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How to Decarb Weed (Sous Vide, Mason Jar, Toaster Oven, Oil & More)

Decarboxylation, despite being a process surrounded by misinformation and myths, is an integral process involved with cannabis consumption of any kind.

To put it simply–the science behind decarbing is just a function of time and temperature. Heat the material, let it “cook” for a specific amount of time, and your raw cannabis is transformed from simple plant material into a potent ingredient or treatment for your favorite consumption methods. Decarbed cannabis can be used to make dispensary grade topicals, smokable herbs, tinctures, gummies, brownies, smoothies, cooking oils, cannabutters, and more.

Though partial decarboxylation can occur when simply allowing the raw plant material to dry, the results are minimal and provide a lackluster experience compared to any modern decarboxylation process. The quickest, easiest method of decarboxylation is smoking or vaporizing, which makes cannabinoids instantly available for absorption through inhalation.

Despite their popularity, the most simple methods aren’t as efficient as they could be and–while better than simply drying–result in a waste of raw cannabis, as well as the potential THC and CBD available. This has led to the development of several different decarboxylation methods, among which we are proud to include the Ardent NOVA decarboxylator.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Here’s How to Decarb Weed (6 Decarboxylation Methods)

1. Oven Decarboxylation

The oven decarboxylation method is among one of the most common household decarboxylation processes because it only requires basic tools usually found in most homes.

What do you need

  • An oven
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Spice grinder

How to

Pre-heat your oven to 240 degrees Fahrenheit. Put a sheet of parchment paper over your baking sheet, and loosely grind your cannabis over top. Place your baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven and remove it after 40 minutes.

Our research with MCR Labs shows that when decarbing flower with a max potential of 18.1% THC in the oven, the max potential for conversion is 15.3%. The oven method is an effective way to convert tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCa) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDa) into activated, bio-available THC and CBD, but either fails to fully activate all of the cannabinoids in your plant material, or burns some off due to the fluctuation and variability of oven temperatures. You may experience strong aromas through your decarboxylation process while using the oven method, so this method isn’t advisable for those who need to be discreet.

2. Mason Jar Decarboxylation

Mason jar decarboxylation is a convenient and discreet decarboxylation method, although it takes an extra watchful eye, since it’s performed using an open flame, and uses glass, which can be sensitive to temperature changes, making it potentially dangerous if you’re not careful.

What do you need?

  • Mason jar
  • A pot
  • Water

How to

Roughly grind your plant material and place it inside your mason jar before tightly sealing. Fill up your pot with water about halfway, place the jar inside, and heat on your stovetop at low/medium heat. If the jar is placed in the pot when the water is too hot, the jar runs the risk of cracking or exploding. Let the jar and water simmer in the pot for about 90 minutes, being sure that the water doesn’t evaporate throughout the decarbing process.

This is a very effective method for those who need a discreet decarb process, as the smell is generally contained within the air-tight mason jar. The mason jar method isn’t the most precise decarb method, since the temperature under an open flame has many variables. You can use an oven thermometer to make sure the temperature remains consistent. The temperature will never go above 220 degrees Fahrenheit – that of boiling water.

3. Sous Vide Decarb

The sous vide decarb method uses water and controlled heat to decarb weed. When using the sous vide decarboxylation method you preserve terpenes and maximize flavor in your end result product.

What do you need?

  • A Sous Vide machine, otherwise known as an immersion circulator
  • A large pot/tub to use with your machine
  • A vacuum sealer or freezer bag with a sealable zipper

How to

When using the sous vide method, you’re able to decarb cannabis in a water bath. Fill your tub with warm tap water, place your immersion circulator inside, and set it to 203 degrees Fahrenheit. Place your ground cannabis in a vacuum sealed bag, and leave it in the water bath with the immersion circulator for 90 minutes. Remove the vacuum sealed bag, and let it cool for 15-20 minutes.

Since your plant material remains in an air-tight container throughout the decarboxylation process, you also experience very few invasive cannabis aromas, and prevent the evaporation of cannabinoids, just like with the mason jar method.

4. Toaster Oven Decarb

Toaster oven decarb is possible too!

What do you need?

