I am a medical user who dilutes extracts and uses them sublingually. I bought a Coldfinger to make an extract. My question is: does marijuana have to be heated to become psychoactive?
My solution was to put the marijuana in the oven before putting it in the Coldfinger. I have no idea how long I should leave it in the oven or at what temperature. THC boils at 392 degrees. Do other cannabinoids which are essential to the experience boil off much more quickly? At what temperature can I decarboxylate the THC, while still preserving the cannabinoids?

Hockey Poo,

When marijuana is harvested, the THC molecule is bound to a carboxyl group ? COOH ? that is, one atom each of carbon and hydrogen and two atoms of oxygen. With a carboxyl group attached, THC is not active.

Heating dried marijuana makes the carboxyl group convert into water (H2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2). When marijuana is smoked, the burning eliminates the carboxyl group. There are several ways to decarboxylate marijuana for use in extracts. A layer of marijuana buds or leaf can be placed in an oven at 150 degrees for 15 minutes. This is far below the boiling point of THC yet warm enough to evaporate the carboxyl group. Another method of releasing the COOH is by placing a bowl of buds in the microwave for 2 minutes. The waves will boil away the water. The boiling point of marijuana’s active cannabinoids ranges from 260-392 degrees F.

The Coldfinger is made by Eden Labs, a company in Ohio that makes several models of herbal extractors, from the simple to the most sophisticated. They can be found on the internet at

Readers with grow questions (or answers) should send them to Ed at: Ask Ed, PMB 147, 530 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117, USA.
You can also email Ed at [email protected] and send queries via his website at
All featured questions will be rewarded with a copy of Ed’s book, The Big Book of Buds. Sorry, Ed cannot send personal replies to your questions.



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  15. Anonymous on

    Greetings from Funkatron…You must use everclear or some type of grain alcohol…this will extract the THC better…Also after it has sat for a few weeks strain the buds and add it to a cup of grain alcohol,heat on A ELECTRIC STOVE… NO GAS or you will cause a fire. Then combine the two extracts.

    Happy Drinking….your only need two shot glasses. It goes great with chocolate ice cream.

    From the Desk Of GOD

    ….I can see what you are doing…..

  16. MustBeLucky on

    I have the same problem but in a VG (glycerin) base. Gonna experiment. ill let you know anoymous

  17. Anonymous on

    I’m trying to make some Green Dragon marijuana vodka, I put about 1/2oz of very fine (white widow) marijuana bud and about 1oz of stems into about one gallon of smirnoff vodka. It has been sitting there for almost 16 weeks and turned a dark brown, I have never heated up the marijuana that is in the smironff. Is there any way I can save my monster? I have heard Ethyl alcohol boils at 173 ºF at sea level. What I was wondering was, is there any way to save the alcohol and “burn away” the carboxyl group?