What is decarboxylation? The process isn’t as scary as it sounds and it occurs naturally when you smoke a joint or take a bong rip.

Decarboxylation is the process of “activating” cannabis to make it more bio-available for our bodies to receive and feel its effects. 

Curious about how to decarboxylate your weed and the decarboxylation process? Continue reading to learn more about how it “activates” weed and how you can learn to do it at home.


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What Is Decarboxylation And Why Is It Needed?

THC, the chief psychoactive component of cannabis (what gets you high), is found in fresh cannabis plants in trace amounts and in slightly higher concentrations when the plant is cured

You might have thought that cannabis is filled with THC since consuming it produces a huge psychoactive experience but the opposite is true. Instead of THC, cannabis is rich in THC-A (THC’s acidic form). 

While THC-A has its own medicinal benefits such as anti-inflammation, it unfortunately doesn’t provide a psychoactive effect as THC does. For this to take place, THC-A has to be converted to THC through decarboxylation. 

Simply put, the decarboxylation process describes the chemical changes that THCA undergoes when it is exposed to heat and time. 

Smoking a joint, taking a bong rip, or vaporizing flower will all expose cannabis to these two essential decarboxylation elements of heat and time. The decarbed cannabis that results from combustion or vaporization is easily absorbed by our lungs into our bodies. 

But the process is slightly more difficult for edibles such as weed cookies and brownies, where cannabis is absorbed by our stomach.  

Without decarboxylation, THCA remains in an “unactivated” state, making it difficult for our bodies to properly reap its benefits. Decarboxylation is essential in the production of edibles because our stomachs would be unable to absorb the THC otherwise.




How To Decarb Weed At Home

Despite what the name might suggest, you don’t need any fancy laboratory equipment to decarboxylate weed at home. 

The equipment you need is: 

  • an oven
  • some parchment paper
  • a grinder
  • some quality flower


Step 1: Grind your flower

To decarboxylate your cannabis, begin by grinding your flower into coarse crumbs. The goal here is to increase the flower’s total surface area to maximize its exposure to heat. Take care to not grind your flower too finely or leave it in the oven for too long as doing so will cause the flower to lose terpenes; the flower’s oils and flavours. 

Step 2: Preheat your oven

Set your oven to a temperature between 105ºC to 115ºC (220ºF to 235ºF) (depending on the model of your oven).

Step 3: Spread the cannabis on a tray

Next, take some parchment paper and lay it flat on your oven pan. Thinly spread out your ground flower, ensuring that it is even throughout. 

Step 4: Bake

Put the tray in the oven and allow it to bake for anywhere between 30-45 minutes — or until your cannabis appears slightly darker than golden brown. 

The exact time and temperature will vary depending on your oven. A dark golden-brown colour leaning heavily on the brown side is a great indicator of whether or not your flower is properly decarboxylated. 


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Final Thoughts On How To Decarboxylate Weed

And there you have it! Decarboxylated cannabis AKA “activated” weed — ready to be made into butter, oils, or even sprinkled on top of ice cream.

To learn how to use your decarboxylated weed to make cooking oil, check out our guide list of cannabis recipes here.

*All images from Shutterstock


I'm a writer and editor for Herb Approach News, dedicated to providing insight about everything in the new, emerging cannabis space. How exciting it is! Before focusing on cannabis, I spent several years freelancing, and before that, I spent a handful of years finishing my Masters Degree in Publishing and Creative Writing.