Decarboxylation: Marijuana Alchemy

Rambo March 1, 2015 87
Decarboxylation: Marijuana Alchemy

Several years ago I conducted a fun little experiment while looking for the ideal times and temperatures for using a kitchen oven to decarboxyilate cannabis. This turned into the popular article “Decarboxylating Cannabis: Turning THCA into THC”. The process worked great but many readers had questions. What better than a follow up article to add clarity and improve upon the process. For those still trying to figure out what decarboxylating means, go read the original article first, you’re slowing down the class.

Two Problems With The Kitchen Oven Decarb Method

First, standard household ovens don’t let you dial in very exact temperatures. Sure you can set the temperature wherever you want, but oven temperatures tend to fluctuate, which means you are really only setting the average temperature. For baking a pie this is just fine, but we have to be a little concerned with temperature spikes vaporizing the very cannabinoid we are trying to tinker with. The boiling point of THC is 314.6°F but many other potentially medicinal compounds in cannabis can be lost at lower temperatures. Standing by the oven checking the thermometer every few minutes pretty much sucks.

The second problem is odor. Personally, I don’t mind the aroma of slowly roasting cannabis wafting from my kitchen. It has been brought to my attention that some of you need to be a bit more discreet. Lets just say decarboxylating cannabis in the kitchen oven won’t go unnoticed by the delivery man.

Spark of Genius

Let’s be honest, neither of these are good reasons to create whole new method of cooking. Luckily someone did it for me. In walks Sir Benjamin Thompson the Count of Rumford. Round of applause. Now let’s continue. In 1799 he discovered the cooking method now referred to by the Frenchies as Sous-Vide, meaning “under vacuum”.

This is a method which uses an airtight plastic bag in a water bath or in a temperature-controlled steam environment at lower temperatures for longer than normal cooking times. The intention is to cook the item evenly, ensuring that the inside is properly cooked without overcooking the outside, all while retaining moisture. Imagine a New York steak cooked a perfect medium rare all the way through. What could be better? How about a method for decarboxylating cannabis that doesn’t require watching your oven like a hawk or skunking up your house.

Thinking “par Dieu” the French might be on to something, I bought myself an Anova precision sous vide immersion circulator and cooked up a delicious organic ribeye. Calm yourself ladies, I don’t really speak French but with the help of the Anova, I do cook a mean steak. It’s ability to decarboxylate cannabis was still in question, so I devised the following experiment.

Gadgetry

Decarboxylation EquipmentDecarboxylating cannabis in the oven didn’t require much in the way of gadgetry. For those of you always looking for an excuse to go shopping, this method is going to be a real treat. Here is what I used for this experiment. Feel free to substitute as needed.

Trim, bud, kief, bubble hash or hash oil should all work just fine for this method. For this experiment I used about 6 grams of bud donated by Club Pitbull in Salem Oregon. If you are in the Salem area in need of a great dispensary, definitely check them out. Thanks fellas!

Let The Decarboxylating Begin

If you are using bud or trim like I am, the first step is to grind it up. A rice size grind should be sufficient. I used my coffee grinder which was pretty caked with kief by the time I was done. I tried to scrape it off and back into the bud with marginal success. My coffee had a little extra kick for the next few days. I divided the ground bud into three samples, each about 2 grams in size.

The first sample I sealed it in its own bag. We will call this sample 1, and it is the control for the experiment. It was not exposed to any heat other that what it may have encountered before it came into my possession.

The next two sample would be sealed in a separate bag and submerged in the hot water to hopefully decarboxylate. I wanted some ballast for this bag so one end would sink to the bottom of the pot and the other end would float suspending the two samples in the middle of the pot of hot water. I sealed two butter knives into the bottom of a foodsaver bag with a seal above and below the knives so that they would not come in contact with either sample of bud. This may not have been necessary but it worked great.

Above the sealed butter knives I added 2 grams of ground bud and sealed the bag again above the bud. This would be sample 3 for the test. Essentially I created multiple sealed compartments to separate the samples and the butter knives while still using only one vacuum seal bag. I added a second seal about a half inch above the first sea because I wanted to later cut the two bud compartments apart without actually opening them. Last I added the remaining 2 grams (sample 2) of ground bud and made a final seal above the sample.

To help the Anova bring the water to temperature I started with the hottest tap water my sink could produce, about 120°F. Placing the Anova in the water, I secured it to the side of the pot with the screw clamp. The plan was to mimic the time and temperature of the oven decarb experiment, but the maximum temperature on the Anova is 210°F. Not wanting to max it out and potentially break it on the first run I settled on 200°F and increased the time for the experiment.

I decided on 1 hour for sample 2 and 1 hour 40 minutes for sample 3. Why 1:40 you ask? I considered 2 hours for the sample 3 but I had a hunch it really wouldn’t need that much time. Once the water reach 200° F I lowered the bag containing the two butter knives and cannabis sample 2 and 3 into the hot water.

