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What is Decarboxylation?

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Have you tried consuming cannabis in its raw form? The results are rather disappointing, aren’t they? That is because heat is required to start the decarboxylation process. Decarboxylation is a chemical reaction that leads to the removal of a carboxyl group in cannabis and the release of carbon dioxide. This also leads to the ‘high’ effect you get from it, which is not present in raw cannabis.

So What Is Decarboxylation?

To start the process, heat needs to be applied to the cannabis. THC is the main psychoactive compound found in weed, the amount in the raw herb is a lot less than when heated. Raw herbs have THCA, and through the process of heating, a COOH group is removed from THCA. This turns into THC with the release of water and carbon dioxide. This has an intoxicating effect on the body while THCA on its own is not intoxicating.

Heat is vital for the process to occur. Even when you prefer to use your weed in an inedible form, you need to bake it in an oven so that decarboxylation occurs. Otherwise, you will be shocked by the poor quality.

What Does Decarboxylation Do?

To develop an understanding of decarboxylation you need to know the basics of the cannabis makeup. You will find that most cannabis available in the market are THCA. This means they have an extra carboxyl ring. This form of cannabis is not decarboxylated.

THCA has neuro-protective and anti-inflammatory qualities. However, as explained above, it is not intoxicating, and the process of decarboxylation is needed for the effects of THCA to take over.

For decarboxylation to occur, two things are required heat and time. Decarboxylation can occur to dry cannabis when left out for a while, of course, not to the same extent as when heated.

cbd Decarboxylation

The process makes it easier for our body to consume the contents of the cannabis. As THCA transforms to THC, THC binds with the cell receptors of your brain and body more freely than THCA does.

The process of decarboxylation keeps the integrity of the cannabis and allows your body to get the most out of the herb. This is why individuals prefer to smoke cannabis or use CBD rather than consume it dry.

At What Temperature Does Decarboxylation Occur?

There are various ways that the decarboxylation of weed can occur. There is a certain temperature that the herb needs to be exposed to for a certain period of time. For the process of decarboxylation to occur in THCA, you need to expose it to a temperature of 220 degrees Fahrenheit. You may consider doing it at a lower temperature, but then it would take longer for the process to occur. However, heating at a lower temperature will preserve terpenes as they are volatile and will evaporate at 220 degrees F.

You don’t want to expose it to a higher temperature, however. Anywhere close to 300 degrees F can damage the cannabinoids along with terpenoids, which will make them ineffective and also ruin the flavor of the weed.

The boiling point of important aspects of cannabis:

  • Cannabinoids vary from 314 – 428 degrees F
  • Terpenes vary from 312 – 388 degrees F
  • Flavonoid and Phytosterols varies from 273 – 482 degrees F

All four of the above aspects are essential for cannabis to have an impact on your body. While the boiling temperature of each is above 300 degrees F, you also need to take into account the time of exposure to heat. That is why it is recommended to keep the temperature in the 200 degrees F range.

While decarb is important, you want to ensure that in that process you don’t risk evaporating other aspects of the weed. That is why studies show that temperature around 240 degrees F is ideal for ensuring that the cannabis decarbs while all elements within it stay intact.

How Long Does Decarboxylation Take?

This solely depends on what temperature in which you carry out the process. If you are exposing it to 220 degrees F, then you need to keep it in that temperature for about 45 minutes, possibly a little more if you want complete decarboxylation. More time will be required if you decide to conduct the process at lower temperatures.

Decarboxylation is a process that aids the process of CDB. CDB is formed with the oxidization and degradation of THC, which occurs as you heat the weed over time. CBN is important as it results in the weed being more sedative which means you gain an experience that is not high in psychoactive.

Decarboxylation is one of the most important aspects of weed if you truly want to enjoy it and increase its overall effectiveness. The process enables the herb to take full form and actually bind to the receptors in your body. It also aids in the process of CBN and makes cannabinoids more effective.

Various methods are used for the decarboxylation process of cannabis. These include:

  • Baking in the oven
  • Giving it a crockpot/water bath
  • There are also products in the market you can find that claims to do the process while ensuring to keep all the cannabinoids and terpenes in place

Exposing weed to a flame automatically starts the process of decarboxylation, such as when you smoke or use a vape to consume it. However, the process is much longer when you use cannabis in edibles, which is why you may have had a few weak edibles in the past. Most likely, they were not exposed to the right temperature for the right amount of time, and therefore, they provided a lackluster high. Without the process of decarboxylation, cannabis doesn’t have the same impact.

It’s up to you which method you choose to use; just remember to take into account how important heat is for decarboxylation. Smoking cannabis is almost always the preferred choice, so the next time you see someone claim to get high off just dry cannabis, you can have a laugh because you know they are faking it.

Rosemary Richards
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