Everyone knows how much we love decarboxylation! What some people don’t know is that we also have a healthy obsession with cannabis infusion.
We get a lot of questions about infusing cannabis, especially with all the misinformation out there. But the overarching one we get – hands-down – is “Do I have to decarb before I infuse?” You’ve likely heard this one in it’s more common form of “I don’t need to infuse because decarb and infusion happen at the same time!”
If you don’t decarb before infusing, your end product will be only approximately 10-25% activated.
This confusion seems to be especially present when people are using other cannabis devices and are wondering if, for example, they need to decarb before using the magical butter machine, or if they always need to decarb before making edibles. To answer both of those, yes you do need to decarb your cannabis before infusing!
It seems logical to think that heating a cannabis and oil mixture could accomplish both decarboxylation and infusion at the same time. So much so that even some of us in the Ardent team were guilty of believing this untruth earlier in our cannabis journeys.
It is important to decarb before you infuse if you want to have an active oil or butter that has the maximum amount of CBD or THC. If instead you are looking for a CBDA or THCA rich product, you don’t need to decarb before you infuse.
To get the maximum THC or CBD in your infusion, you always want to start with fully decarboxylated cannabis.
To get the maximum THC or CBD in your infusion, you always want to start with fully decarboxylated cannabis. If you don’t, the oil or butter will still be pulling the cannabinoids from the plant during infusion, BUT most of those them will still be stuck in their acid precursor forms, THCA or CBDA.
Simply put, if you decarb first you will have a fully active THC or CBD product .infusion. If you don’t decarb before infusing, your end product will be only approximately 10-25% activated.
If you’re a weed nerd like us, then check out the science below to see how we know non-decarbed flower doesn’t efficiently decarb during infusion.
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The Science Behind The Conclusion – Testing Results First, Explanation below:
We took two grams of Velvet Purp. One gram was decarbed and then infused in the Nova. The second gram was just placed in the oil and infused in the Nova, without first decarbing.
This Velvet Purp strain has a max THC of over 17%, which means the maximum THC that can be present in this plant after a perfect decarb is approx 170 mg THC per 1 gram. In this strain before decarb, in the first test result, you can see there is almost no active THC present, only THCA, the acid precursor to THC. In the second result, after the bud undergoes precision decarboxylation in the Nova, each gram has just over 17% THC, with 172 mg of THC per gram.
*All infusion samples are in a 1 oz serving size.
When we took the decarbed flower, mixed it with coconut oil and put it through a second cycle in the Nova to infuse, the result was fully activated and potent oil. Using 1 gram of decarbed flower in the oil, we were able to get 166.98 mg of active THC in each ounce of coconut oil, that’s an over 96% infusion rate of the active THC.
On the other hand, infusing 1 gram of Velvet Purp flower into one ounce of coconut oil without decarbing first results in a good infusion rate BUT NOT a good decarboxylation rate. You can see in the final oil, there is only 24.38 mg of active THC per ounce of oil. The vast majority of it is still in the THCA acid form (over 165.85 mg per ounce of oil). That means that only 13% of the cannabinoids in the oil have been decarbed, with 87% still in the acid form.
|Item Name *||Sample Type||THC||THCA||CBN||CBGA||THCV||CBC||Total||Max THC|
|F00049||Full Decarb Before Infusion||154.79mg||5.39mg||1.13mg||1.98mg||3.69mg||166.98mg|
|F00077||No Decarb Before Infusion||24.38 mg||165.85 mg||4.25mg||194.48 mg|
So what did we learn? Getting a potent, activated infusion requires decarboxylation before infusing cannabis. And if THCA or CBDA is your jam, it’s as easy as not decarbing before infusing to keep those acid-form cannabinoids around.
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