The world of cannabis goes far beyond smoking a dried herb. Cannabis shops and medical marijuana dispensaries wherever marijuana is legal around the world use cannabis in butters, oils, lecithins, sodas, tinctures, etc. If you are a cannabis enthusiast, you too can partake in all the edible fun without leaving the comfort of your home.
HOW TO PROPERLY COOK CANNABIS IN YOUR OWN HOME
Cooking with marijuana is an easy, albeit time consuming endeavor. There’s more to cannabis cooking than just throwing in some flowers and make a pan of brownies. Just like there’s more to cooking BBQ chicken than just throwing it in the oven. You need to prep, dress, and then bake the chicken. Cannabis too needs a little TLC. Just like the chicken won’t taste the same without prep, your cannabis will be rendered useless without going through a process called decarboxylation.
The marijuana decarboxylation process may sound like a complex concept, but it’s not. Decarboxylation is not only easy, but is essential. Without going through the process, your bud will have no psychoactive element and will also ruin the taste of what you cooking. Who wants to get baked with bad baked goods? Didn’t think so. Read on to learn more about this process, and you will be a culinary marijuana savant in no time.
WHAT IS MARIJUANA DECARBOXYLATION?
Any time you spark up a joint or inhale from your vaporizer, you are inflicting the decarboxylation process upon your marijuana. As early human ancestors discovered when they first stumbled that cooking over a fire was a game-changing way to prepare meals and provide heat, any time you place an object with solid matter over a flame, you end up changing the molecular composition of it.
When you first open up baggie of bud, the cannabis probably smells delicious and looks fresh. However, there’s not much more to the plant at that point. Just licking the plant or rubbing it on your face won’t get you high. You need to activate its mind-altering capabilities. That’s why you light up the bud and smoke it. Prior to inhaling the smoke of marijuana, when you flick a flame onto the bud, you are decarboxylating the plant.
When this happens, cannabinoid acids begin to produce. This is essential for the overall feeling of being high because one cannabinoid in particular contains the psychoactive capabilities that cannabis is famous for. The psychoactive component within marijuana that creates this high is known as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
THC derives from the similarly named chemical, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA). This acid can be found within the trichomes, which are those colorful little hairs decorating your bud, on a raw cannabis flower. In its natural state, THCA is not psychoactive. However, once THCA is heated, it releases the THC that marijuana smokers know and love. Thus, the non-psychoactive plant turns into one that can get you high.
WHEN TO DECARBOXYLATE MARIJUANA
As you have already put together, decarboxylating marijuana is pivotal to get a high. And if you’re not ingesting marijuana to get a high, then what are you buying it for?
There are two times in the life span of a marijuana plant where it will go through the decarboxylation process:
Drying the flower out
Heating the plant to smoke or vape
The latter is what most marijuana users are accustomed to. Whether it be in a bowl, joint, or in a vaporizer, putting the raw herb under immediate, intense heat will instantaneously activate the THC chemical that is absorbed by the body’s cannabinoid receptors.
However, when you put cannabis into your food, the herb will not be placed under such a direct and intense form of heating. Mixing maryjane in with other products that will be cooked will take the pressure off the THCA and distribute the heat onto the other ingredients you are mixing the cannabis with as well. In turn, the marijuana will either not release the psychoactive component of the plant, or it may release some THC but the herb will not reach its fullest potential. In turn, your high won’t reach its fullest potential either.
HOW TO DECARBOXYLATE AND COOK CANNABIS
There are two distinct ways to decarboxylate your cannabis so that you can activate its psychoactive chemical. These include:
BAKE IN THE OVEN
Probably the most common of the two methods, baking cannabis in the oven will open up the THCA and release THC, giving the plant its ability to make you feel high. In order to decarboxylate cannabis in the oven:
Preheat the oven between 220 and 245 degrees Fahrenheit (Marijuana begins to decarboxylate when it reaches 220 degree temperature).
While the oven is preheating, grind up the raw flower.
Place evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake from 30 to 45 minutes (If you are cooking with kief, it will take half the amount of time).
Check on the marijuana periodically. Once it is dry and brown, allow to cool off and then pulse in a food processor.
Now your cannabis is psychoactive and ready to be cooked.
A bit more of a complicated process than baking, seal your cannabis in a vacuum-sealed boiling bag.
Bring a pot of water to a boil.
Place the cannabis-filled bag into the boiling water for 90 minutes.
Keep an eye on the pot to make sure the water does not evaporate.
Once the 90 minutes is up, take the bag out of the water and allow to cool.
Don’t Overheat Your Cannabis
When baking or boiling cannabis, be sure to keep on checking the temperature. As we mentioned, it is okay to go up to 240 degrees Fahrenheit, but try not to go past that. If temperatures reach up to 300 degrees, the THC may become destroyed. Not to mention, overcooking the terpenes (compounds within the plant’s oils that give the plant its distinct flavor and smell) will destroy them, making your cannabis lose flavor and potency.
Once you finish the decarboxylation process, your cannabis will become psychoactive. From there, you are free to add to any edible, oil, or beverage that you so desire.