How to Decarboxylate Marijuana Trim
Marijuana trimmings, or bud trimmings, are left over after a grower harvests a crop and manicures the buds. This method also works for shake and other material that is not as dense as marijuana bud. For instructions on decarboxylating bud, see this. When preparing marijuana to be eaten, made into a tincture, or some other method of ingestion other than smoking or vaporizing, it must first be decarboxylated. This is done so the active components of marijuana will be more easily absorbed by the human body. Many people try to make some type of marijuana food or drink, only to have the resulting product provide very little psychoactive effect. The most common cause is not decarboxylating the marijuana enough, or in some cases not decarboxylating at all.
When a marijuana plant is harvested, most of the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the primary active cannabinoid in marijuana) is in its acidic form. This is called THCA, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid. THCA is not psychoactive to humans. Curing and drying causes some of the THCA to convert into THC. Smoking or vaporizing also causes THCA to convert into THC. So when smoking or consuming it in a manner that heats the marijuana to a high temperature, some or most of THCA is converted to THC with no extra effort. When eaten or drunk, an extra step called decarboxylation must be employed. This is accomplished by heating the marijuana under specific conditions prior to incorporating it into a recipe, or consuming it another manner.
The first step is to decide how much mj trim to decarboxylate. If you are not sure, 14-28 grams is a reasonable amount for a first attempt. After you decide how much trim to decarboxylate, the next step is to make sure it is dry so it doesn’t clump together. If the trim clumps together there is a chance that it won’t decarboxylate evenly, so dry the trim before attempting to decarb it. Bud trim is small leaves trimmed away from the bud, there should be no need to grind it. When marijuana bud is decarboxylated, it has to be ground into small pieces. If there is any bud or dense material mixed in with the trim, grind it to a point where the particles are about the same size as marijuana when it is rolled into a joint, several times larger than grains of salt. Place the dry marijuana trim in a pyrex dish or some other type of oven safe dish. Try to level the marijuana in the pyrex dish so it is roughly the same depth in all parts of the pyrex dish.
Making it relatively level and no more than about 1 to 1.5 inches/25 to 38 mm deep, is so the marijuana gets heated at the same rate.If you were to dump the trim into a pile, or if it’s too deep, the material at the center will take longer to heat than the exterior, incomplete decarboxylation. Wrap aluminum foil around the dish so it is well sealed. Some compounds in marijuana may vaporize when decarboxylating.
Keeping the marijuana as air tight as possible will allow any vapor to be absorbed by the marijuana instead of escaping into the air. Regular foil is ok if that is all you have available. Heavy duty foil is best and can be reused. Set the oven to 240°F/116°C and wait until it reaches that temperature. If necessary, use an oven thermometer for accuracy. When it reaches 240°F/116°C, put in the pyrex dish containing the marijuana trim in the oven. The length of time to keep the marijuana in the oven depends on how it will be consumed.
If you are going to make something that will require heating the trim again, for example making marijuana butter, decarboxylation takes less time because the extra heating will further decarboxylate the marijuana. From when you put the marijuana into the pre-heated oven, wait about 60 minutes with the temperature at around 240°F/116°C, then turn off the oven. Leave the pyrex dish in the oven until it cools to room temperature and you can remove it with bare hands. Leave it covered until you are ready to prepare it for consumption.
If you are going to make something that will require little or no more heating of the marijuana, for example making marijuana tincture, decarboxylation takes more time.
From when you put the marijuana into the pre-heated oven, wait 90 minutes with the temperature at around 240°F/116°C, then turn off the oven. Leave the door for the oven closed and let the pyrex dish cool to room temperature. When cool, you can remove it with your bare hands. Leave it covered until you are ready to prepare it for consumption. The decarboxylated marijuana trim pictured here was heated in the oven for 60 minutes, then left to cool.
After decarboxylation, marijuana trim can be made into marijuana butter or oil and prepared into a recipe that has butter or oil as an ingredient, mixed with alcohol and made into a tincture, or eaten or drunk in another way.
Step By Step
A) Decide how much marijuana trim to decarboxylate.
B) Place the trim in a pyrex dish.
C) Level the trim to roughly the same depth in dish.
D) Wrap aluminum foil around dish so it is well sealed.
E) Pre-Heat oven to 240°F/116°C.
F) When heated, put dish in oven.
G) Wait until decarboxylation time is finished.
H) Turn off oven heat.
I) Leave the door for the oven closed.
J) Wait until cool.
K) Remove from oven.
Getting the Most out of Your Marijuana Trim
Before we dive into how to use cannabis trim, we have a couple of tips on how to get the most out of it. After all, trim is not that different from buds in many ways.
On the one hand, fan leaves contain little in the way of trichomes, meaning a low cannabinoid content. Therefore, it is possible to use them raw, directly off the plant. Although they won’t get you high, fan leaves do have some benefits, which we will discuss in tip number one.
However, the sugar leaves that you trim off after harvesting are another matter. Of course, they are not as rich in cannabinoids and terpenes as buds, but they do have a smattering of trichomes.
This means that you need to prepare them in the same way as you would with cannabis flower; by first drying and curing them carefully and then decarboxylating them to activate their cannabinoids.
How to Dry and Cure Cannabis Trim
Drying and curing cannabis properly is an essential part of the growing process. Failure to do so can result in weed that lacks flavor and potency. It may also increase the risk of developing mold.
Fortunately, drying cannabis trim couldn’t be easier. Simply spread it out on sheets of newspaper and leave it in a dry, shaded area until crisp.
Trim dries much quicker than flower and should be ready in a matter of days. You can then transfer your trim into storage jars and cure it in the same way you would treat buds.