How to ‘Decarb’ and Infuse Medicinal Hemp Using Your Oven and Stove Top - LEVO Oil Infusion, Inc.
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How to ‘Decarb’ and Infuse Medicinal Hemp Using Your Oven and Stovetop

Decarbing and infusing medicinal hemp at home can be simple and rewarding. This guide will help you achieve the perfect activation of your hemp for edibles using your oven or stovetop. Get ready to make delicious, potent treats right in your kitchen.

Key Take Aways

  1. Decarboxylation is Key: Activating the psychoactive compounds in hemp, a process known as decarboxylation, is crucial for effective homemade edibles. This involves heating the flower at a specific temperature (250°F or 120°C) for 30 minutes to convert the inactive compounds into their active forms. This step ensures the hemp is potent and ready for infusion.

  2. Method Matters: For those without specialized equipment like the LĒVO machine, oven and stovetop methods are viable alternatives. Using an oven for decarbing can result in an even activation but requires careful attention to avoid burning the flower. Alternatively, the stovetop method using a mason jar in a water bath offers a less odorous option, keeping the aroma contained and minimizing the risk of scorching.

  3. Infusion Techniques: Once decarbed, the activated hemp can be infused into butter or oils. A stovetop infusion involves simmering decarbed hemp in butter or oil for about 45 minutes, ensuring thorough incorporation of the active ingredients into the fat. Straining the mixture through cheesecloth or a fine-mesh strainer is crucial to achieve a clean, plant material-free final product.

  4. Storage and Usage: Properly storing your infused butter or oil extends its usability. Keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three weeks or in the freezer for six months. Label and date your infusions to track their freshness. When using infused products in recipes, start with small amounts to gauge potency and ensure a pleasant experience without overpowering effects.

Introduction

If you're new to making homemade edibles, you may have experienced the trial and error of getting that mouthwatering recipe just right. That could include the correct method of incorporating your medicinal flower into your creations, whether by infusing your butter, other carrier oil, or some other creative means. 

You may have just added some ground flower to the recipe, thinking that would provide you the same psychoactive effects as the store-bought edibles you've enjoyed in the past, but to no avail. Or perhaps, at one time or another, you chewed on some hemp flower and wondered why nothing happened. 

Consuming hemp via either of these techniques won't create the edible effects for which you're using the plant. Your medicinal flower needs to be activated through a process called 'decarboxylation', (or ‘decarbing' for short), to feel any intoxicating effects. 

Decarboxylating

The process of decarboxylation involves carefully heating your flower at a particular temperature over a specific period of time, which can vary depending on several factors. 

Your medicinal hemp has very little of the active ingredients in it when it is still part of the live plant, or even when it’s been dried. In its natural form, the hemp plant produces compounds in an acid form. The chemical chain of the raw flower has an ‘A’ (acid) that makes the flower almost inert. It must be removed (or activated) for humans to feel its psychoactive effects. Decarbing removes this ‘A’ (acid) from the chemical chain and turns it into a form of the active ingredients that the body can use. ‘Activating’ the plant means the chemical chain has been broken and has had the carboxyl group removed— hence the term ‘de-carboxyl-ation.’

There are a variety of methods you can experiment with when it comes to decarbing your flower for your edible creations. If you don’t have an infusion device with decarb capabilities like LĒVO machines, you will need to rely on the methods laid out below. 

How to Decarb Your Medicinal Flower

Decarbing your flower for your homemade edibles is vital to feeling the desired effects of your brownies, gummies or other infused treats. Researchers have found that using the method below to decarb your medicinal hemp will convert 80 percent of the psychoactive composites into active compounds for the body and mind to utilize and enjoy. Using a LĒVO machine gets you closer to 99%! To decarboxylate your flower using the oven, follow the directions below.

decarb flower with oven

Tools

  • Oven
  • A baking sheet
  • Aluminum foil (shiny side up) or parchment paper for easy cleanup
  • Your chosen strain of medicinal flower

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 250° Fahrenheit or 120° Celsius. 

Note: Your physical altitude above sea level as well as working with older ovens, can cause a variation in your oven's temperature. It is best to use a secondary, oven-safe thermometer to double-check your oven's actual temperature.  

2. Break the hemp flower into small but uniform-sized pieces and place them onto the lined baking sheet. Avoid grinding as it increases the chance of it burning. Grinding your hemp too finely can also make it more challenging to strain during the infusion process. Go for a small pea-size.

3. Bake the flower for exactly 30 minutes. Use a spatula to gently toss your flower every 10 minutes or so. Doing this helps ensure uniform activation of your flower while reducing the odds of it burning. 

Note: Using this antiquated method of decarbing requires constant attention, as your flower can burn easily. If you smell burning at any point during the decarboxylation process,, remove the tray immediately. 

Note: This process will make your kitchen and possibly your whole house smell, so keep this in mind when choosing the time to decarb your flower if you’re not using LĒVO. Keeping a window open for ventilation is also recommended when decarbing using an oven.

4. Remove your tray from the oven and allow the flower to cool. There may be some liquid on the baking surface, but know that it has no intoxicating properties and itmay taste bad. Removing the activated hemp from the baking sheet while it cools is also recommended. 

