Weed 101: Decarboxylation

It’s not all fun and games at The Smokers Club – you gonna learn something today!  The topic du jour is something I bet most casual smokers are totally oblivious to: decarboxylation.  No, that’s not some new bagel-eliminating diet.  In fact, it’s a chemical reaction without which you would never be able to enjoy weed in edible form.  Until I stumbled across “decarboxylated cannabis” in an edible recipe I had never even heard of the term.

What is Decarboxylation?

Decarboxylation is a chemical reaction that removes a carboxyl group and releases carbon dioxide (CO2).  Usually, decarboxylation refers to a reaction of carboxylic acids, removing a carbon atom from a carbon chain.  In living cannabis plants, the cannabinoids are synthesized in an acidic form. This form has little effect on humans and must be heated to lose a carbon dioxide molecule to become active.

Decarboxylation

Why Does it Matter to Stoners?

Cannabis used to make tinctures as well as other edible cannabis products requires decarboxylation.  THCA (Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid) is abundant in growing and harvested cannabis but will have little effect on humans.  THCA is a biosynthetic precursor of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) – in laymen’s terms, THCA can be turned into THC under the right circumstances.

Because the cannabis will not be heated before ingesting the edible, it is important the maker ensures their products have been fully decarboxylated for maximum potency. 

Decarboxylation

Decarboxylation

How to Decarboxylize?

Sometimes the weed is decarbed through the normal baking process.  Other times you have to decarb the weed before starting.  it all depends on the recipe.  The best way to decarboxylate your cannabis before you make cannabutter, tincture, etc. is to bake it in your oven for thirty minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit.  No i’m not kidding that is how you do it!  You can also decarb in the microwave (1 1/2 – 3 mins/ 3 grams).  You can tell when the weed is decarboxylated by the increased odor and if the nugs crumble when you pinch them.

Decarboxylation

Now you know how and why to decarboxylize your weed…

…so go bake some space cakes or other crazy delicious edible and let us know how it turns out.

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