After 1 hour I extracted the samples and cut between the two seals removing sample 2 from the top of the bag. I placed the remainder of the bag containing sample 3 and the butter knives back in the pot and hopped in the shower. I removed sample 3 at 1 hour 40 minutes and cut it free from the butter knives.

Lab Test Results

Rose City Laboratory agreed to help us out with our experiment by donating their lab testing services. These guys are awesome, really easy to work with, and would absolutely recommend them.

I received the lab results of the liquid chromatography testing by email within 24 hours of dropping off the samples. Here are the results from the testing:”

  • Sample 1 was not decarbed at all, just ground up and sealed in the bag.
  • Sample 2 was submerged in the 200°F water for 1 hours.
  • Sample 3 was submerged in 200°F water for 1 hour 40 minutes.

Here are the results from the testing:

Cannabinoids #1 (no decarb) #2 (1 hour decarb) #3 (1:40 decarb)
THCA 12.2% 1.44% 0%
THC 3.37% 8.9% 9.37%
Total THC* 14.07% 10.16% 9.37%
Total THC Adjusted** 14.14% 10.31% 9.78%
CBD 0% 0% 0%
CBN 0% 0.09% 0.11%
CBG 0.47% 0.49% 0.38%
CBC 0% 0.06% 0.06%
Moisture Content 10.48% 11.45% 14.47%

*Total THC = (THCA x .877 + THC) because THCA weighs about 12.3% more than THC so the percent of THCA multiplied by .887 should equal the amount of THC after decarbing.

**If you want accurate data, lab test readings for cannabinoids should always be adjusted to compensate for the quantity of water found in the sample. In this case a water content of 10% was used for the baseline. If this just blew your noggin, here is an article on how and why cannabis lab results are often misleading because of water content.

What Does It All Mean?

Though sample 1 was our control and not exposed to the hot water bath, the lab results show that it was already about 24% decarboxylated. This means that the starting point for samples 2 and 3 was also about 24% decarboxylated. This could be because it was an older sample or had been exposed to some heat before it was given to me. No big deal.

Sample 2 shows that after 1 hour at 200°F the cannabis was 86% decarboxylated. Pretty good but not quite finished. This may be a good stopping point for those who want to leave some THCA and take advantages of it’s own medicinal qualities.

Sample 3 at 1 hour and 40 minutes was 100% decarboxylated. It appears this would to be a sufficient time and temperature to decarboxylate cannabis with the sous-vide method. Further experiments could reduce this time but batch size, density and starting THC level could also require adjustments. Unless you are going to have your batch lab tested I would not cut down the time or temperature.

The results of this experiment indicate we may have lost some THC during the decarboxylating process. It’s also possible that the samples were not exactly the same to begin with. It’s always difficult to get the exact same samples when working with flowers. Even though all three samples came from the same blend, one of the sample could have had some of the kief that separated out in the coffee grinder while the others did not. Using only kief in the experiment would have made it much easier to have nearly identical samples.

It might be interesting to see if the THC levels continued to drop if a sample was left in the heated water beyond the 1 hour 40 minutes needed for 100% decarboxylation. If so, one would want to keep the decarb time to the minimum required to complete the process. Keep an eye out for an experiment along these lines down the road.

I hope my little experiment on sous-vide decarboxylating cannabis has been informative and helpful. I still don’t know if this is the ideal way to turn THCA into THC but it does have some real advantages over the kitchen oven decarboxylating method. As always, ask questions in the comments below and please feel free to chime in if you have some insights or knowledge on the subject that may help us improve the process.

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87 Comments »

  1. Brian March 10, 2015 at 8:10 pm -

    I’m wondering if using a vacuum sealer provides any advantages over, say, a heavy-duty ziploc bag with air removed via water displacement?

    • Rambo March 19, 2015 at 8:17 pm -

      A heaver duty zip lock back works fine and is often used for cooking with this method. You just want to make sure as much air is removed as possible and that no water gets in.

  2. Lydia March 21, 2015 at 3:08 pm -

    Nice article! I’m wondering if you have any plans to take the next step in this experiment – that is to say, have you considered infusing oil using the sous vide method?

    I guess I’ll be making my own experiment soon and I find the success of the decarb experiment to be encouraging. However, I don’t really have reasonable access to testing aside from tasting the oil and seeing if it makes me high.

    • Rambo July 15, 2015 at 10:56 pm -

      Add oil or butter to the bag of cannabis and it will get you high. Start with small doses and work your way up.

  3. BOULANGER March 27, 2015 at 2:30 am -

    Is it possible ,after decarboxylation, to use the sous-vide process for THC extraction ?

    • Rambo July 15, 2015 at 10:51 pm -

      I you are asking about adding alcohol to the bag then probably not. High proof would probably melt through bag or expand and the pressure could pop it. If you mean extracting it into a fat based substance like butter or oil, then yes.

  4. Max April 18, 2015 at 2:53 pm -

    thx for that great tutorial 😉

    one question:
    if i boil the water on a normal oven.
    (without the Anova) on 212 °F
    how long has the bag to be in the water?

