How to Decarboxylate Cannabis At Home
Are you new to the science of decarboxylation? Check-out our online guide to decarboxylation for an easy-to-read breakdown of all the basics.
How to Decarboxylate at Home
Step One – Prepare Your Materials
You can activate any cannabis product in the NOVA, whether you have flower, kief, or any other concentrate. Dense flower composed of solid nugs can be placed into the device as-is, while powdery ‘shakey’ flower, kief, and other related concentrates should be placed on parchment paper or a silicone container to keep them from sticking.
Step Two – Prepare the NOVA
Slide the container back into the device and place the purple silicone lid on top. The lid prevents any oxygen from entering the container while also allowing any pressure to escape. Place the outer black lid on tightly. It does not ‘lock,” but does click into place. As long as the lid is pushed down securely, you are good to go.
Step Three – Get Started
The NOVA’s user interface is easy to understand. When you close the lid, the light on the NOVA will be green. This means that the device is ready for use. Press the button located on the front of the NOVA to begin the decarboxylation process. The green light will immediately turn red. This means that the decarb cycle has begun.
The entire cycle takes from an hour and a half to two hours, with the sensors and algorithm working in conjunction to create precise, even heating cycles to fully decarboxylate the material. When the process is complete, the red light will again turn green, signaling that the material is now ready for use. When you remove material from the NOVA you will notice that it is darker than it was previously. The color change is very noticeable when decarbing flower and kief, a bit less so when dealing with extracted concentrates.
For many cannabis patients, properly decarbing means getting their life back. The ability to easily and accurately improve the quality of their medicine not only reduces their medical expenses, but also frees them from the tedium of planning their days around their doses. Decarbing allows medical cannabis patients to turn any food product into highly potent medicine without being overwhelmed by the taste and smell of cannabis. The perks don’t end there.
How to Use Your Decarbed Cannabis
We spend a lot time answering questions from current and future customers. Throughout this process, we’ve found that a lot of myths are still assumed to be facts. These questions encourage us to continue our research, and to constantly increase our efforts to educate consumers. One of the most commonly misunderstood subjects surrounding decarboxylation is what to do with decarbed material once the process is complete.
Through community discussion, we discovered that plenty of NOVA users still think it’s a requirement to infuse their decarbed material into a butter or an oil. Butters and oils are easier than ever to make – see more on that below – but you should know that when the decarb process is complete, you can simply take a small amount of this material and use in these ways:
No additional treatment means that you can choose a delivery method as simple as grinding a small amount of decarboxylated flower into a vinaigrette before you put it on your salad. The possibilities for infused food are endless. There is no infusion or treatment required because the THC has been activated and is ready to be absorbed. Being able to use such a small amount of material allows you to avoid tasting the cannabis in your food without compromising its potency. Since processing the decarbed cannabis further (especially with old school infusion methods) can result in more of a “weedy” taste, people who don’t like that taste will particularly enjoy this method.
Use it Sublingually
Sublingual use refers to placing the cannabis under your tongue and letting it absorb, ideally for at least a few minutes. Sublingual delivery has gained popularity, especially among medical patients due to its ease of dosing (especially microdosing) and discretion, not to mention versatility. The onset of effects are usually between 15 minutes and 30 minutes after consumption, and can last anywhere from 3-6 hours. Swallowing the cannabis will allow whatever wasn’t absorbed sublingually to be ingested like any other edible and the onset will be stronger and last longer. Using the NOVA doing to decarbing you can know and control the amount of mgs you are administering, whether you create a tincture or use the direct route. Want sublingual effects without any work? Mix a (very) small amount of your decarbed flower with a drop of coconut oil and hold under your tongue. Yup, it’s really that easy!
Cannabis flower, extract, and concentrates are ready for use in any topical as soon as they complete the decarb process in the NOVA. Cannabis topicals have gone from a little-known use of our beautiful plant to an increasingly mainstream product. CBD infused lotions are even beginning to show up at your local pharmacy! Lotions and salves are the most common topicals, but the options are as broad as your imagination. Feel refreshed by your end of the day toner? You can medicate that, too 🙂 Topicals are useful for relieving everything from neuropathic and fibromyalgia pain, acne and dry skin to arthritis and so, so many more. Many topicals can be used anytime, anywhere since they don’t cause a “high” effect like other delivery methods. You may depend on topicals for symptom reduction or they may be a part of your beauty routine. No matter which category you fall into you, and whatever your preferences, making topicals with your NOVA is as easy as adding infused oil or decarbed cannabis concentrates to a non-cannabis lotion you already love.
