Decarboxylating Cannabis: Turning THCA into THC

Rambo August 14, 2012 269
Decarboxylating Cannabis: Turning THCA into THC

The other day I was asked by an acquaintance why the tincture they were making had very little, if any, noticeable medicinal or psychoactive effect. They swore they followed the same process found in a book on making edibles and soaked the cannabis in high proof for weeks but the tincture just didn’t work.

The answer was simple but one that many in the cannabis industry don’t understand. One very important and necessary extra step had been overlooked. Cannabis used to make tinctures as well as other edible cannabis products requires decarboxylation. From asking around I have a feeling a lot of you just blurted out “Say What?”

So here is the deal. THCA (Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid) is found in abundance in growing and harvested cannabis and is a biosynthetic precursor of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). Wow, this sounds scary like organic chemistry, doesn’t it? It is, so for both of our benefits, I’ll give you the dumbed down version.

Research suggests THCA has anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects but does not produce the psychoactive effect that make you feel “high”. This “high” is from the cannabinoid THC, of which little if any is found when cannabis is growing or recently harvested.

Decarboxylation is a chemical reaction that releases carbon dioxide (CO2). This means a chemical reaction takes place in which carboxylic acids loose a carbon atom from a carbon chain. This process converts THCA to THC, the much loved compound with many medicinal and psychoactive effects. When the cannabis drys, it very very slowly begins to decarboxylate and converts THCA to THC.

The good news is we don’t have to wait years for cannabis to decarboxylate. We can speed things along with a process that is a lot simpler than you might expect. Simply heating dried cannabis to the correct temperature for enough time releases that carbon dioxide and creates THC. Why have so many of you never heard of this before? Decarboxylating takes place without extra effort when cannabis is heated during the act of smoking or vaporizing. It also takes place to some degree when cannabis is cooked into butter or when hash and kief are added to a favorite recipe and then cooked in the oven.

When making tinctures, cannabis is not heated or baked, it is simply soaked in high proof alcohol. Decarboxylation never takes place and you end up with a product with a lot of THCA and very little THC. This may be a good for some symptoms but will not produce the results most expect.

Setting Up The Experiment

After explaining decarboxylation it became clear why the tincture was ineffective. Naturally they wanted to know how to decarboxylate cannabis quickly and easily so they could get on with making their tincture. I knew how to do it, but I really needed to nerd out for a bit so I could give them the best possible answer.

It really is as easy as heating the cannabis, but for how long and at what temperature? If the cannabis is heated to much, we run the risk of vaporizing and losing some of the important cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids which have medicinal properties. At the same time we want remove the CO2 as quickly and effectively as possible.

According to a report published by John M. McPartland and Ethan B. Russo “Cannabis and Cannabis Extracts: Greater Than the Sum of Their Parts?”, the boiling points, and hence vapor point of the major cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids range from 246.2° and 435.2° Fahrenheit. I have included a substantial list taken from this report in the appendix of this article. This indicates that by staying under 246.2° Fahrenheit there should be little if any inadvertent vaporization of plant compounds that might produce medicinal benefits. I do need to qualify the above statement by saying that some terpenes actually evaporate to some degree while the plant is growing and there is not much that can be done about it.

I decided to conduct a bit of an experiment to see if my hypothesis was correct. I had some extra kief and trim that I had been keeping in storage for a rainy day. They would work perfect for the experiment and there would be no great loss if things didn’t go as planned.

Easy Steps to Decarboxylation

Consumer grade ovens are not always exact so I decided to shoot for a decarboxylation temperature of around 240° Fahrenheit. This should produce quick results without losing any medicinal potency. 30 minutes seemed like a nice round number for a first test and should give the kief and trim plenty of time to come up to temperature.

Kief has a tendency to ball up in the bag which could lead to uneven temperatures and possibly uneven decarboxylation. Before I put it in the oven, I loosened up the clumps with a fork. While most of the trim was already fairly broken up from its time in the kief tumbler, there were still some budlets in the trim that I wanted to break apart.

A few minutes in the Cuisinart works great for breaking up trim and also works well on buds if you have a bunch of joints to roll. The static from the plastic separated out some low grade kief which loosely clung to the lid of the Cuisinart. I brushed this back into the trim.

I placed a pizza stone on the middle rack of the oven and set the oven dial to bake at as close to 240° Fahrenheit as possible. Ovens lose a lot of heat when the door is opened and sometimes the temperature spikes with little explanation. The pizza stone absorbs the heat and helps maintain a constant temperature. In order to track my temperature accurately I used a thermometer with a heat resistant cord. I placed the thermometer on the pizza stone and the digital readout on the counter next to the oven where it could be monitored.

Once the temperature reached about 240° and did not appear to be increasing I placed a small Pyrex bowl of kief and another of the trim on the pizza stone. I set my timer for 30 minutes and continued to monitor the temperature. A Pyrex lasagna dish would be perfect for larger quantities. As expected, the temperature fell a few degrees from opening the door and then came back up to temperature. Throughout the half hour the temperature rose and fell several times for no apparent reason but stayed between 229° and 245° Fahrenheit.

After 30 minutes I removed both Pyrex containers with an oven mit and placed them on the counter to cool. Both the kief and the trim had noticeably fluffed up and gave off a slightly roasted scent. I took a few grams of each and packaged them for lab testing.

I returned the Pyrex dishes to the oven and set the timer for another half hour. I was pretty sure that 30 minutes had been enough to mostly decarboxylate the kief and trim, but just in case I wanted a backup test at a full hour. Either way I had to be patient and wait a few days for the test results to come back.

Results of Decarboxylation Experiment

The following charts show the results of the 30 minute and 60 minute decarboxylation experiments. Also included are the lab results from testing done prior to any artificial decarboxylation to establish a starting point. Note that because of the age of both the kief and the trim, decarboxylation had begun to take place to some degree naturally. This may not be your starting point, but should not affect the results of the experiment much.


Compound Before Decarb 30 Min Decarb 60 Min Decarb
THCA  24.5%  2.6%  .1%
THC  3.8%  25.4%  25.5%
CBDA  .6%  .3%  .3%
CBD  0%  1%  .1%
CBN  .4%  1%  1.4%
Moisture  0%  0%  0%
Total Cannabanoids  29.3%  30.3%  27.4%

Cannabis Trim

Compound Before Decarb 30 Min Decarb 60 Min Decarb
THCA  6.5%  2.9%  .2%
THC  .6%  4.8%  6.9%
CBDA  .2%  .2%  .1%
CBD  0%  0%  .1%
CBN  0%  0%  0%
Moisture  3.4%  4.5%  0%
Total Cannabanoids  7.3%  7.9%  7.3%

Testing provided by SC Labs

As you can see from the two charts, 30 minutes was not quite enough to completely decarboxylate either the kief or the trim. At 30 minutes the kief was about 90% decarboxylated but the trim was only about 60% decarboxylated. This difference is likely because the trim had a higher starting moisture content. After 60 minutes however, both keif and trim samples were close enough to 100% decarboxylation for my satisfaction.

So there you have it. 240° F for 60 minutes should be enough to decarboxylate any cannabis with a reasonably low moisture content. For material with higher moisture content, the time can be extended but the temperature should not be increased. If you are concerned about losing organic compounds, lower heat can be used but the time should be extended to compensate.

Interesting Findings

As with most experiments, the results often lead to new questions. Here are a few unexpected finding that may lead to future experiments.

The kief and trim both appear to have lost some total cannabinoids after the second 30 minutes in the oven. Some of you might suggest this is from vaporization from being at temperature for too long. This could be true, thought they were from the same plant they were not the exact same samples. Additionally lab tests do have a margin of error, so I’m not sure that is a safe assumption. This would need to be tested with more samples to have a solid verdict.

For some reason the moisture content of the trim tested higher after the first 30 minutes in the oven. I have no idea why this would be. It could just be a fluke.

Tbe CBDA did not appear to convert to CBD during the decarboxylation of the THCA. Some further research might shed some light on this.

Appendix – Cannabis Cannabinoids, Terpenes and Flavonoids

As I mentioned above, here is the list of some commonly found cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids that I used to pick my decarboxylation temperature. This is by no means a complete list but it’s the best I could find.


THC (Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol)
Boiling point: 157° C / 314.6° Fahrenheit
Properties: Euphoriant, Analgesic, Anti Inflammatory, Antioxidant, Antiemetic

CBD (cannabidiol)
Boiling point: 160-180°C / 320-356° Fahrenheit
Properties: Anxiolytic, Analgesic, Antipsychotic, Anti Inflammatory, Antioxidant, Antispasmodic

CBN (Cannabinol)
Boiling point: 185°C / 365° Fahrenheit
Properties: Oxidation, breakdown, product, Sedative, Antibiotic

CBC (cannabichromene)
Boiling point: 220° / 428° Fahrenheit
Properties: Anti Inflammatory, Antibiotic, Antifungal

Δ-8-THC (Δ-8-tetrahydrocannabinol)
Boiling point: 175-178°C / 347-352.4° Fahrenheit
Properties: Resembles Δ-9-THC, Less psychoactive, More stable Antiemetic

THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin)
Boiling point: < 220°C / <428° Fahrenheit
Properties: Analgesic, Euphoriant

Terpenoid Essential Oil Components of Cannabis

Boiling point: 166-168°C / 330.8-334.4° Fahrenheit
Properties: Analgesic. Anti Inflammatory, Antibiotic, Antimutagenic

Boiling point: 119°C / 246.2° Fahrenheit
Properties: Anti Inflammatory, Cytoprotective (gastric mucosa), Antimalarial

Boiling point: 177°C / 350.6° Fahrenheit
Properties: Cannabinoid agonist?, Immune potentiator, Antidepressant, Antimutagenic

Boiling point: 198°C / 388.4° Fahrenheit
Properties: Sedative, Antidepressant, Anxiolytic, Immune potentiator

Boiling point: 224°C / 435.2° Fahrenheit
Properties: Memory booster?, AChE inhibitor, Sedative, Antipyretic

1,8-Cineole (Eucalyptol)
Boiling point: 176°C / 348.8° Fahrenheit
Properties: AChE inhibitor, Increases cerebral, blood flow, Stimulant, Antibiotic, Antiviral, Anti Inflammatory, Antinociceptive

Boiling point: 156°C / 312.8° Fahrenheit
Properties: Anti Inflammatory, Bronchodilator, Stimulant, Antibiotic, Antineoplastic, AChE inhibitor

Boiling point: 217-218°C / 422.6-424.4° Fahrenheit
Properties: Sedative, Antibiotic, AChE inhibitor, Antioxidant, Antimalarial

Boiling point: 209°C / 408.2° Fahrenheit
Properties: AChE inhibitor. Antibiotic

Boiling point: 177°C / 350.6° Fahrenheit
Properties: Antibiotic, Anticandidal, AChE inhibitor

Boiling point: 210°C / 410° Fahrenheit
Properties: Antibiotic

Boiling point: 168*C / 334.4° Fahrenheit
Properties: Anti Inflammatory

Flavonoid and Phytosterol Components of Cannabis

Boiling point: 178°C / 352.4° Fahrenheit
Properties: Anxiolytic, Anti Inflammatory, Estrogenic

Boiling point: 250°C / 482° Fahrenheit
Properties: Antioxidant, Antimutagenic, Antiviral, Antineoplastic

Cannflavin A
Boiling point: 182°C / 359.6° Fahrenheit
Properties: COX inhibitor, LO inhibitor

Boiling point: 134°C / 273.2° Fahrenheit
Properties: Anti Inflammatory, 5-α-reductase, inhibitor

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  1. GuilleX August 21, 2012 at 5:53 pm - Reply

    I’v been reading about decarb for a long time. I’v made the infamous “Green Dragon” and a simple tincture too. GD packed a punch, tincture didn’t.
    For what i found over teh internets, several people decarb @325ºF for 5 min; but they didn’t had any lab test made… so those results cannot be checked.

    How old was your trim?

    • Rambo August 21, 2012 at 7:12 pm - Reply

      That may work just fine if all you are concerned about capturing is the THC. However, we know that many of the terpenes will vaporize at higher temperatures so lower heat for longer is better than higher heat for less time. The trim I used was about two years old and had been stored in a 30 gallon plastic tub out in the wood shed.

