeframe, neither THC nor CBD will decarboxylate instantaneously at their precise decarb temperatures. A more extended period – typically between 40 and 60 minutes – is required for the COOH group to break down into water and carbon dioxide.

Also, be advised that the boiling points of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids are much different than their decarboxylation points. Boiling points for these compounds have been much more thoroughly studied than their decarb temperatures:

Cannabinoids

  • CBC:428 degrees Fahrenheit/220 degrees Celsius
  • THC:314 degrees Fahrenheit/157 degrees Celsius
  • CBN:365 degrees Fahrenheit/185 degrees Celsius
  • THCV:428 degrees Fahrenheit/220 degrees Celsius

Terpenes

  • Myrcene:330-334 degrees Fahrenheit / 165-168 degrees Celsius
  • Limonene:150 degrees Fahrenheit/177 degrees Celsius
  • Linalool:388 degrees Fahrenheit/198 degrees Celsius
  • Alpha-pinene:312 degrees Fahrenheit/156 degrees Celsius

Flavonoids and Phytosterols

  • Beta-Sitosterol:273 degrees Fahrenheit/134 degrees Celsius
  • Cannflavin A:359 degrees Fahrenheit/182 degrees Celsius
  • Apigenin:352 degrees Fahrenheit/178 degrees Celsius
  • Quercetin:482 degrees Fahrenheit/250 degrees Celsius

It is advisable to keep your decarboxylation temperatures on the low side to preserve terpenes. Some compounds are volatile and evaporate at higher temperatures. The result is foul odors and an unpleasant taste. To preserve the terpenes, try and keep the temperature in the 200-300 degree Fahrenheit range.

Now that we know the key to faster decarboxylation is greater heat (within reason), it should be a straightforward process. Unfortunately, it isn’t quite as easy as that. The existence of another mechanism means we have to control decarboxylation temperatures very carefully.

When we heat cannabis and turn THC-A into THC or CBD-A into CBD, we convert THC to CBN faster. Once we reach 70% decarb, THC gets converted into CBN faster than the conversion of THCA into THC. In other words, when we go beyond 70% decarboxylation, THC levels start to fall off quickly. See the above chart for reference.

As helpful as graphs are, there is always an issue with the interpretation of data. For instance, the graph above relates to marijuana extract data. The temperatures used for kief, bud, or trim would be different. The graph was created in 1990 and involved decarbing a hexane extract in an open container on a hot plate. With modern equipment, it is possible to reach a 100% decarb without damaging your THC content.

Compound Before Decarb 30 Min Decarb 60 Min Decarb
THCA 24.5% 2.6% 0.1%
THC 3.8% 25.4% 25.5%
CBDA 0.6% 0.3% 0.3%
CBD 0% 1% 0.1%
CBN 0.4% 1% 1.4%
Moisture 0% 0% 0%
Total Cannabinoids 29.3% 30.3% 27.4%

Cannabis Trim

Compound Before Decarb 30 Min Decarb 60 Min Decarb
THCA 6.5% 2.9% 0.2%
THC 0.6% 4.8% 6.9%
CBDA 0.2% 0.2% 0.1%
CBD 0% 0% 0.1%
CBN 0% 0% 0%
Moisture 3.4% 4.5% 0%
Total Cannabinoids 7.3% 7.9% 7.3%

Marijuana Growers HQ’s efforts went some way towards solving the mystery of the best decarbing temperature. In 2012, they tested cannabis trim and kief at 240 degrees for 30 and 60 minutes. The above table outlines the results.

They discovered that the vapor point of all significant terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids was right around 246.2 degrees during their research. As consumer-grade ovens are not that reliable when reading temperatures, they played it safe by staying a few degrees below at 240 degrees.

According to the results, 30 minutes was not long enough to completely decarb the trim or the kief. The latter had reached 90%, but the former only managed 60%. Both were very close to 100% after an hour.

Decarboxylation Methods Investigated

Most assume that the oven is the best way to decarb, but is this really the case? Bear in mind that most ovens will fluctuate by 10 degrees in either direction. When using the oven in the 250-400-degree range in particular, if the heat is 10-15 degrees more than what you’ve set, the result could mean the loss of essential compounds.