Decarboxylating your flower for edibles can be exercised more accurately and efficiently when performed using LĒVO infusion machines. These all-in-one kitchen devices can dry, decarb and infuse at the click of a button. It's simple, mess-free and takes the confusion out of infusion! 

An Alternative Stovetop Method to Decarb Your Flower

If you prefer not to use an oven, consider another decarbing option (with less smell). Note: A variation of this stove-top method could be performed using a crock-pot or slow cooker. 

Tools 

  • Stovetop (Crock-pot/slow cooker) 
  • Large Pot filled halfway with cold water 
  • Sealed Mason jar 
  • Ground flower

Directions:

1. Fill a large pot about halfway with cold water. It's important to start with cold water so that the mason jar doesn't crack.

2. Add a sealed mason jar containing your ground, medicinal herb to the pot.

3. Bring the water up to a full boil, and then immediately drop the temperature back down to a low simmer for at least 90 minutes, keeping the jar in place. 

Note: It is crucial to ensure the water doesn't boil off while it is simmering. This could cause a number of problems, the least of them being your jar would crack!

4. Approximately every 15 minutes, safely remove the jar from the water. Using oven mitts, shake the contents of the jar. You should see bits of the flower sticking to the sides of the jar (this is a good sign). Place the jar back in the water before it cools too much. Repeat this step every 15 minutes until it has simmered for a total of at least 90 minutes. 

Note: This method will help contain the smell in your kitchen. Ensure the jar has cooled completely before opening, storing, infusing or using the decarbed contents in a recipe. 

Infusing the Activated Hemp

Activated hemp can be added directly into an edible recipe, though it is rather undesired. Imagine infused brownies with hemp flower stuck in your teeth? Not ideal.

The best way to prepare any type of edible is to infuse your decarbed flower into butter, coconut oil, or other carrier oil. To infuse your activated hemp into butter using the stovetop method, follow the instructions below.

stovetop infusion directions

1. Add 1 pound (4 full sticks) of unsalted butter to a pot and heat it on low until it melts.

2. Add 7-14g of your decarbed flower directly into your melted butter. Stir in 2-3g at a time, repeat until all of your decarbed flower is incorporated into the butter.

Note: Scale down this ratio to your desired potency. 

3. Allow the mixture to simmer for 45 minutes.

4. Separate your infused butter from the plant material using a fine-mesh metal strainer, or a cheesecloth. Squeeze the mixture gently with a spoon to get all of the infused butter out of your straining device. If some plant matter escapes into your infused product, you may want to strain it a second time. Be sure to do this quickly before the butter starts to cool.

5. Store your infused butter in a lidded mason jar. Make sure you date and label your infusion. Keep in mind that infused butter, when properly stored, should last for approximately 3 weeks in the refrigerator or 6 months in the freezer.

6. Now you can use your infused butter in your cooking or baking!

Note: Remember to try your measured creations yourself before offering them to others. Take your time and enjoy the process. It's always best to manage your infused recipes by trying a little bit at a time and waiting at least an hour before partaking in more. This process helps you to know how to portion your edibles and what to safely recommend or share with family and friends. *This is especially important to those less familiar with infused edibles. 

Conclusion

If you're looking to make edibles or infused items at home, there are various ways to activate your medicinal hemp in preparation to infuse with butter or chosen carrier oil. If you don't have a  LĒVO infusion machine (and why not?!), you can always decarb and infuse your hemp by hand by using the oven or stovetop methods explored above. However, keep in mind that these methods require close attention for their safe preparation. The benefit of LĒVO is that it streamlines the process of drying, activating, and infusing your flower. It controls the process for you so that with the touch of a button, you can step away, knowing your infusion will turn out the way you envision it to be.  

Isn't it time to expand your repertoire of culinary arts into the world of home infusions? LĒVO has a library of recipes, educational content, calculators, photos, and MORE available on our website. Visit us on YouTube to see videos of recipes and our products in action! Not sure where to start? Take the LĒVO Quiz to see which machine is suitable for you! #LĒVOmade

FAQ

Why is decarboxylation necessary for making edibles?

Decarboxylation is essential to activate the psychoactive compounds in hemp. In its raw form, the hemp plant contains cannabinoids in an acid form that the human body cannot utilize for intoxicating effects. Heating the hemp to a specific temperature converts these compounds into a form that is psychoactive and effective when ingested.

Can I use any type of oven for the decarboxylation process?

While any standard kitchen oven can be used for decarboxylating hemp, variations in temperature settings and oven efficiency (especially with older models) suggest the use of an oven-safe thermometer to ensure accuracy. Consistent temperature maintenance is critical to avoid burning the flower and to achieve uniform activation of the cannabinoids.

What are some alternatives to the oven method for decarbing hemp?

For those looking to avoid the strong odors associated with oven decarboxylation, a stovetop method using a sealed mason jar in a water bath offers a more discreet alternative. This method minimizes the smell and reduces the risk of burning the hemp, provided the water doesn’t evaporate completely during the process. Slow cookers or crock-pots set on low can also be used as an alternative to the stovetop method.

How should I store my infused butter or oil, and how long will it last?

Infused butter or oil should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer. Properly stored, it can last for up to three weeks in the refrigerator or six months in the freezer. Always label your containers with the date of infusion to track freshness and potency. Remember to start with small amounts when cooking to gauge the effects and potency of the infusion.

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