      • jerrym June 26, 2014 at 7:58 pm - Reply

        interesting article but this is how i learned to do it from ruffhouse studios. put it in a sealed container (double wrapped tinfoil) and stick it the oven at 220 for an hour.

    • Philippe April 4, 2013 at 8:34 pm - Reply

      The Vancouver Island Compassion Society developed the 5 mins at 325 F decarb method many years ago in order to make a THC rich texture. We partnered with a lab and did a number of conversion experiments comparing many different temperature and time ratios, and found that 5 mins at 325 resulted in 90-100% decarboxilation with little to no loss of cannabinoids due to vaporization. Although it may seem counter-intuitive to do this at such a high temperature, it’s now a method successfully adopted by dozens of dispensaries and thousands of patients throughout North America.

      • Rambo April 9, 2013 at 10:06 pm - Reply

        While you may not be loosing any cannabinoids, you may still be loosing a significant amount of terpenes which I am pretty sure you never tested for. These terpenes also have medicinal effects that would be lost at the higher temperatures you are suggesting.

  2. Alain Robert December 1, 2012 at 6:30 pm - Reply

    The moisture might be higher after 30 minutes because the decarboxylation produces water and co2

    • Rambo December 1, 2012 at 7:02 pm - Reply

      That is a really good point and quite possibly the reason. I had assumed that the intense temperatures would have reduced that moisture vapor to a near zero humidity but I may not fully understand the physics behind it all. Thanks for pointing that out.

      • Tate November 3, 2013 at 10:47 pm - Reply

        Please help! So I have been searching for the answer and maybe you can help me. So thca is what we look at when we see bud right? Thc is activated when heat connects with thca, turning it into thc which is then inhaled right? Ok but as for other cannabinoids, how are they activated if the heat required to activate them is different when you are smoking say a bong bowl. You hold the lighter to the bud, which is killing all cannabinoids but also combusting the weed, the combusting weed should be burning and releasing all the cannabinoids in the plant am I correct? So if all cannabinoids are being burnt off the actual plant material and all playing an effect on your high. I think I have this all correct but then my confusion comes in at resin. If all cannabinoids are put to use then resin must just be left over plant material???otherwise the resin would be left over cannabinoids which I thought all were put to use when the bud is burning. Please help!

        • Rambo November 19, 2013 at 5:23 pm - Reply

          resin is a combination of soot and other unburnt material that was in the smoke. Cannabinoids THC and other cannabinoids are burnt up, they release gases that you inhale just like any other material that is heated or lit on fire. Some of those gases condense along the sides of the pipe leaving behind what you call resin.

  3. Buddha December 24, 2012 at 7:45 am - Reply

    Am I better of decarboxilating before extraction in say glycerine to make tincture or after extraction by gently heating in a double boiler?

    • Rambo December 27, 2012 at 10:44 am - Reply

      I don’t think it really matters one way or the other. I know people who do it both ways. Obviously it would not work/be safe to heat an alcohol based tincture. I suspect you may have more trouble reaching a consistent temperature for a long period of time in a double boiler

  4. darkcycle January 12, 2013 at 7:52 pm - Reply

    Okay. The research has been done. It public as part of GW pharma’s patent application for the cannabis medication “Sativex”. I’ll make the story short and sweet. 2 Hrs. at 200 degrees, F. Please remember, those are magic numbers. it can be done on a cookie sheet with dry cannabis with no loss of potency (G.W> Pharma, BAKES their cannabis). You do not need to take my word for it. Here’s the patent application in toto. (I do not advocate infringing upon a patent, but cannabis ticntures have been made for hundreds of years, and decarboxylation is a process understood for at least 100 years itself. In principal it is not legal to patent a practice in current widespread use.) Here you are:
    You will thank me. Just remember. darkcycle told you.

    • Rambo January 13, 2013 at 8:38 pm - Reply

      Good find. Thanks for sharing.

      • Nat April 14, 2013 at 7:12 pm - Reply

        It’s much more complex than just 200F for 2 hours if you read what’s in the document. Look for this line:

        … the first step is conducted at a temperature in the range of 100° C. to 110° C. for 10–20 minutes ….

    • Kristine April 10, 2013 at 1:16 pm - Reply



    • Alfi August 6, 2013 at 1:31 pm - Reply

      Wow! Thanks a lot for the link! (Omg that sounded so sarcastic in my head, trust me when I say im being honest :P )
      I’m gonna scour through this, then I am gonna ask Rambo to do a couple of experiments for us, as there are a few other factors that play, other than time and temperature, into the decarb’ing process.
      Lol, when you abbreviate decarboxylating to decarb’ing it totally sounds like something you’d do on the P90X workout regiment :P
      Oh and btw, cannabinoids+sugar=best steroids in the world.
      Not even kidding ;)

  5. darkcycle January 12, 2013 at 8:02 pm - Reply

    P.S. Just made a tincture using the process outlined above. I took a dry extraction of two ounces of kief and cooked it at 210 degrees for 2 hrs ( it was in a big clump in an open mason jar, so I allowed the extra 10 degrees to compensate for the additional time needed to bring the entire mass to temperature). Then combined it with 151 proof rum. Shaken regularly, it was ready to use in 24 hours. And it’s serious medicine.

  6. Steve January 15, 2013 at 8:40 am - Reply

    What would you say the minimum temperature for decarbt would be?

    I dont have any way to send results to a lab so I was wondering If I could place a mason jar of the product on a candle melter. They provide a temperature of 138-141 degrees C which is about 280+ degrees F. I know this is above 240 so I know the timing must be shorter and obviously some terepenes will be vaporized. 5 minutes sounds reasonable?

    I am a college student so realistically I can not ‘cook’ cannabis products in a microwave, crock pot, or oven. I doubt my dorm hallway or residence adviser would appreciate that. Just looking for some alternatives that could work.

    Furthermore, look into glycerine tinctures. You can place the result under your tongue and you feel it in minutes, compared to alcohol tinctures which tend to burn and take longer to kick in. I am experimenting with this, I will try using 1oz of glycerine for every 1 gram of cannabis. Then, I will let the jar sit for about a week, shaking it twice a day.

    • Rambo January 21, 2013 at 9:31 pm - Reply

      There really is not minimum temperature for decarbing. It will happen on its own at room temperature given enough time… By this i mean years. Your candle melter is a bit warmer then I would like. Try to stay under 240 if you can. Do you have a friend who lives off campus who would let you use there oven for a half hour? Glycerine works for tinctures but it tastes like shit in my opinion. I much prefer the burning of high proof. In fact the alcohol based tincture should kick in faster as it readily absorbs to some degree in your mouth.

      • Kim Morera April 13, 2013 at 7:31 am - Reply

        Sorry, you are wrong. Cannabis “left alone over time” does not convert magically from thca into thc. It degrades into cbn, the compound that is notorious for that couchlock feeling. Great as a sleeping aid, but, it does nothing for pain or cancer.

        • Rambo April 17, 2013 at 8:27 pm - Reply

          Sorry, I’m not wrong. The THCA in dried cannabis left alone over time will slowly begin to degrade into THC. Cannabis that is growing that is not harvested when it is time and continues to be left out in the elements will begin to degrade into CBN.

        • bob berbowski May 9, 2013 at 12:17 pm - Reply

          FALSE. why are you posting this false information? you are completely incorrect.

        • mcfudge August 26, 2013 at 6:05 pm - Reply

          Hello Kim!

          Re: your post

          What you describe here sounds fascinating! You might have discovered a whole new type of cannabis. Wow, go ahead and name that strain after yourself dear. Then read on.

          THCa converts to THC first, then THC degrades into CBN. You seem to have found a new kind of cannabis with THCa that skips right past THC and goes straight from THCa to CBN. CBN does make you sleepy. Older cannabis or cannabis that has been stored over a long period of time will have a high level of CBN.

          Geranyl pyrophosphate and olivetolic acid combine in an enzyme catalyzed reaction to form cannabigerolic acid (CBGA). CBGA folds in upon itself to form rings which gives us the final structure using the THCa synthase enzyme to form THCa. CBN starts with the same two compounds eventually forming THCa, then over time or with heat the THCa loses it’s carbolic acid (decarboxylates) to form THC, then over time or with heat this THC degrades into CBN by losing hydrogen atoms and forming double bonds in a particular ring.

          But hey, if you found a special plant that skips that whole process then good on ya. Thank SC Laboratories for the info.

          • Rambo August 26, 2013 at 10:29 pm -

            Thank you for explaining things in such a concise way. From what I understand, THCA that is converted to THC can then be further converted into CBN through a similar process. How would one go about converting THC into CBN. I have tested cannabis that is quite old and still found CBN levels usually between .1% and .2% but never any higher than .5% I would love to find a way to convert THC artificially and hit numbers closer to 5%. Any suggestions?

      • mcfudge August 26, 2013 at 6:08 pm - Reply

        Hi Rambo. Take the edge off tincture taste by adding a little bit of Monk Fruit Extract. This tip came from a chef with a double PhD in gastronomy and nutrition. You can find it in Chinese cooking for the last several thousand years, and also at a health food store. Spread the word, and enjoy!

        • Rambo August 26, 2013 at 10:30 pm - Reply

          great suggestion.

      • ImdaPrincesse November 2, 2013 at 6:18 am - Reply

        I’ve followed your method for the slow bake. I make a tincture using Stroh Rom 80 since getting Everclear in Europe is a near impossibility.
        I’m not a fan of the alcohol in a double boiler method because of the difficulty in maintaining a temp in the alcohol plus the risk of fire. I’ve been taking my bake, putting it into a 50 ml bottle, Stroh Rom in and lid on tight. Leave a little headroom in any container. Then into the oven at 70C for 60 minutes and voila. Tincture ready to go in a couple hours time…

  7. mendobruce January 22, 2013 at 12:25 pm - Reply

    I am confused. I have seen test results for hundreds of samples of dried cannabis and I have only seen THCA results like that (as well as that low of THC) on green wet, or improperly dried cannabis.

    Almost all the dried medicinal quality weed I have seen tested has THC levels in the 10-25% range and I have never seen a significant THCA level listed at a dispensary?

    Can someone explain this?

    • Rambo January 23, 2013 at 10:33 pm - Reply

      Test result like what? The dried cannabis used was trim not bud and it had already been run through a kief tumbler so most of the trichomes had already been removed. Most clubs do not display THCA levels only the combined levels of THC and THCA. This is for several reason. Most people have no clue what THCA is and only care about the THC level. THCA turns into THC when you light it on fire or vaporize it so it isn’t relevant for cannabis that is intended to be smoked. Many labs are using a cheaper older method of testing cannabis that requires it be essentially vaporized which of course then can’t measure THCA only THC. Additionally, cannabis being wet or dried improperly will only read low on cannabinoids because of larger percentage of the sample weight is water, not because the bud actually contains less cannabinoids. Hope this helps.

  8. Traveler Two January 23, 2013 at 1:19 pm - Reply

    I admire not only your scientific training; but, more importantly, your application and descriptions. So much variation with 325 for 5, that I look forward to 240 for 60.

    Quick question: The covering your dish directions, below, appear to “contain & collect” more of what we all want. Your thoughts?

    • Rambo January 23, 2013 at 10:42 pm - Reply

      I didn’t read the whole article but I assume you are talking about the part in which they suggest covering the material with tin foil to keep any vaporized canabinoids from dissipating? I’m going to go with worthless extra step but if that makes you more comfortable, go for it.

      • Traveler Two January 24, 2013 at 7:35 am - Reply

        Thanks, going with 240 for 60 from now on. I don’t need any more ‘worthless steps’ and only question the scientific validity of covering to decarb.

        I am probably the only one curious enough to ask you for the specific scientific evidence of ‘not covering during the process.’ Your thoughts?

        • Rambo January 24, 2013 at 10:37 pm - Reply

          Well, they suggest the point of covering it is to “trap” any vaporized cannabinoids from leaving the product, but we know the vaporization temperatures for these compounds. If you are keeping your temp below 240 then its a non issue.

          • E rock April 14, 2013 at 12:56 pm -

            Something I read elsewhere, in regards to covering while decarbing, is that is may happen more readily with less oxygen preset, or in a vacuum.

