What is decarboxylation and why does cannabis need it?

Cannabis decarboxylation is easy and extremely important to do if you plan on consuming cannabis through food, drinks, edibles, lotions, or anything other that smoking and vaping it.

I’m going to keep this as short and simple as possible… decarboxylation is what makes cannabis edible. Eating raw cannabis will not work as the psychoactive ingredients need to be heat-activated prior to consumption, which is what decarbing it does – it heats it up in the oven without burning the terpenes, allowing you to then mix it into whatever carrier you choose – coconut oil, butter, or tincture.

cannabis decarboxylation
decarbing cannabis in the oven

What does decarboxylation mean?

The cannabinoids that are contained within the trichomes or raw cannabis flowers have an extra carboxyl ring or group (COOH) attached to their chain. For example, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) is synthesized in prevalence within the trichome heads of freshly harvested cannabis flowers. In most regulated markets, cannabis distributed in dispensaries contains labels detailing the product’s cannabinoid contents. THCA, in many cases, prevails as the highest cannabinoid present in items that have not been decarboxylated (cannabis flowers and concentrates).

When consumed, THCA has a number of wonderful benefits like having anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective qualities. THCA is not intoxicating – it must first be converted into THC using decarboxylation, before any psychoactive effects could be felt.

How does decarboxylation work?

There are two things needed to make decarboxylating work – time and heat. Some of the decarbing happens when you hang your cannabis plants and flowers to dry after harvesting them. The rest happens when you smoke or vaporize it as the extremely high heat used instantly decarboxylates the cannabinoids, allowing them to be absorbed through inhalation.

Our lungs can easily absorb the cannabinoids through vaping, but eating edibles requires these cannabinoids present in what we consume in order for our bodies to absorb them throughout digestion. Heating cannabinoids at lower temps for longer periods of time allows us to decarb the cannabinoids while preserving the integrity of the material we use so that we may infuse it into what we want to consume.

What temperature do you decarb cannabis at?

Cannabis decarboxylation begins at 220°F, and should never go over 300°F, as the terpenoids and cannabinoids will be destroyed. After many years of testing, decarbing the cannabis in the oven at 240°F for 40 minutes has been proven the most effective way to decarboxylate cannabis flower.

Other forms of Cannabinoid degradation can be caused by changing the temp and time. For example, cannabinol (CBN) is formed through the degradation and oxidation of THC, a process that can occur alongside decarboxylation. CBN accounts for a much more sedative and less directly psychoactive experience.

How to Decarboxylate Cannabis in Your Kitchen.

Decarbing the cannabis is so easy to do – all you need is an oven safe dish or cookie sheet, cannabis flower (buds), a grinder or food processor (or your hands if you’re old school) to grind the cannabis flower up as much as you possibly can. Doesn’t have to be perfect. Place ground cannabis flower on a cookie sheet or glass dish and bake at 240°F for 40 minutes. If you see smoke before the 40 minutes is up, the process is done and can then be removed from the oven.


4-Step Cannabis Decarboxylation

Cannabis Decarboxylation done in your kitchen oven using just a few simple ingredients and 2 easy-to-follow steps to achieve the perfect decarboxylation, allowing the cannabis to then be used in things like foods, topicals (lotions), cannabutter, cannabis oils, to name a few. 

  • Author: dizzle


  • as much ground cannabis as you plan on using for whatever it is you’ll be making
  • a cookie sheet or oven safe dish
  • tin foil 


  1. place the ground cannabis flower onto the cookie sheet or dish
  2. cover with foil
  3. bake at 240°F for 40 minutes or until it starts smoking, whatever comes first
  4. remove from oven and let cool
  5. THAT’S IT. You’re done and now ready to use in whatever recipe you desire (oils, butters, tinctures..)
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