    • Rambo July 15, 2015 at 10:47 pm -

      Hi Max,
      I don’t know the exact time at 212F but if you use he same time 1 hour 40 minutes you know the process will be complete. I’m guessing you could cut the time down to 1 hour 30 minutes or even a bit more. If we know multiple times for multiple temperatures we could graph it out. I haven’t got that far.

  5. Mj April 21, 2015 at 10:23 am -

    After you decarboxilate the cannabis, how do you infuse the butter. Can you sous vide them together and at what time and temp?

    • Rambo July 15, 2015 at 10:48 pm -

      If you like you could place the butter in the bag with the cannabis, just make sure the air is removed. Maybe melt the butter first so it’s liquid.

  6. Ron May 3, 2015 at 6:35 am -

    For more even testing, perhaps the entire batch could be ground and stirred and then each sample taken from the whole. Also, since water boils at 212F would placing a canning jar into a food steamer for an hour be an easy way to decarb?

    • Rambo July 15, 2015 at 11:20 pm -

      The problem with the canning jar is that unless the jar was filled with liquid the air in the jar would insulate the cannabis from even heat distribution.

  7. Wes May 9, 2015 at 2:27 am -

    If I boil my marijuana for 1:40 and then immediately simmer it in butter for 45 minutes,
    and then immediately use the melted butter to bake brownies for approx. 30 minutes.
    Do I waste the THC?
    Or should I just simmer my marijuana in butter for 45 minutes and that will enough to totally decarboxylate the marijuana?
    I want the strongest brownies possible, what do you suggest?

    • Rambo July 15, 2015 at 11:01 pm -

      The decarboxylation method in the article is meant for cannabis that will not be heated after. If you are smoking or baking with cannabis you probably don’t need to decarb it first.

  8. Steve May 20, 2015 at 11:37 am -

    Hi man! Thank you so much for this wicked informative post…been looking for this exact info! One question: after I’ve decarbed via sous vide (which I just finished), what’s the best way to make the butter? I’d love to do it sous vide to keep the smell to a minimum. What temp and time do you think would be best?

    • Rambo July 15, 2015 at 11:03 pm -

      I would mix the butter with the cannabis during the decarb process. Decarbing and extracting are two different things. I’ll have to do a bit more research on the time it takes to extract in butter.

  9. J Bizzy May 25, 2015 at 1:54 pm -

    I just recently bought the new ANOVA with Bluetooth connectivity to dual purpose it as a cooking and decarboxylation device. My question is whether or not you think it matters whether or not one grinds up the herbs beforehand since thesous vide slow cooking style is known for evenly cooking at various thicknesses & the ungrounded whole herbs may be able to retain more of their more delicate properties as apposed to grinding it all up beforehand. I have a magic butter machine that has an immersion blender so after decarboxylation its gonna get ground up extremely fine anyway, better letting it be ground for the first time whilst already in the oil no???

    • Rambo July 15, 2015 at 11:06 pm -

      The point of grinding before hand is to let the vacuum sealer compress the material as much as possible. The less space there is between the cannabis particles the better the heat will distribute through the sample. It’s not imperative to grind it first, but I would.

  10. wayne June 1, 2015 at 10:50 am -

    Great experiment. This also seems to disprove the oft-stated view that the herb needs to be dry in order to decarb. In this experiment, the moisture was sealed in yet the samples managed to decarb nonetheless. Makes me wonder whether I could add coconut oil to the sample so I can extract and decarb all in the same bag.

    • Rambo July 15, 2015 at 11:16 pm -

      The cannabis contained only it’s own natural moisture but no, it does not need to be dry to decarb, only heat is needed. You could certainly mix in the oil and kill two birds with one stone.

  11. Stuart June 24, 2015 at 5:06 am -

    Would a constant temperature of 220F in hot oil do the same thing to decarboxylate the cannabis?

    I have a Magical Butter Machine (MB2e) and was going to try a method I read on FC.

    It is suggested to set the machine to 220F for one our to decarb in coconut oil. Then 2-4 hours at 160F.

    I have some quality product arriving tomorrow, so I think I will try it then.

    • Rambo July 15, 2015 at 11:13 pm -

      That sounds like it should do the trick. I’m a big fan of Coconut oil and it hold up well at higher temperatures. Sounds like a you are in for some tasty and stony treats.

  12. MasterBaker June 27, 2015 at 3:56 pm -

    First I would like to thank you for doing this. Not everyone can things tested so this is a great point of reference.

    I read your article from 2012 also, but I stopped using the oven because of how inaccurate it could be and I felt like it wasn’t worth the effort.

    I started making cannabutter by boiling my cannabis first and then adding butter. And it worked just fine.

    My only concern is whether or not keeping the cannabis dry while heating it makes a difference in decarboxylation. If it doesn’t matter, I would just boil my cannabis longer than I already do instead of investing in all those extra gadgets.

