Decarboxylation: Understanding The Process

The intricacies of cannabis are seemingly endless! There are almost an infinite number of different processes that can affect the plant. The crazy part is, each process can have a different effect. These effects often produce different results! Which process is best for you is based wholly on your intentions with the plant.

Let’s say you’re looking to yield a crop with lower THC amounts. You can always choose a strain that already comes with a lower THC ratio to its CBD. But, there are also extraction methods that can assist you in this way. But that’s just one example. Today, we’ll be taking a look at another famous cannabis related process: Decarboxylation.

Decarb Your Cannabis

Decarboxylation sounds like something big and complicated, and in some ways it can be. But its functionality isn’t too difficult to understand at all! This refers to a process where certain cannabis compounds are triggered.

As we’ve covered before, cannabis is packed with cannabinoids. These are the compounds that react with our body’s natural cannabinoid receptors. CBD, THC, CBG, CBC, etc, are examples of these. THC in particular is most often found in cannabis that hasn’t undergone decarboxylation. The process allows for the compound to be activated. This leads to the aforementioned cannabinoid entering the human body.

How Does It Happen?

There are a couple of different factors that kickstart the decarbing process. The more simple one doesn’t even require much interference. That’s because decarboxylation can occur simply after enough time has passed.

Once the cannabis is dry and cured the correct way, some of these compounds are now traceable. They may not be as prominent, though, as they are when other factors take place. In particular, heat can speed up the process in record time. Be careful though. Rushing this process too much can lead to the deterioration of your product. It’s good to find a happy medium that both activates and preserves!

Riley’s Take on Decarbing

In the accompanying clip, Riley gives her understanding of the intriguing process. She first notes that when many cannabinoids are  produced, they are “in the acidic form. It’s called the acidic form because the molecule contains… carboxylic acid”.

“The acidic versions of these molecules are much less active in our bodies.” This is where introducing heat into the equation makes the most sense. This removes the acid from the molecules, but in a special way. It gets “[released] in the form of CO2,” making for a very interesting impact on the body.

How Hot For Maximum Results?

So we’ve established that heat and time are two major factors in the process. But how hot is too hot? Remember, if you overheat it your material can lose much of its solidity. A commonly agreed upon number is 220 degrees Fahrenheit for just shy of an hour. Still, there are considerations that, depending on the goal, could change this.

Arbor Vita8

This article is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding our favorite plant. Many thanks to our good friend Riley Dee for always educating us! If you have any further questions, feel free to browse our extensive blog collection.

Clip Transcript

Speaker 1:
If you’re already on weed talk, you’ve probably heard of this concept of decarboxylation. But we’re going to talk about it today because this is so important to understand for our next video. So when the cannabis plant is actually producing these cannabinoids, it’s producing them in the acidic form. It’s called the acidic form because the molecule contains a functional group called a carboxylic acid, which is highlighted in the red circle.

Now, the acidic versions of these molecules are much less active in our bodies. So to make them more active, we get rid of that carboxylic acid by either lighting our cannabis on fire or baking it in the oven. That releases that carboxylic acid group in the form of CO2. It’s not just THC that needs to be decarboxylated, it’s many other cannabinoids as well. So what could be the evolutionary benefit of the plant producing the acidic version of these molecules? Go to the next video to find out.

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