You’ll need to learn how to decarb wax (or BHO, shatter, dabs, butane honey oil) before cooking marijuana edibles with concentrates. The activation of THC in your butane hash oil requires a low-temperature oven decarboxylation.
It’s simple to learn how to decarb shatter; the trick is to heat it sufficiently yet not too much. If you decarb dabs for too long, some THC will convert into CBN (a cannabinoid that makes you sleepy). This might be useful if you want a bedtime snack, but the objective of learning how to decarb BHO is usually to increase the amount of THC in your edibles.
How to decarb BHO or wax
- Heat oven to 250 degrees fahrenheit. Place a measured amount of butane hash oil on a silicone liner on an oven-safe pyrex pan (or use parchment paper, as shown in the photos on this page).
- Cook in the oven for approximately 25 minutes.
- Monitor the shatter to know when it’s done. When you decarb BHO, it will bubble. The decarboxylation process releases water and carbon dioxide. Initially it will bubble large bubbles:Then smaller bubbles:You don’t want to overcook the shatter or it will make you sleepy. So keep a close eye on the bubbling throughout the shatter decarb process. Poke the bubbles with a skewer to loosen them towards the end, and then watch for new bubbles to form. Remove from the oven when bubbling slows to a near stop.
- Let cool for a few minutes then place the silicone mat or parchment in the freezer for a few minutes to make it easier to handle. Work quickly if you touch it with your fingers or it will melt into a sticky mess.
Consider the dish you’ll infuse
The first step in using concentrates is to consider the end product: are you creating, for example, a simple salad dressing? You may wish to go with a distillate rather than RSO because RSO’s concentrated form has a harsh aftertaste.
“You can use all sorts of cannabis concentrates in food,” adds Jay Denniston, director of science at Dixie Brands. “The plethora of various types of concentrates, each with its own strength, form, flavor, and aroma, might make it difficult to identify the best type for an infused dish.”
“Full extract cannabis oils, such as RSO, will have a stronger botanical flavor and aroma than crystalline extracts,” Denniston continued. “If you’re eating foods in tiny concentrated doses like olive oil, the taste of the cannabis extract will be more noticeable.”
Using concentrates with more powerful tastes (like RSO or full-spectrum extracts) in sweet edibles may help to better conceal the flavor.
Denniston also suggested opting for high-fat foods like peanut butter, olive oil, or ghee as they more easily accept concentrates for infusion.
Choose your concentrate
“Concentrates that come from semi-solid to solid states, such as live resin, terp sauce, budder, wax, and especially sugar wax, have the potential to include high amounts of THCA,” said Denniston.
For those of you wondering what THCA is, it is the non-intoxicating compound that converts to the euphoric THC over time or when heat is applied.
Some concentrates are more user-friendly than others. Crystal isolates, for example, are frequently available in the form of a white powder that is simple to handle.
“The main advantage of using distillate is that it’s flavorless, scentless, and completely ready to be incorporated into the fat component of your chosen recipe,” said Troy Ivan, CEO & Founder of ExtractCraft.
Distillate, then, has a lot of appeal considering its potency and the fact it doesn’t need to be decarboxylated. However, each choice comes with its own unique challenges as well.
The disadvantage of distillate is that all other cannabinoids and important cannabis components have been purposely removed. Many people believe that distillate is less medicinal because it lacks the entourage effects and synergy found in full-spectrum oil.
For others, Brandin LaShea, chef and host of the digital cooking show Pot Pie, opts for a RSO approach since it is simpler to use.
“I’ve discovered that I enjoy using RSO concentrates, which don’t require decarboxylation and may be directly added to your favorite recipes, making the process much easier for someone who is just getting started.”
Make sure you’re using concentrates that have undergone third-party lab testing. You don’t want to risk eating anything that contains unknown contaminants.
Dosing cannabis oils for edibles
The secret to an enjoyable edible experience is to go slow and low. This is especially crucial when it comes to homemade edibles, which are notoriously difficult to make.
