Decarboxylation, otherwise known as decarbing, is the process that involves the activation of raw cannabis, which results in the enhanced and more potent form of cannabis. Scientifically explained, the decarboxylation process involves physically modifying the chemical forms of the numerous compounds that are found in the raw cannabis plants, including marijuana and hemp.
During the time when cannabis is growing and just harvested, the cannabinoids that are formed in the flower trichomes hold an additional carboxyl ring (COOH), which is part of the molecular chain. During the decarboxylation process, the cannabis is then removed from the carboxyl group that is within the cannabinoid molecule. This allows the THCA to be transformed into active THC or CBDA into CBD.
The natural decarboxylation process works slowly so the fresh cannabis can become dried and cured once harvested. However, if you wish to dry and cure cannabis quickly, then heat is one of the most effective ways to do so. A good example of a quick and effective decarboxylation process is when cannabis is smoked or vaporized.
Why Does Temperature Matter During the Decarboxylation Process?
As previously mentioned, when cannabis is smoked or vaporized, it effectively speeds up the decarboxylation process. This allows the numerous cannabinoid compounds and terpenes to react to certain temperature ranges. However, it is important to know that although cannabis can be activated during the process, it is still possible for the cannabinoid compounds and terpenes to become altered or even destroyed when experiencing different temperatures.
As a result, the most ideal way to decarboxylate cannabis is to do so low and slow. Researchers claim that 230-250°F is the ideal temperature to effectively decarboxylate cannabis. When done in this temperature range, it allows the THCA to convert to THC and for CBDA to convert to CBD, while still maintaining the other cannabinoids and terpenes.
Why is it Done?
In the cannabis industry, the non-decarbed or raw cannabinoid compounds are considered to be “acid” forms, which include both THCA and CBDA. The cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) is the non-intoxicating and non-psychoactive cannabinoid and is the predecessor to CBD. Additionally, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) is non-psychoactive until it is transformed into the compound THC. For example, when consuming raw or non-decarbed cannabis, the psychoactive compounds that create a high or euphoria-like experience are much less because the cannabis is raw. However, when cannabis is decarboxylated, it then becomes psychoactive, which will result in a high or euphoria-like effect.
This is important to know for those who wish to experience any psychoactive effects when using cannabis. However, there are many more beneficial factors that one will feel with cannabis – and not just feeling “high.” Research has shown that cannabis contains highly effective healing properties in its decarboxylated form. For example, some other benefits that many people experience with decarbed cannabis include:
- Pain relief
- Reduced anxiety
- Stress relief
- Overcoming loss of appetite
- Enhanced relaxation
- Help with sleeping problems and insomnia
Consumers generally use decarboxylated cannabis for a variety of reasons and it is typically categorized into three uses: medicinally, recreationally, and spiritually. When the body absorbs THC and CBD from the decarbed cannabis, they interact with the endocannabinoid system within the body, which results in such benefits.
However, when cannabis is in its raw forms of THC and CBD (THCA and CBDA), very few studies have shown that raw cannabis may have some medicinal benefits of its own.
Those who wish to experience a full-spectrum experience of cannabis, however, may choose a blend of both raw and decarbed cannabis in oils and salves that are homemade – or simply opt for decarboxylated cannabis.
How to Decarboxylate Cannabis
In general, the decarboxylation of cannabis is fairly simple. It can be done in an oven, on the stovetop, in a crockpot, or in a double-broiler. Some people may add it directly into their edibles during the cooking process as well. However, it is important to know that when adding raw cannabis to edibles for cooking, it requires a higher level of monitoring and stirring to ensure that the cannabinoids do not become altered or destroyed.
The decarboxylation process is typically much easier in the oven, as it has a controlled temperature so you know what to expect and what to keep the temperature at in order to achieve the best results. When done in the oven, it is more effective, accurate, and essentially more hands-off than any other method. The results when done in the oven are more consistent, as it is set at a controlled temperature.
Here is an effective method for decarbing your own cannabis in the oven:
- Set the oven temperature to 245ºF and position the oven rack in the middle for the best decarboxylation method.
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper and then lightly separate the cannabis onto it. Make sure that the cannabis is not broken up too much or else it will make it more susceptible to burning.
- Bake the cannabis for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring at least once within that time frame.
- Take the cannabis out of the oven. It should look slightly toasted and golden brown.
- Let cool for 30 minutes at room temperature.
- When the cannabis is completely cooled down, you can add it to foods, and oils, or safely store it in a container for future use.
Our team at Waferz strives to be a reputable resource for education, providing valuable insight about the cannabis industry. We are dedicated to keeping you abreast of the latest news and developments surrounding cannabis, ensuring that the information received helps you stay informed and connected. With years of experience in the industry, our team is committed to helping individuals in the community accurately capture the variation of cannabis, its uses, latest developments, and more. We strive to be a reputable resource in the cannabis industry, utilizing years of experience, skills, and research to help you stay informed and connected. Learn more about cannabis with Waferz at https://waferz.co/blogs/learn.