Can You Smoke Dry Weed?

Beginner Grow Guide is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to If you click on a link on this site that takes you to Amazon, I will earn a small commission and help keep the lights on at no extra cost to you 🙂

Well, hello there! Come on in. Grab a joint and make yourself comfortable.

Before we jump into things, let’s be sure we’re on the same page about what this article is about. Did you think this would be about whether or not you can smoke old weed?

Although we have the answers, that’s not what we’re about to discuss here. Nope, this is about decarboxylation or decarbing weed.

Are you familiar with the term?

Decarbed Weed – Is It for Smoking or Eating?

If decarbed weed doesn’t ring a bell, chances are activated weed does. Both refer to the process of heating weed to activate the various cannabinoids in the plants.

Raw, freshly cut cannabis isn’t going to do much to get you high. But if you’re planning on smoking your weed, you’re going to do the necessary steps to dry and cure it and make it ready to smoke.

In this case, decarbing your weed is not a necessary step. Still, some people do it anyway for reasons we’ll get into later.

A closeup of dried cannabis flower bud and leaves on a tray ready for decarboxylation

If, however, you plan to ingest your cannabis for the purpose of getting high, decarboxylation is a good choice. By putting it through the decarbing process the cannabis you add to your food will have a higher THC and CBD content.

As a result, you’ll have some mighty potent brownies. Of course, euphoria isn’t always the goal when consuming weed, and we would be remiss if we didn’t mention that raw, unheated cannabis contains vitamins and minerals and can be used for a variety of medicinal purposes.

That being said, the most common way to decarb weed is to heat it in an oven, although sometimes microwave ovens can be used for decarbing as can slow cookers too.

But before we go further, let’s get into what exactly decarboxylation is.

What Is Decarboxylation?

It’s a little hard to explain decarboxylation without getting all “science-y,” but, hey, we gotta try, right? Believe it or not, raw cannabis does not contain any psychoactive components.

What about THC you say? Raw cannabis has THCA, a convenient little acronym for Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid. It’s an active component of cannabis, but not a psychoactive one.

However, when you apply low heat to raw cannabis, typically temperatures of about 200 to 220 degrees F for 30 to 45 minutes, the plant releases a carboxyl group from its molecular structure and that gets replaced with a hydrogen molecule. When that happens, what was once THCA is now converted to THC.

It goes pretty much the same for CBD as well. The carboxyl groups in cannabis plants end up decomposing when heat is applied.

And that, my friend, is the process we call decarboxylation. Simply put, it’s what enables your weed to let you get high. Now, don’t you feel really smart?

What Is the Difference Between Dried and Decarbed Cannabis?

They seem to suggest almost the same thing, don’t they? But nope, there’s most definitely a difference!

Dried Cannabis

Whether you’ve been cultivating weed for a while or are new to it, you may already be aware that the normal process of curing raw cannabis and letting it dry over a period of weeks or months naturally converts most of the THCA compounds in your weed to THC.

You keep it in a cool, dark, dry location, burp your containers and dump them out periodically to let your weed breathe a bit and before you know it, you’re good to go.

Assorted dried cannabis buds in a line over natural landscape

Sure, every batch will still have a little moisture, which means it will still have some level of unconverted THCA, but once you light it up to smoke it, the heat will cause what’s left to convert it to THC.

Decarbed Cannabis

When people decarboxylate cannabis, it’s like drying it on steroids. By working to get every iota of moisture out of their plants, much like creating dried herbs, they’re trying to convert every last remaining bit of THCA into THC.

In so doing, they are pursuing the ultimate high.

But why bother with the process if the heat from smoking weed is going to convert that last bit of THCA into THC anyway? Don’t look now, but you’ve just answered the question.

Decarbing is best when you don’t intend to smoke your stash. If it’s to be used in tinctures or edibles, then decarbed cannabis is essential for a more potent end product.

In addition, when dried out under heat, cannabis breaks up more readily making it easier to add to dry ingredient recipes, sprinkle in soups, or use as seasoning. Now just think of all the new recipes you can create with your decarbed cannabis!

Best Cannabis For Smoking

Hands down, the best cannabis for smoking is good, old-fashioned dried/cured weed. Unlike raw cannabis which has the greatest THCA content, normally dried weed is easy to light. And with just the right amount of moisture, it burns at a nice slow rate.

This slow-burn allows the THCA to convert to THC anyway, so there’s no reason to take extra steps to decarb it. Regular, dried weed also has a smoother flavor.

Decarbed cannabis, on the other hand, isn’t the best choice for smoking. For starters, why even bother with the extra step?

There’s little to be gained from it. Plus, if you do it incorrectly, your weed can be turned into dust when you try to handle it. It might also cause your weed to burn much too quickly and to leave an unpleasant taste in your mouth.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Smoking Decarbed Cannabis More Potent?

Hope you’re not disappointed, but the answer is, no. There isn’t any more THC in decarbed cannabis than there is in the cannabis you’re already smoking.

When you decarb cannabis, all you’re doing is altering the molecular state of your weed in advance. Once a joint is lit, the heat created will break down that carboxyl group we talked about earlier, and it will convert the leftover THCA into THC.

Why Do Some People Claim That It Is More Potent?

There’s really only one or two explanations. It’s possible that in their rush to enjoy the fruits of their labors, they don’t typically cure their marijuana properly, smoking it before it’s ready to be smoked.

A closeup of infusing coconut oil with decarboxylated cannabis flowers and leaves in a pan

So when they try decarbed cannabis, they’re just getting a taste of what they could have been having in the first place if they had only practiced a little more patience.

The other is simply wishful thinking. You know how it is. If you convince yourself that something is going to be awesome, then you can fool yourself into thinking it’s more awesome than it really is.

Why You Shouldn’t Smoke Wet Marijuana?

There are several reasons why you shouldn’t smoke wet weed, but the first and most obvious one is that it could already have developed mold. And mold will make you sick. So you’ve got that.

However, wet marijuana is also very difficult to get through your grinder, and you need to be able to do that if you want your buds to be finely ground and give you a smooth flavor. It also degrades trichomes and terpenes.

It’s also tougher to light wet marijuana, and, in fact, it may not light at all. But maybe that’s a good thing anyway because the taste won’t be nearly as satisfying.

Final Thoughts

Cannabis is certainly a versatile plant. There are so many ways to use it–be it for recreational enjoyment or medicinal purposes.

You can smoke it. You can vape it. You can consume it in food and drink. There are even benefits to be had from eating it raw.

How you plan to enjoy your weed should dictate how you prepare it. If your plan is to smoke it, then if you’re cultivating your own crop, just follow the ordinary process of drying and curing.

If however, you plan to consume it in food and you want the best high possible, decarbing it correctly is the best way to get you there.

Finished with your joint? Hope you were paying attention. There might be a quiz.