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8 Easy Steps To Decarboxylate Cannabis Flower

Leslie kahn



Friend and fellow cannabis educator, Nikki Furrer, has just published a book about all things cannabis. She wrote it with women in mind; especially those who still struggle with the stigma of cannabis usage. The information she shares is presented in a very succinct manner that is easy to understand. For those patients just starting out on their cannabis journey who want to try their hand at making edibles, the first step is decarboxylating the cannabis flower.

What is decarboxylation and why is it necessary?

In its raw form, the active cannabinoid in cannabis flower, THCa, does not bind to CB receptors. As a result, it has low bioavailability, which is the rate at which the body absorbs different cannabinoids. By applying heat to THCa over a period of time, it changes to THC, which does bind to CB receptors. This significantly increases the potency and the bioavailability. This process is known as decarboxylation. In order to retain fully the other cannabinoids, such as terpenes, it is important to decarboxylate it at a low temperature. 

Here is Nikki's 8 Step Decarboxylation Process: 

INGREDIENTS:

  • Ice
  • Cannabis flower
  • Everclear (or vodka if not available in your state)

EQUIPMENT: 

  • Heavy pot
  • Bowl
  • Slotted spoon
  • Fine-mesh wire rack or cardboard
  • Grinder
  • Baking sheet
  • Foil
  • Small spray bottle
  • Airtight jar

1. Preheat oven to 250°F

2. Bring a few cups of water to a bowl in a heavy pot. Make an ice bath in a bowl.

3. Add cannabis flower to boiling water for 3-4 minutes. Remove it with the slotted spoon and transfer it to the ice bath to cool for 1 minute. Remove the flower from the ice bath. Lay it on the wire mesh/cardboard to dry for about 30 minutes.

4. Grind the flower to the texture of tobacco. Place the flower in a thin layer on a baking sheet and cover with foil.

5. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and shake the tray to mix. Return to the oven for another 30 minutes. You know it is ready when the color changes to a lightly toasted brown.

6. Remove from the oven, still covered, to cool for 15 minutes. Remove foil.

7. Spray flower with a light coating of Everclear (vodka) to break down the cellulose. Allow it to dry for about 20 minutes.

8. When completely dry, store in an airtight jar in a cool, dry place. It will last a few months.

Now you are ready to make Cannabutter which is one of the most versatile ingredients for edibles. Here is Nikki Furrer's recipe:

Flower Cannabutter 

Yield: 1/2 cup of flower cannabutter

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3.5 grams (mild effect) - 7 grams (strong effect) decarboxylated cannabis flower
  • 2 tbsp liquid lecithin

Equipment: 

  • Medium saucepan or pot
  • Small jar or glass measuring cup
  • Whisk
  • Fine strainer or cheesecloth
  • Airtight jar
  1. Fill saucepan halfway with water and set to boil.
  2. Combine butter with cannabis flower in a small jar/measuring cup. Place uncovered jar in boiling water. Once the butter melts, whisk the mixture until cannabis is evenly coated.
  3. Reduce the heat to simmer for 1 hour, adding more water if necessary.
  4. Allow mixture to cool, place in mesh/cheesecloth, pressing firmly until every drop has been strained. Repeat.
  5. Add lecithin and stir well until blended.
  6. Store in an airtight jar for one month in fridge or 6 months in freezer.

Cannabutter Math Table 

 If you want to use other forms of cannabis for your edibles, here is a handy dandy table that Nikki created for infusing 1/2 cup of Cannabutter with Mild/Strong Dosing:

Infuse              Mild-250/500 mg        Strong-500/800 mg 

Trim or shake     Use 7 grams                      Use 14 grams
Flower                Use 3.5 grams                   Use 7 grams
Concentrate       Use 1/2 gram                    Use 1 gram

In recipes made with cannabutter, always use 1/2 cup in an 8 x 8 inch baking pan. Divide it into 16 or 32 servings. For mild dosing, use less cannabis and cut it into more pieces. For stronger dosing, use more cannabis and cut it into fewer pieces. Always start out with a very small dosage and a small piece. You can always eat more if you do not feel the effects. It can take 30 minutes - 2 hours to feel the full effects. 

Source: Nikki Furrer, A Woman's Guide To Cannabis: Using Marijuana to Feel Better, Look Better, Sleep Better - And Get High Like A Lady