Medically Reviewed by
Jason Crawford

Article Last Updated on January 18, 2023

As the popularity of the cannabis plant grows, so do the methods of cannabis consumption. Cannabis can be smoked in a joint, in a bong, consumed in edibles, dabbed, used in tinctures, applied as a topical lotion, and can be used in many other ways. But did you know that raw cannabis doesn’t produce the effects most marijuana users are after, which is why the cannabinoids have to be heated first? This heating process is known as decarboxylation.

Decarboxylating cannabis enables the cannabinoid acids to transform into the cannabinoids users know and love, the most popular ones being THC and CBD. So for the purpose of this article, we’ll dive into the subject of decarboxylated cannabis and which temperature activates the cannabinoid THC.

Cannabinoids and Temperature

The raw cannabis plant contains non-psychoactive ingredients like the cannabinoid acids tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), and many others. As we mentioned, the marijuana plant in its raw form doesn’t have any effects on users, which is where decarbing weed comes in.

Decarboxylating cannabis is done through the chemical reaction decarboxylation which removes a carboxyl group and releases carbon dioxide in the process. After you decarboxylate cannabis, the process results in the activation of the psychoactive, anti-inflammatory, and pain-relieving counterparts of THCA and CBDA – tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). The activated cannabinoids are then used for making cannabis products such as brownies, cannabis oil, and butter, and also tinctures, topicals, and other products, like the good old joint.

What’s the Appropriate Temperature for Cannabis Decarboxylation?

The process of decarboxylation varies depending on the cannabis consumption method. Vaping and smoking weed involves simultaneous decarboxylation as the user consumes it, while making edibles requires you to decarb the weed in advance.

When decarbing cannabis, different temperatures can get you different effects, meaning lower temperatures often have less psychoactive effects, and higher temperatures give a more intense high. The cannabinoid THC has a boiling point of 315°F, which means that it has the most intense effects above this point. These temperatures are achieved with a vaping device capable of achieving precise temperatures when lighting up a joint, or dabbing.

Different Cannabis Temperatures When Vaping

Depending on the effects you’re after, you can choose to heat THC to a lower or a higher temperature in your vaporizer, and this paragraph will help you figure out which temperature is the best for you.

Low Temperature (325-350°F)

Heating your cannabis at a low temperature when you vape, smoke, or heat weed in an oven helps it keep its THC content balance, preserves terpene content, and results in a mild buzz. Cannabis heated at lower temperatures has a mild flavor, produces a lightweight high which can be perfect for newbie users, and decreases the chances of experiencing negative side effects such as headaches, cottonmouth, bloodshot eyes, anxiety, and others.

Medium Temperature (350-400°F)

Using a medium temperature when decarboxylating your cannabis gives a more intense experience compared to using a lower temperature, and results in users feeling more intensive psychoactive effects, but also more relaxed. A lot of medicinal cannabis users opt for this temperature as it relaxes you, but doesn’t make you drowsy and couch-locked.

High Temperature (400-430°F)

The maximum extraction of THC is enabled at higher temperatures which results in users experiencing more intense highs. As a result of a higher THC content, users may experience “couch-lock” effects and feel lethargic. For this reason, using cannabis which was heated to these temperatures is best done at night.

How to Decarboxylate Cannabis and Activate THC?

As we’ve previously stated, decarbing cannabis is automatically done when you vape it or smoke it, but you can also decarb it in the oven, on the stovetop, in the crockpot, or using the sous vide method. But before you start the decarboxylation process, you need to first grind your weed. 

Fill your grinder with weed, and grind it down in order to enable it to heat up equally while in the oven. The small pieces that are left behind in the grinder are also the most potent, which is why they’re used for the creation of the most potent cannabis product called kief, which consists of the trichomes of the cannabis plant. After you’ve ground up your weed, it’s time to turn it into decarboxylated cannabis which you can use to make cannabis edibles, cannabutter, cannabis oil, or other weed products.

To get your decarbed cannabis flower, you need to heat the weed at a temperature between 230 degrees Fahrenheit and 250 degrees Fahrenheit for about half an hour to 90 minutes. Remember, the lower the temperature, the higher the terpene profile of the decarbed cannabis flower.

Decarbing on the Stovetop 

To decarb your weed on the stovetop, you’ll need a thermometer, your favorite cooking oil (coconut oil, olive oil, or other), a pan, and a mason jar. To start the decarbing process, you’ll need to place the oil and ground-up weed in the pan over medium heat.

The ideal temperature for decarbing cannabis is between 230°F and 250°F, so you should check the temperature often in order to make sure it stays within these limits. This process lasts between 30 and 90 minutes, after which you strain the plant material from the oil and place your cannabis oil in the mason jar.

Decarbing in the Crockpot 

Another method you can use to decarb your weed is placing it in a crockpot. Simply set the temperature on the crockpot, place the oil and weed, and come back to it after it’s finished. If you don’t want to measure the temperature of your oil throughout the whole process of decarbing your weed, this method is really hands-off.

Decarbing in the Oven

One of the easiest ways you can decarb weed is using the oven method. All you need is a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and your preferred ground-up cannabis strain from your local dispensary. Spread your weed on the lined-up baking sheet, and place it in a preheated oven. The decarb process will be over in about 30 minutes.

Decarbing Using the Sous Vide Method (Water Bath)

The water bath method provides a gentler decarb process. To try this method out, you’ll need to put your weed in a zip bag and place it in a water bath for about 2 hours at your desired temperature.

Conclusion on the Adequate Decarboxylation Temperatures That Activate THC

After reading this article, you probably learned that weed needs to be decarbed first in order to produce the effects that cannabis users are after. The optimal decarbing temperature that enables the activation of THC is between 230 and 250 degrees Fahrenheit, and you should use these temperatures when you choose your preferred weed decarbing method.

You can choose to decarb in your oven, on the stovetop, in a crockpot, use the water bath method, and some people even use the microwave. The most important thing to remember is to keep the decarbing temperature between the optimal ranges to ensure the preservation of important terpenes and cannabinoids, and prevent THC from degrading into cannabinol (CBN). Have fun decabing!

A passionate advocate for the benefits of cannabis. Fraser Horton, who has a background in botany and a strong love of nature, has spent years researching how cannabis affects the body and mind. He established Leaf Nation in 2020, where he has devoted himself to educating people about the legalisation of marijuana and its safe and responsible use. Fraser is committed to highlighting cannabis’ potential for improving wellness and working to dispel the stigma associated with its use.


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