Smoke or Vaporize it
I know what you’re thinking, why would I need to decarb my cannabis if I’ll be smoking or vaping it? Doesn’t it get decarbed during the smoking and vaping? While it is true that smoking and vaping perform some decarb during the process, they aren’t efficient and there is waste. A joint is a great way to understand this concept: While the smoke is caused by the combustion (or flame) you use to light the joint, nearly all of the cannabinoids that come into contact with the combustion will simply burn off or quickly to ash. Each time you take a puff of your joint, you are pulling the hot air through the rolled cannabis.
That hot air is vaporizing the cannabinoids in the joint and some decarb is occuring as well, but the time it takes you to smoke the joint is much faster than the full decarb process can be complete. While you still may feel a strong effect, you only consumed a fraction of what that joint could have given you. On the other hand, smoking a joint filled with decarbed flower from your NOVA means all that the hot air needs to do is pull the already activated THC off the plant matter, and into the smoke you inhale. Whatever touches the flame will still burn off, but the additional mg’s of activated THC in your smoke will give you a stronger, more effective joint. Combustion on already decarbed flower will also create more CBN, which is very sedative. Many patients who are seeking a deep relaxation effect (for example patients suffering from PTSD or insomnia) prefer to decarb before smoking to both maximize THC and increase the CBN intake.
The same principles apply to vaporizing, which means with decarbed flower, you will get more yield while vaporizing. You can also vape at the lowest possible temps while still experiencing a strong effect.
Many people still want or need to infuse their cannabinoids into oil or butter. This is particularly common with patients or clients who use their decarbed material to make beauty products and topicals, certain edibles, and tinctures. Material decarbed in the NOVA is primed to infuse into any oil you’ve chosen. There are many myths and theories about infusion and we’ve received so many questions about the best way to infuse after decarbing. When we approach an issue at Ardent, we always ask ourselves, “ Do we think this is true, or do we know this is true?” Patients and consumers deserve information based in science and fact, and we are proud to bring cannabis science to light. So we got hard to work on experiments and testing to get to the root of the infusion puzzle.
As a result, we are also thrilled to announce that NOVA is an incredibly efficient infusion device! You can easily extract over 80% of the THC in your decarbed flower right in the oil; over 90% with the right oils. It’s simple to make high dose infusions with a small amount of flower. Because there is no cannabis or oil minimum requirements in the NOVA, you can make as much or as little as you and your family and friends need. The future of cannabis infusion lets you spend more time enjoying the fruits (or brownies 🙂 of your labor! For more about our big reveal and to see infusion testing results, check out our infusion guide.
Infusing With the NOVA
The NOVA is a multipurpose device capable of completing every step in the process of decarbing and infusing any cannabis material you choose. The process is surprisingly simple, regardless of the specific cannabis product you begin with.
Please check out our dedicated post to infusion with the NOVA here.
Step One – Choose Your Materials
Make sure you know the THC content of your starting material (flower, concentrates, or extractions will all work) so you can determine the strength of your infusion. Check out our dosing guide for more info on determining the THC content of your material.
Pick your extraction oil with consideration to what you plan to use it for. Certain oils are better for ingesting, while others work better for beauty products.
Step Two -Decarboxylate Your Materials
Decarboxylate your material as you normally would. As soon as your material completes the decarb process, it is ready to be infused.
Step Three – Prepare Your Materials for Infusion
Place your chosen oil in a glass or silicone container with your decarbed plant material. Ensure that the container is large enough so if the oil bubbles a but during the process, it won’t come out of the container. Do not place a cap on the glass or silicone container. Place the container into the NOVA’s internal decarb chamber and put the purple lid on. Then the NOVA’s main black lid. Remember that this lid does not lock shut, but is secure as long as it is pressed down firmly.
Step Four – Infuse
Press the green light to start the cycle. Run your oil mixture through a full NOVA cycle, just as you did when you decarbed the material. When the cycle is complete, you will be in possession of fully activated and infused oil, ready to be used to cook, bake, or be mixed into a homemade topical or beauty product. You can use a small funnel and screen to strain the oil from the plant material inside.
Please note that the container you use for your oil may be quite warm when you remove it from the NOVA. Be careful when handling the material post infusion.