What is Decarboxylated Cannabis & How to Do it Properly?

The Complete Guide to Decarboxylated Cannabis

Last Updated on May 19, 2023

Cannabis has been used for its medicinal and recreational properties for centuries, but unlocking the full potential of this powerful plant requires Decarboxylation. Whether you’re looking to use cannabis medicinally or just want to enjoy a stronger high from your marijuana-infused dishes, understanding the process of Decarboxylation is essential! 

In the complete guide to decarboxylated cannabis, we’ll discuss what it is and how it can be used to create more effective medicines and edibles. We’ll also look at different methods of decarboxylating your cannabis so you can get the most out of it.

What is Decarboxylation?

what is decarboxylation

Decarboxylation is the process of removing a carboxyl group (COOH) from a molecule, typically by heating it. In the context of cannabis, decarboxylation refers to the process of heating cannabis flower or extract to activate the cannabinoids and terpenes, making them bioavailable and providing the desired effects when ingested, smoked or vaporized. 

Raw cannabis contains cannabinoid acids like THCA, CBDA, and CBGA, which do not have the same psychoactive effects as their decarboxylated counterparts, THC, CBD, and CBG. Decarboxylation is necessary to activate the cannabinoids and unlock the full potential of the cannabis plant.

How Does Decarboxylation Work?

Decarboxylation occurs when cannabis is exposed to heat, light or prolonged storage. When heated, the carboxyl group (COOH) is removed from the cannabinoid acid, converting it into its active form. This process typically occurs at temperatures between 200-300°F, depending on the duration of the heating process.

THCA, for example, is converted into THC when heated, making it psychoactive and producing the desired effects when consumed. Similarly, CBDA is converted into CBD, which has a wide range of therapeutic benefits. 

Decarboxylation can be achieved through several methods, including oven baking, sous-vide, and infusion with heated oil or butter. Proper decarboxylation is essential for producing consistent and effective cannabis products.

What are the Benefits of Decarboxylating Cannabis?

decarbing weed

Decarboxylating cannabis unlocks a range of benefits that would not be possible otherwise by activating the psychoactive compounds in cannabis, such as THC and CBD, decarboxylation results in more potent and effective products with a whole range of uses.

1. Increases Potency

Decarboxylating cannabis increases its potency. When cannabis is heated, THC levels increase, and the plant’s full potential is realized. This means that decarboxylated cannabis will have a stronger effect than non-decarboxylated cannabis.\

2. Improves Flavour

Decarboxylation can also improve the flavour of cannabis. Heating the plant can activate terpenes, aromatic compounds in cannabis. Terpenes give each strain its unique flavour and aroma. Decarboxylation can enhance the flavours and aromas of cannabis, making it more enjoyable to consume.

3. Enhances Medicinal Properties

Decarboxylated cannabis has more medicinal properties than non-decarboxylated cannabis. THC has many therapeutic benefits, including pain relief, anxiety reduction, and anti-inflammatory effects. Decarboxylating cannabis can enhance its therapeutic potential, making it a more effective treatment for a variety of medical conditions.

4. Range of Consumption Methods

While smoking or vaporizing cannabis is a popular method of consumption, it is not ideal for everyone. Decarboxylated cannabis can be used to create edibles, tinctures, and topicals, providing a range of consumption methods for those who prefer not to smoke. Decarboxylation also allows for a wider range of uses for cannabis products.

Whether you’re seeking relief from chronic pain, an enhanced high, or an alternative method of consumption, Decarboxylation can help you achieve your goals.

5 Tips for Decarboxylating Cannabis

ground cannabis

Decarboxylating cannabis is a straightforward process, but a few tips can help you get the most out of your decarbed weed.

  1. Preheat Your Oven: Always preheat your oven before beginning the decarboxylation process to ensure it reaches the target temperature.
  2. Grind Your Cannabis: Grinding your cannabis into smaller pieces will provide more surface area, allowing it to decarboxylate quickly and evenly.
  3. Line Your Baking Sheet: To avoid burning cannabis, line your baking sheet with parchment paper or a non-stick silicone mat before adding ground cannabis.
  4. Check Cannabis Regularly: Regularly check on your cannabis as it decarboxylates to ensure it doesn’t burn or become too dry. Decarboxylation can take 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the strain and oven temperature.
  5. Monitor Temperature: Stay vigilant and monitor the temperature of your oven to ensure that how much temperature is good for ideal decarboxylation. For most cannabis strains, this is between 250°F (121°C) and 300°F (149°C). Typically lower temperatures for a longer period of time are recommended.

Related: Learn How to Clean a Grinder?

How to Decarboxylate Cannabis?

decarbing weed oven method

You can use different decarboxylation methods depending on your preferences and available equipment. Different ways for decarboxylation are described below.  

Method 1: Oven Method

The oven method is the most commonly used when decarbing cannabis. But do you know How to decarb weed in an oven? Here, you find the answer. Please note that baking cannabis will produce an odour, so take precautions if you’re decarbing in a shared space.