  • Baking tray/aluminum foil
  • Parchment paper

How to

Set your toaster oven to 220 degrees Fahrenheit, and place your ground up plant material on a baking tray or aluminum foil in the oven for 60 minutes. Through our research with MCR Labs, we found that with cannabis flower that started with a max potential of 18.1% THC, the toaster oven method provided a max potential of 12.2% activation. A significant loss. This decarb method can also bring cannabis aromas throughout your home.

5. Making Cannabis Butter

Once you have your decarboxylated cannabis in hand, you can easily make cannabutter using very few materials.

What do you need?

  • Butter
  • Decarbed cannabis
  • Ardent Nova decarboxylator or saucepan
  • Water (if using saucepan method)
  • Cheesecloth or Ardent Frainer

How to

Add one cup of water and one cup of butter to your saucepan and simmer on low. Add finely ground cannabis to your mixture and let it simmer for 2-3 hours, at a temperature between 160-200 degrees Fahrenheit, adding water over time to prevent the butter from burning. Another method allows you to simply put the infusion sleeve inside the Ardent Nova, add your decarbed plant material, add your butter, and run the Nova for one additional cycle.

Strain out your plant material by using a cheese cloth or the Ardent Frainer, and refrigerate your mixture, removing any settled water once its cooled.

6. Using Ardent Nova ***

The Ardent Nova is a precision decarboxylator, maximizing the potential of your plant material by delivering full (>97%) decarboxylation during each cycle, with the simple press of a button.

What do you need?

  • The Ardent Nova
  • (optional) MCT, olive, or coconut oil to infuse with

Our research with MCR Labs showed that with a max potential of 18.1% THC in our flower, the Nova provided a max activation potential of 17.9%. Your plant material comes out of the Nova with a golden brown hue after a period of time ranging from 90 to 120 minutes, depending on the density and quantity of your materials. No need to set dials or monitor settings, since the Nova is a one button system that turns from red to green when each cycle is complete, and automatically turns off.

What is a decarboxylator? Well, in terms of the Nova, it’s easily the most simple process there is to decarb weed since there’s no close monitoring or switching between lower temperatures and high temperatures required. You can easily decarboxylate cannabis flower, concentrates, kief, and other plant materials in the Nova, allowing you to make your anti-inflammatory cannabis edibles right at home.

What is the Best Decarboxylation Method?

There are many ways to decarboxylate cannabis at home, but the best decarboxylation method is to use the Ardent Nova. With more than 97% activation it’s the most cost effective and simple way to make dispensary grade marijuana medicine with Max THC activation without unreliable baking methods.

FAQs on How to Decarboxylate Weed

Does decarboxylation smell?

It can, depending on which method is used. The least invasive methods are the mason jar, sous vide, and Ardent Nova decarboxylator methods.

How long does it take to decarboxylate the cannabis?

Each method varies, meaning a full decarboxylation can occur in a window anywhere between 40 minutes and two hours.

What can you do with decarboxylated weed?

The possibilities are endless. Decaboxylated cannabis can be used to make tinctures, edibles, and topicals of any kind. It can also be smoked. We’ve created a quick list of ideas for you here.

Want to know how to decarb weed the BEST way? We use 6 methods including oil, mason jar, oven (& toaster oven) & sous vide decarb & find out!

How to Sous Vide Your Own Medical Marijuana Edibles

If there is one thing an immersion circulator is good for, it is infusions. The precise temperature of the water bath gives you greater control over your results, and allows you to basically “fix it and forget it.” This is good for extracting all kinds of things, but today we’re going to extract some THC.

This post is the fifth in Lifehacker’s Green Week , a series where we’re discussing medical marijuana, its benefits, drawbacks, and everything you need to know. Keep in mind, we’re not doctors, so you should check with yours before trying it, and similarly, obey the laws and regulations in your area regarding the procurement and use of medical marijuana.

I’ve never been hugely into edibles, because I do not enjoy the taste of weed, but they do seem to be fairly effective. A good edible depends on good THC extraction, so my Anova Precision Cooker seemed like a pretty good fit for this particular job. To test out this theory, I tried a few different recipes. Let’s see how it all turned out, shall we? (Note: If you are unsure about the legality of marijuana in your state, consult this map , and be sure to read up and follow your local laws and regulations, also be sure to check out our guide on how to use medical marijuana safely and responsibly .)

