The Whys and Hows of Decarboxylation

Updated on December 28, 2019

Are you planning to make your own cannabis edibles? Decarboxylation may look like a fancy term, but you do not need to be a geek to understand the science behind it. Essentially, this is a heating process that removes the psychoactive elements of marijuana. It is a crucial step in making this plant serve a more medicinal purpose than an addictive one. 

Why is it needed? 

When you consume raw marijuana without applying heat, the effect on your body is just nausea. In all likelihood, you will only be sick to your stomach and vomit all the raw leaves you have consumed. You will not experience the relief that you are looking for since the cannabinoid ingredients are not active yet. 

When exposed to 220°F of heat for around 30 minutes to an hour, the cannabinoid will start to decarboxylate. Once it happens, its THCA will transform into THC, the substance that binds with your brain receptor to provide relief, relaxation, and other medical benefits. 

Aside from making marijuana work as it should, using this process will also prevent botulism. Botulism is an illness that targets nerves, leading to body paralysis. When you decarboxylate your marijuana, it prevents the bacteria causing botulism to grow in your stock; thus, protecting you from potential harm.

How to decarboxylate?

Conducting this process is no rocket science. All you need is your cannabis leaves, oven, food processor, baking sheet, and parchment paper. It is just like a simple cooking process. Before starting, you should preheat your oven to 220°F. Anything higher than this temperature may burn the leaves and make them lose their potency. 

Once you have layered your baking sheet with parchment paper, spread your cannabis leaf on the baking sheet and place it in the oven for about 30 to 40 minutes. It may take a bit of time if the leaves are still very fresh. Remember to turn them every 10 minutes so that they will not burn. 

After they look dark and crispy, take them out of the oven and then let them cold down. When they are ready, put the leaves on the food processor, crush them to bits, and you are done! Do not forget to wash your food processor and baking sheets thoroughly so you will not accidentally include these decarboxylated leaves for your next meal. 

What do I do with my decarboxylated leaves?

Now that you have successfully activated your cannabis, you can safely store them in a safe and dry place for future use. You can incorporate them in your butter or oil if you are planning to make pot brownies or cookies. 

There are a lot of marijuana-edible recipes online that you can choose from for your next baking escapade. Typically, you only need ¼ of an ounce to make 12-ounce cookies. Do not get excited and add many since a small amount can already have a considerable effect. Though these substances are generally safe, eating a lot of them may pose health risks, so regulate your servings.

Decarboxylation is a process you must never skip when making your DIY cannabis-infused food. It is a safe procedure that does not entail fancy machinery to do. What are you waiting for? Get your oven ready and bake away! 


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