Have you ever wondered why cannabis makes you high when you’re smoking it compared to ingesting it raw?
This is due to the process called decarboxylation.
But, what is decarboxylation and how is it done? And why is it so important to have your cannabis undergo decarboxylation?
Here’s a complete guide to help you understand decarboxylation better.
What is Decarboxylation?
Decarboxylation is the process of converting the non-psychoactive THCA to the psychoactive cannabinoid THC.
There are two processes that can be done to decarboxylate your weed. You can simply dry or age your buds or apply heat to it.
The latter is quicker and more reliable and can be achieved by applying high heat for only a short time, or medium heat for a longer period of time. When working with high temperature, it has the potential to destroy most of the favorable effects of the cannabinoids, terpenoids, and flavonoids.
There are a lot of different opinions on the ideal temperature to carry out the decarboxylation process, however, as a general recommendation applying 240ºF for 30-45 minutes should provide you with a good starting point.
Based on the Journal of Chromography (1990), decarboxylation was already taking place in Russia 3 decades ago.
Before you start the decarboxylation process, it is important to prepare your herbs for the best results. Ensure you use dry cannabis, remove the stems and grind them up thoroughly before placing it on a baking tray.
Decarbing, another term for decarboxylation, may sound like a very simple process that you do to your herb. But to try to understand it from a scientific standpoint, it is really amazing.
Every time you light up your cannabis, you are acting like an amateur chemist, causing some compounds to change their state and turn into totally different compounds.
This process involves removing the “carboxyl group” (COOH) from the phytocannabinoid THCA.
And with the absence of this “carboxyl group”, the newly formed compound THC will be able to bind to the cannabinoid (CB-1) receptors in our body, which causes us to feel the psychoactive effects of cannabis.
Isn’t that cool?
With a simple application of heat to our herb, we are causing a major chemical change which makes cannabis an enjoyable herb to take. This is the same reason why consuming raw cannabis will not give the high we love because it has not been decarbed.
Methods to Decarboxylate Weed
Decarboxylating marijuana is most often done in an oven tray at home, however, if you decarboxylate cannabis regularly, you’ll know that there are some challenges to the process.
First of all, it can get pretty smelly while you are decarbing. If you live in a condo for example, the smell can become a real challenge.
Also, the modern fan forced ovens tend to blow the botanicals around a little more than we’d like. Covering the top of the tray with alufoil is an option, however a little tedious.
To address these issues, magical butter has created a product, called the DexarBox. It is an ingenious little silicone tray with a lid that takes about 2 ounces of cannabis at the time.
The below video shows you the process of how to decarboxylate your weed using the DecarBox product, however, it is worth watching even if you don’t have a DecarBox as the process is pretty much the same.
Edibles with Decarbed Cannabis
Is it important to decarb your herb before cooking with Marijuana?
Definitely! This is actually an important process to do when preparing cannabis edibles. Some patients prefer (or need to) to ingest cannabis edibles rather than smoking or vaping it.
THC is not the only cannabinoid that is in acidic form at room temperature.
All other cannabinoids, including Cannabidiol (CBD) is in acidic form (CBDa) at room temperature and turns into CBD when heated.
Raw Cannabis or Decarbed, Which is Best for You?
There are a lot of ways to consume cannabis, whether it is taken as a raw herb or dried and heated, each preparation has its own benefits. Here’s a guide on what raw and decarbed cannabis can do and see which one would suit your needs.
- Non-psychoactive. Since raw cannabis did not undergo the process of decarboxylation, the usual “high” we get from dried weed will not be present.
This is best for people who want to take advantage of the medical benefits of marijuana and remain functional to do their daily tasks.
- Can be taken in higher doses. With the presence of the acid form, THCa instead of the psychoactive THC, you can ingest as much raw cannabis as you want without having to worry about getting super high. This would allow you to take in more cannabinoids as well as nutrients and acquire more of the health benefits it offers.
- Health Benefits. Raw cannabis contains THCa, the acid form of tetrahydrocannabinol, which gives a wide array of health benefits. By consuming it raw, like in cannabis juicing, you will be able to take advantage of the essential enzymes that are needed by our bodies.
It is a known fact that cooking or heating foods before consumption deactivate most of their nutritional value that can aid in the treatment of some health issues.
- Highly Psychoactive. Most of us who smoke or vape cannabis prefers its euphoric effects. The reason behind this is it enhances our senses. It helps us to focus and concentrate on making our moods and sensations more intense.
Also, with these heightened emotions, we tend to be better able to connect with our spirituality.
- Weight Loss. Cannabis has been discovered to aid in losing weight. Remember that its euphoric effects help us in our concentration and keep us focused?
These are one of the great things to take advantage of if you are planning to hit the gym or complete a workout routine. It also makes us push ourselves to our limits when we’re high. If you want to know more about how cannabis helps to fight obesity, check out this link.
- Treating Ailments. Both recreational and medical consumers benefit from the therapeutic effects of decarbed cannabis.
As mentioned above, heating or drying marijuana heightens its medical and therapeutic effects.
This link will help you to better understand how cannabis is used as an aid in treating various health concerns. And this doesn’t mean that you can only take advantage of these effects by smoking or vaping a dried herb. There are other preparations that you can consume wherein cannabis are decarbed, such as wax and concentrates.
Cannabis is a miracle plant and is truly amazing. Its versatility gives a lot of benefits to both recreational and medical consumers. And whether you want to consume it raw or decarbed, you will definitely gain its advantages.