DID YOU KNOW? You could lose up to 33% of your THC via oven decarboxylation.

The crockpot/water bath method is a popular one because water boils at a very consistent temperature of 212 degrees (depending on altitude). While the max temp will preserve all compounds, the problem with this method is it’s impossible to achieve full decarboxylation.

This is because decarboxylation is not a linear process, as the last part of the THC-A to THC conversion process takes longer. When you use boiling water, the weed is exposed to heat for too long, causing degradation.

A product on the market called “Nova” claims to decarb cannabinoids with 100% efficiency. It provides lab tests to back up this claim. Therefore, it may be worth checking out if you’re dedicated to keeping the potency of your cannabis intact.

The other issue with decarb charts or graphs is a lack of knowledge of the precise starting point of the decarb process. In other words, the times and temperature figures shown are always the averages. Remember, you can’t place dry material in an oven and expect it to remain at that exact level for the duration of the decarbing process.

How to Decarboxylate Kief

Kief is the name given to the crystallized structures that stick to the surface of pure cannabis. It is essentially cannabis dust that acts as a defense mechanism to keep pests away. Kief is a popular by-product of cannabis consumption used for edible creation.

Everything you’ll ever need to…

If you decide to try kief decarboxylation, grind the cannabis into flakes and sift the kief away from the plant parts.

Kief tends to decarb faster than bud, meaning you can afford to employ a lower temperature. Once you have spread it over the baking sheet, follow the steps mentioned above. Place the kief on a parchment sheet, and put it in the oven between 240 and 300 degrees Fahrenheit (115 – 150 degrees Celsius). It should be fully decarboxylated after 45-60 minutes.

Final Thoughts on Decarboxylation

Decarboxylation is one of the least understood aspects of marijuana parlance. To fully benefit from cannabis, most of the active components first need to be decarboxylated. THC-A must be transformed into THC, CBD-A into CBD, and so on.

When you combust cannabis or use a vaporizer, the process of decarboxylation occurs instantly. However, those who prepare edibles have to go through a time-consuming decarb process to ensure their products are “molecularly active.”

Although there is some merit to consuming raw cannabis, it offers few therapeutic (or recreational) benefits compared to the decarbed version.

Want to learn more? Decarboxylation is extremely important, but so is knowing how to dry and cure your harvested marijuana flower. Learn how to do it properly in our Complete Guide to Drying and Curing Cannabis Buds.

What is Decarboxylation? Despite its growing popularity, there are still a few basic cannabis facts that people don’t understand. Here we explain…

Decarboxylation of CBD and THC– That’s How You Activate Cannabis

As the way to someone’s heart is through their stomach, it’s no surprise that cooking and baking with cannabis is growing in popularity. In order to enjoy their pharmacological effects, THC and CBD need to be decarboxylated. Or to put it another way: no heat, no high!

Decarboxylation is a horrible word. It reminds many of us of those awful school chemistry lessons. But anyone who is interested in cooking and baking with cannabis needs to know what decarboxylation is all about.

Let’s start at the beginning: Cannabis consists of hundreds of cannabinoids. The best known of these, THC and CBD, are present in the plant in the form of what are known as carboxyl acids. This is why in this form they are also referred to as THC-A and CBD-A (‘A’ stands for acid).

When you heat these substances, the acid releases a carbon dioxide molecule in a process known as decarboxylation or activation. This is, in fact, the natural process of decay and the application of heat just serves to speed it up.

Why do you need to decarboxylate your cannabis? Purely and simply because this is the only way to obtain its pharmacological or healing effects.

Here’s how you decarboxylate properly!

The basic rule is: the higher the temperature, the faster the cannabinoids will be activated. When you smoke a joint, you are decarboxylating the cannabis as you do so. And even when you steam your cannabis using a vaporizer, a few seconds is all it takes to convert THC-A into THC. By the way, the steamed cannabis left in a vaporizer is fully activated, is usually still very potent and can be eaten straight away.

When decarboxylating, the cannabis should not be heated for too long, as this can create inactive products of decomposition. You particularly need to avoid the oxidation of THC into CBN (cannabinol).

