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The Importance Of Decarboxylation In Edible Making


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#1 Cannalytics

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 05:56 PM

The information below has been transcribed from the "Cannalytics Recommendation for Edible Makers" PDF, which can be downloaded here.

It is important to note that the times and temperatures listed below were obtained using purified THCA and that the optimal times and temperatures may be different depending upon your application. If you are having troubles with the efficiency/repeatability of your process, a couple of things to consider might be using an oven thermometer to ensure that your oven's temperature setting is properly calibrated as well as pre-heating any cookware that will be used to decarboxylate material. If you are interested in quantifying the potency levels of your edibles, please contact a cannabis analysis lab in your area.

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Introduction

Edibles can be a wonderful method for cannabis patients to ingest their medicine without the harmful side effects of smoking. However, since the material will not be heated by the patient prior to ingestion, it is important that edible makers ensure that their products have been fully decarboxylated for maximum therapeutic activity.

What is decarboxylation?


In living cannabis plants, the cannabinoids are synthesized in an acidic form. This form has little effect on humans and must be heated to lose a carbon dioxide molecule to become active.

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What are the optimal conditions for decarboxylation?

Maximum conversion of THCA into THC has been reported to occur by heating for 15 minutes, at 300 degrees Fahrenheit, which results in a 70% conversion rate. Insufficient heating will result in the majority of the cannabinoids to remain in their acidic form, while excessive heating will result in degradation of THC to CBN or vaporization of the compounds. Cannalytics recommends heating plant material in the oven prior to mixing it with any other ingredients.

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Batching and Dosages

In order for your test results to have maximum relevance, Cannalytics recommends that edibles be made in as large of batches as possible and that each dosage be of the same weight. This will reduce variability in the potency reported for each product allowing patients to better predict how a product will make them feel.

The preferred method for reporting the cannabinoid concentration of edibles is by total milligrams of each cannabinoid present. This is obtained by multiplying the mass of each edible by its concentration (% w/w). Patients may be surprised to see that the average cannabinoid content of edibles is between 30-90 mg, thinking that this is too little an amount to have an effect. Here’s an example to demonstrate that this is an appropriate amount. Let’s assume that an average joint as a mass of 1000 mg (1g) with a THC concentration of 15%, meaning there are 150 mg of THC in this joint. Now consider the fact that 70% of THC is destroyed by combustion, meaning that only 45 mg of THC would remain to reach the patient’s lungs. From this example it is easy to see that edibles within the 30-90 mg range would indeed be at a therapeutic concentration.

The Advantage of HPLC

Because our high-pressure liquid chromatography method does not involve heating the samples for quantification, we are uniquely positioned to distinguish between products that have been properly decarboxylated prior to analysis from those that have not. The chromatograms below are examples of edibles that we have received to date. You can see the extent of decarboxylation by comparing the relative areas of the THC and THCA peaks.

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References

Dussy et. al. (2005). Isolation of d9-THCA-A from hemp and analytical aspects concerning the determination of d9-THC in cannabis products. Forensic Science International; 149: 3-10.

#2 webfoot

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 09:00 AM

Does anybody have anything to add to this? I would like to know more about this.

#3 SparklyBuds

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 09:29 AM

Thanks Cannalytics - interesting and informative!

Webfoot I'm with you - trying to learn more ;)

When I make my Cannabis butter, I never Decarboxylated (bake in oven at 300*) the leaves first. (Edit - now that I know, I will try it!!) .

When the butter is done, we bake it into cookies etc; with the oven usually 350* during baking.

I've always wondered, with the baking temp being 350*, wouldn't that Vaporize the active ingredients (THC, CBD, CBN ) ? Or does it decarboxylate them?

Another question - would the Decarboxylation process (baking in the oven 300* for 15 min before making butter) protect against the higher temps when I bake?

I mean, I get tired, and get the munchies from my medibles, and it helps my nausea, so they are doing something, but I want to be sure I'm losinga bunch of active ingredients during baking!

Edited by SparklyBuds, 16 January 2012 - 09:31 AM.


#4 Tyin'Flies

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 09:53 AM

Very cool info! thanks Canna!

#5 Northern Lab

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 10:43 AM

Thanks Cannalytics - interesting and informative!

Webfoot I'm with you - trying to learn more ;)

When I make my Cannabis butter, I never Decarboxylated (bake in oven at 300*) the leaves first. (Edit - now that I know, I will try it!!) .

When the butter is done, we bake it into cookies etc; with the oven usually 350* during baking.

I've always wondered, with the baking temp being 350*, wouldn't that Vaporize the active ingredients (THC, CBD, CBN ) ? Or does it decarboxylate them?

Another question - would the Decarboxylation process (baking in the oven 300* for 15 min before making butter) protect against the higher temps when I bake?

