Decarbing your CBD for edibles
How to Decarb CBD Hemp Flower
You’re probably here because someone told you to decarb your hemp flower and you have no idea what that means.
This guide will tell you everything you need to know. As a hemp consumer, in addition to knowing the steps of the decarb process, you should also understand why decarbing is necessary and what’s happening to your hemp flower during the decarb process, which we’ll also cover.
What is decarbing?
“Decarbing” is short for decarboxylation. Decarboxylation is using heat to convert cannabinoids from their acid form into their active form. At the molecular level, carbon atoms are removed from the CBD molecules. Hence the term, de*carb*.
Decarbing is done by heating the flower at a relatively low temperature for an extended period of time. This process converts CBDa into CBD.
Why decarb your hemp flower?
Decarbing is a necessary step before making hemp flower edibles, tinctures, and extractions.
It’s a common misconception that you can simply eat cannabis without decarbing it because the most common ingestion method (smoking it) decarbs it automatically as a byproduct of the heat produced during combustion. Without the heat of combustion, decarbing is necessary to “activate” the cannabinoids.
If you were to eat hemp flower without decarbing it, you would not get the full effects of CBD because raw and cured hemp flower does not contain much actual CBD (Cannabidiol)— the cannabinoid the majority of people use hemp flower to ingest.
Instead, raw and cured hemp flower contains mostly CBDa, the acid form of CBD. While early research indicates CBDa may have its own unique benefits separate from CBD, most people are after the effects of CBD, not CBDa. To convert CBDa into CBD, the hemp flower needs to be decarbed. Thankfully, decarbing is a very simple process and anyone can do it at home with nothing more than an oven and a timer.
How to decarb your hemp flower
The presence of THC speeds up the decarboxylation process. Hemp flower has only trace amounts of THC so it needs to be exposed to heat for longer than high-THC cannabis.
The process for decarbing hemp flower is pretty simple:
- Pre-heat your oven to 250 F.
- Grind your CBD hemp flower. If you do not have a grinder, break it up into very small pieces with your fingers and use a credit card to chop it even smaller.
- Spread your ground hemp flower out onto a cookie sheet creating a very thin layer.
- Place the cookie sheet in your oven on a middle rack.
- Bake for 45 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool. The hemp flower should look brownish and feel dry to the touch. It should also crumble when rolled in your fingers.
Now your hemp flower is decarboxylated and ready to eat, create CBD oil, etc.
Calculating total CBD after decarb
During the conversion process some CBD is lost. This happens at a predictable rate so you can calculate how much CBD your hemp flower will have after decarb.
The formula is:
Total CBD = CBD + (CBDa * .877)