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Decarboxylating: the first step to making your cannabis cooking base



Creating your own cannabis cooking bases can seem like a lot of effort, and the process may intimidate beginner cannabis chefs. However, it’s actually quite simple, and just requires a bit of time and care. 

To begin your cannabis cooking journey, you will need to purchase your own oil and/or flower (depending on which recipe you’d like to try). For more intricate recipes, cooking with cannabis flower isn’t as simple as grinding it and tossing it into a recipe. The actual process of making your own bases requires a bit of prep, heat, and time. 


Below is a brief breakdown of the decarboxylation process. This process is easy to follow, and the end product will open the door for countless cannabis creations!

Before you begin making your cannabis bases, it’s important to first understand the process of decarboxylating.

For certain recipes, the cannabis flower may need to be decarboxylated before it is ready to be cooked. Check if the recipe requires a ”pre-decarbed” flower to begin with, or if the heating method you will use will decarb the flower while cooking. 


When you heat and decarb the raw cannabis flower, the THCA (the non-intoxicating compound) will essentially transform into the active THC (the intoxicating compound). When you are smoking or vaping cannabis, you are instantly decarboxylating your product due to the high temperatures produced by the flame when smoking, or heating chamber when vaping. This causes you to absorb cannabinoids into your lungs upon inhalation. When you cook with cannabis that has been decarboxylated, you have a higher chance of preserving the terpenes, which are unique flavour profiles of each flower. 



To begin the decarbing process, you need to prepare the flower either by breaking it up by hand or by grinding it into small chunks before baking it in the oven. When you bake the flower in the oven, the heat causes a chemical reaction to take place, accelerating the decarboxylation process. THCA decarboxylates at 220°F (for 30 - 45 minutes of baking) or 250° F (for 25 - 30 minutes of baking). The decarb process can be extended longer when you cook at a lower temperature, which gives you a higher chance of preserving the terpenes. This step needs to be closely monitored and done precisely, otherwise you may end up overheating your ingredients and killing the THC. 

How to decarboxylate your cannabis:


  1. Preheat the oven to 250° F (or 220° F to decarb for a longer and slower amount of time).
  2. Break up the cannabis flower into small chunks - by hand or by grinder.
  3. Spread the cannabis evenly over a sheet of parchment paper on a cookie sheet.
  4. Bake the cannabis at 250° F for 25 - 30 minutes, or 220° F for 30 - 45 minutes. Make sure that you don’t open the oven too often. 
  5. After 25 - 30 minutes, check on the cannabis. It should have changed from green to light/medium brown, and it will feel very dry. If it isn’t dry and if the colour hasn’t changed, put it back in for another five minutes. Make sure it doesn’t burn!
  6. Remove the cannabis from the baking sheet and let it cool. It will be very crumbly at this point.
  7. Once it has completely cooked, grind decarbed cannabis in a food processor. You are now ready to start adding your decarbed cannabis to the bases!

Note* If this process seems too complicated or time-consuming, you can always opt for a Magical Butter Machine to take care of the entire process for you! It is essentially a slow cooker for cannabis that will time itself, regulate the temperature control, and allow for a more accurate dosage.

Now that you understand how to decarboxylate your cannabis, you can choose which recipe to create. Cannabis bases can be added to virtually any recipe that you love, and it can make your consumption experience more enjoyable and fun! Stay tuned for upcoming recipes to create your own cannabis simple syrup, butter, and and oil. Enjoy your creations, and remember to start low and go slow to consume responsibly!

While homemade cannabis edibles work well for some patients, they may not be for everyone depending on an individual's endocannabinoid system. To determine your specific needs when you buy cannabis, reach out to your CannMartMD nurse practitioner, and learn more about your different options.

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