The first time I tried to decarboxylate some cannabis flower and infuse oil I almost burned down my house. I’m not exaggerating, either — I really did. I’d read online that you can infuse oil on the stove using very low heat, so I loaded a pan with coconut oil, cannabis, and a few drops of water.
Needless to say, the internet was wrong (or I’m just not very good at following directions; it could be either, really). I ended up scorching the pan and filling the house with noxious fumes in the process. It was so bad that I had to dump the entire thing outside while it was still sizzling and fuming — all while coughing compulsively from the stench. The blackened, charred pan did not survive, and oil and water do not mix. Even when there’s cannabis flower and a stove involved in the equation.
It was a good lesson in what NOT to do (i.e. don’t follow random directions you find on the internet), but it was also a lesson in humility, one that required airing the house out for a few hours afterward. That one kitchen disaster put me off of trying to infuse oil, and for the year or so after, I tried to find other uses for my excess shake and bud instead.
That all changed, though, when the Ardent Nova showed up at my door. I’d heard about this gadget through the grapevine (and by that I mean I saw it on “Most Expensivist,” the greatest show on Earth) and was quite hopeful it could help me — the world’s worst oil infuser — find a way to decarboxylate and infuse without causing a serious fire in my kitchen.
If you’re not familiar with the Ardent Nova, here’s how it works: The Nova decarboxylates cannabis flower by using the perfect temperature to heat your bud, which is what needs to happen before you can feel the effects of it in your body. It’s why we light a bong or use a torch on a dab rig. The decarboxylation process essentially converts cannabis into its active form, which makes it bioavailable for the human body. When cannabis flower is decarboxylated you can use it to infuse oil or another fatty product, or you can smoke it or eat it. Yes, eat it — while munching on bud that’s not decarboxylated won’t get you high, eating decarbed weed will.
I wanted to infuse oil, though, so I didn’t eat any of my bud. I used the Nova to decarb it instead. But we’ll get to that. Before we do, let’s talk about how the Nova works.
So the purpose is to decarb, as we mentioned, but the Nova does this without any smell — and without you having to do anything at all. This device looks like a fancy countertop blender/emulsifier, and all you have to do to decarb your bud is put it into the metal container in the Nova. Pop the lid on, hit the button, and 1.5 hours later your weed is decarbed.
There is no setup to this device, either. I pulled it out of the box, read over the instructions, and then dug out some of the old leftover cannabis I’d had laying around the house and loaded it.
It almost seemed too easy, especially compared to my prior experiences with infusing, so I stood in my kitchen and stared at the Nova for a bit after turning it on. I don’t know what I expected to happen — maybe a repeat of my last stovetop disaster? — but nothing did. There was no smell, no noise, nothing. The weed was just on its way to being decarbed with no intervention by me.
And, about an hour and a half later, the button turned green to alert me it was done. I pulled it out and noticed, well — I didn’t notice much. The bud looked a little more orange and a bit more cooked, but it didn’t stink and it didn’t look burned, which was not the case the last time.
What it was, was ready to be loaded into some oil in a small glass jar and put back into the Nova for round two. Second verse, same as the first. I loaded my decarbed weed into some oil, dropped it into the Nova, and pressed the button. This time I didn’t bother to stare at it, though — I left the kitchen and trusted this handy little device to work its magic.
And, unsurprisingly, it did. I returned to find my Nova was ready to be unloaded, and when I pulled out the glass jar, the oil had clearly absorbed what it needed to from the weed. It was slightly greenish-orange. All I had to do was strain it and toss out the now-useless buds. What I had left was what I’d tried to make the first time: coconut oil infused with THC. Pretty fool-proof.
What I found most impressive about the Nova, though, was how smell-proof it was. If you’ve ever decarbed weed in the oven, you know it leaves your house smelling like it was hotboxed for two straight days. It’s noxious, and nothing masks it. Not the Ozium in your stoner kit, not the Febreze under your cabinet, and certainly not a candle.
The Nova, though? If you weren’t aware that our house is cannabis-friendly, you wouldn’t have been able to tell just from the decarb or infusion process. There was no hint of weed being heated in it — even after I removed the lid post-process.
I’m really impressed with this handy little tool. Some of the products that have emerged on the cannabis market recently don’t have a draw for me — I’m pretty old school about smoking from a pipe, using a grinder that you have to twist with your hands (why does anyone need an automatic grinder?!), and rolling a joint with the same old Zig Zags we used in high school. Creature of habit, I guess.
The Nova, though — it’s a winner, and I’ll definitely be keeping this tool on my counter for the long haul. Not only did it help me avoid a kitchen fire or coconut oil-mustard gas, but it was discreet and easy to use, too. I’m sure the dogs and other humans who live in my house are also grateful that I won’t be trying anymore internet infusion recipes — and so are my pans.