Decarboxylating your weed — essentially, heating it in a specific way — is vital if you’re going to be enjoying edibles. It’s also helpful if you want to make the bud you’re planning to smoke extra potent. The decarb process serves to “unlock” or “activate” the THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids in your weed, but if you’re about to embark on your very first experiment with decarboxylating weed, it’s definitely a little daunting.
How Can Weed Be Decarboxylated?
You can decarboxylate cannabis in a variety of ways, including:
- To a certain extent, by curing your weed (for home growers). As you cure the marijuana plant in a dark space with perfect relative humidity (try a CVault container!), it also begins to decarb naturally.
- By smoking or vaping your weed, you heat it — decarboxylating your herbs as you go.
- In the oven, simply on a baking sheet. This has mixed results.
- With a specialized decarboxylation appliance, like the Magical Butter DecarBox, Ardent Nova FX, or Levo II, decarboxylating your weed becomes easy. Investing in these specialized machines isn’t in everyone’s budget, though, especially if they only enjoy cannabis occasionally.
Another option is to decarboxylate in a Mason jar — something you probably already have lying around somewhere because they make EXCELLENT re-usable stash jars too.
How to Decarboxylate in a Mason Jar
To decarboxylate weed with the help of a Mason jar, you’ll need a Mason jar (obviously) that has a lid, a baking tray, baking sheets, a kitchen towel or oven dish, kitchen gloves, and of course marijuana. Once you’ve gathered all your supplies, just follow these easy steps:
- Preheat your oven to 230 degrees Fahrenheit (that’s about 110 degrees Celsius, in case you were wondering). Put your baking tray on the middle rack, and cover it with a baking sheet.
- Next, grind your weed until it’s pretty fine — think “dried oregano” consistency. You can do this right inside the Mason jar if you want, to avoid spillage. Breaking the cannabis into smaller and smaller pieces by hand will work just fine.
- With the weed inside your jar, screw the lid on tightly.
- Hold your (fabric!) kitchen towel under the tap and wring it out until it’s damp but not soaking. If you don’t want to put a kitchen towel in the oven, you can simply use a shallow oven dish.
- Place the damp towel or oven dish in the oven followed by the Mason jar, placed on its side.
Your goal should be to have the weed in the oven at this low temperature for a total of one hour. However, you can’t just watch Netflix and wait for the timer to go off. It’s important to take your Mason jar out every 15 minutes.
You must shake it around a little to make sure all your weed is decarboxylated evenly. If bits are stuck to the side, open the jar and gently dislodge them. While you’re at it, if the towel is completely dry, dampen it again or replace it with another moist towel.
Once you’re done, simply allow your decarboxylated weed to cool off — and use it however you’d like.
Pros & Cons of Decarboxylating in a Mason Jar
Why would you use a Mason jar when there are fancy pants dedicated decarboxylators? Well, it’s cheap, for one. It’s also easy, and using a Mason jar limits the cannabis odors, which can be helpful if you’re living in an apartment unit, dorm, or with roommates or relatives who don’t appreciate marijuana smells. If you choose this method, there will also be very little cleanup.
Best of all? Your weed will be decarbed to perfection every time, waiting for you to enjoy it as you wish.
There are really no cons — although the commonly-recommended step of using a moist kitchen towel to prevent the Mason jar from going walkabout could, potentially be a little risky. Folks who want increased convenience, meanwhile, might prefer a decarb machine.
Thanks for the info! Since it will take a while for the temp inside the mason jar to reach 230°, I’m going to preheat to 250° then bring the temp down once the weed is in the oven. I figure a pint jar will reach temp sooner so am using one instead of a quart. I see no reason for the baking dish so am going to put the mason jar directly into the oven. My oven is electric & my options are 225° or 250°, I’ll go 225.
See any drawbacks to these plans?
The Herb CEO
Give it a try and let us know! The baking dish is usually for a water bath to equalize temps but isn’t necessary, many people decarb by just laying their plant out on a baking sheet (not optimal but it can get the job done, although it’s easy to burn that way). If you don’t have a whole quart then sure a pint can work and probably faster. One thing to remember when dealing with glass and high temps is to be careful with temp changes. Glass is obviously quite brittle and thus going from hot to cold, especially water, can cause it to break.
The thing that concerns me is putting a closed jar in a hot oven. Won’t pressure build up and the jar explode? Or is the temperature low enough that that won’t happen?
Low temperature and don’t screw the lid on all the way. I’ve been decarbing in mason jars in my crock pot for years without issue, but again, I never screw the lid on all the way.
I expect you are insulating the glass jar form the pan to eliminate hot spots at the contact point. Would a silicone trivet work just as well? It keeps the roast from scorching when in a pan.
Wrapped ours in a generic cloth towel but I imagine a silicone trivet would work similarly?