What Exactly Is Decarboxylation?

While the term is frightening to some, Decarboxylation is something that is vital for anyone who uses cannabis, especially if they intend on cooking with it.  This tutorial was put together to help you both understand decarboxylation and how it is done so you can learn how to make the most of your favorite green plant.  We’ll make the process as simple and straightforward as possible.

What Exactly Is Decarboxylation?

Decarboxylation is a term that refers to the removal of a carboxyl group and results in the release of carbon dioxide.  This process in and of itself doesn’t indicate why it would be important to smokers like us, but it’s actually essential to our enjoyment of it.  Contrary to popular opinion raw cannabis doesn’t actually contain THC. That’s right, THC isn’t found in marijuana, instead, it contains THC-A, an acid form of THC.  In order to convert this acid into THC it has to undergo decarboxylation.  All the cannabinoids in raw cannabis contain COOH, an additional group or ring of carboxyl.  Decarboxylation removes this ring from THC and all the other cannabinoids.

How Does Decarboxylation Work?

There are two factors that drive this process, heat and time, with heat doing most of the heavy lifting. Time will result in this process taking place but at a snails pace.  When marijuana is smoked or vaped this process occurs quickly, though marijuana that has been decarboxylized first will produce a more potent high.

Why do you need decarboxylation?

If your intent is to cook with marijuana then its vital that you decarboxylate it before you attempt it or you won’t experience the high. It also activates the other cannabinoids, releasing their full medicinal power.  If you aren’t seeking the high then you can avoid likely avoid decarboxylation. To achieve full decarboxylation is to covert 100% of the THC-A in the bud into THC, which is nearly impossible.  However, with the proper processes, you can get exceptionally close.

How Do I Decarboxylate Marijuana's

There are as many methods for this process as there are people who do it.  Testing labs and scientists alike can’t agree on how to best accomplish this, in part because there isn’t one answer to the question.  This is due to different moisture levels requiring longer drying times, and CBD-A being slower to decarb than THC-A. To accomplish this at home you should place your herb in a baking sheet or ovenproof dish covered with foil.  The oven should be preheated to 240 degrees and the sheet left in the oven for an hour.  When the product is ready it will smell slightly toasty and may have reduced in size a bit. This is just the first basic approach, and you’ll need to tailor it for the individual strain that you’re working with and your own personal goals.  The process isn’t a difficult one, merely one that takes a bit of time and know-how to produce the best possible result.

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Additional Reads:

https://dimebags.com/blog/dime-bags/how-clean-are-your-cannabis-concentrates/ https://www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/what-is-decarboxylation

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