A patent owned by the UK company GW Pharmaceuticals defines the ideal conditions for decarboxylation: It involves low temperatures and a relatively long period of heating. This process ensures that 95% of the cannabinoid acids are converted into their phenol form without many decomposition products being created. Another benefit: The aromatic terpenes remain intact. Terpenes are responsible for the aroma, taste and they also influence the effect of cannabis.

According to the patent, decarboxylation in a lab setting should be carried out in two steps:

  1. First heat the cannabis briefly, to make any remaining moisture evaporate.
  2. Then heat the plant material twice more for longer periods.

The best results involve 15 minutes at a temperature of 105°C and then 60 to 120 minutes at the same temperature.

If you are using a marijuana variety which has a very high CBD content, (defined as >90% CBD as a percentage of the total cannabinoid content), then the second phase needs to be 30 minutes at 140°C.

Related post

WHO Recommends Cannabis Reclassification: What Does it Mean for THC and CBD?

Tea, butter or cookies? It all depends on the final product

Please note that the above instructions are based on ideal conditions created in a laboratory. If reading this has dampened your enthusiasm for baking, let’s soften the blow. You don’t have to stick to precise temperatures and times. Depending on what you are going to use the activated plant material for, there are only good and less good methods of preparation.

Let’s say you want to make some marijuana tea. If you pour boiling water over the buds and leave everything to brew for 5 to 10 minutes, the cannabinoids will not be fully activated. At 100°C, the plant material needs to be heated for at least 1 hour. A common practice is to heat the material in a closed pickling jar for an hour in a water bath. The result: Cannabis with plenty of flavour and strong effects! Make sure to heat up the water slowly as rapid changes in temperature increase the risk of glass breaking.

It is even simpler if you want to bake tasty cookies or cakes. Most baking recipes give near-perfect results. Avoid any temperatures above 155°C, because at that temperature, the THC starts to evaporate.

To make cannabutter, the best method is again a pickling jar in a water bath. Afterwards, boil the activated plant material with butter and water for at least one hour, strain to remove the buds and leaves, and leave to cool. The active butter can then be scooped off the top of the cooled liquid. Once frozen, the hash butter can be kept for a very long time.

And one final tip: for the best results, you should crush or grind the plant material before activating it.

Comments

32 thoughts on “Decarboxylation of CBD and THC– That’s How You Activate Cannabis”

Hi! I bought some cbd buds online and decided to make my own cbd oil with coconut oil at home. I didn’t have a thermometer to check how hot it got. I did eat two teaspoons of the finished oil which probably means I had way too much and it made me super sleepy and wasn’t a nice high at all. Is it safe to make your own cbd oil at home? Is it true that you can increase the thc levels with heat? I really dont get on with thc too much. I was also reading that maybe the oil got too hot and the thc turned to cbn which is why it made me soo sleepy… but also maybe I just had too much 😛 Would love your advice as really want to be able to make my own cbd oil at home 🙂

Thanks for your comment and sharing your experiment with us. I can’t really give you advice about homemade CBD oil as I don’t have any experience with it, but I can tell you that increasing the temperature of a vaporiser releases more THC – however, you really have to do it carefully and know what the temperatures are. Maybe one of our readers has had success with making their own CBD oil?

Good luck, and as always, take care around hot oil.

With best wishes,

What is the best way to transform your weed into cbn?
How long in the oven and how many degrees?

I couldn’t find a definite answer to this question (it seems that CBN is a less-wanted cannabinoid) but there is advice that says to avoid converting THC into CBN, you should only have it in the oven for an hour, at temperatures of no more than 120 degrees Celcius. So you could experiment with increasing the time and the temperature.

You might also find this article about CBN interesting, if you haven’t already seen it. Good luck!

With best wishes,

Curious about decarbing directly into hot oil. I have an induction cooktop I use for holding temps at a very precise level for brewing beer. If the decarb process is all about the proper application of heat, it seems logical that a preheated oil bath would decarb perfectly and quite possibly in a shorter period of time due to the low specific heat of oil, which translates to a faster transfer of heat to the plant material and a more precise and constant temperature due to the nature of an oil bath (faster/more consistent than a water bath or heated air in a typical oven). I’ve looked around and most old schoolers can’t answer this question except to say, “It absolutely must be decarbed in an oven first.” Am I missing something? Does anyone have experience trying this?

