How to Make Perfect Canna Butter – The Chemistry of Decarboxylation


Here’s a secret that not to many people know about cannabis.   

The thing is, dry flower doesn’t really contain THC, it’s THCA, and the two effect us quite differently.  After-all, THCA isn’t going to get you stoned. THCA turns into THC after exposure to low heat, for an extended period of time, and that leads us into decarboxylation, a term you will hear frequently in the cannabis world.

Decarboxylation is required to activate the popularized effects of cannabis, such as the psychoactive THC.   This doesn’t insinuate THCA or CDA lack importance, but we know what a big percentage of people are after when consuming THC, and that’s okay.

Decarboxylation  is  simply  the  action  of  removing  the  carboxyl  group  (COOH)  when  converting  (THCA  and  CBDA)  into  their  active  counterparts  (THC  and  CBD). 

Temperatures and time-frames are extremely important.  Think of it as slow and steady wins the race.  We’re looking to apply minimal heat, over a longer period of time, opposed to the opposite which will end up decreasing the potency of the end product.

A  chemical  reaction  releases  the  carbon  dioxide  in  which  the  carboxylic  acids  loose  a  carbon  atom  from  a  carbon  chain  and  this  is  the  process  that  converts  THCA  to  THC.

How to decarboxylate cannabis:

  • Preheat  oven  to  220F
  • Break  up  the  bud  into  smaller  pieces  (I  suggest  using sterile  pair  of  scissors,  versus  your  hands)
  • Spread  the  small  pieces  and  flakes  onto  a  baking  dish,  with  a  one  inch  rim   
  • Put  Foil  over  the  container  and  ensure  it’s  air  tight
  • Bake  the  cannabis  at  220F  for  60  minutes
  • Remove  from  oven
  • Open  one  side  of  the  foil  corner to  allow  cooling  for  10  minutes 
  • The  finished  product  should  be  a  light  to  golden  brown  color
  • You now  have  activated  cannabis  you  can  use  to  turn  into  oil, tincture, cannabutter or whatever cannabis products you desire.