How to Decarb Weed: Using Your Oven for Cannabis Decarboxylation

Making “special” brownies is a right of passage for cannabis lovers, but as I learned as a novice canna-baker, it’s not as simple as sprinkling some flower into your batter. You have to decarboxylate it first.

Decarboxylation isn't rocket science — it's easy to DIY at home with an oven and basic supplies. A touch of knowledge and the right tools are all you need, and guess what? We're here to equip you with both.

What is Decarboxylation?

Decarboxylation is a chemical reaction that is accelerated by heat. When cannabis is decarboxylated, the plant’s psychoactive compounds are activated, unlocking its ability to cause a high when consumed and other results.

One key activation that occurs through decarboxylating cannabis is the transformation of tetrahydrocannabinolic acid  (THCA) into tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The THCA in raw cannabis won’t get you high, but when heat is applied, the organic compound known as a carboxyl group is removed, leaving you with THC. 

Decarboxylation doesn’t only unlock THC. It also turns cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) into cannabidiol (CBD) and works its magic on the many compounds in the cannabis plant. 

What Causes Decarboxylation?

Decarboxylation occurs naturally with time when cannabis is exposed to oxygen and light, but adding heat speeds up the process. When you hold a flame to weed or use a vaporizer, you can see decarboxylation in real-time.

Although decarboxylation is generally a good thing, it’s not necessarily something you want happening on its own because it can diminish the flavor and freshness of your flower. To prevent decarboxylation, store your herbs in airtight herb storage containers to keep oxygen away. 

Why Is Decarboxylation Necessary?

If your consumption method involves smoking, vaping, or dabbing, you’ve got your decarb bases covered because you’re already applying heat. However, in the case of edibles, you’ll need to decarboxylate before you get cooking

Whether you’re using your oven or a decarboxylation system, the idea is to heat the buds and activate the THC and other cannabinoids before making your butter or oil infusion. 

The Best Decarb Temp

A temperature of 250°F will activate THC. However, oven temperatures fluctuate throughout cooking cycles, so it’s generally recommended that you set your oven to 230°F.

Temperatures higher than 300°F can be detrimental to THC and other cannabinoids, but the cannabinoid CBN is activated at 320°F. So, depending on the results you’re looking for, you might opt to set your oven a little higher than the decarb temperature for THC.

Keep in mind that oven temperatures can be off by as much as 90 degrees. (1) An oven thermometer is a worthy (and small) investment that will give you a clear picture of your oven’s accuracy.

Decarboxylation Times & Temperatures for Cannabinoid Activation

Desired Active CannabinoidTemperatureTime (Minutes)
THC250°F30
CBD280°F60
CBG215°F60
CBN320°F90

Cannabinoid activation information source: Magical Butter

Decarboxylation In Oven: Step-by-Step

No elaborate equipment or supplies are required for your homegrown decarbing adventure. Just follow the straightforward steps below, and you're all set to embark on this DIY journey.

Heads up: Be prepared for a strong aroma of baking cannabis. You are roasting your weed, after all! Open some windows and turn on some fans.

SUPPLIES

  • An oven-safe dish or rimmed baking pan
  • Parchment paper
  • Aluminum foil
  • An oven that allows settings of 250°F or lower (depending on how hot your oven runs)
  • Cannabis flower
  • Optional: A weed grinder

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat your oven to 230°F-320°F. (See temp/time/cannabinoid table above and consider your oven’s true temperature.)
  2. While the oven is preheating, line an oven-safe dish or a rimmed baking pan with parchment paper and use a grinder or your hands to break the flower into small pieces. 
  3. Evenly spread the flower on your baking dish.
  4. Bake for 30-40 minutes for higher THC and 60+ minutes for higher CBD (See temp/time/cannabinoid table above), stirring halfway through. Rotate the pan if needed for even heat distribution. The flower will darken to a light to medium brown hue. 
  5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before using or storing.

That’s it! Your cannabis is decarboxylated.

Infuse Your Decarboxylated Cannabis

You can now use your flower to make butter or oil for baking and cooking. Decarboxylated cannabis can be infused into food and drinks to create your own cannabis-infused edible brownies, gummies, beverages and even salad dressings.

If you don’t plan on using your decarboxylated cannabis immediately, store it in an airtight container in a cool, dry, dark place.

Decarboxylation FAQs

What is decarboxylation?

Decarboxylation is a chemical reaction that removes a carboxyl group from a molecule and releases carbon dioxide. In the context of cannabis, decarboxylation refers to the process by which the non-psychoactive cannabinoids present in raw cannabis, such as THCA and CBDA, are converted into their psychoactive or active forms, such as THC and cannabidiol CBD.


Why does cannabis need to be decarboxylated?

When cannabis is decarboxylated, it activates the cannabinoids, making them easier for your body to absorb, and increases the potency of the cannabis, allowing it to have a greater effect on your body and mind. Skipping this step will result in lackluster edibles and infusions. 

How do you decarboxylate cannabis?

Decarboxylation occurs naturally when cannabis comes in contact with heat and light, but you can decarboxylate cannabis to make edibles in an oven or with a decarboxylation.

References

  1. Wang, M, et al. (2016). Decarboxylation Study of Acidic Cannabinoids: A Novel Approach Using Ultra-High-Performance Supercritical Fluid Chromatography/Photodiode Array-Mass Spectrometry. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.
  2. (2022). Decarb FAQs. Magical Brands.
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About the Author

Green Bee Life founder Maria Calabrese author photo

Maria Calabrese, JD, MS

Green Bee Life Host, Producer & ContributorAs the founder of Green Bee Life, Maria Calabrese is dedicated to raising consumer awareness within the cannabis industry, filling informational gaps, and fostering consumer confidence. Her work focuses on empowering consumers with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions, ensuring they find the most suitable cannabis solutions for their wellness needs. Maria's expertise helps bridge the connection between consumers and innovative cannabis insights, advocating for informed choices in the evolving landscape of cannabis as a wellness solution.

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