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Cooking with dry herb used to be a fairly messy, labor intensive process that left users with off-tasting edibles that had uneven dosages. Being able to properly dose edibles is crucial for people who rely on them for medical reasons, as well as those who enjoy them recreationally. There have been huge leaps in “edible technology” recently and creating homemade dry herb goods has never been easier or safer.
The newest and most innovative technology in the world of edibles is “decarboxylation”. Don’t let the multi-syllable word intimidate you; it’s a fairly easy process to understand. Scientifically speaking, decarboxylation is a chemical reaction that removes carboxyl groups and then releases carbon dioxide through steady heating of the material. As simple as that sounds, what does that mean for dry herb and cooking?
Simply put, this process boosts your dry herbs potency. The most important factor in decarbing dry herb is heat, as it activates a large amount of the crucial compounds of your material. You might not know this but every time you smoke or vape dry herb, decarboxylation naturally occurs as soon as the material make contact with the heating element used, converting non-psychoactive compounds to psycho-active ones. However, if you decarb your dry herb before using a pipe, vape, or making edibles, you can actually increase your material’s potency.
Having a steadily heated environment during decarboxylation is crucial. You don’t want the heat source too high, as that could result in combustion of your dry herb, or too low, as nothing would happen at all other than just having some warm herbs in your hand. By steadily heating your material over a long period of time, decarboxylators unlock the full potency of your material before you add it to your edible.
Decarbing dry herb helps to create evenly dosed edibles while at the same time also conserving your material. Hastily prepared edibles can result in a “bad trips” for some or no effects at all. With decarboxylators, this is a thing of the past. Your material will be evenly dosed each time because you have full control of the recipe. If you’re new to making edibles, you don’t have to worry about under or overdosing your goods and causing mixed results among those consuming.
Conservation is another added benefit of decarboxylation. With a bowl or rolled cone, after you’re done inhaling the material it continues to burn, wasting dry herb and money. You can take the same amount of dry herb that would normally go in your bowl, decarb it, and almost double your dosage since none of it goes to waste and the psychoactive properties are being enhanced.
After you’ve decarbed your dry herb, you can combine it with butter or oils to help manage your cooking (it is also possible to just sprinkle decarbed material on food, but that can sometimes add unwanted flavor or texture). The old way of infusing butter or oil involved tons of straining and usually a giant mess, plus the added anxiety of not knowing just how strong your oil was going to be. With new devices like the Levo Oil Infused all you have to do is grind your dry herb and add the correct amount of butter or oil your recipe calls for to get perfectly infused material that is immediately ready for your food.
Oil infusion isn’t limited to uses in strictly food either. Filling capsules with infused coconut oil is a great way to experience infusion. Coconut oil has a high saturated fat content, so your body can absorb the best parts of the infused oil and deliver a stronger dose compared to butter or other oils. An added bonus of coconut oil capsules is their extended shelf life. Adding infused coconut oil to teas or smoothies can give your drinks an extra boost, and if you’re in need of skin lotion you can use infused coconut oil right out of the infused as a skin moisturizer.
Controlling the potency of your infused oil is just a matter of adding more dry herb. If you’re just starting to experiment with edibles it is very important to start small. New users can dose their first batch of goods with as little as 5 mg of dry herb. Users should try a low-dosed batch, wait 2-3 hours, and if the desired effects aren’t felt increase their next batch by another 5 mg.
If you really want to kick your edibles up a notch, you can add concentrates to your recipe. This is more of a mixing process than an infusion one, as concentrates blend with the oil since straining isn’t possible or necessary. This step is recommended only for seasoned edible consumers who fully understand their relationship with dry herb edibles.
Consuming dry herb through edibles as opposed to smoking or vaping is now much easier and safer thanks to decarboxylators and oil infusion devices. If you’re going to enjoy dry herb infused edibles the best way is with specialized tools that ensure safe dosing and a sterile environment.