            Say, a sealed mason jar in the oven (won’t explode i’ve done it. though i maybe cautious if it was some wet heavy trim or something from which a LOT of water may evaporate

      • Chummy Anthony April 29, 2014 at 5:56 am - Reply

        Not a wasted step when you consider Rick Simpsons recent discovery, that vaporizing and collecting, like a covered jar and to a lesser extent, a foil covered container, significantly increases thc percentage. I have yet to study his findings and if anyone finds them please share. tokes2ya:)-Chummy

  9. Steve January 23, 2013 at 3:39 pm - Reply

    I ended up putting 2 ground-up grams into an oz of glycerine in a mason jar. The jar has been on the candle warmer for about a week, I was concerned about the high heat so i placed a folded up napkin under the jar. I’m going to give it another day so it will have been cooking a full week. I will post the result at some point. Taking your advise into consideration, I want to make an alcohol only tincture then one with mostly glycerine and some alcohol. All in the interest of science ;)

  10. Brother Sweetleaf February 14, 2013 at 2:49 pm - Reply

    This has been the single-most power-packed blast of helpful info I’ve found in a while. I’ve been posting on forums & asking questions, but there’s been few responses that are even a fraction as thorough as this article (and the answers to the comments following the article). Sincerely, I am at a loss for words, because this answered so much. There are still questions, undoubtedly, but I may be able to figure out the answers now that I’ve got all this great info.

    Rambo, you are The Man.

    • Rambo February 18, 2013 at 8:07 pm - Reply

      Thanks. You are to kind.

      • Mary June 7, 2014 at 10:12 pm - Reply

        …too kind not to kind

      • Bob Miller July 8, 2014 at 2:34 pm - Reply

        Thank’s Rambo this is the best link I have come across in all my searching , keep up the good work ..I am treating myself with Oil that is high in CBD’s with no THC ! Oh yea I have COPD ,I don’t know what I am doing I thought that if I take the oil orally that the oil would work into my lungs I’m also vaporizing the oil and some good bud , If you have any suggestions I would appreciate any and all . I have been using this oil for about 1 month and I don’t feel I am getting much good out of it . Thank’s

    • Chummy Anthony April 29, 2014 at 5:58 am - Reply

      Right on Brother!

  11. February 25, 2013 at 6:35 am - Reply

    Great post.

    It is kind of interesting to see the look on someone’s face when you tell them:

    “No, there is no psycho-active compound in Cannabis”

  12. February 25, 2013 at 6:37 am - Reply

    PS Do you mind if I post this material on my website? I would link back to your site. Thanks.

    • Rambo March 3, 2013 at 9:18 pm - Reply

      Feel free to post with credit noted. We appreciate the link.

  13. islandboy March 2, 2013 at 11:54 am - Reply

    Brudda Rambo! Many thanks for sharing!

    • Rambo March 3, 2013 at 9:15 pm - Reply

      I’m glad you enjoyed the article. I have many more like this floating around in my head. If only I had more time…

  14. Brian March 2, 2013 at 6:28 pm - Reply

    I’m curious about making oil infusions. One method I seem to have had success with is with a crock pot – e.g., 1/2 oz. bud, 1 1/4 oil (grape seed), and 4 cups of water. I leave it cook for 8-10 hours. Finally, I chill the mixture and separate the water and oil. Is this an effective method for decarboxylating cannabis and would you suggest any preparation beforehand or any other tweaks?

    • Rambo March 3, 2013 at 9:14 pm - Reply

      I don’t know if you are getting full decarboxylation and only testing would tell us. The alternative would be to decarb the bud before you mix it with the oil and water. Question, what is the purpose of the water since oil and water don’t mix anyway?

      • Geff June 23, 2013 at 10:12 am - Reply

        I’ve made a lot of cannabutter. The water is probably the best medium for releasing the trichomes from the vegetative matter. I simmer at just below a boil for about two hours. Depending on the elevation at which you do this, the 200+ degrees should decarboxylate the THCA.
        I do know that my results are killer. Not too much science here but my butter doesn’t lie.

      • Alfi August 6, 2013 at 9:55 am - Reply

        I’ve made the observation that the oil will normally gather in more or less one “pool” of oil in the water, where also most of the plant matter will be attracted to.
        I’m also guessng boiling the trichomes would make them liquid, thusly binding to the oil when it comes in contact with it.

        It”s also more convenient to collect the processed oil from the water bath, than to have to stand and pour and use a plastic scraper to make sure youre not loosing valuable drops of medicine. Remember, not everyone have their own garden – some of us have to go meet shady people in shady alleys to get our medicine. Waste not, want not and so forth :D

    • aam April 8, 2014 at 7:38 pm - Reply

      brian- crock pot with water probably will not work. boiled it with butter in water before and it was ineffective.

      • Chummy Anthony April 29, 2014 at 6:06 am - Reply

        Ya did it wrong! The butter, water, cannabis recipe works for millions of people worldwide. It must be your method. Prob too high a temp. Most electric stoves vary by as much as 40 deg F. Never never trust the setting on your stove. Always use an electronic thermometer which sells for less than ten bucks here in Nova Scotia. Liquid thermometers are too slow to respond in real time.

  15. Joseph March 4, 2013 at 11:34 am - Reply

    Thanks for the great info here! I am wondering if you can decarb by vacuum sealing the herbs and poaching them in a sous vide machine at 210 degrees for 2 hours. A sous vide machine is a low temperature water bath that keeps the temperature within 1 degree accuracy for as long as needed. For example, you can cook a steak medium rare at 131 degrees for 2 days and it’s incredibly tender. This would cause no smell and you could leave at 210 degrees for as long as needed, I assume 2 hours or more. My biggest concern with this method and question for you, is does the herb need air to decarb or can it be done under the conditions of being vacuum sealed. Thank you!

    • Rambo March 25, 2013 at 8:19 pm - Reply

      This is a great idea and it may be the perfect solution to maximizing temperature control while not loosing any of the terpines. I honestly don’t know if it needs air to decarb but there is an easy way to find out. Give it a try and see how it works. Report back and let me know what you find.

    • Toby June 13, 2013 at 9:28 am - Reply

      Did anyone try the sous vide method? If so please post your results. Thanks

  16. TeckSwagg March 4, 2013 at 2:28 pm - Reply

    I’ve been trying to find all the info I can before I attempt to make a high potency alcohol tincture out of kief. Does anyone have any thoughts on the max saturation level between the alcohol and the thc/kief?

    • TeckSwagg March 4, 2013 at 6:16 pm - Reply

      P.S. what do you guys think is the max amount of kief would be wise to use on a pint or a 5th for maximum potency without waste

      • Rambo March 25, 2013 at 8:23 pm - Reply

        well it depends on how much of the tincture you want to be a dose. I would say a gram should provide 5 to 10 doses so do the math from there.

    • Rambo March 25, 2013 at 8:21 pm - Reply

      I don’t really know but I have been curious about this myself. This is more of an issue for the extraction part. Once it is made you can evaporate off any unwanted alcohol to strengthen the tincture.

      • fifra November 14, 2013 at 4:32 pm - Reply

        I’ve seen a lot of people saying this around the web. So the THC and cannabinoids don’t evaporate with the alcohol?

        • Rambo November 19, 2013 at 5:51 pm - Reply

          no, they do not.

          • JT January 13, 2014 at 12:16 pm -

            If the THC and cannabinoids don’t evaporate at all, why not let all the alcohol evaporate?

            And also why would not adding a little water after the alcohol is almost completely evaporated cut down the taste while leaving the same potency?

          • aam April 8, 2014 at 7:42 pm -

            but you can soak up a non-decarboxylated tincture in a cotton ball, dry it, and put it in a vaporizer. trust me, it works.

  17. ledonz March 12, 2013 at 12:41 pm - Reply

    great article and helped a lot. used the 240-60min anhd am pleased with the results
    Question? i have about 180 grams of kief left along with trim and small buds and would like to hear your method of turning into hash. tried several systems and not to pleased with my results over the years
    anyone who did the research you did on kief must have a damn good method. another article perhaps?? or just an email with an outline is fine. thanks ledonz

    • Rambo March 25, 2013 at 8:42 pm - Reply

      Making hash pretty much boils down to extracting the oil from the thichomes. This requires a solvent of some kind. Butane is probably the most common, but CO2 works great if you have the correct equipment and tons of others can be used as well. Propane, Hexane, High Proof etc. bubble hash is pretty much the same thing as kief since the cannabinoids are not actually extracted from the trichomes, just the trichomes from the vegetation.

  18. Bob March 14, 2013 at 5:23 pm - Reply

    Well Done!

    I’ve been doing a lot of internet reading on decarboxylation lately. Your method is the 1st one I’ve seen with the support of lab testing. I’ve only tried two methods so far. 220f/30min and the 250f/30min both seemed to work but I had no way of knowing how well due to difference in material and application (edible/topical). Thanks to you at least I know I’m on the right track. I would like to find a lab in Colorado that does decarboxylation testing so I could hone my decarbs.

    Big Thanks for publishing your experiment!

    • Rambo March 25, 2013 at 8:45 pm - Reply

      Any lab that uses High Performance Liquid Chromatography can tell you the degree of the decarboxylation because the results will show levels of THCA and THC. When the THCA is 0% or close to it, you know your decarb is complete.

  19. Psykonaut Hitman March 18, 2013 at 9:06 am - Reply

    Thank you so much for this. Tremendous help for my cause.

  20. Brett March 23, 2013 at 12:49 pm - Reply

    Just read through this thread and am suprised that “Rambo” doesn’t understand why to do the water/oil method. I’ll help ya out with that.

    Just like you said that water and oil don’t mix, the purpose is that you can set the three ingredients cannibus, fat and water together and boil away. The heat of the infusion will never get higher than 212 degrees thus giving you heat for a better extraction and staying well below the point of killing any thc. Also the water draws out other chemicals, (sorry, no scientific data just info from research) that have no effect on the positive side of results. Just chlorophyl and stuff like that.

    Also decarbed as wee speak. My last batch had approximately .125g of bud per cookie. Relatively a low number. But, I believe because of the decarbing it increased the thc as you said above. I decarb at 275 for 15 minutes a typical 1/8th of headies in an altoid tin. Then just crumble into butter and make a batch of cookies. If anyone wants a recipe hmu. Peace.

    • Rambo March 25, 2013 at 8:57 pm - Reply

      Don’t be surprised if I don’t understand something. There is a whole lot I don’t understand. I am here to learn from all of you as well. Thanks for the comment.

  21. Ben March 26, 2013 at 5:36 pm - Reply

    Great, great article. Thank you for posting this.
    Just a thought but could the extra moisture after 30 minutes be because of the effect of the decarbing?
    What I mean to say is that when turning THCA into THC the by products of this are CO2 and H2O.
    So it’s the decarbing that creates the moisture (or water, H2O).
    Again, I’m no expert but it did cross my mind.

    • Rambo April 9, 2013 at 10:10 pm - Reply

      That was kind of what I was suspecting but I figured at those temperatures the H20 would evaporate.

      • d November 29, 2013 at 2:43 pm - Reply

        Superheated water?

  22. Ben March 26, 2013 at 5:48 pm - Reply

    I just have to say it again, this is the best article on decarboxylation there is anywhere.
    Great job man, you are far from an average joe.
    Thank you.

  23. some.guy April 1, 2013 at 3:03 pm - Reply

    Do you have any pictures or a discription of what it looks like when its done?

    • Rambo April 9, 2013 at 9:54 pm - Reply

      The look really does not change very much but a green cannabis will often turn kind of brown and crumbly

  24. Godzilla April 6, 2013 at 11:55 am - Reply

    Decarbed and made 1 and 1/2 tbsp coconut oil to try out. Slow cooked a steak in it and it worked amazingly.

  25. Strawberry April 7, 2013 at 1:58 pm - Reply

    I am a long time smoker presently exploring various options for non-smoking consumption – need high pain relief capabilities with minimum offensive “side-effects” for someone who can’t/won’t smoke and isn’t keen on edibles or topical (salve) applications. For ease of use, tincture seemed the most practical, and ethanol based was the plan, but I am conflicted about choices for plant matter and methods. Would high quality hash in an ethanol base be effective? I am concerned about the decarb step – hoping that using hash would eliminate this step? My logic being the following: hash should have a very high THC content (because of its nature would have to already have been decarbed, otherwise it would be much to dense and sticky to decarb with the same method as trim or keif), allowing me to use substantially less initial product, ethanol as a solvent should do the trick for breaking down any of the plant waxes left, making this a little speedier. Combine the ethanol and hash and we’re good to go or will I just end up with muddy lookin’ Everclear and no pain relief? Do you have any experience or pointers regarding this thought?