    • Rambo July 15, 2015 at 11:12 pm -

      I’m glad you found these articles helpful. If you have a working method for extracting and decarbing at the same time then don’t let me stand in the way. These decarbing methods are primarily needed for making tinctures not edibles that are baked or cooked

  13. Ro July 3, 2015 at 7:10 pm -

    This runs counter to what I thought I understood about thc/decarboxylation. So, decarbing actually reduces the thc? I thought it made thc more psychoactive.Also, what determines the percentage of decarboxylation achieved?

    Also, couldn’t help chuckling when I say the warping on the bags after being in the water. You could totally tell the first bag was never processed and #3 was cooked longer than the others. Do you think this would be doable with canning jars, so they all looked the same?

    • Rambo July 15, 2015 at 11:27 pm -

      When THCA transforms into THC the mass shrinks because it looses Carbon Dioxide. This means that if you start with 1mg of THCA and your decarb it, you will end up with slightly less than 1mg of THC. THCA however is not psychoactive and THC is. This loss of mass is the cost of the transformation. If you continue to expose the THC to heat it will begin to degrade into CBN and you go sleepy time night night.

      Canning jars will not provide the same effect with the same time and temperature.

  14. Rob July 13, 2015 at 12:09 pm -

    Hello Rambo and thanks for all of your great work!

    Recently I used the oven technique to decarb cannabis. Going forward I will use your sealed bag and water bath process.

    I would like to integrate the decarbed cannabis THC into an eJuice mixture of 100% vegetable glycerin (VG) for use with an ecig device for vaporizing.

    However, the recipe I’m using calls for mixing decarbed cannabis with vegetable glycerin and cooking in a water bath at 190 to 200 degrees for 4 hours, then straining out the cannabis particle matter.

    QUESTIONS: Won’t this over-decarb the already decarbed cannabis past the point of maximizing the THC’s psychoactive effect?

    If your answer is yes, do you thing using a mixture of un-decarbed cannabis with VG and then cooking it in a water bath at 200 degrees for 1hr and 40 minutes (per your research) would be the way to go? Do you think this would effectively convert THCa to THC and extract the THC into the VG?

    Also, since cooking edibles and ecig devices use a certain amount of heat, wouldn’t starting with partially decarbed cannabis be the way to go? Thus allowing the cooking or vaping process to complete the decarbing to maximize the THC?

    There is a lot of confusing and contradictory information on the web. Your research and information is excellent and makes the most sense.

    Thanks again!
    Rob

    • Rambo July 15, 2015 at 11:35 pm -

      Hi Rob,
      Glad to hear you found this article helpful. For making your glycerin extract I see no reason to decarb ahead of time. The 4 hours at 190 should be plenty for that. While I know that 1:40 should be enough to decarb, I don’t know if it’s enough to extract the cannabinoids into the glycerin. That being said, if they want you to decarb before extracting in heat, you may not be working with the best recipe in the first place.

      If you are going to be cooking with, smoking or vaporizing (with heat) the cannabis or extract, you many not need any decarb ahead of time at all.

  15. Rob July 17, 2015 at 1:16 pm -

    I’ll experiment based on your recommendations.

    Thanks Agian!
    Rob

    • niko February 15, 2016 at 12:05 pm -

      Did this work for u rob I’m currently doing the same and trying to maximise thc and ur question and answer was exactly what I wanted I just want to know if it worked ?

  16. Liz Tree August 2, 2015 at 5:12 pm -

    Great follow up article thx! Question, similar to Rob’s. I will be making a tincture with alcohol because it is my understanding that gycerine does not extract all the “good stuff” out of the herb. I will then exchange the alcohol with gycerine. I will be using lowish heat under 212 degrees. Do I still need to decarb the herb first? (The re4ason for the exchange is simply to have a better tasting final product.)
    thanks for thinking about this.

    • Rambo May 9, 2016 at 4:41 pm -

      If you keep the 212F for enough time you shouldn’t need to decarb first.

  17. Steve August 5, 2015 at 10:21 am -

    I love this method — the odorfree part is worth it alone.

    Rambo, how much time will it take before you start losing THC to CBD conversion? I want to be certain I completely convert my THCA to THC, and my stuff is pretty fresh. I’d like to reduce the temp too, so I don’t brown the herb as much.

    • Rambo May 9, 2016 at 4:40 pm -

      I really don’t know how long it takes for THC to degrade to CBN. It would make a great experiment but I’m not there yet.

  18. Jackson August 9, 2015 at 7:30 am -

    I hope someone can answer this for me.. I am going to start my first grow soon and I like this set up… I was wondering instead of the big CFL can I use a three way splitter or two separate splitters using 4 150 watt smaller cfls.. 2 daylight, 2 Soft White… Or

    • Rambo October 19, 2015 at 4:31 pm -

      Sure. I don’t see why not. I would not expect high yields from a CFL but you might learn a thing or two before investing in better lighting

  19. brian August 27, 2015 at 7:00 pm -

    I am trying for max CBD which decarbs at 248f. most success so far has been in a toaster oven which actually has reasonable control, especially with a piece of metal for thermal mass in it. problem is no one seems to have researched decarbing for CBD yet in terms of time vs the 248f temp. thoughts? lots of info about THC which decarbs much lower.