How to Use Medical Marijuana Safely and Responsibly

Medical marijuana is a safe alternative treatment option (by comparison), but it’s still a powerful

But First, You Must Decarb

For the most effective extraction, you’re going to need to decarb your weed. “Decarbing” has nothing to do with carbohydrates. It’s short for “ decarboxylating ,” which is a chemical reaction that releases carbon dioxide, converting THCA ( Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid ) to THC ( Tetrahydrocannabinol ). This process takes place slowly as the pot flowers dry out, but you can speed it up with the application of heat. Before you ask, there is no need to decarb pot you’re going to smoke, as the heat from the act of smoking takes care of that.

You can decarb your weed in the oven, but that can be kind of stinky, and the whole point of this article is to speed up the process and utilize our handy sous vide. To get started, simply grind up your marijuana and place it in a sealable plastic bag. (Note: this will pretty much ruin your spice orcoffee grinder for all other applications, so prepare for that.) According to Sousweed , you’ll want to set your immersion circulator to 95ºC (203ºF) and submerge the weed-dust containing baggies for about an hour. Your weed will then be THC-ful, and ready for whatever edible recipe you wish to use it in.

Fatty Friends

Once you know how to infuse one fatty substance, you can pretty much infuse them all, and Sousweed can walk you through the process. Butter, olive oil, lard, and coconut oil all infuse at 85ºC (185ºF), it’s just a matter of how long you leave them in there. Besides coconut oil (which has a ratio of 8 ounces coconut oil for 1 ounce cannabis) the ratio for pretty much any cooking fat is 16 ounces of fat or oil for every ounce of decarboxylated cannabis.

Decarb your ground up flowers as described above, stir them into some melted butter or liquid oil (in a sealable plastic bag or mason jar), and let it hang out in nice, warm, 85ºC-bath for four hours. Remove, let cool until you can handle it, and strain through a fine mesh sieve.

I decided to go with butter, since I always have butter, and scaled it down to 4 ounces with a ¼ ounce of marijuana. I wouldn’t use a pricey butter here, because any subtlety of flavor is going to get completely obscured. The result was a very potent spread that tasted strongly of cannabis. If you like how weed tastes, you will like how this tastes. If you do not like how weed tastes, then you will be upset that you wasted both marijuana and butter. (I kind of was, to be totally frank.) Of course, there are ways to obscure the flavor. Chocolate and sugar are pretty good choices, and these DIY Samoas look like heaven.

Start by making a simple shortbread with THC-infused butter , then drizzle on melted dark chocolate, caramel, and shredded, sweetened coconut.

If you want to play around and devise your own edible recipes, be sure to keep a couple of things in mind:

  • First, pay attention to dosage. Depending on the potency of the marijuana you’re using, you may not want to do cup for cup substitutions of cannabutter for regular. If you’re monitoring your dosages closely, like we discussed earlier this week, you don’t want to overdo it. If you’re not sure how to figure that out, let this handy calculator help you .
  • Secondly,don’t bake your treats at temperatures over 340ºF. Doing so will degrade your THC, making your edible less potent.
Make Better Marijuana Edibles with These Tips from a Weed Chef

Toss some marijuana in a brownie mix and everything will come out fine? Probably not. There’s a…

Dangerous Dulce Dip

Another sweet treat you can whip up is that ol’ Lifehacker favorite, easy dulce de leche (caramel dip, to be honest). It’s not as fatty as the above, and it takes a little longer to infuse, but the result is a very strong and very sweet dipping sauce.

Make a No Fuss Caramel Dip with a Can of Condensed Milk and a Crock Pot

Want a delicious caramel dip for apples, or to pour over baked goods or ice cream? Sure, you can…

How strong you ask? It’s “am I moving my face correctly while I wait in line to order this burrito strong.” It gets the job done, is what I’m saying. To make this dangerous dip, simply crush and decarb your flowers as instructed above, then swirl it into a jar of sweetened condensed milk (Sousweed recommends a ratio of ⅛ ounces of weed with for one 12-ounce jar of condensed milk. I do not recommend exceeding that ratio.) Let it hang out at 85ºC bath for six hours and remove. In terms of straining out the plant parts, I found that they pretty much all float to the top during the infusion process, so just scrape them off and toss ‘em. Spread that stuff on an apple, stir it into some iced coffee, or just eat it with a spoon, but be careful.

