What is decarboxylation? If you’re venturing into the world of infused ingredients, homemade edibles, and other creations, you’ll need to get familiar with this term.
Let’s take a look at decarboxylation and break down the word and the process the word defines.
Decarboxylation is a process that ‘activates’ the psychoactive substances in the cannabis plant so that you feel its effects when eaten.
Cannabis plants contain THCA. However, THCA needs to be converted into THC for you to feel the desired effects in your homemade recipes. The way to convert THCA to THC is most commonly done with the flame of a match, the coil of a vape pen, a butane torch, or an oven when making baked edibles.
If you have a LĒVO II infusion machine or are considering getting one, it will decarb and infuse your ingredients all in one machine. So, in a way it’s similar to other activating methods, but with less mess and much more control over your creative endeavor, and your chosen ingredients.
How Does Decarboxylation Work?
Decarboxylation occurs with the application of heat and time. The high temperatures when smoking and vaporizing cannabis instantly decarboxylates compounds in the plant, making them immediately available for your lungs to absorb, thus providing the psychoactive effects that make you high.
Some decarboxylation can occur when drying and curing cannabis or after harvesting a home grow, but it’s a nominal loss. It is best to cure your cannabis so that you can then store it correctly (preferably in dark jars).
Why Decarboxylation is Necessary for Edibles
Decarboxylation needs to happen for all cannabis products in order to get you high. Without decarbing your cannabis, your homemade items will taste like hemp, and you won’t achieve the desired effects you want.
When making edibles, herbs are typically heated in an oven, on a cookie tray, first to decarboxylate them. Then they are infused into a carrier medium such as butter or a number of different oils- including coconut or olive.
The LĒVO II has what are known as Power Pods these are used to contain measured amounts of cannabis to first decarb and then to let the carrier medium run through the holes in the pods during the heated infusion process. Each LĒVO II machine can hold up to two pods- this will allow you to make much more potent infusions, or just use more of the plant material if it is of a lower grade.
What’s also great about the LĒVO II infusion machine is that the vast majority of the smell usually associated with oven-decarbing is kept within the machine itself- while you control the entire process.
After you’ve decarbed your ganja, all you have to do is add your infusion carrier-medium and set the time and temperature, and let the LĒVO II do the rest. There’s also a super handy app that will allow you to remotely control and monitor the whole process.
At What Temperature Does Decarboxylation Occur?
Cannabis decarboxylation occurs between 200-245ºF. We recommend heating the cannabis at 245ºF for 30-40 minutes when making edibles, but be careful because ovens do vary a lot and you don’t want to overcook your flower- that would be a waste. There are also variables to consider if you’re at a high altitude.
Compared to smoking, decarboxylation for edibles is done at a lower temperature for a longer period of time. This helps keep cannabinoids and terpenes intact when infused. Terpenes are volatile and will evaporate at high temperatures, potentially leaving undesirable flavors and aromas behind.
Heating cannabis in an oven above 300ºF will burn off valuable cannabinoids and terpenes, and the flower will not have the desired effect when infused with butter, oil, or anything else.
So pay careful attention to the oven temperature if you are decarboxylating at home because you could send all of your botanicals up in smoke. Realize that this is a smelly process anyway, so take that into consideration before you pre-heat your oven to decarb. All of this guesswork, mess, and possible waste can be alleviated with the LĒVO II.
How to Decarboxylate Herb in an Oven
Before you start to decarb your cannabis, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:
- (As mentioned above) Ovens can sometimes fluctuate by 20 to 30 degrees, so monitor the cannabis closely.
- If your herb turns brown too quickly or smells like it’s burning, turn down the oven immediately. An oven thermometer is an excellent investment if you plan to regularly decarb your cannabis in the oven.
How to Decarb Your Cannabis in the Oven
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper or aluminum foil
- Cannabis coarsely ground and evenly spread on the parchment paper
- Set the oven temperature to 245ºF, with the oven rack in the middle position. Ovens are hotter at the top and cooler at the bottom, so heating in the middle will ensure an ideal decarboxylation temperature.
- Line the baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil (shiny side facing the herb), and lightly break up the cannabis onto it. Shoot for even distribution and sized flower- coarsely ground is best.
- Heat for 30-40 minutes, stirring/agitating the tray twice.
- Let cool for 30 minutes at room temperature.
- When cool enough to handle, add the decarboxylated cannabis to butter, oil, or another base for an infusion.
If you want to make your own edibles or infused items at home, there are a couple of ways of decarbing your cannabis so it’s ready to infuse with your chosen carrier oil. If you don’t have an infusion machine, you can always decarb and infuse your cannabis by hand.
However, if you want to make the process cleaner, easier, streamlined, and more controlled, investing in a LĒVO II infusion machine is the next, logical, and most cost-effective step.
Isn’t it time to expand your repertoire of culinary arts into the world of home infusions? LĒVO has a library of recipes, educational content, calculators, photos, and MORE available on our website, or visit us on YouTube to see videos of recipes and our products in action!. Not sure where to start? Take the LĒVO Quiz to see which machine is right for you!” #LĒVOmade