    • Rambo April 9, 2013 at 9:46 pm - Reply

      I am pretty sure that Ethanol is poisonous so I would us high proof. Most Hash is not decaroxilated so you would need to do that first if you plan to use hash. There is no reason however that you need to use hash. You can make a fine product with trim that other might consider garbage and throw away.

      • BlueRoux April 13, 2013 at 4:04 am - Reply

        Indeed, no need to waste good hash.
        Follow the directions at the link below, noting that there are a few corrections along the way (specifically on decarb time/temps, the best and most forgiving range was 250 deg for 30 min), and you will have excellent strong medicine that does wonders for pain while maintaining a clear head and giving a pleasant feeling of floating on a cloud of post-coital endorphines.

      • Alex August 24, 2013 at 9:30 pm - Reply

        Ethanol is everyday drinking alcohol. Methanol is what kills and makes people blind.

        most labs get denatured ethanol which contains a small amount of methanol so people dont try and drink it

  26. gaffs April 7, 2013 at 8:52 pm - Reply

    i decarbed using a food dryer set at 95 degree for 8 hours. i use this for alcohol tincture (everclear/glycern)It seems that the jury is out on how long the extractiom process should take.Through tril 7 error i find that 30 days is too long and leaves a more bitter taste to the finished product. i have it down to 5 days with shaking every dayone strained and in your bottle age it for a week or more in a dark place at around 60 degrees

  27. dystopian April 9, 2013 at 3:25 am - Reply

    After decarboxylation will the plant still have the same medicinal effects for pain relief, glaucoma, inflammation, etc? Also if further heating is required in order to make a tincture, or for cooking, should the decarboxylation period be reduced accordingly, or will it not make a major difference?

    • Rambo April 9, 2013 at 9:42 pm - Reply

      Well if you are planning to ingest the plant material the only way you will get any pain relief is from decarbing it before eating it. You can’t decarb something too much as long as you keep the temperatures low. At some point it is done and can’t be done any further though. It would be wise to do it before cooking with it to make sure it is done fully.

      • fifra November 14, 2013 at 4:43 pm - Reply

        I’m a bit confused about this. Is dried bud already decarboxylated to some degree? I have made tincture without decarboxylating several times, and it always worked for me. The effects were similar to that of other edibles and there was definitely a strong high.

        This is my normal method: I use 1 gram of well-ground, dry bud (plus a few scoops of kief if I have some) in one oz of Everclear and let it sit for as long as I can wait. (I know many people say a few days is sufficient, but I usually wait a few weeks just in case). I don’t heat it up at any point so if what you’re saying is true about decarbing being necessary for psychoactive effects, my bud must have already been somewhat decarbed, right?

        • Rambo November 19, 2013 at 5:52 pm - Reply

          Either that or your are experiencing the placebo effect

  28. Joystik April 12, 2013 at 7:38 am - Reply

    I was ding what Steve did, sort of. I’ve been using a candle warmer and glycerin. It never occurred to me that I should decarb BEFORE i mix the glycerin with cannabis. I was just mixing it all together and letting it cook. I put a cooking thermometer on my candle warmer with a ceramic cup over it, and it stays at 180 F. How long should I let the cannabis decarb for at 180 F?

    • Rambo April 17, 2013 at 8:22 pm - Reply

      I would imagine a few hours would do the trick, but I’m not an expert on this. That is why I created the experiment and wrote the article. Looking for answers just like the rest of you.

  29. BlueRoux April 13, 2013 at 3:51 am - Reply

    Dercarboxylation times/temps/effectiveness chart:

    The definitive Green (and Gold) Dragon (cannatincture) thread @, with lots of good info on decarbing:

  30. DragonTat2 April 13, 2013 at 8:56 pm - Reply

    Raw cannabis has fantastic healing properties, including pain reduction. A benefit to ingesting raw cannabis is that mass quantities of the other healing and therapeutic cannabinoids can be consumed without any couch-lock caused by decarboxylated THC(A). When the liver is allowed to decarboxylate the cannabinoids, there are different reactions to the medicine. Cures including cancer, like RSO only different.
    Look up the video, Leaf, on youtube. Also Cannabis International. It’s a dot org. There is a wealth of information, and Dr. Courtney’s videos explain volumes. He is a frequent speaker at Hempfest, etc., with a cannabis based medical practice located in the Emerald Triangle city of Jasper, California. (He is also the state representative for the entire Northern Cali coast.)

    • kim January 19, 2014 at 3:34 am - Reply

      you can do an alcohol wash of fresh dried ground material with low temperature evaporation and still keep the ‘acid’ form of thc & cbd. Juicing of fresh cannabis is a good method but yields little. I’m hoping an alcohol extraction of fresh material will yield more than the juicing method and extract more medicine than juicing but this is to be determined. I believe if you use the juicing method you can evaporate the juice to a powder like powdered wheat grass juice and put in capsules to ingest.

    • MattMatt July 19, 2014 at 5:33 pm - Reply

      THC-Acid is very medicinal too but is not considered anywhere near as effective as decarboxylated THC for fighting cancer. The biggest advantage to raw THC-Acid is the larger quantities you can consume but it doesn’t have the same cancer killing effects of THC. So if you are trying to treat cancer cooking is essential. Both are good for your overall treatment but properly made RSO is supposed to be decarboxylated, there is no evidence that raw oil is better, or even as good at fighting cancer as cooked so while I wouldn’t discourage its use I would discourage using it instead of cooked.

  31. Joystik April 18, 2013 at 8:38 am - Reply

    BlueRoux, the picture you posted from medicanmarijuana says the results were from the heating of the extract, so they mixed it with alcohol (or whichever solvent) before decarb. I would assume, which the graph shows, that higher temperatures have a higher thc result because it was mixed first. Same reason why salt water has a higher boiling temperature, sort of.

    Please correct me if I am wrong, but I still believe the data of 240 degrees from Rambo is more valid.

  32. Benevolent Bud a April 18, 2013 at 7:06 pm - Reply

    Wow! Ask and yee shall receive. I am planning to bake edibles for patients for our local 420 event. I googled “what temperature should cannabis be cooked at?” And found this link. Jackpot! Rambo thank you for your research and ability to explain it all in terms an extremely non scientific mind could understand. I feel very confident that my treats will be at their peak medicinal performance. Happy 420 to you.

  33. Benevolent Bud a April 18, 2013 at 7:15 pm - Reply

    Correction on the wording of my question
    ” what temperature releases the oils in cannabis?”
    your link was the first on the page. I am one happy girl.

  34. SgtPyroman April 20, 2013 at 10:26 am - Reply

    While you have provided a very interesting and detailed article, much of your information is superfluous, as marijuana was originally made legal for medicinal purposes rather than recreational.

    Cannabis should NEVER be decarboxylated when used for medicinal purposes (especially when physical ailments are involved), because THC decarboxylated from its acid component has lost much of its medicinal value.

    The above video and link (which DragonTat2 originally references) to the international organization has at least five offices worldwide, includes highly-accurate research and testimonials by doctors, scientists, patients, caretakers, legal professionals such as state representatives, senators, law enforcement officers, and attorneys explaining all of this in great detail.

    • kim January 19, 2014 at 3:45 am - Reply

      actually it has been proven that THC is medicinal. yes the medical benefits of thc-acid are coming forward now but please don’t discount THC as medicine (marinol/dronabinol) and more THC is easily obtained than THC-acid since you can only get the acid form from fersh leaf (no bud) material (which yeild little juice)

  35. Jon April 27, 2013 at 10:46 pm - Reply

    HELLP NEEDED! I tried making a tincture for the first time and have my ground herb sitting in a jar with high proof alcohol for almost week now- I skipped the decarb step at the beginning, and am wondering if I can decarb now, or If its too late
    I’m really hoping that I didn’t waste a bunch of good herb. Any thoughts?

    • Rambo May 1, 2013 at 10:58 pm - Reply

      Simply evaporate off the alcohol until you have a tar like hash left over, decarb what is left, then add fresh alcohol back in.

    • Rambo August 26, 2013 at 10:48 pm - Reply

      … Or, heat the alcohol and cannabis mixture in a double boiler and bring it up to boiling. A lot of the alcohol will evaporate off so you may need to add more after to bring the potency back in line with what you want.

      • MoonStar September 10, 2013 at 2:45 pm - Reply

        Rice cooker works well for evaporating alcohol. Please STAY AWAY FROM ANY FLAMES. Alcohol evaporating is HIGHLY FLAMMABLE. Do not attempt inside. Some use fans to blow vapor away from heating source. Peace.

      • kim January 19, 2014 at 4:35 am - Reply

        can you heat the tincture w a cover so the alcohol won’t evaporate so much or will the pressure build too high.

  36. Chris in WI April 29, 2013 at 9:36 pm - Reply

    Decarboxylation is removing the carboxylate group COOH not CO2. Learn to properly cure your buds (cure your trim for better hash results too). The old timers figured this stuff out before scientists ever thought to figure out why it works!

    • Rambo May 1, 2013 at 10:55 pm - Reply

      Curing properly will get you part way there, but it does not turn THCA into THC. If you are smoking or vaporizing it doesn’t matter, but if you are making tinctures or edibles that don’t require cooking, a good cure will not replace decarbing.

      • John November 20, 2013 at 8:31 am - Reply

        Hi I’m kinda new to decarboxylating and I wanted to know of an alternative to using an oven

      • steph December 22, 2013 at 11:30 am - Reply

        so if I am planning to make candy, where I wud add tincture to 300 degree candy wud I need to decarb?

    • savagehenrey December 7, 2013 at 6:06 am - Reply

      Yes the COOH (carboxylic acid) group is what breaks off of the THCA compound but COOH is a proton (H+) donor, so the byproduct is H2O and CO2

      • savagehenrey December 7, 2013 at 8:00 am - Reply

        Sorry, I misspoke; -COOH is a carboxyl group.

  37. Christopher Sawtell May 1, 2013 at 4:08 am - Reply

    I just dry my weed very throughly, dose by dose, in a small airtight container which is also three-quarters filled with freshly dried silica-gel. I keep the silical-gel separate from the weed with a layer of filter-paper and a plastic grid. I just screw the lid on to the little pottle tightly, and leave it somewhere nice and warm for a few days. Practical bio-assay methods confirm that decarboxilation has successfully taken place.

    • Rambo May 1, 2013 at 10:50 pm - Reply

      So I see how this may be a viable method for drying very small quantities of cannabis, but please explain what you mean by “Practical bio-assay methods confirm that decarboxilation” This really does not mean anything to me. Drying cannabis and decarboxilation are not the same thing.

  38. Yuush May 3, 2013 at 5:12 am - Reply

    Hi Rambo!

    Very useful info, thank you.

    Do you think the same values would apply for hashish?

    • Rambo May 4, 2013 at 8:42 pm - Reply

      The same values should apply

  39. medright May 4, 2013 at 6:08 am - Reply

    The higher water content after 30 minutes could be related to several factors. Another is condensation. A high h2o content sample (compared to the environment-the stove interior) is placed into a lower concentration h2o environment with significant temperature variances. So, h2o in the environment is seeking a lower energy state, settles on the plant matter until temp in the plant matter reverses and evaporation occurs due to the increase heat level.

    On the effect coming from decarbox, isn’t the carbon and h2o already in the plant matter? We’re just adding heat as a catalyst for the rxn correct?

    • Rambo May 4, 2013 at 8:38 pm - Reply

      I think we are getting a bit above my pay grade with this. Interesting speculations though.

  40. Mike Presson May 10, 2013 at 6:43 pm - Reply

    Terrifically informative and well presented. Thank you!

  41. Mark.B May 14, 2013 at 3:00 am - Reply

    Ok, so do you think I would get the same (or close) decarb results if I simmer it in H2O and butter @200 for 2 hrs; or in oil @ 240 for 1 hr.?? Would any THC evaporate out of the H20, should I cover it???

