How to Decarb Rosin
If you want to make edibles out of your solventless extracts, you’ll need to understand how to decarboxylate your rosin. The process is very similar to decarboxylating cannabis flower and hash, but with some minor yet important distinctions.
What Does It Mean to Decarb Rosin?
Decarboxylation is the first step of cannabis cooking. It’s a simple process that involves heating your extract just enough to activate the cannabinoids and unlock the psychoactive effects of cannabis.
In their raw form, compounds like THC, CBD, and other minor cannabinoids aren’t usable to the body’s internal cannabinoid receptors. In order for the cannabinoids to bind and interact with these receptors, their acidic molecule needs to be removed. For example, decarboxylation results in a chemical reaction that converts THCA (the acid form of THC) into psychoactive THC.
Do You Need to Decarboxylate Rosin?
If you want to incorporate rosin into edibles, you absolutely need to decarboxylate it first. There’s a common misconception that you don’t need to decarb rosin because the active ingredients are already heated by the plates on the rosin press. Sadly, this isn’t the case.
Decarboxylation requires two important variables: temperature and time. And while a rosin press does generate a high enough temperature for decarboxylation (many popular models like the Helix Pro and Longs Peak will reach temps up to 300°F), it doesn’t heat the cannabis nearly long enough for decarboxylation to occur at that temperature. Rosin extraction happens quickly in order to prevent terpene degradation, but decarboxylation occurs slowly.
Decarboxylation is not required for rosin that is dabbed or vaped. The dab rig alters the cannabinoids in real time via vaporization or combustion.
The Best Temperature to Decarboxylate Rosin
Decarbing rosin—or any form of cannabis plant matter—is a delicate process because different terpenes have varying boiling points and cannabinoids are activated at different temperatures. For instance, THC can decarb at temperatures as low as 200°F, but other cannabinoids like CBD typically require higher temperatures. Decarboxylation happens more quickly at higher temperatures, but if you go too high, you risk degrading your cannabinoids and terpenes.
Most experts recommend decarboxylating cannabis at 220° to 250° for 30-40 minutes. But rosin has some unique considerations that must be taken into account. For example:
- Rosin has very limited moisture compared to raw flower, meaning that it can decarb more quickly—especially at high temperatures. This means a higher risk of cannabinoid and terpene degradation.
- Rosin has already been slightly decarbed as part of the extraction process.
If your rosin is still bubbling at the 30-minute mark, let it go a little longer.
How to Prepare Rosin for Decarboxylation
Before you even think about incorporating your rosin into edibles, you have to be mindful of the rosin extraction itself. That means pressing it at the right temperature. There are two generally accepted temperature ranges for pressing rosin:
- Cold Pressing. This occurs when rosin is pressed at a temperature between 160°F and 190°F, usually for 1 to 5 minutes. Though cold pressing can result in a lower yield, it promotes maximum terpene preservation. The consistency generally resembles budder or batter.
- Hot Pressing: This occurs when rosin is pressed at a temperature above 190°F for 45 seconds to 3 minutes. Higher temperatures are how you achieve the solid form of rosin commonly referred to as solventless shatter.
Hash rosin on parchment paper pressed by Eric Simpson (Instagram: @simpsonsolventless) at 180°F
The higher the temperature, the more you risk burning terpenes and compromising both your potency and flavor profile. High temps also leave you with a drier, less malleable product that requires more precision to decarboxylate properly. For this reason, it’s best to start with a cold-pressed extraction if you plan to turn your rosin into edibles. And if you do prefer a more solid cannabinoid extract that requires higher temperatures, try to keep your plates below 220°F.
Tip: Stay on the lower end of the temperature range if you’re pressing bubble hash or high-quality sift. Aim a bit higher if you’re pressing flower or lower-quality sift.
How to Decarb Rosin
There are several methods for decarboxylating rosin, such as with boiling water or crock pots, but the easiest method is to use an oven. Not only does this allow for optimal temperature control, but it also accommodates small as well as large batches. It’s suitable for both home and commercial operations.
- Preheat your oven to 220°F.
- Place your rosin in a heat-safe glass container (like a safe bowl or mason jar) and cover or seal it if possible.
- Place your container onto a baking sheet and place it into your pre-heated oven for about 25 to 30 minutes, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes.
- Remove your rosin from the oven, and let it cool.
Depending on the consistency of the rosin, you may need to let it decarb for longer than the 25-to-30-minute recommendation. Your rosin should bubble during the decarboxylation process. You’ll know that the decarbing process is complete when it stops bubbling.
How to Decarb Rosin Chips
Rosin chips are the flattened hash or cannabis patties that are left behind after the rosin is pressed. While they aren’t useful for making dabs, they are great for making edibles, as they still contain plenty of cannabinoids and terpenes. Turning your chips into edibles is a great way to ensure that no part of your plant is wasted.
Flower rosin chip on parchment paper post-press
The decarb process for rosin chips is similar to the method described above but needs to be done using an oil or fat such as MCT, coconut oil, or olive oil.
- Preheat your oven to 220°F or use a crockpot set on high.
- Break up your rosin chips with your hands and crumble them in the crockpot or in a glass jar.
- Cover the chips with oil to allow the cannabinoids from the rosin chips to escape and infuse into the oil.
- Heat covered for about 25-30 minutes.
- Remove your rosin chips from the oven, and let them cool.
Rosin chips are less potent than pure rosin, but they can still provide a powerful buzz when incorporated into edibles. That’s because edibles are processed in the liver and metabolized into 11-Hydroxy-THC, which is two to three times stronger than THC.
What to Do With Decarboxylated Rosin
Once your rosin has had a chance to cool, it can be incorporated into a wide range of cannabis recipes. You can use an infuser like the Magical Butter Machine to make cannabutter or an oil infusion, and then add your infusion to a variety of conventional recipes. You can also add decarbed rosin directly to any food with a high fat or oil content. Cannabinoids and terpenes are extremely fat soluble, so a good MCT oil, coconut oil, olive oil, canola oil, or avocado oil can make an excellent base for your infusion.
The process of making rosin edibles is virtually the same as making edibles with flower, but with a couple of distinctions:
- Typically, when making cannabutter or another infusion, you would need to strain your infusion through cheesecloth to remove any residual plant material. This is often unnecessary with rosin edibles because the resin has already been separated from the plant. You’ll still need to strain if you’re using rosin chips, though. And if your source material is flower or dry sift (as opposed to full-melt hash), you might still strain your infusion to achieve a purer product.
- Because you’re working with a highly potent concentrate, you must be especially careful about dosing. You don’t need several grams of rosin for a single cannabis edible recipe. Ideally, you want to start with no more than 5mg to 10mg per serving. This can be difficult to achieve when you consider that a gram of rosin contains 1,000 mg. So if you use an eighth of a gram to make cannabutter for a batch of 12 brownies, you’ll be right around 10 mg per serving. You’ll also need to be mindful of the THC content in the source material.
Whether you’re looking to make solventless rosin edibles at home or expand your extraction business into new areas, mastering the fine art of rosin extraction and infusion can open a whole new world of psychoactive opportunities. And the great thing about cooking with rosin is that you never have to worry about residual solvents ruining your magic brownies.