Your Complete Guide to Cannabis Decarboxylation
As you start to enjoy marijuana as tinctures, baked goods, and medicinal salves, there are new terms you may come across. Cannabis decarboxylation, or “decarbing,” is one of those terms that may make you scratch your head wondering what it means.
Decarboxylation is a pretty intense word. But, lucky for us, it won’t take a Chemistry degree to understand what it is and why it is important for your cannabis consumption.
When you smoke marijuana, you don’t need to worry about decarbing because the process happens naturally with heating it up. But, when you use edible and topical cannabis products, decarbing must occur for the products to work.
Read on to discover exactly what cannabis decarboxylation is and what is most important for you to know for your cannabis use.
What Is Cannabis Decarboxylation?
The Merriam-Webster definition of decarboxylation describes the process of removing carboxyl acid from a molecule. This just means that one kind of molecule undergoes a reaction that results in a new, different kind of molecule. It is the removal of carbon from an atom.
Decarboxylation occurs when heat is applied to a substance for a certain amount of time. This happens usually between 100 and 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
How does this process affect cannabis? When cannabis is heated, the chemical structure of the cannabinoid acids is altered.
The raw cannabis flower has an abundance of cannabinoid acids that have hardly any psychoactive effect on the human body. Putting these cannabinoid acids under a heat treatment turns these neutral cannabinoid acids into the enjoyable compounds of THC and CDB.
Without this chemical reaction, cannabis users would not be able to feel the benefits from the active cannabinoids of THC or CBD. Cannabis decarboxylation is essential for the effects of oil, tinctures, and cannabis-infused products.
Why Is Cannabis Decarbing Important?
When making edibles, topical tinctures, and other marijuana products, a proper decarboxylation process must be done. Otherwise, the user will not be able to access THC or CBD in the product.
When cannabis is used by smoking or vaping, the heat from burning causes the decarboxylation process to occur. Decarbing allows the sensationless THCA to convert to THC and CBDA to CBD. Without this conversion, the body can’t feel the desired effects of marijuana use.
Both THCA and CBDA can’t pass through our the blood-brain barrier. This is what stops things we are exposed to from affecting our brains. THC and CBD can pass through this barrier, which causes the nice feeling of using cannabis by its stimulation of the body’s cannabinoid receptors.
How to Properly Do a Cannabis Decarboxylation?
The process of cannabis decarboxylation needs to be undertaken in an appropriate amount of time and heat. Keeping the heat as low as possible will ensure the plant maintains its desirable compounds. Overheating cannabis can damage the integrity of the product and leave you with flowers with no active cannabinoids.
You can put your buds through a decarbing process in your home oven, but make sure to keep temperatures low, rotate the flowers for even heat, and to keep a watchful eye on the time. In the oven, at around 250 degrees Fahrenheit, it should take no more than twenty-five minutes.
Different ways of cannabis decarboxylation is needed for edibles and infusions, like cannabis coconut oil or CBD gummies. Converting THCA to THC will require less heat and time than CBDA to CBD in a home oven.
Making sure you understand the correct method for what you want your weed to do is necessary before you make any type of cannabis creation.
Is It Always Required to Decarb Weed?
If you make weed butter or brownies with the raw cannabis flower that hasn’t been decarboxylated, the heating process of baking will still trigger the decarbing reaction. It just won’t be the same strength as baking with decarbed marijuana.
Edibles and cannabis tinctures made with decarboxylated weed will be far more potent with either the euphoric THC or the relaxing and calming CBD compounds.
You can’t get very high (if at all!) from raw weed. You’ve got to add heat!
Treating the cannabis to release the active THC or CBD before you start baking your goods will result in a better product. And one that will make you feel good.
What’s The Best Way to Decarboxylate Cannabis?
If you are buying cannabis products, like edibles and tinctures from a medical marijuana dispensary, these products will have been made with weed that has been through a decarboxylation process. But, if you are looking to create your own products at home with raw cannabis flowers, then there are many tools that can help you achieve your desired result.
Many kitchen tool products on the market take away the timing and temperature guesses that many people struggle with when it comes to cannabis decarboxylation. These gadgets will stop you from overheating your marijuana. Some tools help make infused kinds of butter, others make cannabis oil, while many are like little ovens for weed.
Other tools activate the raw cannabis flower, so you can sprinkle and add it to smoothies, pizza, and salads.
If using medicinal cannabis to make homemade goodies is your thing, then investing in one of these easy-to-use products is a great idea. It will help the strength of your weed stay consistent in edibles or tinctures.
Finding the Best Cannabis Products
Every cannabis user will be looking for unique results. Some people use cannabis to treat anxiety and depression, while others like the boost of creative energy it provides. Others enjoy marijuana socially or as a way to relax.
But, unfortunately, not everyone is lucky enough to have a local marijuana dispensary in their area. While information found on the web is full of helpful how-to guides, nothing can replace speaking with a qualified cannabis doctor.
To learn more about medical cannabis use and how it can benefit you, reach out to Dr. Bryce Smetzer at Maryland GreenScript Cannabis.
If you’ve learned something new about cannabis decarboxylation with this article, feel free to check out more information on cannabis on the Maryland GreenScript site.