Here’s a scenario that has previously been represented in the cinematic arts: someone hiding an entire bag of raw cannabis in order to avoid being discovered. Eyes grow wide with astonishment, and gasps fill the air.
However, the conclusion of this narrative is frequently a dramatically different picture of what happens when you consume uncooked cannabis. Let’s get this out in the open right now: The effects will be minimal at best. What is it about?
The solution to this conundrum is decarboxylation, which is required for us to get the therapeutic advantages of the cannabis we consume.
The method by which cannabis compounds such as THC are activated is known as decarboxylation. All cannabinoids contained in trichomes of raw cannabis flowers have an extra carboxyl ring or group (COOH) linked to their chain, whether they’re from hemp or marijuana. Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), for example, is generated in large amounts within the trichome heads of freshly picked cannabis flowers. In most countries, cannabis sold in dispensaries has labeling that specifies the cannabinoid content of the goods. THCA is frequently present as the most abundant cannabinoid in non-decarboxylated products (e.g., cannabis flowers and concentrates).
In a research, the anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects of CBN were discovered. THCA, on the other hand, is non-intoxicating and must be decarboxylated into THC in order to elicit any effects.
What Causes Decarboxylation?
Heat and time are the two primary stimuli for decarboxylation to occur. A minor decarboxylation occurs as cannabis is dried and cured over time. This is why small amounts of THC may be detected in some cannabis flowers, along with THCA. Due to the intense heat produced by smoking or vaporizing, cannabinoids will decarboxylate instantly and become immediately accessible for absorption via inhalation.
Edibles, on the other hand, require that the cannabinoids we eat be present in what we consume for our bodies to absorb them throughout digestion. Heating cannabinoids at a lower temperature over time allows us to decarboxylate the cannabinoids while maintaining the material’s integrity so that it may be infused into what we eat.
At What Temperature Does Decarboxylation Occur?
After approximately 30-45 minutes of exposure to 220 degrees Fahrenheit, the THCA in cannabis begins to decompose. Complete decarboxylation might take more time. Many individuals prefer to decarboxylate their cannabis at a lower temperature for a longer period of time in order to preserve terpenes. The chemical compounds that make up the essential oils of various plants may be lost as a result of higher temperatures, leaving potentially off-putting tastes and scents. The integrity of both cannabinoids and terpenoids is compromised by heating above 300 degrees Fahrenheit, which is why temperatures between 200 and 300 degrees are advised.
Other types of cannabinoid degradation are also possible. CBN (cannabinol) is created via THC breakdown and oxidation, a process that can be accelerated during decarboxylation. CBN is a much more sedative and less psychoactive version of THC.
How to Decarboxylate Cannabis at Home
All you need to decarboxylate cannabis at home is some starting material, an oven set to 220-235 degrees Fahrenheit (depending on your location and oven model), parchment paper, and a baking sheet. Grate your cannabis until it’s thin enough to cover with parchment paper and place on a baking sheet. Allow the cannabis to bake for 30-45 minutes, or longer if desired.
Cannabis may also be decarboxylated in a slow cooker by using solvents such as cooking oils or lecithin. These procedures produce infusions that may be used in a variety of food preparations, topicals, and even cannabis capsules because they include decarboxylated cannabinoids.
Actual vs Potential Potency
“Potential potency” is the amount of THC and CBD contained in a dried flower’s natural state before decarboxylation, which is the amount you would receive if you consumed a dry cannabis bud without heating it. For patients, “actual potency” isn’t nearly as significant. This figure represents the combined total of THC and CBD that have been activated and made available to your body after decarboxylation has occurred by heating.
The necessity of decarboxylation is due to the fact that cannabinoids in their raw plant form are not readily absorbed by the body’s cannabinoid receptors. THC and CBD, like other acidic molecules, include inactive versions known as THCA and CBDA (THC-Acidic Acid; CBD-Acidic Acid). Because they are unable to connect with the cannabinoid receptors, these inactive forms will not provide the therapeutic effects a patient would anticipate.
The acidic component must be decarboxylated in order for the body to accept cannabinoids readily. The decarboxylation of cannabis is required for this to happen. This procedure takes time and heat, which is why two essential catalysts are necessary: heat and time.
The process of decarboxylation
Many elements go into conventional decarboxylation and solvent recovery procedures, making them difficult to keep running. To decarboxylate for 8 to 10 hours in a large reactor with a chiller, a vacuum pump, and another chiller for the condenser is required traditionally.
Vacuum ovens, for example, take between 14 and 24 hours to decarb the marijuana buds. They also have a smaller capacity than other decarboxylation instruments, such as pressure cookers. Such installations are not only big but also costly and take up extra room in the workplace.
In order to decarboxylate weed, some cannabis extracts must be heated above a specific temperature for an extended period of time. Because a thermal fluid is employed to extract heat at the precise decarboxylation temperature, this process takes longer.
Decarboxylation solutions from Ecodyst
Ecodyst is an expert in organic chemistry and has developed a novel evaporation system that may be used for both decarboxylation and solvent recovery. Ecodyst’s software integrates direct-cooling technology with continuous deliveries to maintain vacuum conditions throughout the extraction process. The EcoChyll® series from Ecdyst outperforms conventional decarboxylation systems in several ways.
Because of its efficient heating mantle design, which can reach ideal decarboxylation temperatures in only a few minutes while also maintaining a constant heat, DecarboxylateIt is more cost-effective than the traditional methods.
Carboxylation and decarboxylation are two distinct kinds of chemical reactions that have profoundly influenced life on Earth for billions of years. These processes occur at various depths within and on the surface of the planet’s crust. The synthesis of early prebiotic carboxylic acids may have been critical to the origin and evolution of life, which has utilized this form of reaction to generate energy and reproduce for billions of years. The rate of reaction and the variety of carboxylic acids produced are determined by the prevalence of these processes in the environment (e.g., subduction zones, coal deposits, aerobic water columns, tropical forests). These fundamental single reactions are at the core of complex and beautiful pathways that cycle carbon on Earth and possibly on other extraterrestrial planets.