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Do you need to Decarboxylate CBD?

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Decarboxylating CBD is a simple process with a fancy name. If you’ve never heard the D word, I break it down in further detail in this post about Decarboxylating THC.

But after writing that post, I got tons of questions from you about decarboxylating CBD. Like:

  • What does decarboxylating THC do to CBD?
  • Do you need to do it to “activate” your CBD rich plant material?
  • And… how do you do it?

So let’s dive in!

Is Decarboxylating CBD Necessary?

*Correction: In the video above, I said the phrase “carbolic acid” and meant to say “carboxylic acid”. And you can check out the Cannabis Coaching Institute here. 

I’m going to answer that with a simple Y.E.S. for those of you who don’t want to spend too much time digging into this topic or watching the video.

But if you’re a weed geek and you want to be able to explain this to your grandma, let’s rewind a bit.

Let’s go all the way back to the plant.

A cannabis plant produces a substance called resin. And that resin is filled with compounds called cannabinoids.

The two major cannabinoids found in raw – unheated – resin are THCa and CBDa. The cannabis plant doesn’t actually make THC or CBD, instead it makes these compounds with a little “a” at the end.

The “a” stands for acid.

There has been a little bit of research done on these acidic forms – THCa and CBDa – and while it’s promising, there has been more research around the decarboxylated compounds THC and CBD.

For example, CBDa has been shown to have some anti-inflammatory effects, but CBD has been shown to have even greater effects.

Since CBD isn’t psychoactive, the difference isn’t as noticeable as it is with THC (which becomes psychoactive when you decarb) but if you’re making homemade CBD oil, I consider it a necessary step.

A note on CBD:THC Ratios and Decarboxylation

In this post, I’m talking only about plant material that is very high in CBD and very low in THC. The time it takes to decarboxylate high CBD plant material is double what it takes to decarboxylate THC unless they are present in a more balanced ratio.

If you’re decarboxylating something closer to a 1:1 ratio or a high THC strain, use the instructions for decarboxylating high THC plant material or run the Nova for 1 cycle.

How to Decarboxylate CBD

I’ll walk you through all of this in the full tutorial soon. But unfortunately, right now, I have the not fun job of giving you an unsatisfying answer.

After extensive research it’s clear there is still a lot of public debate on the perfect time and temperature for CBD decarboxylation. There are many ways to decarboxylate at home, but none of them are perfect and no one has outlined a replicable homespun method to get 100% decarboxylation.

Up until the moment that you’re reading this, I have not found a single piece of good data that conclusively shows a method of decarboxylation for high CBD plant material that you could replicate in a home environment.

Beyond that, I’ve not been able to find any research that gives an ideal time/temperature for CBD decarboxylation.
I ALSO couldn’t find any research that used anything other than a pure CBD isolate in their testing, which I don’t recommend because it doesn’t have the same results that full spectrum CBD has. 
The only access I’ve been given to testing has come from the founder of Ardent Cannabis. They’ve done an incredible amount of third party lab testing and after working with them for several years, I believe they act in integrity and respect the work they do.
Yes. It’s a product. But it’s what I would recommend to anyone who asked me what I thought. I love it and it works well. I have rocket scientist and engineer friends who also recommend the product, so I don’t believe it’s mere hokum.
I WISH I’d found something that would help me recommend a homespun method with a time and temperature. And If this research is out there and I don’t know about it, I’d love to see it.
I am here to learn as much as possible and share it with the people who can use it. So if you know of a study that can help clarify this, leave us a comment below or email [email protected]

The Nova and the “Double Decarb?”

To get a 100% decarboxylation on my CBD flower material, the only thing I trust is the Nova Decarboxylator. I love that company and that device for so many reasons, but one thing I really love about Ardent Cannabis is that they’ve done incredible independent lab tests that show the effectiveness of different types of decarb methods.

In their testing, none of the standard methods give 100% decarboxylation rate and some can leave 30%+ of your cannabinoids in their acidic form.