  20. garthpro August 28, 2015 at 9:51 am -

    RAMBO-
    I was wondering if you had seen the article out of Europe where they suggest that ALL sesquiterpenes are lost due to decarbing at 200f or more. ???

    http://www.cannabis-med.org/data/pdf/en_2013_01_1.pdf

    Please check it out and let me know your thoughts ! thanks.
    feel free to message your response as well. garthprosser@hotmail.com
    I just went thru treatment for malignant colo-rectal using edibles along with chemo and rad. It worked beyond what the Dr’s at the THE JAMES, OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY, expected. and I’m a biochemist by training. I am planning to use this for a research project as we are going legal here soon.

    garth

    • Rambo October 19, 2015 at 4:27 pm -

      Thanks for sharing. That is an interesting article. It’s no surprise that terpenes are lost during either decarb method. I just don’t know of a way around it.

  21. soberwise September 9, 2015 at 2:29 pm -

    Thanks Rambo, If no one else thinks your awesome today, I do.There is so little tested data out there for decarboxylation. It is akin to turning granite to gold for those of us who medicate orally. I have used your oven method, and now I am swapping to boiling water. I may try pressure cooker, but sadly i don’t have a local/legal lab to test the results.
    I would love to see the same experiment done with more samples and using stove-top boiling water, so that the results can be duplicated by anyone with a pot, some pot, a bag and water.
    Here are the questions i would like to see answered.
    What is the point of maximum return of THC before CBN increases?
    What happens to the terpenes? I am thinking this tech may preserve more.
    Does the amount of air in the sample effect the result?
    What is the effect of the amount natural decarb in the original sample?
    What effect does adding coconut oil to the bag have on the decarb?
    Kevin

    • Rambo October 19, 2015 at 4:05 pm -

      Glad you liked the article. All of your questions are great! You can certainly use a stove top pot, just use a thermometer to monitor the water temperature and keep it as consistent as possible.

  22. Lucas B September 11, 2015 at 10:05 pm -

    Rambo,
    Would it be possible to decarb. the Cannabis in oil. If you put oil mixed with cannabis in the vacuum bag, and cooked it in the same way as this experiment;
    – Would the cannabis decarb and infuse with the oil at the same time?
    – Does the decarb and infusion with oil/butter need to be done in separate steps?
    If done in separate steps this may increase the time exposed to heat and reduce the total yield of THC. The most optimal cooking method would infuse the total THC content from the flower into the oil. Typical lab results show a 50% yield of the THC in the oil. This suggest that either from the infusion process is burning 50% of THC off. Or 50% is not absorbed from the plant matter and is discarded with the plant matter after straining it out of the oil. It would be very impressive if someone could create a cannabis infused oil/butter that would convert 100% of the available THC from plant matter into the oil/butter.
    Great article and website,
    regards
    Lucas

    • Rambo October 19, 2015 at 4:03 pm -

      You can certainly decarb the cannabis in the oil with this method, but it may take longer to extract the cannabis into the oil than the THCA actually requires to decarb.

  23. virginia September 14, 2015 at 7:44 am -

    This may be a stupid question..but i am very new to this. Im seeking help for very chronic pain for several disorders excruciating most days. Plus i am familiar with healing properties. How would this method benefit me and hiw would i use it. I would use coconut oil. And what do yo do with the cannabis you ground and used after the process? Can i vape the oil in a e cig or only bake with it? Hope you can help me out here…..not so knowledgeable but would appreciate your help. Thanks

    • Rambo October 19, 2015 at 4:01 pm -

      This method is used for making edibles. There is no need to decarb cannabis if you are going to vaporize it. You won’t want to smoke coconut oil, believe me. If you are using coconut oil, just put it on your food or take a spoon full.

  24. J Bizzy September 23, 2015 at 12:46 pm -

    Thanks for the reply! I was talking to someone at my dispensary who said most people decarb at way too high temps than they should for optimal results & suggested something like low heat (around 100°F I think) for like six hours which would lend itself perfectly to the sous vide method as a temp controlled slow cooker & apparently the low and slow idea is to preserve all the goodness the medicine has to offer without destroying any of its more delicate and easily destroyed properties. Now I’m getting my sous vide out tonight & am wondering if anyone knows a proper conversion time table for using much much less temp and much longer soak times.. I assume this will work and 100°F for six hours SOUNDS like a reasonable starting point regarding a experiment in this regard but my meds are extremely expensive in my state thus I can’t afford to flat out ruin a batch. I’d rather under decarb than over do it cause I could always bake with it if I think it’s under decarbed. Just looking for a good place to start, as I feel as though so long as I’m using a slow cooker I might as well heat it slowly at a lower temp being in no rush to get it decarbed in under two hours.. It can be put in at night even, programmed to turn off automatically when the timer goes off (using the handy ANOVA Bluetooth app) & sit in the water to cool the rest of the night sealed in its vacuum bag. I’ve seen a decarboxylation graph floating around giving times & temps to full or nearly full decarboxylation figures but I’m not entirely sure how accurate it is.. I’ll check back & see if anyone has come up with a reasonable starting point for this specific style & if need be I’ll just go ahead and experiment and hope for the best! Bless..<3

    • Rambo October 19, 2015 at 3:58 pm -

      100 for 6 hours isn’t going to do it. Think about this. A plant grown outside in later summer is often exposed to temperatures over 100F. Yet when the plan it harvested the flowers are not yet decabed. Stick to the times and temperatures in the article and you’ll be just fine. No need to experiment. We did that for you.