This is an interesting question! My personal experience is of making cannabutter, which involves simmering the cannabis in repeated lots of fresh water before finally adding it to fat and simmering it in the fat for quite some time, all of which serves to decarboxylate it. Then the fat solidifies on top, also removing all the water and other moisture from the fat.

I do wonder if the ‘decarboxylate in an oven’ principle is also to do with removing moisture from the bud before it’s added to oil. Would you end up with a thin layer of water under your oil if you used fresh buds?

I don’t have an induction cooktop but I’m really interested in this topic. Please do let me know how you get on, and if appropriate I’ll update this article.

With best wishes,

Great article and discussions by all. Glad I found this blog site today.

Does anyone know of any benefit, medicinal or psychoactive, to using fresh, raw cannabis sublingually? That is, placing a small amount of fresh, raw bud under the tongue and holding there until fully absorbed and integrated via the saliva into your system? Alternatively, would this be any different than simply eating the herb in raw form (i.e. mastication)? Or are both methods just a waste of time, and herb?

Thank you in advance for all shared insights!

Thanks for your kind words, it’s always lovely to have positive feedback 🙂

The answers to your questions are quite detailed, and can be found in this post about juicing raw cannabis leaves. I hope this gives you enough information, and that you continue to enjoy the blog.

With best wishes,

Hello, question,
You say to decarb at low temp 105C to preserve terpenes. But once cannabutter is made, you said to bake with it at 155C or below to avoid THC evap. Wouldn’t all the terpenes and compounds you tried to preserve at 105C and below be lost between 105-155C??

Thanks for your question. I believe you are correct, some of the terpenes would be lost at higher temperatures, but unfortunately the baking process would not be successful at lower temperatures. So it depends what is more important to the individual, using the butter with a complete-as-possible terpene profile, or having the convenience of cake! I have known people who have solved this problem by making cannabutter and then eating it spread on toast, but it is easy to ingest quite a lot of butter like this, so be careful if you decide to try it.

With best wishes,

Hi can anyone inform me if it’s possible to decarbonise THC power that I have collected in a THC grinder?

I’m guessing that you have used a grinder for herbal cannabis with a screen for the trichome ‘dust’ to fall through and be collected? This powder is probably partly decarboxylated already as the cannabis will have aged whilst drying and curing before you could grind it. You could mix the powder with edible fat like coconut oil and gently heat it following the instructions in this article, and that should work.

If I’ve misunderstood your question, please let me know! In the meantime, I hop you continue to enjoy the blog.

With best wishes,

Hello there. I got a green powder from a friend saying hat this is the whole plant crushed to powder . Leaves. Buds .. and everything. And it has mostly cbd that thc in it .. can some one help me here please? I guess i need to activate it with heat right !?

Should i do ot with oven ? As mentuoned in the first 2 methods or should i do it with jar snd waterr heat ?

Thank tou in advance

My advice would be to not try this process with anything that you are not 100% sure is cannabis – ‘green powder’ could be anything! Also, powder is difficult to work with for either the water or oven methods.

With best wishes,

I add 7g of semi-ground up dried non-decarboxylated cannabis bud to a large mason jar. I then pour approx. 1/4 cup of warmed up organic coconut oil(solid at room temp) over the bud. I like to add enough oil, approx. 1/4 inch above the herb, for proper infusion. I then lightly screw on the mason jar lid & immerse in water up to an inch & a half below the jar’s lidded threads which is well above oil in the jar. The jar is set on an elevated tray within the pot so that it does not make direct contact with the heating surface. I then place a weight on top of the lid to keep the jar in place, bring to a slow boil & simmer(200F) for 4.5 hours, gently agitating the jar every 30 mins & opening the lid a couple of times early on to let co2 escape – though some co2 should escape as I don’t screw the lid on air tight.
It’s important to always maintain the same volume of simmering water throughout the 4.5 hours to ensure adequate decarboxylation & infusion.

