What is Decarboxylation? 

If you’ve ever been told you should “activate” the marijuana that you have, chances are you probably know a little bit about what’s called decarboxylation. Here, we’ll go over what it is, and of course whether you need to use it for cannabis and edibles. 

What is it? 

This is the activation of heat over cannabis, in order to make it stronger. Cannabis contains cannabidiol acid and tetrahydrocannabinol acids, and while it doesn’t normally cause these hallucinogenic effects until it’s decarboxylated, then it turns into marijuana that many are familiar with. There are also different unique effects that come with decarbing, but it’s not as much known, so for now, we’ll just discuss how this applies to THC. 

What it Does to Cannabis 

Cannabinoids that are within a raw cannabis flower have what’s called an extra ring in the carboxyl group, and this is attached to the chemical chain. Basically, this means that it prevents the psychoactive results of marijuana from happening. This destroys the carboxyl and from there releases CO2 into this. While decarboxylation will affect the cannabinoids, it creates the THC effects in the body.  Usually, if it’s not decarboxylated, it won’t crate a psychoactive result when engaging in cannabis consumption. 

How to Do this? 

There are a couple of ways for you to decarboxylate your buds, and that is baking or sous vide. Baking of course is literally putting it in an oven to bake.  About 200 degrees is where you want to do this. Bake it for up to 25 minutes on a baking sheet with parchment paper, adding more time for darker strains. Your house will probably smell like pot, but if you don’t like that, you can decarb in either mason jars or an Instant pot. 

The second method is sous vide, which is where you mix water with steam in a pressure cooker, heat-safe bag, kettle, or even a grinder. Grind this, put it in the bag, and then put it in a pot with water, and set it for about 230 degrees or so. This can take about an hour due to the cannabis content, but I can help to cut down the scent if you don’t want the house smelling like weed. 

Do you need this for edibles? 

This isn’t straightforward. If you’re getting edibles from a dispensary for example, you won’t need it because they’re already ready for consumption once they’ve been decarboxylated as well. If you are making your own, yes you will have to decarb these in order to get the THC out of this. If you want a less potent edible, you don’t have to do this, but ultimately, it is your preference. If you’d prefer to make your own, but you don’t want to deal with decarboxylation, you can get products that have the THC activated, so you just put them in a recipe, and then there you go. As for whether you need to do this with every single cannabis thing that you purchase, the answer is no. 

If you’re buying say, medical cannabis from a dispensary that’s already done most of the legwork, you don’t have to. But if you’re getting weed from a place that grows it, or if you’re buying it through other means, that’s obviously on you, but you will need to decarb this in order to get the most potent effects. The best way to ensure that you’re getting the most from your cannabis experience is to talk to a budtender that’ll help you with this, and they’ll walk you through everything that you need to know to enjoy it. 

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