Decarboxylation is the scientific process that takes place when cannabis is exposed to heat. In scientific terms, decarboxylation refers to a reaction of carboxylic acids that remove a carbon atom from a chain of atoms present within a plant such as cannabis.When heat is applied to cannabis, it will remove a carboxyl group from the THCA cannabinoid (non-psychoactive) and creates the psychoactive Delta-9 THC. Decarboxylation also occurs when cannabis is smoked or vaporized.
How to Decarboxylate Shatter for Edibles
In order to decarboxylate your shatter (or budder/rosin/wax), you will need a few household kitchen items.
- Oven-prof Pyrex-style measuring jug or mason jar (no lid is needed)
- Oven tray
- Parchment paper
This method provides a foolproof method for decarbing shatter:
- Set the oven to 240 degrees Fahrenheit (115 Celsius)
- Place the shatter into the ovenproof mason jar or pyrex measuring cup
- No lid is needed for this decarboxylation method
- Place the container with the shatter in it onto the oven tray and place into the oven once it has reached 240 degrees Fahrenheit (115 Celsius)
- Set timer for 35 minutes
- After approximately 10 minutes, you will notice bubbles in the shatter
- After the 35-minute timer has gone off, the bubbles will have started to disappear
- Decarboxylate for an additional 15 minutes
- Let the shatter cool for at least 10 minutes before starting an infusion
Consider the dish you’ll infuse
The first step in cooking with concentrates is to give some thought to the final product—are you making, say, a plain salad dressing? You may want to opt for a distillate rather than RSO as RSO’s concentrated form may leave a bitter aftertaste.
“All types of cannabis concentrates can be used in cooking,” said Jay Denniston, director of science at Dixie Brands. “However, the myriad of different types of concentrates, with variability in potency, form, flavor, and aroma, can create difficulty in choosing the right type of product to use in an infused dish.”
“Full extract cannabis oils like RSO will deliver a heavier botanical flavor and aroma than crystalline extracts,” continued Denniston. “If a food will be consumed in small concentrated doses, like olive oil, the cannabis extract flavor will be present to a higher degree.”
Consider using concentrates with stronger flavors (like RSO or full-spectrum extracts) in sweet edibles, where the flavor can be more effectively masked.
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
Know your concentrate before infusing it.
“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.”Troy Ivan, ExtractCraft
“Concentrates that occur in semi-solid to solid states, such as live resin, terp sauce, budder, wax, and especially sugar wax, have the potential to contain 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 easier to work with than others. Crystal isolates, for instance, often come in the form of a white powder that’s easy to manipulate.
“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.RelatedCannabis oil distillate concentrate: pure THC
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 [with distillate] is that all other cannabinoids and desirable cannabis components have been purposefully removed,” said Ivan. “Any synergistic and ‘entourage effect’ benefits contained in full-spectrum oil are not present in distillate and many would argue that it’s less medicinal with a lower efficacy.”
Others, like Brandin LaShea, chef and host of the digital cooking show Pot Pie, prefer to go the RSO route for its ease of use.
“I sometimes prefer to use certain concentrates like RSO because you can skip the decarboxylation step, and add them directly to your favorite recipes, which makes the process a lot easier for someone just starting out,” said LaShea.
Make sure you only use concentrates that have third-party lab test results. You want to be absolutely sure of what’s going into your edible.RelatedWhat is decarboxylation, and why does your cannabis need it?
Dosing cannabis oils for edibles
The key to having a good edible experience is to take things low and slow. This is especially important when dealing with homemade edibles, which are famously difficult to dose.RelatedDosing homemade cannabis edibles: Why it’s nearly impossible to calculate potency
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.
In order to make shatter infused oils or shatter butter, there are a few pieces of kitchen equipment that you will need. This equipment is easily found in a local store or online.
- Large glass bowl or large pyrex-style measuring jug
- Crockpot/slow cooker
- Hand Strainer
- A container such as a mason jar for the final product
Cooking with cannabis must be done safely, in any kitchen. A practice that many cannabis edible chefs follow is having separate pieces of equipment that are only used for cannabis infusions.
Making this shatter infused oil, or butter, is easy, as well as relatively mess-free with our method.
How to make Oil/Butter with Shatter
- In a large glass bowl or measuring jug, add decarboxylated shatter and 1 cup of coconut oil or butter
- Fill the crockpot with enough water to reach the halfway point of your large glass bowl or measuring jug
- Place crockpot/slow cooker on medium-low heat and wait until the water has heated
- Now, place the bowl of decarbed shatter and coconut oil (or butter) into the water within the crockpot/slow cooker
- You can cover this infusion, although it is not necessary.
- Ensure the water does not get too low during the infusion process, some will evaporate
- Leave coconut oil and shatter infusing in the crockpot/slow cooker for 3-4 hours, stirring every hour or so
- Line a hand strainer with cheesecloth (3-4 pieces on top of one another) and strain the cannabis coconut oil back into its original container or a mason jar
- Store in the refrigerator and enjoy responsibly
This easy crockpot method provides a simple, somewhat mess-free, solution for making infused shatter oil or butter at home. Watch along with this helpful video if you would like a visual aide.
What edibles can be made with Shatter Infused Oil/Butter?
Depending on the substance you choose to infuse, there is almost an unlimited number of recipes awaiting cannabis infusion. Here are just a few of our recipes that should hopefully inspire some creative edibles.
Edibles Made with Infused Coconut Oil:
- Cannabis Gummies
- Infused Snickerdoodles
- Cannabis-Infused Corn Chips
Edibles Made With Cannabutter:
- Cannabis Cookie-Brownies
- Cannabis-Infused Rice Crispy Treats
- Infused Mac ‘n’ Cheese