You’ll need a few basic pieces of information to calculate your approximate dose:
- The weight of your concentrate (in grams)
- The potency of the concentrate (% THC or CBD)
- The number of servings the cooked dish yields (i.e. “makes a dozen cookies”)
To calculate, use this equation:
(weight of concentrate x THC% x 1,000)/number of servings
- Multiply the weight of your concentrate (in grams) by the percentage of THC (as a decimal)
- Multiply that number by 1,000 to convert grams to milligrams
- Divide that number by the number of servings your recipe yields to determine milligrams of THC per portion
For example, 0.25 grams of a concentrate with 80% THC potency, should yield about 200mg of THC: (0.25 x 0.80) x 1,000 = 200.
Then, 200mg of THC distributed throughout 8 servings provides each serving with 25mg of THC, assuming even distribution (mix well!).
Make sure you’re already familiar with your ideal dose, and when in doubt, start with a very low dose (between 1-5mg) and work your way up.
Decarboxylate your concentrate (if needed)
Before cooking, you’ll want to be sure that your concentrate is decarboxylated. This converts non-intoxicating THCA into the euphoric THC we all know and love.
Higher temperatures are more likely to eliminate valuable cannabinoids and other compounds, so decarbing low and slow is generally the best way to go.
Getting your concentrates out of their containers can be tricky. Ivan advises using a lighter to melt concentrates stuck to metallic tools or sticking concentrates in the freezer until they stiffen up and can be easily removed. “Be careful. If you leave it in the freezer too long it will become like glass and shatter into little shards all over the place,” warned Ivan.
LaShea advises decarbing each type of concentrate as follows:
- Desired amount of BHO
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper
- Oven thermometer
- Preheat your oven to 200°F (93°C). Make sure you use your thermometer to test the oven temp before placing BHO in the oven.
- Line your baking sheet with your parchment paper.
- Put your wax, shatter, crumble, or budder on the center of your parchment lined baking sheet.
- Place in the oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes. You will want to watch your concentrate very closely and make sure it doesn’t overcook. Once it has melted down and starts to really bubble, you know it is ready.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
- Large stockpot
- Cooking oil (like canola oil)
- Heat proof container for RSO or CO2 oil (silicone or glass)
- Desired amount of RSO or CO2 oil
- Spoon for stirring
- Fill a stock pot about a quarter way up with cooking oil.
- Place sealed container (silicone or glass container) with RSO or CO2 oil into pot with oil.
- Began heating oil on medium-low heat.
- Heat oil to 200°F (93°C), watching very closely and checking temperature with your thermometer. Break up bubbles with a spoon.
- Once you’ve reached the temperature of 200°F, turn off the stovetop and remove pot from heat.
- After about 1-2 minutes or when the bubbles have started to mellow out, remove concentrate container from oil with tongs. You can also leave it in until the bubbles have completely stopped for a more potent oil with stronger effects.
Note: Decarbing concentrates will make them thicken up, so they will be easier to work with while they are a little warm.
- Desired amount of kief
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper
- Oven thermometer
- Preheat your oven to 200°F (93°C). Make sure you use your thermometer to test the oven temp before placing kief in the oven.
- Line your baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Spread the knife around evenly in the center of the baking sheet.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes stirring halfway through.
- Remove from the oven and allow it to cool.
Select your infusing oil
The most stable and liquid base oils for infusing are those with a high saturated fat content, such as palm oil or coconut oil. I really enjoy using high-quality avocado oil for this purpose.
Butter and animal fats derived from dairy do not compare in terms of stability and ease of use.
MCT oil, which is made from coconut but has a high saturated fat content, is another option. It’s this saturated fat content that allows MCT oil to rapidly provide energy and act as the ideal medium for dissolving cannabis concentrates. While many virgin coconut oils have a coconut flavor, MCT oil is processed to eliminate it.