Homemade edibles are a great way to safely and deliciously enjoy cannabis, giving you full health benefits without the risks associated with smoking or vaping. Plus, you get to choose your own treat and use ingredients you trust.
Decarboxylation, also called “decarbing,” is the essential but often forgotten first step to making cannabis edibles. If you don’t decarb your cannabis, your final product — whether its brownies, Rice Krispie treats, or mashed potatoes — will be weak. Luckily, decarboxylating cannabis is a super easy process, and you don’t need any special equipment!
How does decarbing work?
In order to activate the full benefits of cannabis, you have to heat up the cannabinoids (cannabis compounds such as THCa, which turns into THC-delta-9 post-decarb). High heat makes the carboxyl group shed from the cannabinoid’s structure, hence the term “decarboxylation.” This changes the cannabinoids from an acidic or “raw” cannabinoid to a neutral, non-acidic form that gives you all the goodness present in cannabis.
Decarbing cannabis in the oven is a piece of (cannabis-infused) cake! Here’s the step-by-step breakdown of decarboxylation:
1. Preheat your oven to 225°F. If cannabis is heated up above 250°F, it burns and damages the cannabinoids.
2. Crumble parchment paper, then put it on a baking sheet. This minimizes contact between the baking sheet and cannabis, which prevents burning. You could also use aluminum foil, and if you do, place a crumbled sheet on top of the cannabis as well.
3. Break up your flower into small bits, roughly the size of a grain of rice. Too fine a grind will increase chances of burning, so we recommend using your hands to break the flower apart rather than a grinder.
4. Spread the cannabis onto the baking sheet and bake. Place the baking sheet on the middle rack of your oven, bake for 45 minutes, then remove and let cool for 30 minutes. The cannabis flower should look lightly toasted and light brown.
5. Store or get started! You can keep your decarbed cannabis in a sealed airtight container for later use — it will store in a cool, dark place for up to 2 months and it’ll keep in the freezer for even longer. If you’re itching to make edibles, use it as soon as it’s cooled.
There are other ways to decarb cannabis, but this is the simplest and least involved method. Be warned that, just like baking anything in the oven, your kitchen will smell strongly of cannabis during decarboxylation.
Cooking with decarbed cannabis
Now that you’ve decarboxylated your cannabis, you might think you can toss it into your edible recipe like any other ingredient. If only it were that easy! There’s still another critical step in using decarbed cannabis for edibles — pairing your decarbed cannabis with a substrate high in fat, such as butter or coconut oil.
First, heat up your fat in the medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Many people use butter to make “cannabutter,” but you could use any fatty oil such as coconut oil or olive oil to make “cannaoil.” After the butter is melted or your oil is warm, add the decarbed cannabis and cook over the same temperature. It’s important for the temperature to stay below 200F to avoid burning.
Gently stir the ground cannabis and fat mixture regularly for about 20 minutes, then remove the pan from heat. Let it sit, undisturbed, for 10 minutes before straining the butter or oil through a fine mesh sieve, coffee filter, or cheesecloth over a large bowl. Using a spoon, press down softly on the mixture to extract as much fatty cannabis goodness as possible. You can use it right away, or store it in the fridge for up to eight weeks.
The math behind making edibles
When making edibles at home, you have to measure out the right amount of cannabis per dose for your needs. You could use an online dosage calculator or do the math yourself!
First, find the total percentage of THCa and CBDa of your cannabis — let’s say it’s 12% THCa, like in Ace Weidman’s Cooking Ounce. Then, multiply that number by 10 to get your mg THCa per gram of cannabis — in this case, 12% THCa x 10 = 120 mg of THCa. The conversion rate of THCa to THC-delta-9 is 0.877, so next you’ll multiply that by your THCa to find the total mg of THC-delta-9 per gram. Using our Ace Weidman’s example, that’s 120 x 0.877 = 105.25 mg THC-delta-9 per gram of cannabis. Keep in mind, the conversion rate from THCa to THC-delta-9 may dip lower due to variances in baking temps or times when decarbing at home.
Next, multiply the amount of THC-delta-9 per gram of cannabis by how much fat you’re using as a substrate. Following this example, let’s say we’re making a cup of cannabutter with 6 grams of cannabis — we’d multiply 105.25 mg THC-delta-9 x 6 g cannabis to get 631.44 mg THC-delta-9 in the cannabutter. Then, divide the total amount of THC-delta-9 in your cannaoil or cannabutter by the number of servings in your recipe. In this example, if we’re using a cup of cannabutter in this example and making a batch of 16 brownies, we’d divide 631.44 by 16 servings, making each dose 39.5 mg of THC-delta-9.
Decarb and determine your dosage with Rev!
The only downfall to making homemade edibles is that, when you’re using your own cannabis flower, it can be nearly impossible to know the exact concentration of THC and CBD you’re putting into your edibles. For more accurate and controlled dosing, use Ace Weidman’s Cooking Ounce like we did above!
Ace Weidman’s is a blend of high quality shake from Rev, which contains the same terpene and cannabinoid profiles as our best flower and craft strains. With the percentages of THC and CBD clearly written on the label, you’ll always know how much cannabis you’re putting into your homemade edibles. Check out Ace Weidman’s Cooking Ounce on our menu, and save this article for when you’re ready to make edibles at home!