  25. Jeffrey October 1, 2015 at 8:45 am -

    Wonderful article! We are linking too this great post on ourr website.
    Keep up the good writing.

    • Rambo October 19, 2015 at 3:55 pm -

      Thanks! We hope it helps your readers

  26. Tarek October 10, 2015 at 3:38 am -

    Hey man tnx for all ure tips , i need to know watering timing (evry 3 days 4 days once ) ?
    And its true to stop watering the last 20 days befor harvest. ?

    • Rambo May 9, 2016 at 4:35 pm -

      Neither of these are true, Water as needed up until the day of harvest.

  27. J Bizzy October 21, 2015 at 9:57 am -

    Thanks man, I ended up trying the six hour decarb as I was in need of a new batch of oil that next day and it definitely was far more green/raw tasting than the ones i decarbed in the toaster oven & I could really tell by taste & smell exactly what strain I had used as apposed to the toaster oven method where I found oft times the different batches of different strains ended up tasting the same.. Anyway after six hours at slightly above 100°F there was definitely a significant change from just plain raw buds but I do think it was quite a bit under decarbed as you predicted.. It did work nicely as a pain medication with a great body effect & minimal mental effects but wasn’t anywhere near as strong as similar indicas I’d just gone through months prior.. It did work however, I just tended to have to eat more in a sitting than I’m used to at this point. Using the MB2 extraction with coconut oil produces at 180°F for two hours (an extra hr than they suggest for oil) DOES produce a somewhat active oil on its own even when completely raw cannabis is used, I know this from previous experience though it’s potency jumps up when cooked/baked in something using the raw method so perhaps my six hour soak did little if anything at all & my results with the raw oil was due to the MB2 doing its thing.. I’m going to try it again at temperatures closer to 160°-180°F for 3-4 hrs & see how it goes, if Jersey has a lab that will test decarb methods I’ll be first in line to want to see what’s really going on during various decarb methods. In the meantime I’ll have to go on personal experience & best judgement, I do feel that one should be able to decarb using this water bath method for longer periods at lowered temps & achieve similar results while protecting even the most delicate of terpenes & whatnot as well as preserving the character & unique atribuites of particular strains (pineapple chunk was used for this recent run, blueberry is up next which is second best only to Nightshade in strength per gram per oz coconut oil using a ratio of 32g herb to 16oz oil). I think I was cooking off the unique flavors of particular strains using the toaster oven, so I’m quite excited to try out my blueberry with this water bath method to see how much of that amazing grapefruit smell/flavor of the blueberry I can preserve in the oil this time around.. I suppose 1 hr 40 minutes or even 1 hr at 200°F is still a lot lower/slower than the 225°F for 20-30 minutes in the toaster oven I was using before with zero risk of spiking temps or evaporating terpenes so I may give those parameters a shot as well eventually.. I think next run will be between 160°-180°F for 2-4 hrs & I’ll see how it turns out, then compare it as best I can without testing to the results I get from following your parameters & see which I like better.. Thank you so so much for not only the help back & forth, but for planting this idea in my head in the first place. Not only do I have a truly risk free decarb method for very expensive mandatory meds now, but I’ve also gained an amazing sous vide slow cooker device that works like a charm & is cutting edge.. Only wish I’d have waited for the one with WiFi capabilities as Bluetooth has distance restrictions.. At least it has auto shut off & emergency shut off safety nets, but it’d be cool to check up on your meal from pretty much anywhere 😀 Bless ya!!

  28. Jeff October 22, 2015 at 7:26 pm -

    Hi Rambo. Your internet “voice” will ultimately have stopped me from googling myself crazy. If you respond to this, a huge thank you is yours. My methodology of making Cannabutter is a 12 hour crock pot cook of 1/4 oz. roughly chopped bud, 1 stick butter, and 2 cups water. I let the mix cool, strain, and chill, lifting off the hardened cannabutter. Am I assuming correctly that in this case you would not de-carb the bud first? Some internet confusion says that a 12 hour crock pot butter cook will still benefit from de-carbing. Your help will end my ambivalence.

    • Rambo May 9, 2016 at 4:33 pm -

      12 hours in a crockpot should not require additional decarb.