After 4.5 hours I strain the oil through a fine metal strainer into another smaller bottle & put the compressed coconut soaked plant material into a bowl & store in the fridge which I’ll later add to my teas. When the bottle of strained oil(absent of plant material) cools down, but before it solidifies, I add approx. 1/2 ml to each gelatin “0” sized capsule & then put them in the fridge immediately so that the coconut oil solidifies within each cap. This is done to minimize the chance of the capsules melting. I’ve made a few batches & stored the capsules at room temp(coconut oil remains solid) up to a month & have never had a leaking/melting issue thus far.

The bowl in the fridge containing the coconut cannabis soaked plant material works super well as an additive to tea. I add a small clump to the hot tea & let stand for 10 seconds, strain the plant material off leaving the coconut oil & tea behind. It taste great & is surprisingly effective.

Thanks again Scarlet 🙂

Thanks so much for this very detailed and easy to follow explanation. I’ve got some trim from the year before last that I keep thinking I should do something with, so I’m going to give your method a try!

Wishing you all the best,

Does it convert the THC in the CBD high % enough to cause a “high”? Like in a CBD flower low% THC pre-roll if this method is followed?

Would dried CBD dominant cannabis, at 15%CBD & 0.5%THC, decarboxylate simply by placing the dried ground bud in a lightly sealed mason jar with coconut oil & immersing the jar, up to the bottle’s neck, in a simmering water bath(200F) for 3-4 hours be sufficient to decarboxylate & infuse?
Thanks muchly – Deb

My apologies for it taking so long to respond to your comment, I overlooked it in the recent blog update.

Regarding your question; I’ve never personally tried this method, but it sounds to me like it should work. However, it is very important to ensure the bud is absolutely clean before you start the process, otherwise any dirt and residue of nutrients, pesticides, etc will also be retained in the coconut oil. It’s recommended to put the bud in a pan of water, bring it to the boil and simmer it for at least half an hour, then drain the water off. Repeat this process until the water remains clear. This usually takes about three goes (it’s amazing the amount of gunk that comes off!). As cannabinoids are fat-soluble rather than water-soluble, they won’t be lost during this cleaning process, although try not to bash the cannabis about whilst it’s in the water.

This is the cleaning process usually used for making cannabis fat for cooking; the next step is to add a fresh lot of water to the drained, cleaned cannabis, and then add some kind of edible solid fat (butter and coconut oil are most common) and simmer for an hour. Then turn the heat off and let it cool; the fat will float to the surface and solidify, enabling you to lift it out of the pan. And voila, cannabis-infused coconut oil!

I hope this answers your question.

With best wishes,

Update: So I made a few batches of CBD caps by immersing non-decarboxylated dried ground CBD dominant cannabis & coconut oil in a mason jar semi-sealed into a “bain-marie”(gentle boil/simmering) water bath for 4.5 hours. I’m very happy with the results.
The cannabis may not have been fully decarboxylated which is actually not a negative because CBD-A & THC-A have medicinal properties as well.
Thanks for the cleaning process tip! When cannabis is given or purchased from an unknown source your cleaning tip would be invaluable. Thanks so much Scarlet!
Deb 🙂

Thanks so much for the update and for sharing this technique with us. May I ask, did you strain the plant matter out of the coconut oil afterwards?

Regarding the cleaning tip – you’re very welcome! I feel like it’s the sort of thing that should be more widely known 🙂

With best wishes,

So, if I’ve got this correct, GW Pharma was granted a patent for decarboxylation of cannabis by heating – an old and well-known method. If this is true, then anyone who uses heating to decarboxylate is infringing on their patent; any company, any individual. And, I have learned in a different context the unpleasant way, anyone who advises or encourages one to use this method of heating to decarboxylate is violating their assigned rights. The patent offices are staffed with idiots (well, maybe just overworked and underpaid gov’t employees) who often give away patent rights without really doing any research. Then it is on the people who should own the rights to use simple and long-used methods to have to fight in court against corporate lawyers. Just be warned folks – it sure looks like they have patent rights to our basic heat decarbing process! Follow that link in the article and it is right there: “In PCT/GB02/00620 the applicant discloses a method of preparing a herbal drug extract (botanical drug Substance) from medicinal cannabis. The process comprises:
1. a heating step to decarboxylate the acid form of the cannabinoids to their neutral
form; ”

I guess that for many of us we are in the clear since we might use a “recreational cannabis” (and who knows what we do in the privacy of our cellars anyway), but any company using this method for any “medical cannabis” would be in violation of their patent. This is very troublesome.