    • Rambo May 22, 2013 at 11:43 pm - Reply

      yes, you can decarb in butter. this is what happens on its own when people make canna butter or make edibles with cannabis.

  42. bombfest May 17, 2013 at 9:49 am - Reply

    Nice guide you have written. very informative with confimed results which makes it that much more credible.

    Just in regards to tempature vs time for decarboxylation, a few observations ive made and resulting inferences (bare in mind im no expert).

    So from what ive read you state that THCA degrades to THC just in ambient heat and that rasing the temprature speeds up the release of carbon dioxide from THCA conciderably.
    You also state that decarboxylation is not lt nessesary if self administration is via burning/vaporisation as at these tempatures THCA is converted mostly to THC in the say 5 seconds it burns.

    This seems like a chemical rather than organic reaction. that THCA is ‘unstable’ if you will losing carbon molocules and that this process speeds up as the tempature is increased.
    Intresting to me is how quickly THCA converts to THC when smoked which would seem to susgest there is a ‘critical’ tempature at which point THCA can no longer hold onto its carbon dioxide molocule resulting in its conversion.

    Is this right? What is this critical change tempature?

    Concidering these observations while pondering the disagreements on times and tempatures leads me to this possible conclusion. Is this possibly happening due to the people setting the oven higher for a shorter time bringing the THCA to the ‘critical tempature’ faster than the people who use a lower tempature? Keeping in mind that when you first place it in the oven its at room tempature and its tempature rises from there. Obviously its tempature would rise faster in the hotter enviroment. It would be intresting to measure the exact tempature of the material as it heats.

    I dont have the means or will but another intresting expriment to settle that debate and enlighten us all would be to finely chop/grind some marijuana up so its a uniform potency, then divide this into 3 equal weights. Bake each seperatly one at your tempature, one at a much lower tempature and one at a much higher tempature. Over the course of each bake take a sample at 5 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes and 60 minutes.

    From here you could graph the data, i would expect to see the raise in THC levels ranked by tempature highest to lowest. At some point the hotest would start to drop as THC vaporised and the next tempature overtake it in THC content.

    This makes me believe its plausable to use a higher tempature for a shorter time to achieve a similar result. Sure it would lose some THC but i think if you found the right tempature for density/volume on marijuana this loss would be minimal.

    Also am i really ripped or did your keif THC + THCA content drop slightly over the expriment?

  43. Mike May 19, 2013 at 8:46 am - Reply

    Great info! Thanks.

    Just curious…. I am growing to make edibles. Can I take the plant straight from the planter and put it in the oven? Then make cannibutter? Or do I need to dry and cure it first? I don’t smoke it.

    • Rambo May 22, 2013 at 11:31 pm - Reply

      You don’t need to cure it, but I would air dry it first. Do you need to? Probably not, but I would.

  44. louie08 May 23, 2013 at 3:28 pm - Reply

    If you started the extraction process with a high proof alcohol without decarboxylating the cannabis is there a way to decarboxylate the THCa in the alcohol? Can you just heat the alcohol mixture.

    • Rambo June 10, 2013 at 11:13 am - Reply

      Yes, this method works but when you heat alcohol it evaporates into a flammable gas so proceed with caution.

  45. Will May 31, 2013 at 8:32 pm - Reply

    Hey Rambo, I am an avid edibles maker, who is just beginning to work with some bho, and I was curious if you have any history with that? While I’m cooking the oil, it steadily releases bubbles, which begin to trickle toward the end of the timer. I was wondering if you think this is the decarboxylation occuring here, and also when the bubbles cease to occur, would you agree this is a way for me to judge that the decarboxylation is completed?

    • Rambo June 10, 2013 at 11:00 am - Reply

      I think you are on the right track here. I am guessing your bubbles are a good indicator but I’m not scientist so can’t tell you for certain.

  46. fuzzman June 9, 2013 at 10:07 am - Reply

    I have made Green Dragon a few times before with the results ranging from very disappointing to totally awesome. The decarb process is the critical step, and I have long wondered what the optimal time/temp combination is. This thread is wicked cool and a huge help. Thanks!

  47. Troy June 11, 2013 at 1:29 pm - Reply

    Hey I have a question. What size Pyrex bowl were you using for the amount of cannabis you used?

    • Rambo June 17, 2013 at 11:23 am - Reply

      I used a small custard size dish, but I don’t think it makes any difference.

  48. Laney111 June 17, 2013 at 6:25 pm - Reply

    THANK YOU! I have been searching ages for an article THIS CLEAR! <3 You rock!

  49. drblue June 21, 2013 at 6:29 am - Reply

    Hi Rambo, thank you so much for this informative and useful article. I have needed to find an alternative to pulling cannabis into my lungs for a long time and think I’ve finally found it! With so much information on the web it’s hard to get reliable data on how to do it properly and I’d tried a couple of times, only to waste.

    Before I found your article, I had boiled then brought to a simmer for 2 hours: water, butter and dried ground bud. My understanding was that boiling in water keeps the temp at 212 degrees F. After reading your article and no means of testing, I figured that this may have been a good balance to your 1 hour @ 240 degrees. After cooling it, I baked the butter into chocolate & peanut butter chip cookies, which turned out great, with each cookie equaling about 1/8 gram or one pretty good toke.

    But I’m thinking that a tincture may be the way to go.

    My question is: if you decarboxylate in water like I did or dry like you did, and then bake it at 350 for 15 minutes or cook it as an ingredient in a recipe, doesn’t that further break down or vaporize the cannabinoids or THC or other good stuff? That is, if I took the bud butter I made and spread it on toast or a cracker, wouldn’t it be more potent? It seems to me that cooking it twice might be overdoing or losing something. Any thoughts?

    • Rambo June 23, 2013 at 11:01 am - Reply

      I’m glad you found the article helpful. To answer your question, you can’t over decarboxylate cannabis. It is either fully decarboxylated or partially but once it get to 100% it doesn’t keep going. That being said, temperatures that are to high will vaporize the cannabinoids and you will loose them. This likely happens to some degree when you bake edibles in the oven at 350. That being said, enough is probably trapped that you still have a mighty potent brownie.

  50. Farmer Ted June 27, 2013 at 7:53 pm - Reply

    Very precise information Rambo, congratulations. I’d like to have your opinion on this : let’s suppose there’s a safe way to decarb in high proof alcohol at 240F or above, in a sealed high pressure vessel. Would there be significant gains to this approach, or am I just wasting my time?

    • Rambo July 9, 2013 at 1:19 pm - Reply

      I have talked to a few people who do it this way and they say it works quite well. The key word is safe.

      • Chummy Anthony April 29, 2014 at 7:03 am - Reply

        Temps to evaporate alcohol above 194 deg f will produce fusal oil which is the chemical that causes hangovers. Other poison compounds evaporate off at higher temps as well. Just sayin!

  51. Adam June 30, 2013 at 10:13 am - Reply


    Regarding the increased moisture content after 30 minutes in the oven:

    The way that most ovens burn fuel (hydrocarbons) leave CO2 (or CO) and H2O as byproducts. It’s common in commercial settings to notice a damp oven when it first starts heating up, before the average temperature is hot enough to dispel the moisture before it gets a chance to build up.

    Preheating your oven (perhaps longer than the preheat cycle), should make that a non-issue.

  52. Rich June 30, 2013 at 4:44 pm - Reply

    Hi just dropped in today, nice place you got by the way, and I’ve got a question.
    So if I set my vaporizer to less than 240, the spent bud regarded as waste is converted into a higher drug if eaten or extracted.
    Q. So why waste good dope on an oven your not going to sleep with.

    • Rambo July 9, 2013 at 1:15 pm - Reply

      If you vaporize at 240 degrees F you are likely getting very few of the cannabinoids in the cannabis because this temperature is to low for vaporization. As for your Q. I don’t sleep with my oven and I have no idea what you are talking about. Ask clear and concise questions if you want answers.

  53. Angel Jimenez July 2, 2013 at 8:46 am - Reply

    I vaporize @200 degrees C. I found that what remains can be slow cooked in coconut oil (150 F for a few hours)–in effect, doubling the mileage. Actually, perhaps quadrupling it as the high lasts so much longer when ingested.

    Thanks for a great post.

  54. Tommy July 16, 2013 at 9:34 pm - Reply

    Sorry if this question sounds a little stupid or slow, but decarboxylazation would occur even if the kief or plant matter was in oil correct? And then if it did the oil would contain all the canabinoids correct?

    • Rambo July 16, 2013 at 9:39 pm - Reply

      Cannabis will decarboxylate in oil, or in pretty much any other substance it is in as long as there is heat. This takes place when you make butter as well as when you make with that butter or oil.

  55. Saddletramp July 17, 2013 at 4:52 am - Reply

    I don’t have a conventional oven. Tried using a toaster oven with a thermometer and burned it all up, all the product was wasted. I’m wondering if anybody has had any success decarbing in a crock pot?

    • Rambo July 20, 2013 at 7:22 pm - Reply

      A crockpot will work if your are making oil or butter, it will decarb while you make it.

  56. drblue August 9, 2013 at 3:27 pm - Reply

    Hi Rambo,
    I’ve been reading that with age and heat THC into CBN causing a more sedative effect, “Fresh samples of marijuana contain very little CBN but curing, poor storage, or processing such as when making hashish, can cause much of the THC to be oxidized to CBN. Pure forms of CBN have at most 10 percent of the psychoactivity of THC.

    Like CBD, it is suspected of potentiating certain aspects of the high, although so far these effects appear to be slight. CBN seems to potentiate THC’s disorienting qualities. One may feel more dizzy or drugged or generally messed up but not necessarily higher.

    In fact, with a high proportion of CBN, the high may start well but feels as if it never quite reaches its peak, and when coming down one feels tired or sleepy. High CBN in homegrown grass is not desirable since it represents a loss of 90 percent of the psychoactivity of its precursor THC.” (copied from

    Do you know anything about this? Such as, wouldn’t over decarboxylation cause this breakdown, or how can one minimize CBN conversion if trying to minimize sedative effects, in both decarbing and making extracts in fats or heated alcohol?

    • Rambo August 23, 2013 at 11:42 pm - Reply

      My understanding is that THC does not turn into CBN after the buds are harvested but THC degrades into CBN if the plant is allowed to continue to grow past full maturity. I don’t know that much about it but I know that CBN will not increase over time once the buds are harvested. Decarbing will not effect CBN levels.

  57. Jimbo August 15, 2013 at 3:33 pm - Reply

    Apologies mod, for misplacement

    I’d like to echo praise for the article and comments, and ask:

    1. When making alcohol tincture, having decarb’d, does the container need to be sealed? Obviously some alcohol will evaporate, but will the boiling/evap. point of the dissolved THC be lowered and evaporate with it? Certain posts seem to suggest not but clarification would be excellent
    I’m aware of my display of ignorance of what is probably quite basic chemistry there

    2. Removal of moisture alone does not constitute decarboxylation. Fine. However, is the COOH NECESSARILY lost as moisture is? That is to say – does moisture loss in fact represent decarb’ing and are they part of the same chemical reaction? (COOH release being infeasible to measure)
    I agree it seems strange that water loss should require any chemical reaction but…

    This I ask because some, within their domains, seemingly reputable posters advocate and describe decarb’ing with nothing more than freezing for a few hours – the freezing drawing out the moisture and I can only presume COOH with it.

    3. Does soaking raw in room temp/chilled alcohol decarb if given long enough? Does the alcohol perhaps inhibit the process?

    Thankyou kind people

    • Rambo August 23, 2013 at 11:31 pm - Reply

      1. when salt water evaporates, what is left behind? Salt or nothing? Same principles applies to THC in Alcohol.
      2. Decarbing requires heat it has nothing to do with drying your cannabis. You can dry it until in turns to dust and still have THCA.
      3. Soaking cannabis in alcohol does not decarb cannabis.
      4. I wrote a whole damn article on how to decarb cannabis. If you want to know how to do it, just follow the steps I took. They are pretty clearly spelled out above. Don’t make it harder then it needs to be.

