In times were we are facing a global pandemic, we know that a Harm Reduction strategy for cannabis use is to ingest through food instead of smoking. That is why we have separated tips and explanations for you to prepare cannabis butter (or coconut oil for vegans) and enjoy cannabis recipes at home!
Did you know that “raw” marijuana is not psychoactive? You can even eat it if you want, but its effect will not be nearly the same as what you expect. That’s because, in order for you to enjoy all the best that cannabis offers, it needs to go through a process called decarboxylation.
This tricky name is what makes cannabis go wild when ingested as a food. It is especially important for those who want to plate with brisadeiros, space cakes, or whatever the imagination (and the stomach) sends. After all, this is the ideal form of consumption for those who have several types of diseases and need therapeutic or medicinal cannabis, but do not feel comfortable smoking.
Here, we will help you understand what decarboxylation is and how it works. 😉
What is decarboxylation?
Decarboxylation is, in a simple way, a way to activate the psychoactive properties of cannabis through heat. This must be done because the fresh herb contains almost nothing of THC, the substance responsible for the HIGH we enjoy. Fresh flowers and their trichomes are rich in THCA, the acid form of THC.
To take that extra particle out of the THCA and turn it into THC, we need high temperatures. When we smoke, vaporize or heat the herb, the molecule breaks down and we are able to take advantage of its psychoactive action. But to get the most out of THC when cooking with cannabis, you need to decarboxylate it first. Although care must be taken to preserve the integrity of your flowers, it is possible to do this process at home!
It is important to mention here that, although when we talk about decarboxylation, THC is the main asset mentioned, CBD also needs to be activated in the same way – that is, it is a two in one, so to speak.
The perfect temperatures
Although we talk about high temperatures, the best way to decarboxylate cannabis and preserve its properties (such as terpenoids and cannabinoids, for example), is to use moderate temperatures. THCA starts to become THC at approximately 220 degrees Fahrenheit (104 ° C) after about 30 to 45 minutes of exposure. Complete decarboxylation may require more time to happen.
Many people prefer to decarboxylate their marijuana at slightly lower temperatures for a longer period. The integrity of cannabinoids and terpenoids is compromised by the use of temperatures that exceed 300 degrees F (148 ° C).
And let’s go to the process!
To decarboxylate your cannabis, you can use the oven or water bath. Take a look at this table to better understand how to take advantage of these cannabinoids
The process will always work best for those who follow the instructions correctly. Our advice is this: do you want to lose less terpenes? Use the longer option, but with milder temperatures. It will help you preserve substances that are more volatile, in addition to, of course, converting THCA into our precious THC.
So, shall we learn this procedure?
Keep in hand:
- Grinded cannabis
- Roasting pan
- Parchment paper
- Wooden spoon or spatula
- Oven Glove
- Oven thermometer (not necessary, but why not if there’s one in the kitchen)
In the oven
- Preheat the oven to 240 ° F (approximately 115 ° C).
- Knead the wax paper (this helps to decrease the contact surface of marijuana at high temperatures)
- Line the baking sheet with parchment paper and distribute your cannabis evenly on top of it. Spacing cannabis is necessary to ensure that heat is evenly distributed.
- Use the thermometer to control the temperature. A difference of a few degrees can burn the herb and harm it.
- It will be in the oven for about 40 minutes. Check your herb in 20 minutes and stir gently. Check again at 30 minutes and remove the herb as soon as it starts to develop a light and toasted color.
In a water bath
This is very simple: just change the materials for a heat-proof cooking bag, a pan and water.
- Place the cannabis flower in a Ziploc-style boiling bag and seal.
- Put in water in the initial boiling stage, when it is with small bubbles, (at 100 ° C) for 90 minutes. Make sure that the water does not boil.
- Remove the water bag and let it cool before opening.
Not everyone has access to cannabis in buds, and it’s okay if you want to decarboxylate the press. After all, the process is basically the same. Our only recommendation is that you wash your press before that – to remove impurities and dirt that might mix with your recipes afterwards. Nobody here wants to eat brisadeiro with dirt, right?
Cannabis butter, or cannabutter, is one of the best ingredients for those who want to cook with that super special seasoning. It can be the basis for cookies, sweets and even a sauce for your pasta. Let’s go to the recipe?
- 50 or 100g of butter (depending on the dosage you want)
- 5 to 10 grams of decarboxylated marijuana
Step by step:
Grind coarse decarboxylated cannabis with a chopper.
Melt the butter together with a glass of water in a saucepan
When the water starts to form small bubbles, add the ground cannabis.
Keep the heat low (control the temperature of the mixture so that it never exceeds 90 ° C) and let the mixture cook 45 minutes for medium use or 90 for maximum use – don’t forget to stir occasionally and never let the mixture boil completely.
Strain the cannabutter and leave the mixture still with the water in a pot. When cool, put in the refrigerator for 1 hour or until the butter hardens!
Pierce the surface of the butter and drain all the water (note: the water helps to filter impurities in the cannabis, especially when it is made with the press and also because it is not fat-soluble, it ensures that the cannabinoids are not lost on the way.
Refrigerate the butter jar. If there is excess water at the bottom of the jar, remove the solid butter with a knife and drain the water.
Cannabis coconut oil
For those who are vegan or are trying to reduce their consumption of animal products, coconut oil is the perfect substitute for butter. It will also allow you to make your cannabis recipes with all the power and flavor you want. Write down how to do it:
50 or 100g of coconut oil
A 5 to 10 cup of decarboxylated cannabis
Step by step:
- Grind cannabis into coarse pieces.
- Combine oil and cannabis and heat the two together over low heat. Cooking can be done in several ways: in a water bath, at low temperature, for at least 6 hours (8 is better), stirring occasionally; or in a simple pan over low heat for at least three hours, stirring frequently (since directly in the pan the mixture is more susceptible to burns). In all cases, a small amount of water can be added to the ingredients to help prevent burning. Note: whichever method is chosen, the oil temperature must not exceed 118 ° C. To control it, use a kitchen thermometer.
- Strain with gauze (without squeezing it) and save the oil. The shelf life is at least two months and can be extended with refrigeration.
And voilà! After this process, you can make your favorite cannabis recipes. Cookies, brownies and whatever else you want: play the chef and have a look.
Did you like the tips? Share it with your cannabis friends and, if you cook, show us the result there on Instagram!