  29. Johnny Appleweed October 26, 2015 at 7:53 am -

    I make a fine tincture that has been tested to be 100% decarbed. (short version) I cut and dry my herb in dehydrator to tinder dry. Than I add 190 proof and soak in a mason jar. Then I press out all the juice, rinse herb with 190 and press again. Then I pour juice into a mason jar with a nipple in the cover. Then I put the mason jar into a boiling water bath, hook a tube to a still and boil it off. The mason jar holds the tincture and I can reuse the 190. In the end I add veg. glycerin so that 1oz(28g) of herb will be 1oz(30cc)of tincture. ( I have also made TAR BALLS but it is hard to measure dose.)

  30. Ed October 30, 2015 at 9:40 pm -

    Greetings. I’ve read both of your epistles about decarbing. In the first you found that 245F for 60 minutes was perfect, but now you seem to advocate a lower-longer process. I’ve had very good luck using the stoneware to mitigate the effect of the oven cycling. Anyway, I have been looking for a way to take the skunk odor out of the process for two reasons; my wife’s nagging, and the desire to make more delicate edibles. I saw a video about a fellow who calls himself Jeff the 420 Chef. His de-skunking process involves blanching the herb in boiling water for 5 minutes, immediately immersing in ice water for 1 minute then drying in the oven “at a low temperature.” There was mention of having a sample tested before and after the procedure for any change in potency, but can find no follow-up info. Anyway, I performed his process on 2 ounces of trim. However, I took the damp herb to 225F for about 3 hours to get it dry and decarbbed in one step. His process cut the smell by a good 95%. I don’t know how much zip is left, but I’m going to run more test batches where a) the temp will be allowed to hit 220F and then stop after another hour for tinctures, and b) the blanched herb will go directly into an oil infusion and separated for cooking. A friend and I suffer chronic joint pain, so I share what I make. We’re both easily medicated. If this de-skunked process proves to medicate as well as make more tasty edibles, I will apprise you of my findings. If you wish to chat, drop a line. Thanks for sharing your ideas and testing. Every bit makes this method of medicating that much better and discrete.

  31. Dianne November 4, 2015 at 6:16 pm -

    Can glycerin tincture be flavored with something like oil of peppermint, wintergreen, cinnamon to make it taste better?

    • Rambo May 9, 2016 at 4:28 pm -

      Sure. You can flavor it with whatever you like.

  32. Trisha November 12, 2015 at 3:26 pm -

    This is a great artical. Well written and thought out, but I do not agree with your comment on vaping. For future reference, vaping isn’t “a foreign substance”. All the ingredients are known and just as safe as marijuana, as long as you make it at home with organic ingredients. It has only three needed ingredients. Vegetable glycerin (organic food grade… glycerine dude, made the same way as the glycerine you use), water based or oil based tinctures of organic food stuff such as peppermint, mint leaf extract, or organic juice. That’s it. Vegetable glycerine is used for nebulizers for asthma patients, and in many medications. It has been proven IF you add nicotine, which many people who vape do not, that you cannot get second hand nicotine from someone vaping. Some suppliers also use propaline glycol (not even close to the same as propaline ethynol used in cars) which is ALSO safe. The only down side is some people have allergies to it like me. So we just but the ones that don’t have it. No big deal. We actually know exactly what goes into it. I am not a seller or a supplier. I make my own at home for my own personal use. Try it and do your research. Stop jumping on ignorance and understand the science.

  33. itzel November 12, 2015 at 9:31 pm -

    If you want to bake brownies or rice crispies for example, is it necessary to decarb your weed before, or can you just mix it in the butter?

    • Rambo November 17, 2015 at 10:47 am -

      If you want strong consistent edibles then dearboxylate first. Many people decarb and extract at the same time in the butter but this is less consistent.

  34. joe November 19, 2015 at 4:36 am -

    Being a Chef, I had been making butter decarbed fat Sous Vide for some time now, starting in the oven then cooking then Sous Vide at 180F for 16 hours. I will now decarb S.V. and then extract S.V.–Thanks for the lab testing. Brilliant.

  35. Francesca November 27, 2015 at 7:43 am -

    If I want to scale up for a big batch, how small do you think I need to make each packet in order to decarb it with your method? Or inversly, how much longer do you think I need leave it to decarb a much larger batch? You used 2grams at 1hr40mij, but I’m looking at trying 15g. Should I divide it up small, or just leave it longer? Thanks!

    • Rambo May 9, 2016 at 4:24 pm -

      I would use the same times and temperatures but use bigger bag so you can make the bud as thin as possible.

  36. Chris December 2, 2015 at 10:37 am -

    I wonder what pulling a real vacuum on the bud would do to decarrb times not just removing air but changing the atmospheric pressure, I know water boils off without heat when it’s under a vacuum would it be possible to do a no heat decarb? Who,knows

  37. StevieJay December 14, 2015 at 7:44 pm -

    Hi there, Rambo. I am very impressed by your post. And very grateful for your sharing this good research.
    Because I live in a particularly difficult country of Asia (and therefore don’t have an oven or access to a circulator), I was wondering if it would make sense to steam the ground and sealed bud in a vegetable steamer, and if it would be efficient to actually add oil into the bag in order to improve heat distribution. Many thanks for your help if you have any idea about that.