    • kim January 19, 2014 at 6:09 am - Reply

      a little something on tinctures (no hijack)
      Tinctures can be made by steeping herbs in pure grain alcohol, vinegar and/or distilled water, or by pressing them through a tincture press. Those that come through a tincture press are purer and more concentrated, and using a press allows you to get that last little bit of concentrated herbal goodness out of the herbs that you are pressing.

  58. DYB August 17, 2013 at 1:18 am - Reply

    Rambo, your information is very useful for me… I am a home brewer and would love to incorporate herb into a hoppy, high alcohol content home brew. I was wondering your opinion on how I should go about getting the psycho active effect in the beer… Should I just Decarb bud in the oven and throw it into the fermented wort? Also, if the vape temp is 314 and boil point of THC is 246 why can’t I Decarb in the boil @ 214 for a couple hours? Please help thanks for the all this great stuff.

    • Rambo August 23, 2013 at 11:24 pm - Reply

      I would make an extraction with high proof first. Evaporate off most of the high proof so what remains is highly concentrated with THC. Then add the desired dose to the beer as you are bottling it.

      • DYB August 27, 2013 at 12:39 am - Reply

        So, ur saying I should Decarb in oven @ 200 for 2 hrs then soak in high proof? How long would you recomend soak? Thank you so very much for your wisdom

    • Heaseba September 19, 2013 at 7:48 pm - Reply

      Jeff.. I make ginger beer. Last batch I added about 1 ice cube worth of fresh cannabis juice to a pint bottle. The result was.. totally unexpected. First the ginger beer carbonated overnight!! It usually takes 7 days. Secondly it totally changed the flavor of the ginger beer. I don’t know how to describe the flavor (other than pleasant), and I can barely taste the ginger. Thirdly.. it increased the sweetness exponentially. Obviously there is no ‘high’ as it is not decarb’ed. I wonder if I merely brought the juice to the boil, before adding to the mixture, if it would decarb..? interesting hypothesis.
      I also had a comment for Strawberry needing pain relief without being messed up.. You will need to get a low THC high CBD variety like Charlotts Web or Cannatonic #4. these will give great pain relief without any high so your patient can still function.
      Also.. I am a gardener… I have tried but CAN NOT grow cannabis..Thank God for my caregiver!!
      On the subject of tinctures.. I want to try a glycerine one as the alcohol ones burn my mouth.

  59. Cliff August 18, 2013 at 12:07 pm - Reply

    I’m 68 yrs old and suffer from gulacoma & severe depression. I’ve been treated at the va hospital. Will proof of my medical history be enough to allow me to get a prescriptlon to purchase medical mariajuna legally?

    Also if I grow my own how long do I have to wait ,after planting,before harvesting and using it? And where can I get those little bottles?

    • VAVet August 20, 2013 at 6:41 pm - Reply

      Hey Cliff, hope you get to feeling better. Not sure what state you are in but California you can get a medical card for anywhere between 40-75$ or so. You may use it as soon as you get it and they will go over uses, rules and things with you IF you go someplace reputable. Don’t trust those Skype doctors or whatever. I picked Medicann for mine. Good luck to you.

      • donna May 9, 2014 at 4:41 pm - Reply

        …or move here to Washington state

  60. VAVet August 20, 2013 at 6:45 pm - Reply

    Rambo you are like the Mr Wizard of decarboxylating! Thank you for doing all the hard work and putting this info out there. Edibles usually do not work for me at all, but I am thinking of trying something like homemade tootsie rolls with coconut oil and decarbed kief. Really appreciate all the tips so I don’t waste things on a fixed Veteran’s income. Blessings

  61. Jeff August 22, 2013 at 4:50 am - Reply

    I’ve been doing this method for almost 2 years, almost modifying it everytime. My last batch was a lil over 200g’s being cooked into 2 sticks of butter. The cookies cooked out almost a neon, vibrant “grass” green. Anyone besides my mom and I who ate just 1 cookie lightweight hallucinated and didnt make it past 20 min of ingestion before passin out. RECIPE:
    280 for 10min, then as follows:
    245 for 25min,
    265 for 15min.
    270 for 10min.
    Then lastly, 250 for 15min.

  62. abdul September 11, 2013 at 11:56 am - Reply

    Is it possible to decarb a tincture? I have obviously made the same mistake and don’t want to waste what I have. Please offer suggestions. Thanks

    • Rambo October 2, 2013 at 9:06 pm - Reply

      you can heat the tinctures in a well ventilated room and let it cook down. You will need to add more alcohol later or the potency will increase. Be careful.

  63. abdul September 11, 2013 at 4:08 pm - Reply

    Great post Rambo,
    I appreciate all the good insight. I have a question now that I understand the decarb process thanks to you. I’ve seen so many videos and read so much on how to make a proper and potent trim tincture. I’m using high grade alcohol. I’ve heard I should soak the trim in the alcohol anywhere from 2hrs to 30days. What can you or anyone suggest a solid time would b to soak my trim tincture before straining? Time is of the essence but I don’t want to sacrifice leaving valuble THC behind.

    • Rambo October 2, 2013 at 9:05 pm - Reply

      I honestly don’t know but I plan on running and experiment on this at some point.

  64. Cory September 13, 2013 at 2:25 pm - Reply

    Great article.Is there any advantage to decarbing and then smoking or vaporizing either through the oven method or water simmer method or is this naturally done through the burning process when smoked. Hope this makes sense. Just looking for a way to increase potency I guess.

    • Rambo October 2, 2013 at 9:00 pm - Reply

      You didn’t read the whole article did you? decarbing is done when you smoke or vaporize

  65. Howard,gravity September 13, 2013 at 5:17 pm - Reply

    I found something real cool,
    My crockpot hi setting is 275 (close enough to 220)
    so I just decarb in my crockpot.

    I like my weed ground fine before when I make tincture so I blend it with water before it goes into the crockpot. I place the ground weed and water in the crock pot. It takes a while to evaporate the water off and until this takes place it won’t go above 200.( you can skip this step if you don’t care if your weed is ground. After it is dry it goes up to 275 for a while (how long is up to you) not being to critical I would say between 30 and 90 min ( it doesn’t require much to leave it go for a while).
    After it is decarbed I add the ever clear slowly as not to crack the crockpot, let sit a while on warm at 130 (great for transfer) and strain.
    Kind of an all in one cooking system :). no muss no fuss.
    This is a nice site and I appreciate it.

    I use ever clear because I like the idea of a food grade product.

    One question still unclear to me is the thc to ever clear ratio. It seems to me if the tincture thc percent is 10 then the dregs are still 10% is there any benefit in washing the dregs again and evaporating the alchol off? and is there any close to known minimum amount of alcohol to weed ratio.

    • savagehenrey December 7, 2013 at 9:37 am - Reply

      Good idea with the crockpot method. I would calibrate the temperature gauge on it first before a large batch, who knows how close the thermometer has to be on those things or how well the thermostat is actually working. Is the reason for the initial water step to make sure the cannabis is being evenly heated? And I would go as far to say that a second extraction of the dregs wouldn’t hurt because there is a good chance you didn’t get a 100% recovery during your first extraction. At the very least you can rinse the dregs with more alcohol. The additional percent recovery from a second extraction and/or a rinsing is probably not enough to make a noticeable difference, but anything worth doing is worth doing right!

  66. temp September 16, 2013 at 12:50 pm - Reply

    How about this article? They decarbed for 30 min at 145C (293F) which left them with a lot of THC, and almost no terpenes. Even heating the product for 5 min in close 100C greatly reduces the terpene levels..

    • Rambo October 2, 2013 at 8:48 pm - Reply

      Personally I want terpenes. Some of them have almost as much medicinal effect as cannabinoids and they work synergistically.

  67. ApothecaryExtractor September 16, 2013 at 7:39 pm - Reply

    I would recommend retaining all plant material in distilled H2O, applying heat to boil at 212 Degrees F for 30 to 60 minutes, or not to exceed the above noted findings of 246.2 degrees F (Use a candy thermometer. Reduce H2O solution to thick soup, add to 95% Ethanol 1:2 ratio and let sit for three weeks for extraction of decarboxylated herb, then add Distilled Water to herb ethanol solution to bring about 25%-40% alcohol for 2 and 4 ounce dropper bottles. Begin dosing to level of treatment 3 times per day.

  68. Stacey September 17, 2013 at 8:43 am - Reply

    Hi, I have severe chronic pancreatitis and am in svere pain daily, what is the best method for using cannabis for pain control, I am a long time smoker and it helps a lot witht the nausea. Thanks for your help, I am in a non legal state so can’t be real picky!

    • Rambo October 2, 2013 at 8:46 pm - Reply

      Edibles and tinctures work great for long term pain relief. A little cannabis can go a lot further and you are less likely to get in trouble for having a brownie in your car then a bag of weed.

  69. chris greenhough September 25, 2013 at 1:13 am - Reply

    while your list of vaporisation temperatures is correct it is not complete there are 483 different identifiable chemical constituents known to exist in cannabis. The most distinctive and specific class of compounds are the cannabinoids (66 known), that are only known to exist in the cannabis plant, you’ll find the compete list here:
    Whilst this articles give a more comprehensive listiing of all chemicals present in cannabis it unfortunately does not list all chemicals specifically nor does it give a list of vaporisation temperatures for all these substances, but if you want to know what cannabis is made of then this is interesting reading, but please read the full article as later entries update facts stated earlier on in the thread.

  70. eat@420 September 27, 2013 at 12:11 pm - Reply


    Thank you for taking the time to research and post your results. I have had many failed attempts. You have cleared up the mystery this definitely WORKS.

  71. moldy October 3, 2013 at 9:29 am - Reply

    Thanks for the info on de-carbing. I noticed that after the process that the remains smell like weed that has been vaporized. I didn’t get that smell on my first try but on my second try I used a pyrometer (probe) in the oven like you did and found I was 30-40F low on temperature.

  72. jared October 4, 2013 at 12:06 pm - Reply

    Will it work on regular ol buds too? I assume it might but id hate to ruin a quarter pound of buds

    • Rambo October 6, 2013 at 10:01 am - Reply

      yes, this works on all kinds of marijuana but works best if it is ground up first

  73. FarmerDamey October 7, 2013 at 7:57 am - Reply

    Thank you Rambo for such a thorough guide. I just finished reading every single response in this thread, and I still think decarboxylation is the most misunderstood component in edibles and tinctures. One thing I don’t think has been much mentioned- size of the grind- obviously a powder grind will be much more affected by 1 hour @ 240° than 1 or 2 mm sized bits will… Other than color, what other indications do we need to keep an eye out for? Feel? Dryness? My well dried and cured bud felt almost the same as before decarb- after 1 hour in a brand new preheated (for over 30 mins) oven (with separate oven thermometer). It’s almost as if the sticky, abundant trichomes just kind of melted together. My understanding is it should feel dry as powder, but maybe not? Also glad to read that you can’t over decarb- other boards don’t necessarily agree with that- they say degradation definitely occurs past a certain point. Makes sense so long as you don’t go too hot, you can’t hurt anything by vaporization. I’m highly encouraged however, as I made an alcohol tincture yesterday that has a lot of promise. I’m here to learn, so if anyone has anything to contribute, I’m all ears. Peace!

    • Rambo October 8, 2013 at 8:56 pm - Reply

      I don’t think you need visual confirmation of any time. Its a mater of time and temperature. If you get those right then you don’t have to worry about the rest.

  74. MrK October 10, 2013 at 2:56 pm - Reply

    Fantastic! I was wondering if anyone has considered doing a gas infusion of co2 to provide the catalyst? My thought was to use a whipped cream ‘cracker’ with a co2 cartridge instead of NOS. If you put the bud in the canister, then charged it with the CO2, would the bud de-carb from the gas rather than heating it out of the plant?

  75. Studamedler October 11, 2013 at 3:30 pm - Reply

    Hi I appreciate all you have provided for making tinctures. I have recently had to become a caregiver for a family member with pancreatic cancer and nausea is really bothering him. He is worried of getting too “high” and I have researched strains that might have higher THC content. I was wondering if I can use bud that was previously vaporized to extract THC? And do you have a strain that you would recommend for nausea? I really appreciate all the info you have provided so far! Thanks you. Studamedler

    • Rambo October 21, 2013 at 12:55 pm - Reply

      I would not use cannabis that has already been vaporized as there will be very little cannabinoids left behind if any. As for getting to high, start with small doses and have him work his way up to what feels comfortable to him. As for nausea, I’m not really sure what strain to recommend. Honestly it changes from patient to patient but most should help.

