HHC flower is an incredibly valuable hemp product that consists of raw, pure hemp flower buds infused with hexahydrocannabinol distillate. But, the thing about flower is that it’s not going to give you the magnificent high of HHC if it’s consumed in its raw state. To activate the cannabinoid’s potential, the flower needs to be decarboxylated, which is a fancy term for heating it in a specific way to unlock its desirable properties. Luckily, decarbing flower is easy whether you plan to smoke it, vape it, cook with it or use it for any other purpose.
What is Decarboxylation?
Decarboxylation refers to the process of heating raw hemp flower, or individual cannabinoids in their raw purified state, to activate them. Before they’re decarbed, these cannabinoids are acids that don’t yet have the chemical properties that we associate with them – in HHC’s case, that’s mainly its psychoactive effect. Heating the cannabinoid changes its chemical properties so that we may enjoy them to the fullest.
Any company that makes products which contain HHC distillate decarboxylates the cannabinoid before adding it to the formula. This is why we don’t need to heat vape oils, gummies or tinctures in order to enjoy them. But, flower is raw, and so we need to do that step ourselves.
As it turns out, most cannabinoids in hemp decarboxylate at around 230-270 degrees, with only slight variations for each one. And, at the same time, they generally have a boiling point between 315-350 degrees, which means that if they exceed that range of temperature, they instead break down and lose all of the properties that we’re looking to get out of them.
Decarboxylating Flower Through Smoking or Vaping
Perhaps the most common way to decarboxylate flower is to vape it in a flower vaporizer, or even smoke it in a pipe or in paper. The act of holding a lighter against the flower, or simply heating it in a vaporizer chamber through the process of conduction or convection, allows it to reach the necessary temperature (230-270 degrees) so that its desirable properties can fully activate before the smoke or vapor hits our lungs. All the meanwhile, we’re conscious of the fact that holding the lighter on the flower for too long, or setting our vaporizer temperature too high, will result in burning the flower, making it useless, not to mention unpleasant flavor-wise.
Decarboxylating Flower for Cooking or Baking
The other common way to decarb flower is to do so in an oven. This is what people do when they plan to make edibles, or when they wish to create some type of infusion to produce their own tinctures, topicals and other types of products.
Decarboxylating flower in the oven requires a very specific procedure to ensure that the flower not only reaches the perfect temperature without burning, but also that it decarboxylates evenly – meaning that each piece of bud reaches the same temperature, so that it’s consistently activated. To do it the right way, just follow the steps below.
- First, set your oven to 220-240 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Grind your flower buds coarsely. This will ensure that they decarb evenly, so that all of the flower has decarboxylated at the same rate.
- Sprinkle your flower onto the baking sheet, making sure that you have one, even layer. Avoid crowding it in some areas so that it’s nice and spread out. Again, this will make sure that it decarboxylates evenly.
- Bake your flower for about 30 minutes. It’s wise to turn on the oven light so that you can keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t turn dark brown, which means that it’s burning. You should only smell cannabis – not burnt flower.
- Now, remove the flower from the oven and use it as you wish. If you want to make edibles, look up how to make “cannabutter,” which is the result of infusing butter or another fat with your decarbed flower. There are various methods online that are perfect for making DIY edibles.