Please read the actual patent (link was given). The extended times given in the patent application relate to the 40C temperature used in the supercritical fluid extraction process and have nothing to do with the basic decarboxylation!

The decarboxylation is simply the same thing people have been doing all along before this patent – it is nothing magic. They describe a 2-step heating for the decarboxylation. The chopped cannabis is heated to 105C for a while to dry the material; until the water is gone the cannabis can’t rise above 100C and so depending on how wet the cannabis, this would be a variable otherwise. This removal of water will occur if simply heated directly to the typical decarboxylation temperature of 110C to 115C, but driving off the water first allows for a more controlled effect of time at the 110C decarboxylation temperature; a time of 60-90 min (at temperature) is effective at decarboxylation. If you fold the cannabis into an aluminum foil packet with tightly seamed (double folded tightly) edges, it will make much less stink in your house and retain more of the terpenoids (the “stink”) that we would like in the decarbed product. Note that you can just simply eat a small pinch of the dry decarbed bud directly, but please start with a small pinch! Eating dry bud can take an hour to be noticable and last 8 hours or more – start low and go slow. Way less messy and trouble than making oils and tinctures.

Don’t use aluminium foil unless you want toxic heavy metals in your brain, thats very bad advice! Don’t use it in direct contact with food either.

First, the facts. Aluminum is not a heavy metal – chemically speaking – and is not hazardous in an application with mildly heated dry “food” materials. Aluminum has a melting point of over 1220degF and we would be heating it to 230degF in this application. Furthermore, Aluminum spontaneously forms a layer of aluminum oxide that has the higher melting point of 3762degF and is even more inert. There are accounts of substantial aluminum being dissolved from aluminum stockpots that simmer acidic tomato sauce for many hours in restaurants, but the case of heating dry plant material encapsulated by aluminum foil is not at all related. If interested, please read Wikipedia on Aluminum and read the section on Biology and Toxicity, and then you can make an intelligent decision for your own actions. Wikipedia states “There is little evidence that normal exposure to aluminium presents a risk to healthy adult, and there is evidence of no toxicity if it is consumed in amounts not greater than 40 mg/day per kg of body mass.” People should do what they are comfortable with, but use your head and look at evidence. I also don’t believe in a flat earth.

Are vaccines bad too Simon?! Aluminum foil is made from pure Al ingots squished between a couple of massive rollers. I worked at a place that made the stuff. Please stop talking out your ass there Simon. You’re very full of shit and presenting it as fact. Aluminium is not a toxin or a heavy metal. The only thing it comes in contact with is a little bit of food grade lubricant that is on the rollers and that is removed when it’s heated. It is absolutely safe to use to decarb and for food.

Simon Says….Use your brain! Well, Aluminum is not a heavy metal, neither physically not chemically, so you won’t get any heavy metals, sorry. It is atomic number 13, Atomic Weight 26.981… It is NOT a heavy metal. It IS toxic, but you aren’t going to get it by covering food in an oven.

Aluminum has the following properties:
Melting point 933.47 K ​(660.32 °C, ​1220.58 °F)
Boiling point 2743 K ​(2470 °C, ​4478 °F)
The first thing that aluminum does on heating in the presence of air (with oxygen) is form aluminum oxide, a thin layer that has a much higher melting point than aluminum.
Melting point 2,345 K (2,072 °C, 3,762 °F)
Boiling point 3,250 K (2,977 °C, 5,391 °F)

There is no way that aluminum foil will contribute aluminum to a batch of buds being decarboxylated at 120C.

Intelligently used, aluminum foil can even be used for lining a pipe bowl. Really. Again, use your head and don’t put an oxy-acetylene torch on it! With normal gentle heat to vaporize the goodies in the bud, you end up with the aluminum foil covered with tar, not evaporating the aluminum. You get a bowl with a glowing cherry, now that is a different propsition and that is not what I am talking about. You are going to get aluminum into your body from environmental sources like water, foods, food additives and drugs; it will not come from lightly heating your buds at 120C to decarboxylate the cannabinoids.

If you are interested in cooking and baking with cannabis, you need to know what decarboxylation is all about. Because: no heat, no high!