  76. Cory October 12, 2013 at 7:23 am - Reply

    could a person decarb weed and simply store and mix in food at a latter date for consumption. Is there any loss of thc during storage after decarbing?

  77. CBDWillSetYouFree October 12, 2013 at 10:32 am - Reply

    Great article Rambo! There must be a million people out there all with a different way of doing it. Thought I would share this: I was told decarbing in a container with as little oxygen as possible will greatly assist in the process and preserve any invisible terpenes one cant see escaping during the process… Also allowing sufficient cool down time before opening.

    BadKittySmiles world summit videos on Youtube has a similar process as well…

    Then I saw Dr. Hornsby talking about 311 being the optimal temp for decarbing. Wow 311.

    Anyways just rambling on, thanks for your post it’s great!!!

  78. michele October 12, 2013 at 6:44 pm - Reply

    Yes I would like to know if you can decarb and store? If so, how long? Id like to be able to make firecrackers or something of the sort while on vacation. Any. Quick recipes that you recommend? Brownies will be too bulky to take. I need to be able to make a snack w/o oven or microwave. Thanks for all the info :)

    • Rambo October 21, 2013 at 12:39 pm - Reply

      Cannabis should store indefinitely after decarbing or at least as long as cannabis that has not been decarbed. If you want something that travels well I recommend tinctures. A small two oz bottle could last you a month if made correctly

  79. Eny October 14, 2013 at 10:37 pm - Reply

    This is so very different from the way I make my tincture. I intentionally do not activate the THC. I freeze the product in a quart mason jar as well as freeze the Everclear. After 24 hrs, I pour the alcohol into the mason jar. Once a day I stir it up, and after 2 weeks strain out the product.
    I’ll put some of it into a spray bottle and spray my coffee beans. Once the alcohol evaporates, the oil that’s left blends with the coffee bean oil and I have a medicated cup of coffee every morning. No high off it, just pure pain relief. Takes away all those aches and pains I wake up.
    I’ll also put some in a little dropper bottle to do drops under my tongue for instant pain relief.
    I’ve even take it one step further and extracted off all the alcohol and get the black RSO oil.

  80. GrassBurger October 16, 2013 at 12:28 pm - Reply

    Crap, did my comment go through? Nothing is showing up, and no mention of “Moderation” first.

    • Rambo October 21, 2013 at 12:57 pm - Reply

      Comments do get moderated or there would be a ton of crap on here. I do my best to keep up on it but sometimes I do fall behind. I didn’t see another comment from you though. Try again?

  81. Jennifer October 20, 2013 at 7:45 pm - Reply

    A question that I can’t seem to find the answer for, if the herb is heated in the tincture./oil/butter/reduction phase why is it necessary to decarboxylize at all? I have used a mini crock pot, filled with raw honey and a bouquet garni of harlequin for my step mother with ALS, She reports feeling livelier and healthier eating a teaspoon a day.

    I went to the trouble of decarbing some high THC indica for a coconut oil tincture for my father, who has neuropathy. He reports no effects when he takes it.

    In a third experiment, I put some chopped Indica in the mini crock pot, and just covered with a small amount of coconut oil, Heated it for about 2 hours, and then added chocolate for edibles. This I have taken myself and find the effect to be stronger and more mellow than when I vape it.

    I feel so confused by conflicting info and techniques and my own experimenting. I only want to heal these very sick people in my family and Im kind of afraid of doing it wrong and wasting everyone’s time and money.

    • Rambo October 21, 2013 at 12:30 pm - Reply

      If the cannabis is being cooked into an edible it does not need to be decarbed ahead of time. Decarbing is required for making tinctures because there is not heating in the tinctures making process. Oil/butter/ reductions are not tinctures. The process of making them requires heat for long periods of time. This process effectively decarbs for you. Only when making extracts that will be consumed orally with not heat involved is the decarb process in the article required.

      • Jennifer October 21, 2013 at 12:48 pm - Reply

        Thank you!!!

  82. RastaMig November 1, 2013 at 3:28 pm - Reply

    Do you have to decarb first if you are making e juice for vaping in e cigs like the ego with 1.6mil cartomizer?

    • Rambo November 19, 2013 at 5:13 pm - Reply

      I have never made e juice for e cigs. I don’t really know how the catomizer works but if it uses heat to make smoke then you probably not need to. If not heat is used then yes you would need to decarb first

      • RastaMig November 26, 2013 at 8:41 am - Reply

        Thanks for the input Cartomizer use heat from a lithium battery in e cigs so the decarbing is not necessary..

  83. Jafarthepilot November 16, 2013 at 10:37 am - Reply

    How does thc bond to raw honey?

    • Rambo November 19, 2013 at 5:44 pm - Reply

      I don’t believe it does unless maybe their is enough wax in the honey for it to bond to the wax.

  84. J November 18, 2013 at 11:44 am - Reply

    I’m sorry if this has already been answered, but I am a bit confused from reading the comments here, as well as the conflicting information throughout the internet.

    I understand decarbing cannabis converts THCA to THC. You then have the psychoactive component activated. However, my understanding is that plain decarbed cannabis, although THC active, is not readily ingested into the body, and thus we need the THC molecules to attach to fat molecules or alcohol molecules.

    How long is needed for THC molecules to bind with fat molecules and/or alcohol molecules?

    In the comments, you equated the natural evaporation process to sea salt, indicating that if a combined mixture of decarbed cannabis and alcohol was left to evaporate naturally, then the end product would be a THC active product that would be readily absorbed into the body (due to the THC molecule being attached to the alcohol molecule). How long should the mixture be left before allowing to naturally evaporate?

    Some recipes call for 30-60 days with no heat, others call for heating the mixture, and even some say that a few minutes of cold alcohol shaking (somewhat like Rick Simpson Oil) will extract the THC and combine with the alcohol molecules.

    Also, I have read that heating the alcohol & decarbed cannabis is actually necessary in order to bind the THC and alcohol molecules. Even if it is incorrect (which it seems like it is), that heat is needed to bind the molecules, would heating simply expedite the process, since it would basically just be speeding up the natural evaporation process?

    Basically, what I’m trying to get at is, how long does it take for THC to bind to alcohol molecules? And once the THC molecules are bound to the alcohol molecules, since it seems you can naturally evaporate the alcohol without loss of THC, could you expedite this process with gentle heating so that evaporation would take place within a shorter period of time?

    And how long does it take for THC to bind to fat molecules? Do either processes REQUIRE heat if the cannabis is already decarboxylated beforehand?

    Thank you

    • Rambo November 19, 2013 at 6:00 pm - Reply

      The fat/butter/oil or alcohol is simply used to extract the cannabinoids from the plant material. Once they are extracted from the plant and decarbed, they no longer need the alcohol or fat to be absorbed by the body. So if decarbed properly and extracted with alcohol the alcohol can be evaporated off and you will be left with basically a decarbed hash oil. This can be spoked, made into tincture or even taken in pill form. Eating straight has can be pretty hard on the stomach though so most people mix it in with something else.

      • J November 19, 2013 at 7:48 pm - Reply

        Thank you! So I understand the fat/butter/oil or alcohol is used to extract the cannabinoids from the plant, and I understand that once it has been extracted by the alcohol or oil that it is readily absorbed into the body.

        I was curious the temperature and time it took for the fat/butter/oil or alcohol to extract the cannabinoids, i.e., how long should I leave the cannabis/alcohol mixture before evaporating it off? How long & at what temperature should I leave the cannabis/oil mixture?

        Was just hoping someone had the chemistry knowledge behind that! Hopefully someone does, if not I plan on a few different batches and testing the cannabis beforehand and then the finished product after to see which process works best, with scientific testing to back it up! Thanks again!

  85. J November 18, 2013 at 2:38 pm - Reply

    Or does the THC bind to the alcohol in a very short order of time, allowing you to combine & agitate the decarbed cannabis and high-proof alcohol for a short period of time before allowing to evaporate?

  86. John November 20, 2013 at 8:37 am - Reply

    Hi I’m kinda new to decarboxylating weed and I wanted to knew if there’s an alternative way as oppose of using the oven

  87. hemostats November 20, 2013 at 9:59 pm - Reply

    Interesting stuff. I was wondering, if the THCa turns to THC with heat/time, and THC turns into CBN also over time/with heat, wouldn’t you be able to make more CBN by heating it for say twice the time?

    sorry if i got something wrong, or if this was already asked, but the post by mcfudge got me thinking about this.

    jealous of all you medical state people, medicating is still just “getting high” to the state government in louisiana.

  88. steve dave November 30, 2013 at 7:10 pm - Reply

    im really glad i found your comment on the how to page for tincture. inhaling combusted plant matter has begun to take its toll on my respiratory system so ive been looking into making tinctures to give my lungs a break. I thank you for this post which will save me the cost and embarrassment of doing it wrong the first time. Thanks!

  89. Sucio December 5, 2013 at 9:01 pm - Reply

    Can you still convert thca into thc AFTER alcohol extraction if so can shed a little knowledge

  90. alita December 8, 2013 at 12:57 am - Reply

    would you have to decarboxylate at a higher temperature to activate more CBD? or is it that your working with low CBD strains, hence why your findings are in a lower percentile? I’m interested in higher concentrations of CBD vs THC and from what I’ve read is that the shake/bud has to be decarboxylated at a higher temperature than what you would use to activate the THC. Whats your opinion on this?

  91. Michelle December 8, 2013 at 7:02 am - Reply

    I am a pharmacologist, so it’s nice to see people using the scientific method to find answers. Great work!!

    I would assume alcohol would attract the THC from decarbed weed immediately, and anyone who is leaving weed to soak for weeks is only breaking down plant material, leaving more green chlorophyll and other unwanted plant material in the product. Put the weed in the alcohol, give it ample time for the liquid to penetrate the dried weed (1 hour? 24 hours?) then strain. One person above said they got green cookies – this is the chlorophyll you’re seeing.

    I think the biggest question that needs to be researched is how much THC can alcohol hold before it’s saturated and can’t hold any more? I know the green dragon recipe says 1oz alcohol to 1g weed. It would be interesting to see if this is the magic saturation point, or if much less (or more) could be used.

  92. NewAndLearning December 8, 2013 at 12:38 pm - Reply

    Hello! Thanks for this info. I am very new to both using medical cannabis and exploring extraction methods but I am hoping tincture will be a good solution for pain relief without the smell or smoke, for discretion needs. I don’t smoke at all (asthma) and have found good pain relief with edibles but would like to have something with more consistent dosing since edibles can be hard to regulate.

    I just tried making my first batch with a recipe I found elsewhere and had a question. I would be very appreciative of any suggestions anyone can offer.

    The recipe I found required no heating whatsoever. We used 3/4 of a jar dried bud, chopped finely in a blender, and then filled the jar with Everclear. The recipe I used instructed to keep sitting in the jar for 2 weeks. No temperature was specified. Now I’ve found several other recipes and understand that without having decarbed it, I may not have success with this batch.

    Now that I have a jar that has been soaking for 24 hours, is it likely this is a total loss or can I still decarb before filtering, after the 2-week ethanol extraction is completed? How would I do that?

    I originally thought the tincture mix had to sit at room temp during extraction. I then read it should be in a windowsill or other warm place, and others said in the freezer (which is tricky for me). I moved it in, in a paper bag, near a heater vent (as it’s freezing temps outside here so a window won’t be warm) for the “warm process” method I’ve read about, but I’m not sure if this is the best technique at this point.

    Any recommendations about what to do with this jar that has *just* started extraction (30ish hours ago) but hasn’t been decarboxylated yet by heat? Can I do this in 2 weeks when I strain it, or will the near-the-heater method help, or should I freeze it, or is this batch likely a loss? Thanks a million in advance.