I mean, I get tired, and get the munchies from my medibles, and it helps my nausea, so they are doing something, but I want to be sure I'm losinga bunch of active ingredients during baking!


You're most likely getting a pretty good conversion from THCA to THC doing it like you are, and generally that is 'good enough' for most people. Sometimes, though, the density of the product, time, and the temperature of the oven can prevent some conversion, which results in unactivated cannabinoids.

Decarboxylating before baking does not protect against loss of cannabinoids during baking. It just helps convert THCA to THC to heat the raw material before performing an extraction into oil or butter, giving you a more potent end product. If you use oil that can tolerate higher temps (~200-250F), you can decarboxylate the cannabinoids in the oil during or after the extraction by heating the oil to about 225F. Just make sure your thermometer is accurate so you don't over/under heat it. This does not work very well for butter based extractions, because butter does not tolerate being heated to those temps and may burn, so heating the material in the oven before extracting the cannabinoids is more suitable when using butter.

Don't worry about losing cannabinoids during the baking process, generally the product never reaches the temperature of the oven unless it is left in too long.

The nice thing about having pre-decarboxylated butter and oil is that you can use it in no-bake recipes and other cold processed dishes without any hassle. Salad dressing, toast and jam, rice crispy treats, etc.

#6 webfoot

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 11:26 AM

we have been useing the water left behind when making bubble hash to make hard candy. Are first batch Was not
to strong, So the second batch we left all the hash from the last bag in the water. We put the water into 2 liter
pop bottles. A few days later, We sucked out most of the water, via the gumby methed,As the hash is on the bottom
of the bottle. We then shake the bottle to get the hash mixed up good with the water. We then use the water to make
hard candy. This was a lot stronger then the first batch.
I have been told that we need to heat the hash to 300 degrees before useing it for medibles. Can someone tell me
the best way to do this. I herd its a lot more potent when doing this.

#7 SparklyBuds

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 11:28 AM

You're most likely getting a pretty good conversion from THCA to THC doing it like you are, and generally that is 'good enough' for most people. Sometimes, though, the density of the product, time, and the temperature of the oven can prevent some conversion, which results in unactivated cannabinoids.

Decarboxylating before baking does not protect against loss of cannabinoids during baking. It just helps convert THCA to THC to heat the raw material before performing an extraction into oil or butter, giving you a more potent end product. If you use oil that can tolerate higher temps (~200-250F), you can decarboxylate the cannabinoids in the oil during or after the extraction by heating the oil to about 225F. Just make sure your thermometer is accurate so you don't over/under heat it. This does not work very well for butter based extractions, because butter does not tolerate being heated to those temps and may burn, so heating the material in the oven before extracting the cannabinoids is more suitable when using butter.

Don't worry about losing cannabinoids during the baking process, generally the product never reaches the temperature of the oven unless it is left in too long.

The nice thing about having pre-decarboxylated butter and oil is that you can use it in no-bake recipes and other cold processed dishes without any hassle. Salad dressing, toast and jam, rice crispy treats, etc.


When making butter, I put the butter in with water and plant material (leaves & buds) - I think the water makes it so it won't burn ;) ; I get it around 220* (Candy Thermometer to monitor temp). So actually, if I get it up a little more (225*) and keep it there for 15 min, then I've Decarboxylated?

That would be way better than doing it in my old oven - it runs hot & I'd have to buy an oven thermometer to check the temp. because I already gotta set it 25 - 50* lower than recipes call for 'cause it burns everything... need a new oven :( .

#8 Northern Lab

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 12:42 PM

we have been useing the water left behind when making bubble hash to make hard candy. Are first batch Was not
to strong, So the second batch we left all the hash from the last bag in the water. We put the water into 2 liter
pop bottles. A few days later, We sucked out most of the water, via the gumby methed,As the hash is on the bottom
of the bottle. We then shake the bottle to get the hash mixed up good with the water. We then use the water to make
hard candy. This was a lot stronger then the first batch.
I have been told that we need to heat the hash to 300 degrees before useing it for medibles. Can someone tell me
the best way to do this. I herd its a lot more potent when doing this.


The water you used the first time likely contained little to no cannabinoids, they will not dissolve in water, although there may be a small amount in suspension.

THC decarboxylates at around 222f and it boils at 314F. If you can be sure it is an exact temperature, the closer you get your product to 300 degrees, the faster decarboxylation happens, but anything over and above 225 is fine, it just takes longer.

When making butter, I put the butter in with water and plant material (leaves & buds) - I think the water makes it so it won't burn ;) ; I get it around 220* (Candy Thermometer to monitor temp). So actually, if I get it up a little more (225*) and keep it there for 15 min, then I've Decarboxylated?

