How To Make Edibles Stronger
Unlock the power of decarboxylation
By adding one easy step, you can make edibles that are many times stronger.
Known as Decarboxylation or decarbing for short, it is a necessary step for making potent edibles.
How does it make your herb stronger?
It changes the chemicals in your herb, activating them, and making it easier to affect your brain.
Sounds great, but is it really easy? Decarboxylation sounds like it’s really complicated.
Don’t let the long name fool you into thinking it’s hard. It is the simple process of heating herb in an oven. The most popular way to do it is by using an electric or gas stove. Though there are a million ways to tinker with the process, you can get great results and convert the bulk of the active components in a few easy steps with common kitchen equipment.
Equipment you need to decarboxylate
To decarb at a bare minimum you will need:
- An oven
- A cookie sheet with a lip
See - it’s going to be really easy! All you do is put the herb in your vessel of choice and put it in the oven. Here’s some step-by-step instructions to break it down:
How to decarboxylate directions
- Preheat your oven to 250°F
- Break your herbal buds apart and spread evenly in your vessel
- Put the vessel on a center rack in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes
- Remove from oven, allow to cool before using
Important things to know about decarboxylation
- Don’t be alarmed when your herb comes out looking toasty brown – it’s supposed to look like that.
- Decarbing in your oven will make your house smell strongly of herb.
- Gas and electric ovens are both okay. You can use a toaster oven but full-size ovens work better.
- Decarbing significantly increases potency. If you’re a new user or have low tolerance, be cautious with your dosage.
Once you’ve decarbed your product, it’s time to infuse it in oil, alcohol, or glycerin before adding it to edible or topical recipes. This infusion step increases bioavailability, further ensuring you get maximum the power of herbal high compounds.
How can I screw up decarbing?
Well, in the absolute worst case (but unlikely) scenario, you could burn your whole house down! Ovens aren’t toys. Be careful even though you are using a lower heat.
More likely, you could forget to take your herb out of the oven on time. As long as it doesn’t catch fire and completely burn up, you’ll have a somewhat usable product. Just be aware - if you thoroughly overcook your herb, you may get edibles that have a strong sedative effect.
You can accidentally overheat your herb in several other ways. If you put it too close to the hot spots like the bottom or top of your oven, it may overheat.
You can also underheat your herb. If you don’t adequately break up your buds, the heat from your oven might not spread evenly and you may get incomplete decarboxylation which means less potent results.
If you don’t use a cookie sheet with a rim, your herb may slide off the edge while you’re putting it in or taking it out of the oven. Then it might get stuck on the bottom of your oven until you can rescue it.
Easy ways to make decarboxylation more effective
If you follow the simple three step process, you will activate the majority of the psychoactive components in your herb. There are a few beginner-friendly ways to increase the potency even further. Here are a few easy suggestions:
- Get a DecarBox - This oven-safe silicone box helps distribute heat evenly, reduces the risk of over or underheating, reduces how much the herb stinks up your house, while keeping smaller pieces of herb from getting lost even better than a high-walled cookie sheet.
- Use an oven thermometer with a probe and an external display - Not all ovens are perfectly calibrated. This type of thermometer allows you to read the temperature of your herb while you decarb without having to open up your oven, which would change the temperature. Don’t be alarmed if it fluctuates up to 20°F above and below your target temperature, this is how ovens normally operate.
- If using a cookie sheet, line it with parchment paper - This results in less lost bud getting stuck to the surface. If you’re using a decarBox, it will be non-stick, so you won’t have this problem.
- Experiment with different temperatures and times - our 30 mins at 240°F is optimized for mental high. If you want more body high, go longer or hotter. To see other temperature and time options check out our advanced guide to decarboxylation.
- Speed up the cooling process and slow the decarbing process by putting herb in the freezer for 10-15 minutes after it comes out of the oven.
There are more advanced methods as well, but once again even if you follow the most basic instructions you will get very potent psychoactive effects. Getting into advanced, time-consuming techniques like freezing and thawing may increase yield, but they will provide diminishing returns. It might not be worth it to spend an extra hour or two working to get marginally more potent edibles when you could be instead enjoying yourself!
If you are interested in taking every step possible to get the most out of your herb, check out our advanced decarboxylation tips and tricks.
What is actually happening to my herb when I decarboxylate?
Through heat the molecules in the herb are breaking apart and becoming smaller so they will be able to cross the blood brain barrier and give you a mental high. The reason you don’t need to decarb before smoking to get high is because when you smoke raw or cured herb, the heat of the burning actually decarboxylates on the spot.
Want to learn more? We’ll get more into the actual chemical process in our guide to the chemistry of decarboxylation.
That should give you everything you need to get started with decarboxylation. Keep in mind, it is really hard to screw up. The bigger screw up might be not doing it and then ending up working hard to make edibles that don’t get you high.
Have any more questions? Check out our FAQ.