  93. Ernst December 9, 2013 at 4:28 pm - Reply

    Hey I was reading up on your column and its great, the fact that you have numbers behind you helps out to understand certain things better. Im trying to decarb the things, but everybody talks about this alcohol/oil method which I seriously feel could become somewhat unsafe real fast if a step is missed or skipped, so I had decided to try and look for other ways to decarb. Just 2 questions, first, after “decarboxylating” a batch, will the batch remain edible/usable for a period of time, or must I watch out and use up what I have as quick as posible? 2: im actually researching this for health reasons for somebody I care about, but this person does not feel comfortable except for drinking or chewing any medicine thrown her way, what is a good way to intake the “medicine”? just to chew and swallow after a small meal maybe?. Again thanks for the great report, and sorry if the questions sound a little naive, im just more used to the smoking for fun part, than the decarboxylating for the medicine part

  94. Mark January 1, 2014 at 1:02 pm - Reply

    I looked at this whole dang stream
    One question, ok maybe more than one.
    Made some tincture, had it tested very low THC
    Screaming buds though…
    MAde it with pure bubble, did not decarb it though.
    Correct me if I am wrong. When I decarb it (being there should be pletty of THCA in it) the THC level should rise ?
    Can your method be used for oils that have already been made.
    I see what it did in your chart, I have to say WOW like you thought I would…

    Going to do more…
    Should I decarb the bubble before melting into the oil..
    More info in E-Mail sent…
    Hope you can help me learn more on my quest to have a more healthy smoke…

  95. Great work! This is the kind of info that are meant to be shared across the net.

    Disgrace on the search engines for not positioning this submit upper!
    Come on over and talk over with my site . Thanks =)

  96. richard January 7, 2014 at 9:10 pm - Reply
  97. RealityRocks January 13, 2014 at 6:30 pm - Reply

    Rambo thanks for this fab thread. So informative!
    Years ago in college I became for a while a seller of the “Maximizer” steam cooker, to cook up to 1 cup of veggies by steam in whatever time.

    Actually, it was for increasing THC content by heating the weed to boiling temp for an hour. That’s in line with most of the other comments in this thread. The producer had lots of serious science to share about this (30 years ago).

    So it seems that its simple to greatly increase the content of your weed: Just put it in a double boiler on your stove for an hour, or in a seriously tight container in shallow pot of lightly boiling water. That should convert most of the CTCH to THC. Then, if you smoke it, a larger percentage will be yours. Smoking probably destroys it too but that’s too complex for me.

    Just dry-heat your weed to boiling temp for an hour, and have a better smoke. Am I wrong? Works for me!

  98. RealityRocks January 13, 2014 at 6:46 pm - Reply

    Me again, this is a good thread.

    Your test was great. What happens if the weed is microwaved? It drives off the water, how much is converted? Seems like your test could measure the result of microwaving at 1000W x 10s 20s 50s 1m etc

    But, if the chem change takes a while – speed of molecules – then microwave will not work?

  99. kim January 19, 2014 at 2:36 am - Reply

    thanks for the great info on terpenes & flavanoids (all medicinal) I don’t think it needs air for decarb as its only lossing a ring on the thc-acid molecule.

  100. thebobsavaag January 25, 2014 at 8:48 pm - Reply

    Hello, first off thank you for the break down of all this, there is SO much conflicting and sometimes inaccurate info out there about this! This is my dilemma; I made a tincture with 80 proof vodka and did NOT decarb it first. The liquid got separated from the trim after 30 days and now I am left with a whole bunch of green liquid that has little to no effect, medicinally or otherwise. Can I save this batch somehow?

  101. thebobsavaag January 28, 2014 at 7:48 pm - Reply

    oh duh! I just read a little deeper and got the scoop, thanks a bunch

  102. BuddyCrocker January 30, 2014 at 1:44 pm - Reply

    When using bubble hash, is decarbing necessary to make a tincture with Everclear?

  103. Carlo January 30, 2014 at 3:10 pm - Reply

    how can you change CO2 concentrate which is normally dark yellow to brown and taste more or less strong like marijuana to a clear liquid with no marijuana taste and still have the same effects on the the patient using it…can you help with some information?

  104. Kidkudro February 11, 2014 at 9:25 am - Reply

    I have found that baking my buds in the oven for 15 minutes @ 200 degrees activates the THC while preserving the CBDs.

  105. Berni February 16, 2014 at 7:33 pm - Reply

    Would an essential oil distiller process work for extracting thc oil from plant material? For clarity, an essential oil distiller heats water covered plant material into steam. Vapor is then cooled (condensed) and collected which includes water & plant oil. Then floating essential oil is collected from top of the water. Is this possible?

    Would love to skip the butter, oil, alcohol, glycerin if possible. Thank you Rambo

  106. fuman March 2, 2014 at 6:50 am - Reply

    So is it necessary to do decarboxylation for butter that you will bake with or will the thca be in the butter and transform during baking

  107. Dina March 3, 2014 at 7:39 am - Reply

    I just ruined 16 gm of very nice shake trying to make a concentrated alcohol tincture for making candy. I used your decarb method, then covered the ground plant material with warm Everclear. I heated this in a hot water bath (in a Mason jar) for about four hours and took a sample, which was definitely psychoactive. I strained out the plant material at this point. I then covered the jar and put it in a water bath on the stove. I refluxed it for a couple of hours, then took the lid off and gently boiled it until it was reduced by 3/4. By this time it had turned an evil-looking brown color. I continued to reduce it, and after about 8 hours turned it off and let it sit. A scum formed on top, which I realized was esters (duh, reflux alcohol and free carboxyl groups and you WILL get esters–except, like many esters, this smells nauseating. So I haven’t thrown it out yet, but I don’t know what to do with it. I did strain the esters off and probably ruined a good strainer, but I’m afraid I’ve just learned a rather expensive lesson…any thoughts?

    • George June 2, 2014 at 10:42 pm - Reply

      Can you please describe what you mean by “reflux”? I’m guessing it means you have a reasonably well sealed container so the alcohol vapors condense and drip back into the solution. This is how I have made my last few batches, but I have never developed any kind of scummy layer which you suspect are esters. I don’t want to run into the same issues as you, would appreciate some additional information if you are willing.

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  109. Abdul March 27, 2014 at 3:18 am - Reply

    Hi guys,
    I’ve been reeding up on all the posts and I’ve made a couple of batches with some great bud but to no avail.
    I used the crock pot method extracting with glycerin and decarbed at 240F for 1 hour.
    I only want to vaporize so do I need to decarb especially if I wanted my extract to keep all of its high.
    And extracting on low how many hours should I cook for.
    My purpose is to leave mixes and bongs behind not so much medicinal.

  110. Abdul March 27, 2014 at 3:41 am - Reply

    Just me again,
    What would be the best ratio of bud to glycerin for a potent vaping experience.

    I have been googling around for months now and this page has been most helpful.
    So much to learn. Thanks everybody.

  111. MaryJaneContrary April 24, 2014 at 5:28 pm - Reply

    Do you mind if I share your info in a cook book as long as I credit you?

  112. MaryJaneContrary April 24, 2014 at 5:29 pm - Reply

    It’s so hard to find creditable info on decarboxylation that I’d like to pass it on.

  113. mike April 29, 2014 at 10:14 pm - Reply

    is 240 for 60 minutes ok to decarb bho before making edies?

  114. Rooibos May 9, 2014 at 3:03 am - Reply

    My daughter (4) is getting a THCA tincture for her brain injury. I wanted THCA because of its anti-inflammatory effects and neuroprotective effects. We are on day 10 and she has made some amazing progress. I have been putting the tincture in a bit of hot water to get rid of the alcohol but only yesterday learned that heat will covert THCA to THC which is exactly not what I want.
    My question is, can I safely use water from the kettle to get rid of the alcohol or should I just deal with the alcohol and switch to an oil CBD compound that will be safer.
    Any wisdom?

  115. Bebobwolf May 13, 2014 at 12:42 am - Reply

    I have read your article with interest and am about to make my first batch of oil for a friend who has cancer (I haven’t personal smoked cannabis) using the following method:

    Boil for 3 hours in enclosed container.
    Then boil off alcohol etc.

    I was just wondering if decarboxylation is occurring in the first phase when boiling the cannabis and alcohol for the 3 hours? or do you need a “dry heat” by using an oven?

    2nd question. How bad is the residue in the oven after the hour of decarboxylation. Will i be able to cook cakes etc afterwards without having them absorb any residue? (I have an industrial oven in my restaurant that i can use with precise temp control).

  116. himachal terepene May 22, 2014 at 12:35 am - Reply

    It is a great process about decarboxylation.Thanks for the informatory article. It is not so difficult procedure if you follow the valid procedure. but you may lose some amount of the terepenes. these terpenes also have medicinal effects and that would be lost at higher temprature. so i would like to suggest you for the low temprature. Thanks for the great info on terpenes & flavanoids

  117. Scotsquatch May 27, 2014 at 9:35 am - Reply

    If I am making an oil infusion (plant material in coconut and cacao oils) in a double boiler, will there be decarboxylation occur when the oil reaches the boiling point of water?

    Any recommended time frame for allowing full decarboxylation in oil?

  118. bongbrazil June 10, 2014 at 5:39 pm - Reply

    Rambo, great job! I read an article the other day:

    and i have a question for you. wouldn’t the nitrous oxide injected work for almost full decarboxylation? I’m not getting why he let the liquor simmer for an hour.
    And, mainly, this part of the process seem to be a little dangerous:
    “Place the sealed canister in a double boiler and let it simmer for an hour.”
    The whipper is made to resist high pressure and temperature, but I don’t feel 100% secure to do it. Is it a silly concern?


  119. Dev O June 16, 2014 at 6:13 pm - Reply

    RAMBO!!! Thanks for the awesome De-Carb info confirming timing and temps by lab testing. That is soooo awesome. Im new with the edibles and recently learned of the de-carb process….who’d a known????? I discovered it quite by mistake, and am finally satisfied with timing aspect. I was worried as my supply is limited, so little room for error on my side. Wish me luck. Going to de-carb high grade (about 3.5g) and cook more in some coconut oil and try to encapsulate the THC rich oil.

  120. a June 21, 2014 at 1:41 am - Reply

    Very good write-up. I definitely love this site. Keep it up!

  121. seth June 26, 2014 at 5:46 pm - Reply

    Hi. So. Question. When making oil for medicine, what if any detrimental effects will I get by using a butane solvent as opposed to naptha or hexane? I follow the same method by stripping with butane and heat purging to remove the gas completely as I can and to carboxylate as well. I lack a vacuum for total purity to where I want but is what I’m doing even good for medical use? I really would like to know as it is very pertinent at this point. Thanks.

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      WTF dude?!?!?!?

  123. Mike July 3, 2014 at 6:22 am - Reply

    Thanks Rambo. Quick question:

    In a glycerin extraction (for vape pens) which is double boiler cooked for 3 hours at around 190-200 F, do you think it is necessary to first decarb, or will just the cooking do the trick?

  124. mellowdaizy July 6, 2014 at 7:17 pm - Reply

    from the looks of the comments, you haven’t responded in a while. understandable. but in case you happen to look this way again and feel moved enough to answer, my only question is….
    altitude. higher altitude, 9,00ft-10,000ft, how does it affect decarboxylation?

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  126. Dan July 10, 2014 at 4:05 pm - Reply

    Okay, I take my dried trim and heat it at 240F for 60 minutes.

    What is the next step? Is this product ready to consume at this point after say grinding to a powder? Or is this the product I want to make a better firecracker or use in some other recipe that involves further heating?

    I’m a long time smoker and am currently looking for an easy method to ingest pot, particularly the broadleaves and whatnot from growing some on my own. Thanks for your time and input Rambo.

  127. Dan Seng July 31, 2014 at 5:29 pm - Reply

    I didn’t read all the comments, but, I do believe drcarbing releases 1 hydrogen, not CO2. co2 is a completely different molecule. :)

    • power caspilmary August 5, 2014 at 12:16 pm - Reply

      Carboxyl is CO2

  128. power caspilmary August 5, 2014 at 12:11 pm - Reply

    Although this is a good, quick decarboxylation method, it does have some flaws. The evaporation point of a compound occurs before the boiling point. This is even more true for terpenes, which are also known as volatile oils for the reason that they break down incredibly easy. Terpenes are just as important as cannabinoids, and this should be taken into consideration while decarboxylating any cannabis product. I never go over 160° F with any process besides baking edibles, and even if baking brownies at 350°, the internal temperature won’t exceed 180°

  129. Colorado Legal August 7, 2014 at 8:30 pm - Reply

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