    • Rambo May 9, 2016 at 4:22 pm -

      Any form of heating should work. You could also use a pot of water on the stove if you can control the water temperature with a thermometer.

  38. Joani December 26, 2015 at 3:41 pm -

    What about using a dehydrator?

    • Rambo May 9, 2016 at 4:18 pm -

      This would probably work but I don’t know the time it would require

  39. Diane December 30, 2015 at 5:02 pm -

    Thank you for this article! I have read over the comments and it seems like there have been a lot of similar questions, but none of the answers have satisfied my curiosity.
    I want to make cannabutter in my sous vide. Would decarboxylating first result in a more potent product? Or would letting the clarified butter and weed cook together long enough have the same result? What temperature and time would you suggest to fully extract the THC into the butter? Some say 1 hour, some say 12 hours. I’m pretty sure it all depends on how much is put into the sou vide, as I know different sized items take different lengths of time.

    • Rambo May 9, 2016 at 4:20 pm -

      If you are making butter you don’t need to decarb first. Just make sure that you used an adequate time and temperatures to not only extract the THC but also to decarb it.

  40. Wane January 13, 2016 at 7:40 pm -

    So for baking. Decarb first (filling the above) and then what temps/times do you recommend for infusing? What about adding in ABV ?

  41. Sonny Ross January 14, 2016 at 5:42 am -

    Can you decarb.using a microwave oven, and if so, how do you?

    • Rambo May 9, 2016 at 4:16 pm -

      I personally avoid microwaves for any kind of cooking, but there is probably a way to make it work

  42. Chris January 28, 2016 at 11:00 pm -

    What does that lab say is the perfect temp/time ratio for sous vide with CBD? Presumably the temp is same, but what is duration?

    • Rambo May 9, 2016 at 4:14 pm -

      The lab doesn’t say. It requires experiments like this to figure out what works.

  43. Olli February 7, 2016 at 3:17 pm -

    Best decarboxylation I’ve come across so far, and I’ve read quite a lot now

  44. Vicki Holmes February 9, 2016 at 3:04 pm -

    Could you tell me if it is necessary to decarb my pot if I am going to make canabutter in a crock pot for at least 8 hours? I would also like to use coconut oil rather than butter. Any help would be appreciated.

    • Rambo May 9, 2016 at 4:13 pm -

      It should not be necessary to decarb first.

  45. Chris February 11, 2016 at 9:37 pm -

    Sooo…. I just decarbed 2 oz rosin chips with 1 g of hash and now im using your method to cook yhe coconut oil itself!!!!! Its an amazing meyhod and will.o ly cook my coconut oil this way. I double bagged and triple sealed both ends of each bag. I have cbd oil im gonna mix in and make.some thc cbd caps

  46. bts February 12, 2016 at 8:22 am -

    Thanks for all the great info. I did my first decarb this morning using my Anova. I vacuum sealed the bag and weighted it down with a knife. I noticed that the air expanded in the bag and would form a bubble but it was still weighted down under water. I did it for an hour and 40. I am assuming it still worked even though it was not a tight vacuum seal once submerged. When I removed from the water, it went right back to tight seal. Any thoughts before I use it for a tincture?

    • Rambo May 9, 2016 at 4:12 pm -

      Great observation. The CO2 released during the process is what you saw expanding the bag. Once it cooled it shrank back down. Gasses expand when heated.

  47. Kairo February 18, 2016 at 6:40 am -

    I purchased the ANOVA device, and I’ve tried multiple iterations, all at 200F – I tried timings of 1:40, 2:00, and 2:30 using high quality, fresh cannabis but have been unusuccessful in generating an edible substance with psychoactive and medicinal effects. I am eating the cannabis directly out of the cooking bag – so I’m not reheating it in some other recipe before consumption. So, here’s where I get really confused: I’m sure you are familiar with “the graph” so widely available on the web which shows the conversion of THC-A to THC at a variety of times/temps. This graph (supposedly from some Russian study/source) shows decarboxylation occurring very slowly at 100C – indicating that much longer times than those I tried would be necessary. But then there are those lab results of yours. It’s all very confusing and frustrsating. I’ve been trying for several years to come up with a reliable, repeatable process and for now, the search continues. I’m going to try longrer times – 3-4 hours and see what happens. Would appreciate your thoughts. Thanks for your efforts and publication of same.

    • Rambo May 9, 2016 at 4:10 pm -

      I’d love to see the graph you are talking about. I’ve probably seen it before but without seeing it again I would not want argue it’s validity. I can say for certain that my method works. Why are you eating the raw bud? Try and extraction into oil, butter or Alcohol after decarbing.

  48. Mitch Anthony February 21, 2016 at 10:45 pm -

    What is the difference between Tac and Thc, my question yesterday was , what is Kief, so not a repeat

    • Rambo May 9, 2016 at 4:07 pm -

      Both good questions for Google