That would be way better than doing it in my old oven - it runs hot & I'd have to buy an oven thermometer to check the temp. because I already gotta set it 25 - 50* lower than recipes call for 'cause it burns everything... need a new oven :( .


I have a friend that does that with water in a crock pot. It seems to produce good butter. However, the water keeps the temp of the butter at or around 212f. I still think decarboxylation will take place under those conditions, it will just take a longer period. My friend lets his cook for a full day before straining off the butter.

They only way to really find out for sure if you're getting an acceptable level of decarboxylation, is to take a sample of butter to a lab with an HPLC that can measure the active and inactive cannabinoids. IMO, it's totally worth the very small investment to make sure your method is delivering what you want it to. Cannalytics has the only HPLC in the state. Labs like mine, that perform Gas Chromatography, cannot tell the difference between active and inactive cannabinoids, they can only quantify the total amount of cannabinoids present.

#9 flyinstringbean

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 12:52 PM

I use water and all the nasty trim leaves and 4 sticks of Blue Bonnet margarine.The THC comes out of the canabis and goes into the water in its search for oxygen, it goes up to the top.The margarine has a molecule that picks up the THC and keeps it from gettin to the air{oxygen}.I bring it to a boil And then let it simmer for 5-6 hours on Low.Then take it outside this time of year and let the butter start to harden on the top.When the butter has hardened and you can pick it off the top,put it in a glass bowl and bring it in.Put the glass bowl in a bigger bowl of Hot water And melt the butter down to liquid and strain the butter to get the little pieces of leaves out and use the butter to make yer brownies in place of the oil in the receipe.Or butter a piece of toast in the mornin with it.

#10 SparklyBuds

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 01:04 PM

Cool, I'm gonna start cooking it a little higher, and also start using more uniform plant material - I never weigh it, sometimes I haven't fully dried it either. Once I get that ironed out, I'll get some tested. I want to make sure I don't cook out the Cbd's & Cbn's too, those are the antiinflammatories if i remember right & I really need those too.

#11 Northern Lab

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 01:10 PM

Cool, I'm gonna start cooking it a little higher, and also start using more uniform plant material - I never weigh it, sometimes I haven't fully dried it either. Once I get that ironed out, I'll get some tested. I want to make sure I don't cook out the Cbd's & Cbn's too, those are the antiinflammatories if i remember right & I really need those too.


Here's a good link that lists the boiling points of each cannabinoid:

http://forum.grasscity.com/medical-marijuana/373071-properties-cannabinoids-%5Bpic%5D.html

#12 SparklyBuds

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 01:43 PM

Here's a good link that lists the boiling points of each cannabinoid:

http://forum.grassci...-%5Bpic%5D.html


Thanks! Added to favorites - looks like under 250*F is safe :thumbsu:

#13 lene

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 01:37 AM

so one could bake their leaves for 15 minutes at 300' then soak it in vodka and make a tincture?

#14 Northern Lab

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 07:09 AM

so one could bake their leaves for 15 minutes at 300' then soak it in vodka and make a tincture?


Yes.

#15 peanutbutter

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 08:13 AM

I miss the "likes."

Thank you for the information.

#16 Catfinger

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 09:38 AM

When I make my BHO, I always let it decarbox in the toaster oven for around 45 min. at 200 degrees once processed. There should be ZERO bubbles no matter how tiny in your BHO when fully decarboxilated, hence another reason I'm not a fan of 'ear wax' that still have a 'foamy' bubbly texture to it. Usually means the maker didnt fully decarbox and 'whipped' up the mixture while still finishing. The nicest things about the BHO for edibles is once decaboxilated you can dial in the exact dosage you want in each edible, but getting that full conversion before use is critical.

#17 lene

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 09:33 PM

Yes.

So if you just take your dry trim and crumble it up into vodka it wont work? Or is there something else that could aid this?

#18 Northern Lab

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 11:22 PM

So if you just take your dry trim and crumble it up into vodka it wont work? Or is there something else that could aid this?


You will extract cannabinoids doing that, but they will not be decarboxylated. Since alcohol boils below decarb temp, you can't heat it effectively post-extraction.

#19 Estimated Prophet

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 12:45 AM

I bake my material at around 250 for an hour to get it nice and dry before making cannabis canola oil.
Didnt even realize that I was getting all scientific :thumbsu:

#20 lene

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 04:50 AM

You will extract cannabinoids doing that, but they will not be decarboxylated. Since alcohol boils below decarb temp, you can't heat it effectively post-extraction.

Forgive my ignorance, this is all very new to me. Could one take the extracted alcohol solution,strain it, cook it down, simmer the alcohol out of it(however) and take what is left and use it in baking somehow to activate it?




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