Mix Vices

It’s no secret that my favorite infusions are alcoholic. While I usually prefer using my Anova to infuse alcohol with flavor (as I did in the Great Sous Vide Gin Experiment ), it can also be used to infuse vodka (or any alcohol really) with dankness.

Before we begin though, we should note: proceed cautiously. Alcohol should be consumed responsibly in the first place, even more so when infused with weed, and obviously do not do this or anything like this if you’re not at least 21 years old and it’s legal in your state or region, okay?

Now, the procedure similar to the two above, only it requires less weed (one gram per 250 mL of vodka) and it infuses much faster. Just mix your decarbed weed in a mason jar with your alcohol of choice, and sous vide at 95ºC for a couple of hours.

In terms of dosage, I would start with a couple of tablespoons and go from there, as this stuff is pretty strong. (It’s not quite “what am I doing with my face” strong, but it’s “you definitely should not have texted that dude back” strong.) I also wouldn’t use a particularly nice spirit for this, as the pot is going to completely obscure the flavor. If you want to add just a little bit of THC magic to your cocktail, I suggest using your infusion as a basis for bitters.

How to Make Your Own Bitters for a Signature Stamp on Every Cocktail

Any bar worth its rimming salt should be stocked with at least a couple of bottles of bitters.…

To learn the finer points of DIY bitters, check out our complete guide here , but the short version is this:

  1. Find some spices, herbs, or dried fruit that you think would complement the taste of weed.
  2. Put a couple of teaspoons of each flavoring in its own little jar and cover it with a neutral spirit.
  3. Shake the jars once a day, tasting every couple of days to see how they’re coming along. (A couple of drops in glass of seltzer should give you a good idea). Once they’re flavorful, strain out the plant parts.
  4. Mix your variously flavored tinctures with your pot-infused vodka. Funnel into cute little dropper bottles and add a couple of drops to any beverage you feel would benefit from a little tender love and THC.

Here’s another idea for your THC-ethanol hybrid: Soak some gummy bears in that elixir! According to the website Mix That Drink , just place your favorite gummy bears, worms, or cola bottles in a bowl and pour enough vodka over them to cover. How long you let them sit is up to you. They’ll continue to expand up to the 20 hour mark, but they may be a bit slimy for your taste. I like soaking mine for about 12; they’re pretty big by that point, but haven’t begun to degrade yet. Fish your swollen, gelatinous friends out of their vodka bath, and serve.

Overall, I feel pretty confident in recommending sous vide as a method of THC extraction. It’s easy, it’s effective, and it results in a product that will make you question what exactly your lips are doing while you wait in line for a burrito.

Claire is the Senior Food Editor for Lifehacker and a noted duck fat enthusiast. She lives in Portland, Oregon with a slightly hostile cat.

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DISCUSSION

Wow, I had no idea you had these kinds of skills! Every Friday you surprise me.

You’re a true alchemist, and a benefactor of humanity.

Unfortunately I have to wait until my state catches up with the XXI century to try these recipes (since I have no *cough cough* medical condition to justify them).

So. did Kinja pay for your “research expenses”? Ha ha ha.

ETA: let me suggest an alternative potion for your alcoholic infusions. The cheapest brandy (for example, E&J VS) is actually pretty decent, and much better-tasting than cheap vodka.

No, it’s not a sipping beverage, but it’s a viable mixer and macerator, marries fruit better than grain alcohol (because it’s fruit alcohol), has no bitter aftertaste, and its rotgut score is ZERO— yes, it’s absolutely drinkable.

I insist on the cheapest versions because the ones that cost $1 or $2 extra (VSOP, etc., lololol) will have shitty overpowering vanilla and caramel flavors which I strongly suspect are artificially added; whereas the cheaper bottle will have a wilder alcohol burn but actually tastes natural (with a faint bit of oak). Add some cherries (or weed, or whatever) and you’re gold.

If there is one thing an immersion circulator is good for, it is infusions. The precise temperature of the water bath gives you greater control over your results, and allows you to basically “fix it and forget it.” This is good for extracting all kinds of things, but today we’re going to extract some THC.