Marijuana is prevalent. However, the majority of people still don’t know a lot about it. For example, only a few understand why cannabis needs to be decarboxylated before use. If you’re interested in producing marijuana-infused edibles or cannabis tinctures, you’ll need to heat (decarboxylate) it first. Otherwise, you won’t enjoy the most out of your cannabis.
That’s why decarboxylation is a fundamental process for any cannabis user. Those relying on this plant’s active compounds or utilizing it for medical purposes, decarboxylation alters the acids in cannabis for better interaction with the body.
Here’s what you need to know about decarboxylation:
What is Decarboxylation?
In simple terms, decarboxylation is the process through which cannabis is heated to ensure you get the most out of your edibles.
Naturally, the THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) has minimal psychoactive effects. Nevertheless, the process of decarboxylation (heating) removes a carboxyl group (the “A”) so that the raw THCA converts to usable THC.
What Causes Decarboxylation?
There are only two catalysts needed for the decarboxylation process to occur, namely heat (as mentioned above) and time. Partial decarboxylation occurs through drying as well as curing cannabis over time, which explains why small quantities of HTC are present in some cannabis flowers.
Additionally, instantaneously vaporizing and smoking decarboxylate the cannabinoids – as a result of the high temperatures. That makes them immediately available for use by inhaling.
Why Is Decarboxylation Important Before Using Cannabis?
With that in mind, let’s now, in detail, get into the importance of this process before cannabis use.
1. Activates THC and CBD
As noted in the introduction, most people can’t explain why one should require heating cannabis before use. Some people may argue that raw and uncured cannabis still provides some amazing health benefits, which is true. It’s also a fact that the non-active compounds available in cannabis offer therapeutic benefits, although without significant psychoactive effects.
Moreover, just like many other common greens, raw or fresh cannabis has lots of essential vitamins, minerals, and anti-inflammatory benefits. That’s why many people add pure cannabis in smoothies, juices, fruits, and veggies.
However, to get the best of the benefits of cannabis, decarboxylation is necessary. This process will activate the different cannabinoids of the plant matter, including the THC and CBD (Cannabidiol).
2. Psychoactive Purposes (THCA to THC)
By now, you have the idea that heat will change the cannabinoid acids available in marijuana into usable compounds. That change is the one that causes desirable psychogenic results since the compounds will cohere with your body through your endocannabinoid receptors.
Furthermore, the drying process is also necessary. You already know that in its natural state, cannabis has minimal amounts of THC, the main compound being THCA (non-psychoactive). However, THC is the compound you need the most for the psychoactive effect.
That’s why drying and heating are vital to extracting the active composition. You’ll not experience the cannabis effects if you consume it raw. So, without decarboxylation, you’ll not get the therapeutic composition, that is, THC in large quantities.
3. Activates Cannabinoid Receptors
CBD and THC serve as agonists of the cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) of the endocannabinoid system. This system is the network that regulates many functions of the body, including mood, sleep, appetite, immune response, etc.
The interaction between the cannabinoid receptors and activated cannabinoids influences the neurotransmitters released in our brains, which results in a lot of effects.
For that reason, decarboxylation is an essential process for medical marijuana patients that rely on these active compounds’ effects.
4. Reduced Risk of Botulism
Botulism is a severe illness that results from the Botulinum toxin, which causes paralysis. The paralysis may begin in the face, spreading to other parts of the body, such as the limbs. If the toxin reaches your breathing muscles, it can lead to respiratory failure.
Most people may not be aware that when you decarboxylate cannabis for edibles, you reduce the probability of getting Botulism. Without undergoing the decarboxylation process, botulism bacteria are likely to develop in edibles, like cannabis oil and canna-butter, quickly.
How to Decarboxylate Cannabis
Sometimes, you may buy a cannabis flower from a licensed store, which is already prepared (taken through the decarboxylation process) for use. However, other times, you may be growing it yourself or buy one in its natural state.
And, as we’ve learned, you need to decarboxylate the raw cannabis (marijuana flower) to enjoy the best effects. But, how do you go about this?
To begin with, here’s what you need for the task:
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper
After having the necessary requirements for the decarboxylation process, you need to follow these steps:
- Step One: Heat the oven to 250-degree F. Then, line your baking sheet with the parchment paper.
- Step Two: While your oven heats, break the cannabis into small pieces.
- Step Three: Spread the cannabis out on the parchment paper. Ensure it’s in a single layer
- Step Four: Put the baking sheet into the oven and cook for 30 to 45 minutes. While that’s happening, stir the cannabis every 10 minutes or thereabout.
- Step Five: After the cannabis begins changing color or becoming darker, take the baking sheet out of the oven. Set it aside to allow the activated (decarboxylated) cannabis flower to cool.
- Step Six: Lastly, with the grinder, coarsely grind the cannabis and store it in a well-sealed container until it’s ready for use.
It’s recommended that you don’t use high temperatures in the heating process as low heat will protect the integrity of the compounds available in the plant. In other words, low heat prevents the cannabis flower from dropping its potency.
There’s no point in using cannabis in its raw form, while you can enjoy the most out of it after its activation or decarboxylation. This article was designed to help you know the benefits of taking your marijuana flower through this process before using it.
The above procedure will also help you do the process yourself and at the comfort of your home. But, remember not to apply a lot of heat. Be safe and enjoy.