Again, this isn’t bad – per say- because the acidic forms may have some magic going on in their own right.

But if you’re looking to use CBD for wellness uses, to reduce anxiety and stress, as an anti-inflammatory or to reduce chronic pain, the form that has shown the most promise in research is decarboxylated CBD.

To decarboxylate CBD in a Nova, you have to run two cycles.

  • Step 1: hit the button once and it turns red.
  • Step 2: Once it goes back to green you press the button again and it will turn red again.
  • After the light turns green again, your plant material is fully decarboxylated.

Decarboxylating CBD in an Oven

You can decarboxylate CBD in an oven or by using other decarboxylation techniques.

In an oven, you can follow the guide here and increase the time, but – to be totally honest – there’s not enough data to help me guide you to exactly how long and at what temp you should use to decarb in an oven or toaster oven.

If you use CBD oil regularly, it can save you so much money to make your own at home. If that’s your plan, I highly recommend the Nova. I pays for itself rather quickly and is a workhorse in my kitchen.

Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below or by reaching out to [email protected]. While we can’t answer every question and comment personally anymore, it helps us figure out what to cover next, so let us know what you want to know!

Much love,



Corinne Tobias

My name is Corinne Tobias and I’m the creator of this site that is all about cannabis and health (and having a good time combining those things!). Since 2013, I’ve helped millions of people on their cannabis journey and have been featured in publications like High Times, Merry Jane, Jezelbel, Westword, and Vice.

10 thoughts on “Do you need to Decarboxylate CBD?”

  1. how can i de carb for cbd oil but still make regular thc/cbd oil with my flower. i want to benefit from both but i use high dose cbd that i buy currently. i’m trying to maximize what i can get out of my flower. i bought the nova recently and i have a mb2 that i use for my oils. thanks in advance

  2. Hi Corrine, I’ve been using the Nova to decarb my CBD flower a few times now, but the method I use is to run one cycle with the flower only, then I put my flower in a jar with MCT oil and run another cycle. Do you think this is sufficient, or should I run two cycles like you suggest with the flower only? If I did this, how would I then infuse the decarbed flower into my oil? Thank you for all of your advice, it has helped me so much in trying to figure it all out!!

  3. Hi, I thank you for all your helpful info. You mention in this post that you have to wait until next week to actually explain how to decarb CBD. Could you add a link to that post. I make salve and edibles for my mom who doesn’t want the psychoactive effects.

    Thank you!

  4. So I haven’t been separately decarbing my cbd cannabis. I infuse it in coconut oil, first at a higher temperature around 225-250 for about 30 min then reduce temp to around 175 for 4-6 hours. I use it topically to manage my chronic terrible hip pain and it’s been working great so it’s working. No I haven’t tested it in any way to know what percentages it is after it’s done, if it wasn’t as effective as it is I would have figured something else out but after 2 years I must be doing something right. Just wish I knew someone who knew the science for sure.

  5. Pingback: Decarboxylating Cannabis to Activate THC | Wake & Bake

  6. Pingback: Healing without the High: Homemade CBD Oil Recipe | Wake & Bake

  7. Again more internet rubbish THC needs to become active to work TCHA .CBDA is already active on the plant processint it turn it to CBD. The chains are opposite on the plat so you have to grow two types 1 xCBD and 2x thc plants and extract. rosin all CBD and THC plants separate half of the THC decarb the one half . (use the puks for QWET) buy equivalent weight in CBD distilate 50% X 2 my source is decarboxilated havent found one that bubbles at 145 on my siring hotplate. I have come to the conclusion that the processing does it like isolator hash. anyway the 50 holds much more cannanaboids for entourage effect that the 80/20 and is just so much simpler to add. Make the 4 funks THC/THCA/CDBA/CBD into 4 dropper bottles or mix them together. Doseage up to you.

  8. Thx for info very helpful. Just wondering how long do I put in oven for to get the cbd feeling of floating and pain killer i made 2 lots perfect but since all turning out full on thc 1s they really knock me around lol anyway if anyone could help b thankful

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