Curing and Processing Cannabis

Decarboxylation in the preparation of cannabis edibles

how to prepare edible marijuana and what are the advantages

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The importance of decarboxylation in the preparation of cannabis edibles. Although smoking marijuana is the most popular form of consumption, there is a growing popularity in the use of edible cannabis products. In the US,  “edibles” are considered a healthy alternative to smoking. Especially for medical use,

The importance of decarboxylation in the preparation of cannabis edibles
The importance of decarboxylation in the preparation of cannabis edibles

The long duration of action is very interesting.  Numerous recipes circulate on the Internet, mostly for cannabis butter, brownies or cocoa. despite this, there is much uncertainty about how to reliably cook with cannabis.  Many users are unaware of the decarboxylation process, which is very important to make the most of the properties of cannabis when using edibles.

Often the preparations do not work as desired but once you understand the properties of the active ingredients, cooking and baking with cannabis is easily manageable. To allow the THC to be available in cooking, it must always be decarboxylated. The THC in the plant is not effective at all, it has an acidic carboxyl group and is therefore called THC-A (A for “Acid” = acid).

Decarboxylation in the preparation of cannabis edibles

No matter how potent and high percentage a plant you use, it must first lose the carboxyl group, that is to be de-carboxylated otherwise the THC does not work. This sounds really scientific but Decarboxylation is a natural process of decay, which is accelerated by heating.

Anyone who smokes a joint decarboxylates their cannabis at the same time because smoking creates temperatures of 400 to 800 ° Celsius. Instead of decarboxylation, one can, therefore, speak of activation. The higher the temperature, the faster the THC activates.

For various diseases, the ingestion of cannabis through dyes, oils or edible products ends up making more sense, as is the case of childhood epilepsy.  Similarly, for patients who do not like smoking or do not feel comfortable with the smell of smoke, this may be a more useful alternative to smoking.  The consumption of edibles also avoids lung damage, one of the main criticisms of those who oppose the medical use of marijuana.

Are you dying to test one of the thousands of recipes available online, but are you afraid of doing something wrong and wasting the grass? We will now explain the precautions and measures necessary for the preparation of edible cannabis.

Start small

Before you begin, it is good to remember that the effects of cannabis ingested may be quite different from smoked cannabis. While the inhaled smoke passes through the lungs it reaches the blood system in a few seconds, causing an almost instantaneous effect, digestion is a different process.

The digestive process is slower and differs from person to person. While a person with an accelerated metabolism who has not eaten in a few hours can feel the effects of a space cake in less than 30 minutes, others may not feel anything for more than two hours until THC settles into the bloodstream.

This means that while it is easy to control the dosage of smoked marijuana because of the instantaneous effect, ingested marijuana can fool the less experienced. Its a common problem for the novice many consumers of cannabis edibles have waited more than an hour without feeling any effect, and Judging that the dosage was very low, consume more marijuana to try to compensate. This leads to excessive consumption, with a stronger effect than intended.

In addition, the same amount of marijuana can have a more intense effect when ingested than when smoked. Part of the cannabinoids is lost during smoking, which does not occur during ingestion. The way marijuana is prepared also alters the amount of each cannabinoid – we’ll explain it better later. The digestive process seems to affect how cannabinoids are processed in the body, and can potentiate their effects. Therefore, it is important to be careful with the dosage and to gradually test – starting with a smaller amount of marijuana – increasing as needed.

Decarboxylation The Science.

Cannabis in its natural form has large amounts of the acidic forms of THC and CBD – THCA and CBDA. These raw cannabinoids have less affinity for the cannabinoid receptors scattered throughout the human body, and do not bind to them so easily.

Decarboxylation The Science
Decarboxylation The Science

Unlike THC, the THCA is not psychoactive, THCA and CBDA are transformed into THC and CBD through oxidation, which occurs during drying of flowers, and decarboxylation, which occurs with the heating of the herb.

Although THCA and CBDA are still poorly studied and do not have the same effects as their neutral forms (THC and CBD), there is evidence that these cannabinoids also have valuable medicinal effects. In this post, however, we will focus on extracting the most well-known and desired cannabinoids.


Controlling the temperature

For decarboxylation to occur as desired, a temperature control and heating time are required. Take into account the following considerations:

  • The raw plant has THC and THCA, besides CBD and CBDA;
  • The goal of decarboxylation is to transform THCA and CBDA into THC and CBD to obtain larger amounts of these cannabinoids and potentiate the effects of the herb;
  • THC, when heated, becomes CBN (cannabinol), a cannabinoid with sedative effects, similar to CBD.

Heating needs to be controlled for the following reasons:

  • The transformation from CBDA to CBD takes longer than THCA for THC;
  • At about 70% decarboxylation, the conversion of THC to CBN is faster than the conversion of THCA to THC;
  • If your goal is to get more THC, the heating should be stopped in time;
  • If it passes the point, there will be a higher concentration of CBD and CBN, making the final product more sedative and less psychoactive.

The decarboxylation process can therefore be controlled to obtain a different final product as the user requires. Take care also to not overheat and lose a lot of cannabinoids.

How to decarboxylate

how to prepare edible marijuana
How to decarboxylate
  • Preheat the oven to 110 ° C;
  • Line tray with baking paper;
  • Break the buds into smaller pieces and fill the bottom of the baking tray. Keep the pieces close to each other, without overfilling the tray, but also avoid leaving too much free space;
  • Heat marijuana in the oven for about 20 minutes to dry the buds. Remove the bud when it has a light brown color;
  • Leave the tray aside to cool. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 115 ° C;
  • When the buds cool, break them into smaller pieces by hand and spread them until they cover the bottom of the baking tray;
  • Cover the tray with foil and put it back in the oven;
  • For higher concentration of THC, bake for 45 to 60 minutes;
  • For greater concentration of CBD, bake for 60 to 90 minutes;
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool before removing foil. When the foil is removed, the bud should be a brownish color. If the pieces are still very large, place the product in a food processor (very lightly! Do not turn it into a powder!).
  • Preserve the final product in a properly sealed glass jar.
  • All Done!


Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica, and Cannabis Ruderalis: Thank you for being the “Gateway drug” to perpetual inspiration, compassion, benevolence, and medicinal miracles: Cannabis grower, photographer with a long experience in cannabis cultivation. His articles are journalistic reports of places where cannabis is already legally cultivated and owned. They are intended to give an impression of the wide range of cannabis cultivation. These reports are intended to help identify the truth about cannabis and reduce prejudice.

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