Saturday November 13, 2021
By Andrew Ward
Decarboxylation is an essential part of cannabis. Namely, it is essential in providing us with the psychoactive effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In its raw form, the cannabis plant contains the cannabinoid Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid (THCA). Unlike THC, THCA cannabinoid does not produce the psychoactive effects of a high.
The key to feeling such effects is decarboxylation, or a chemical reaction caused by heat and aging. It occurs when carbon dioxide (CO2) is released, accompanying the removal of a carboxyl group.
Those familiar with edible production understand the importance of proper decarbing. The process is virtually essential when using cannabis olive oil, butter or other cooking items unless purchased ready-made.
While the decarboxylation of cannabis flower is rather commonly known, the process for concentrates may be less known. Aside from distillate, cannabis concentrates are not decarboxylated and with the rising trend of concentrates like rosin and BHO products finding their way in the kitchen, it's high time to understand how to decarb concentrates.
How To Decarboxylate Your Concentrates
Depending on your concentrate, the decarboxylation process will vary to some degree. Also, within each cannabis concentrate is some room for adjustment. Keep this in mind, especially if you are just starting out with concentrate edibles. Factor in some trial and error time and cash loss as you perfect your process.
The good news is that both solvent-based and solventless concentrates can be decarbed. When decarbing a solventless concentrate like rosin, you can use several household cooking devices to achieve the process. The oven is often the most preferred. Below, you’ll find instructions for decarbing different types of concentrates
When using an oven and rosin, follow these steps:
- Take your rosin and spread it out on an oven-safe material that's easy to scoop off of (such as a food-safe silicone sheet). When using parchment paper, be sure to fold in the sides to avoid spilling.
- Set the oven to 220°F and let the rosin heat for 20 minutes, or until it stops bubbling. Keep in mind the length and heat may vary. Monitor your rosin to minimize any lost product.
- Remove the rosin from the oven. Place in a refrigerator to cool and stabilize.
- Once cooled and stable, your rosin should be decarbed and ready for use.
Decarbing Kief and Hash
Decarbing kief and hash have a slightly different process:
- Preheat your oven between 240°F and 250°F
- Spread out your kief or hash in an oven-safe container or dish
- Place the oven-safe container and its concentrates in the oven
- Let the kief or hash heat in the oven for 20-40 minutes
- Once completed its bubbling process, let the container cool and settle before using for cooking
Decarbing Solvent-based Concentrates
Solvent-based products such as shatter are also adequate for edibles. While following a similar path as rosin, variances do occur along the way. This is especially true depending on the method you choose to employ. When using a concentrate like shatter, you have several methods to choose from:
- Fill a saucepan with roughly an inch of cooking oil. Heat the oil and pan to approximately 250°F. Then, place the concentrate in a glass container in the oil. Let the shatter bubble. Once complete, your shatter should be a decarboxylated liquid. The same method can be done using a crockpot instead of a saucepan.
- Place your vial of shatter on a cooking sheet and place it in a toaster oven. Heat the oven to roughly 250°F, and watch for the concentrate to bubble. Wait for it to stop bubbling before calling the job complete. Heads up, this may take 50 minutes or more.
- Some use a hotplate, which removes the need for any oil or additional surfaces. In this instance, you heat the hotplate to 250°F before placing the vial of shatter directly onto the heated plate. When the concentrate begins to bubble, scrape the inside of the shatter's container, pushing it down and together. From there, resume the bubbling process, continuing to do so until you have a liquid.
Keep in mind that temperature and heating times are not uniform. As such, you must keep an eye on your concentrates to avoid any messes or lost product. Wax, with its lighter consistency, may take a little less time than shatter or live resin.
Keep in Mind When Cooking
Now that you've decarbed your concentrates, you're ready to infuse your ingredients with your desired dosage. Be sure to keep in mind these tips as well:
Use in Moderation
Dosing edibles has gotten better over time. That said, DIY productions can still produce uneven batches. As such, watch your dosing and monitor its effects whenever adjusting the recipe.
Let Your Concentrate Cool but Not Chill
You'll want to mix your edibles with the decarbed concentrate before it completely cools. Doing so will allow the two to blend easily. Be sure to use a fat-soluble ingredient to work with your concentrate.
Cooking with concentrates opens a wide range of possibilities when making edibles, but always remember to decarboxylate the concentrate beforehand (unless you’re making edibles with distillate, which is ready to go as-is). Most concentrates can be decarbed between 220°F and 250°F.
Learning to properly decarb concentrates may require some trial and error to find the exact temperatures that fit your given concentrate, but with practice, you’ll be making potent concentrate edibles in no time.
Frequenly Asked Questions
Can You Make Edibles From Concentrates?
Yes. However, the concentrate must be decarboxylated first in order to make the THC available for absorption.
What is the Temperature For Decarbing Wax, Shatter and Live Resin?
Around 250° F. Rosin can be decarboxylated at 220°F. These are general ranges though and may vary depending on your concentrate, so be sure to check on it routinely as it decarbs when starting out.
How Long Does It Take to Decarb Concentrates?
The exact amount of time will vary depending on the concentrate, but roughly 45 minutes for solvent-based concentrates and 20 minutes for rosin concentrates. Hash and kief fall somewhere between the two, depending on the density.
Do you find cooking with concentrates easier than flower? Sound off in the comments!