Things You Need

  • Cannabis Buds
  • Baking Sheet or Glass Baking Dish
  • Aluminum Foil or Parchment Paper


  1. Preheat your oven temperature to 240°F (115°C).
  2. Lightly grind the buds into a uniform consistency.
  3. Spread the cannabis onto a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
  4. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, depending on your desired potency. Stir the cannabis every 10 minutes to ensure even Decarboxylation. 
  5. Don’t be alarmed if the flower has turned from green to light brown; this is normal.
  6. Once done, remove cannabis from the oven and let it cool down before using it in homemade edibles or topicals.

Method 2: Sous Vide Method

sous vide

This method is a slightly more involved process, but it is especially useful for those who don’t have access to an oven.

Things You Need

  • Cannabis Flowers
  • Sous Vide Cooker
  • Vacuum Sealer


  1. Fill the cooker with hot water and set it to 203°F (95°C).
  2. Break up the cannabis into small pieces and place them in a vacuum-sealed bag.
  3. Seal the bag using a vacuum sealer.
  4. Place the bag in the hot water bath and let it cook for 90 minutes.
  5. Remove the bag from the water bath and let it cool down before using the decarbed cannabis when making edibles or topicals.

Method 3: Slow Cooker or Crock Pot Method

crock pot

This method is the most hands-off of all, but it may take some trial and error to get the desired results.

Things You Need

  • Cannabis Flowers
  • Crock Pot or other Slow Cooker
  • Mason Jar or Air Tight Container


  1. Add 2-4 cups of water to the cooker and set the temperature to 200° or the lowest temperature setting.
  2. Break up the cannabis into small pieces and place them in a mason jar.
  3. Tightly seal the mason jar and place it in the cooker.
  4. Let the cannabis cook for 4-6 hours, stirring every now and then to ensure even Decarboxylation.
  5. Once done, remove the mason jar from the slow cooker and let it cool down before using the decarboxylated cannabis when making edibles or topicals.

Method 4: Instant Pot Method

instant pot

The Instant Pot is a great way to quickly and easily decarboxylate cannabis.

Things You Need

  • Cannabis Flowers
  • Instant Pot


  1. Add 1 cup of water to the pot and set it to Steam mode at low pressure (3 psi).
  2. Break up your cannabis into small pieces and place them in the pot.
  3. Seal the lid of the Instant Pot and set it to Steam mode, low pressure (3 psi), for 10 minutes.
  4. Once done, turn off the heat and let the cannabis cool down before using it in edibles or topicals.

No matter which method you use, be sure to monitor the temperature and time to ensure that you get the desired results.

Things to Keep in Mind While Decarbing Marijuana

It’s important to note that once cannabis is decarboxylated, it will begin to lose potency over time. So it’s best to use it as soon as possible to ensure optimal effects. Additionally, the decarboxylation process can produce a strong smell, so it’s important to ventilate the area or use an air filter during the process.

Decarboxylation is a simple process but requires diligence in order to get the most out of your cannabis. With patience and practice, you should have no problem decarbing your cannabis like a pro!


frequently asked questions

What is the Ideal Temperature for Decarboxylation?

The ideal temperature for Decarboxylation is between 220°F – 250°F (104°C-121°C).

How Long Does Decarboxylation Take?

This depends on the method being used, but typically it takes at least 30 minutes and up to 6 hours.

Is Decarbed Cannabis Still Potent?

Yes. Cannabinoids are activated during the decarboxylation process, which increases the potency of cannabis. However, it should be noted that this process also breaks down some terpenes and other compounds, which can affect the flavour and aroma of your cannabis.

Does Decarbed Cannabis Smell?

Yes, the decarboxylation process can produce a strong smell. It’s important to ventilate the area or use an air filter during this process. Though the odour may differ a bit, you can learn more by reading our guide on the smell of marijuana.

Can You Re-Decarboxylate Cannabis?

Yes, you can re-decarboxylate cannabis, but it will reduce the potency of the cannabinoids. It’s best to decarb once and use your cannabis as soon as possible for optimal results.

Can You Decarb Weed in a Microwave?

Although you can, it is not recommended to decarb cannabis in a microwave as the uneven heat distribution can lead to inconsistent results. It’s best to use one of the other methods mentioned above.


weed butter

Decarboxylating cannabis is a simple process that can be done in several ways, depending on your available equipment. Each has advantages and disadvantages, from the oven method to using a slow cooker or an Instant Pot. 

It’s important to keep in mind that once decarbed, your cannabis will begin to lose potency over time, so it should be used as soon as possible for optimal effects. Additionally, the decarboxylation process produces quite a strong smell, so make sure to ventilate the area while doing this. 

With patience and practice, anyone can become an expert at decarbing weed! Thanks for reading the complete guide to decarboxylated cannabis!

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