What is decarboxylation?

I’ve heard about decarboxylation when it comes to preparing cannabis for consumption. What exactly does this process entail, and why is it important?

One answer “What is decarboxylation?

  1. Decarboxylation is a chemical reaction that removes a carboxyl group and releases carbon dioxide (CO2). It is an essential step when preparing cannabis for consumption and it is also commonly referred to as “decarbing.” When cannabis is heated, the THC and other compounds found in the plant material are released in a more bioavailable form, allowing our bodies to better absorb them.

    The most common way to decarboxylate cannabis is to heat it in the oven. This process can take anywhere from 30-90 minutes, depending on the strain and how much is being decarbed. Before decarbing cannabis, it is best to break it up as much as possible to increase the surface area and make sure that everything is evenly heated. To start the decarbing process, preheat the oven to 240F (115C). Spread the cannabis on a baking sheet and bake for 30-90 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so to ensure that everything is evenly heated. The cannabis should turn a light to medium brown colour when it is done. Baked cannabis will have a much stronger aroma and a potent taste.

    Decarbing cannabis is an important step in preparing cannabis for consumption because it unlocks the full potential of the cannabinoids and terpenes found in the plant material. Raw cannabis contains non-psychoactive THCA and CBDA which, when heated, become the psychoactive THC and CBD that we know and love. Decarbing cannabis also makes it easier for our bodies to absorb the compounds, resulting in a more powerful and enjoyable experience.

    That being said, it is important to note that not all cannabis strains need to be decarbed. Some edibles and topicals, such as oils and tinctures, can be made without decarboxylating the cannabis first. In these cases, the activation process would happen slowly as the oil is heated in a double boiler during the extraction process.

    To summarize, decarboxylation is an essential step when preparing cannabis for consumption. Heat is applied to raw cannabis to activate the cannabinoids and make them more available for absorption into the body. Decarbing cannabis can help to enhance the effects of the plant and create a more powerful experience. It is important to note, however, that not all cannabis needs to be decarboxylated before use.

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