I do not cook. I barely passed Home-Ec class in Grade 10. So when I decided to make ‘cannabutter‘ for use in cooking with my first 15-gram batch of Broken Coast’s Sativa tips, I was intimidated.

I called my friend ‘in the know,’ who explained to me that the plant had to be heat activated first to take full advantage of the medicinal compounds. This process, he said, is achieved through the decarboxylation process (aka decarbing), which changes the chemical composition so that the medicine can more easily cross the blood-brain barrier.

Yadda yadda yadda. In English, please.

It was his opinion that decarboxylation was best achieved by grinding the bud and then placing the ground material on a cookie sheet in a 350F degree oven for 10 minutes. I followed his recommendation… and it worked!

But did it take full advantage of the medical compounds? Did the end product thrill and delight?

Nope. At this temperature, I could very well have scorched many of the plant’s cannabinoids, terpenoids, and flavonoids (per the chart at the bottom of the post). A little science in the approach to temperature goes a long way.

When we talk about temperatures with cannabis, we could be referring to the ideal boiling points of terpenoids and cannabinoids when vaporizing, the temperature to decarboxylate at and maintain while baking, or even if the oil degrades in boiling water.

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Terpenes, temps and strains… Oh my!

The chart below may help clarify these important considerations. Keep these temperatures in mind when you are working with cannabis. As noted, I made the rookie mistake of decarbing my cannabis at 350F for 10 minutes — too hot, too fast — rather than 200-250F for 30-90 minutes. Think slow roast, rather than sear.

When you are sourcing product from your licensed producer to use in baking, you may want to consider their more affordable alternatives, such as the Broken Coast $4/gram Sativa or Indica trim or the MedReleaf $2.50 trim. Most licenced producers will have their version of this.

(By the way, don’t forget that if you vaporize your medicine, you can save the after vaped product (AVP) which is already decarbed through the vaping boiling process, and still contains some of the plant’s medicinal compounds.)

Considering you may be using an ounce of cannabis at a time (usually an ounce, or 28 grams, to 1 lb. of butter or 2-3 cups of coconut, olive or grapeseed oil), that’s a lot of product to not get the most medicinal compounds out of.

If you are thinking of doing a lot of cooking, this lower price point availability may be a consideration when you are choosing your licenced producer. Ask one of our friendly bud geniuses to help guide you to that end.

DECARBING     (DECARBOXYLATING)

(Heating ground plant matter in oven to activate compounds in preparation for use in making ‘cannabutter,’ for instance, to use in cooking)

Max F

Max C

Max Time

Some like to go low

200

93

70-90 minutes

Some consider this the sweet spot

225

107

50-60 minutes

Some think this is better at accessing all compounds

250

121

30-40 minutes

BAKING WITH CANNABUTTER

Keep oven at or below this temperature if your baking has cannabutter in it.

300 – 325

148 – 162

TYPICAL BOILING WATER TEMP that average tea or coffee is served at (if you are adding cannabutter to coffee or tea)

160-185

71-85

The reason the above temperatures are so important?

Because the temperatures shown in the chart below are the minimum required to activate the effects of the many individual compounds found in medicinal cannabis. Understanding the terpene profile of any given strain and adjusting the temperature accordingly, patients can tailor the consumption of cannabis to help address symptoms. 

For example, patients using strains high in caryophyllene (which acts as an anti-inflammatory and helps relieve anxiety) and limonene (which helps with depression) would need to heat or vaporize the cannabis to at least 350 F to activate and experience the mental and physical benefits of both terpenes.

CANNABINOID/TERPENOID Boiling Points  

F

C

Caryophyllene 

Terpenoid

246

119

Pinene 

Terpenoid

312

156

THC 

Cannabinoid

314

157

CBD

Cannabinoid

320-356

160-180

Myrcene

Terpenoid

330-334

166-168

Limonene 

Terpenoid

350

177

Linalool 

Terpenoid

388

198

 

— Written by Kait Shane, Natural Health Services. Follow Kait on Twitter @Medikait.

For further insight into all things cannabis, don’t forget to check out The Cannabis Show (new episodes every Wednesday), and connect with us through FacebookTwitter and Instagram. The Cannabis Show is also available as an audio podcast, subscribe on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, TuneIn, and Overcast.

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