Oregon Cannabis Guide 2017
What if I told you about a newly available machine that makes your weed and trim stronger? And it’s not complicated—if you can press a button, you can make it work. If you can’t press a button, well, increasing the potency of your cannabis may be among the least of your concerns, my friend.
How does it work? Science! (I’m sorry if you were expecting “the power of Jesus,” but as with most of life’s more important questions, the real answer is science.)
The science of which I speak is the Nova Decarboxylator machine made by Ardent (ardentcannabis.com). It’s absurdly easy to use. But first, I have to get all poindexter on you and break down the science of how it works. (It’s important we do this because the US ranks 24th in student literacy and othereducational benchmarks. You want to be part of the Resistance? Learn how your weed works—scientifically.)
[pushes glasses up bridge of nose]
Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid A, or THCA-A, is a non-psychoactive acidic cannabinoid found in the buds of a cannabis plant in its raw form. Ever eat a plain bud and wonder why you don’t get high? (No? Just me?) Well, that’s because you need to apply heat to your weed in some manner, the most common method being smoking. This releases and removes carbon dioxide (CO2) from the bud, which converts the THCA-A to the sought-after Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or just plain regular THC, which is the kind that gets you high.
The application of that heat is known as decarboxylation, and while it happens very simply when you smoke or vape, there are also benefits to making edibles, tinctures, and other products by prepping your weed and pulling that CO2 from the plant matter.
I make edibles often, and I’ve “decarbed” my cooking materials by spreading them out on a baking sheet and leaving them in the oven at between 225 and 240 degrees for anywhere from 45 minutes to 90 minutes. I usually base the temperature and time on the weed’s moisture content, which I scientifically deduce by touching and squeezing the plant matter.
Aside from being very inexact, this method fills the entire house with the smell of a half pound or more of weed slow-roasting in an oven. Even with the right settings and timing, it reeks. And if you get distracted from the kitchen timer, say, because you had to go down a clickhole of online cat videos, the result is weed that’s lost some of that precious THC, which you’ve started to burn off through overheating. Nice one.
Enter the Nova. It’s the size and shape of a basic coffee grinder (7.5 by 4 inches, to be exact) and mine was a pleasant Barney the Dinosaur shade of purple. Unscrew the black top, and remove the silicone lid that fits snugly onto the metal cannister. Place between a quarter to a full ounce of flower or trim inside, based on the density of the buds. You can also decarb concentrate, so long as it’s placed into a silicone container first.
Replace the lid, screw on the top, and press the lone button on the front, which turns from green to red. Now go away, watch cat videos to your heart’s content, and come back in 90 to 120 minutes.
The Nova bills itself as a “precise decarbox ylation machine,” and that claim is backed up by dual sensors and a high-tech thermal blanket. The sensors monitor the temperature in real time, and an algorithm (more science!) prompts heating cycles that fully permeate the material. The time needed to decarb your weed will vary based on moisture content, but the Nova takes the guesswork out of the equation. There’s a mild smell when you open it up, but it’s barely noticeable after 10 seconds, and your neighbors will probably be none the wiser. I also noticed that the interior of the Nova’s black top had gathered light condensation, proof that before I put them in to decarb, my buds had not been at the optimal moisture level for maximum THC content. The Nova fixed that.
I made two batches of cannabis-infused coconut oil, one using decarbed B-grade flower and trim that I put through the Nova, and one using non-decarbed. All my patients reported a preference for the edibles made using the decarbed oil from the Nova.
The manufacturer’s website (ardentcannabis.com) has some very interesting results from flower they tested pre- and post-decarb, and it’s a great, easy read to get a little insight into a process still not fully understood by even devoted cannabis users. It’s also a great place to learn a bit more about some of the less frequently discussed cannabinoids, such as CBGa.
Hey, I warned you there’d be science.