The Importance of Decarbing / How Can I Make My Own Edibles?

By: Matt D.
July 22, 2019

One of the most common questions we get at ATG is: what do you have for edibles? While we are currently stocked up on chocolates, lozenges and tinctures, some of our more creatively gourmet-leaning customers and patients are also looking for information into how to make their own edibles. The most important thing to know before adding your fresh cannabis to any tasty recipe is: DON’T JUST THROW IT IN THERE! EATING RAW CANNABIS IS A REALLY BAD IDEA! It’s not going to hurt you, but you won’t get any fun or beneficial effects from it either, unless you just really dig the flavor of raw cannabis.

The key to understanding edible cannabis is a chemical process called decarboxylation, otherwise known as “decarbing.” Cannabis in its raw form is loaded up with THC-A, which you will see on the cannabinoid list of every package of cannabis you buy legally. But that chemical needs to change to THC (without the A) in order to provide any psychoactive or medical effects.

Decarbing occurs with the introduction of heat. Set it on fire for instant decarbing; that’s the most well-known THC activation method. Vaping also works the same way, simply at lower temperatures. And it’s why just grinding up your cannabis and throwing it into whatever food you’re cooking isn’t the most efficient way of activating your plant material.

Instead, look to decarb your cannabis before cooking with it to maximize its potential. Most decarb recipes recommend a slow-and-low method: grind your cannabis and bake it in the oven at temperatures between 220 and 240 degrees for approximately 30 minutes. Be warned that this will make your house smell, shall we say, distinctive, so caution is called for if you have open windows, nosy neighbors, or children present.

After decarbing, your cannabis will come out looking slightly toasted, similar to tobacco. But it will then be activated and ready to eat, although we wouldn’t recommend just dipping in with a spoon. There are no shortage of online recipes, and watch this space in the future for some ATG-employee edible recommendations, but two really good ideas are smoothies and baked goods. Advanced cooks should also think about making their own cannabis butter or cannabis oil, which can have a wider variety of applications.

Don’t forget to treat your decarbed cannabis and edibles with respect. Since ingested cannabis takes a lot longer to kick in than traditional smoking or vaping methods, and lasts a good deal longer as well, dosing can be tricky. We highly recommend that you take it slow, and only eat a small amount every hour or so until you have a better idea of what a good dose is for your body type and metabolism.