You have seen people chew the leaves of tobacco and other drugs. Have you ever asked yourself why people don’t chew marijuana leaves? The answer is simple: you won’t get high.

So how come the leaves can’t get you high? This is because raw buds contain the chemicals tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), which must be activated to THC and CBD for the products to have an effect.

green kush on white textile

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CBD causes sedation while THC is responsible for the high from cannabis. Without these chemicals, cannabis will not have any effect on you no matter how much you consume. 

This doesn’t mean that raw buds don’t interact with your body. They do, but the effects are mild and different from the strong sedative and psychoactive properties associated with cannabis. This brings about the process of decarboxylation. 

If you are a cannabis products vendor, you can provide Eagle Moon Hemp Produces 99% Pure CBD Isolate by decarbing your cannabis products.   

What is Decarboxylation and Does it Matter?

The difference between THCA and CBDA and THC and CBD is the extra ‘a.’ This ‘a’ stands for acid. This extra carboxyl group (COOH) is what prevents these chemicals from giving sedative and psychoactive effects. 

All the cannabinoids in cannabis are in their acidic form. This means that they contain an extra carboxyl group and are relatively inert. This carboxyl group can be removed through decarboxylation to release the active forms, THC, and CBD. Therefore, the main reason for decarboxylation is to activate THCA and CBDA to THC and CBD, respectively. This will make it easier for the body to digest. 

Decarboxylation unlocks the full potential in cannabis. Both the psychoactive and the medical effects achieve their potency by decarboxylation. 

This doesn’t mean that decarboxylated cannabis is useless. The acidic cannabinoids also have their medicinal benefits. However, the high effect can only be felt through decarboxylation. 

How to Decarb Cannabis

Cannabis is easy to dicarboxylate and you can do it at home using readily available kitchen tools. So how do you decarb cannabis? Easy! Simply by heating.

When you place cannabis buds in the sun to dry, the heat contributes to some level of decarboxylation. Slowly, the sun’s heat converts the cannabinolic acids into their non-acidic forms. This is why you may feel mild effects of psycho-activity in dried buds.

Aging by time and heating act as catalysts. When you smoke cannabis, the heat immediately decarbs the cannabinolic acids, making them easily absorbable for the body tissues. 

The amount of moisture in the raw cannabis affects the amount of time needed for decarboxylation. Also, CBD-A needs more time than THC-A to fully decarb. 

Professional cannabis producers decarboxylate using low temperatures and a relatively long period of heating. This ensures that the decarboxylation rate of about 95 percent is achieved. 

The ideal conditions of decarboxylation also ensure that the heat does not destroy the aromatic terpenes. This leaves the aroma and taste of the product unaffected. 

Decarboxylation requires a good balance of heat. Experts recommend about 220-240 ° F for about an hour. If the temperature is lower, you will not get full decarboxylation. Also, at a higher temperature, the cannabinoids may lose their structure and potency. 

When you heat THC at higher temperatures, for example, the heat converts THC into cannabinol (CBN). Be sure not to let this happen. So, you need to carefully control the temperature.

First, you need to ensure that all the moisture escapes. You can achieve this by sun-drying or gently heating the product. 

The next step involves heating the plant material longer. The first heating should be 15 minutes at 220 °F. The second heating should be for 120 minutes with the temperature maintained. 

Since  CBD activates much slower, when using cannabis with high CBD content, remember to increase the time. The temperature, however, should remain the same. 

If you are decarboxylating your cannabis at home, you can follow this simple procedure:

  • Before heating, grind the buds into finer pieces. This will help the cannabis break down and release all of its moisture. 
  • Preheat the oven to the required temperature. 
  • Place the cannabis on parchment paper and place the contents on the baking sheet. 
  • Ensure the pieces are not too crowded to allow good aeration. Your cannabis should spread out in a single thin layer. 
  • Place the contents in the oven and let it heat for the recommended amount of time. 
  • Once the time has elapsed, take the contents out and let it cool. 
  • Once cool, you can use the product as desired or package it.
person holding paper on kush

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If you are smoking your pot, then decarboxylation is not required. Any other application, however, will require decarboxylation for the best effects. 

Many people assume that if you are going to bake the products or extract the contents in oil, then decarboxylation is not needed. This is not true as you will not get the full potential in your product.

Decarboxylation helps release almost all the cannabinoids. No other process achieves this much content. 

So, regardless of how you want to use the product, decarboxylating will make it more potent and provide the best effects.

About the author

Tammy S

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