The term decarboxylation refers to the chemical reaction that removes a carboxyl (COOH) group from THC-A and CBD-A. Carbon dioxide is released as a by-product of this reaction. To decarboxylate marijuana, all you have to do is apply heat. But how much heat is necessary? Or in other words, at what temperature does marijuana decarboxylate?
We will answer this question later in the article. First, let’s take a look at some of the other advantages of decarboxylation. That is apart from the fact that it produces chemically-active forms of phytocannabinoids.
Advantages of Decarboxylation
One of the most common mistakes people make when making edibles from marijuana is failing to decarb their cannabis. Unless you’ll be baking your edibles (pot brownies, cookies, etc.) before consumption, it is necessary to use an oven to heat the plant material and release the activated THC and CBD.
Incidentally, when you decarb weed for edibles, you also reduce the risk of botulism. When you don’t go through the process correctly, botulinum bacteria can quickly grow in things like cannabutter and canna-oil.
Of course, every time you light up a joint or vaporize your weed, you are automatically decarbing it. In the absence of its carboxyl group, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can bind to the body’s cell receptors. But what about cannabidiol – does CBD need to be decarboxylated?
Why You Need to Decarboxylate CBD Strains
You may think that CBD decarboxylation is unnecessary. After all, why would you need to decarb a strain that’s already non-intoxicating?
In reality, the same decarboxylation rules apply to CBD as they do to THC. Because raw cannabis contains the acid form of CBD (CBD-A), CBD strains must be heated to release their active properties. Like THC-A, CBD-A has its health properties. It’s believed that if you consume CBD-A, your body will metabolize it and break it down into CBD on its own.
Decarboxylation of CBD increases its bioavailability, making more of it available to the body’s cells.
However, cells need to work harder to break down CBD’s carboxyl component. Moreover, much of the active compound is lost as heat during the exothermic reaction. In other words, having your body decarb CBD on its own would be extremely inefficient.
Exposing the plant material to sufficient heat decarboxylates CBD instantaneously, as described above. Products like CBD oils or CBD gummies, however, have already been decarboxylated. This is why you can consume them in their natural state, without having to heat them.
How to Decarboxylate Weed
Aside from smoking or vaping, there are many ways to decarboxylate weed and gain its therapeutic and recreational effects. We’re going to show you the most basic one. You’ll need the following equipment:
- An oven
- A baking sheet
- Parchment paper
- Cannabis flower (trim, nugs, kief, etc.)