Decarboxylating cannabis to enhance pot: here’s how it works

The importance of cannabis decarboxylation

What does decarboxylation consist of and why this process is so important

Cannabis decarboxylation, judging by its name, sounds like some complex and unfamiliar operation, but it isn’t.

Anyone who has ever had anything to do with marijuana has almost certainly done it without even knowing it was called that.

What, then, is meant by decarboxylation? Why is it important?

In this article, I will explain what it is and why it is essential that it be done.

What is meant by decarboxylation of grass?

What is meant by decarboxylation?

To make a long story short, decarboxylating cannabis means subjecting it to high temperatures for a specific time. But for what purpose?

Through this process, the cannabinoids contained in marijuana in acid forms, such as THCA and CBDA, are transformed into the well-known THC and CBD. During this transformation, their psychotropic and therapeutic aspects are activated.

To carry out this mechanism without risking compromising the properties of the buds, it is essential that the temperature does not exceed 110° and that exposure to heat does not exceed thirty to forty minutes.

Paying attention to these aspects is, in fact, indispensable if you do not want to run the risk of irreparably ruining your inflorescences and consequently having to throw them away. This way, you will activate their active ingredients without damaging the terpenes responsible for the characteristic aroma of marijuana.

You may not know this, but terpenes and cannabinoids begin to deteriorate at temperatures of 150° C and above.

Below I will outline the main techniques to decarboxylate effectively, but first, I want to explain why and under what circumstances this process proves to be an essential preventive step.

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Cannabis decarboxylation: why is it essential?

If you have been a marijuana enthusiast for some time, you probably already know that decarboxylation is not always necessary. When cannabis is smoked or vaporised, this mechanism is activated during combustion.

In which cases, therefore, is it essential to act preventively so as not to waste the potential of the buds?

In countries where this is permitted by law, it is often the case that marijuana is used to prepare various edibles that will not be able to have any effect unless they have been produced from decarboxylated cannabis. It is the only way to be sure of being able to enjoy the beneficial and recreational impact of the famous stoner muffins or brownies.

Edible products with decarboxylated cannabis

But how does one go about decarboxylating marijuana and thus activating its properties?

Let’s take a look at the main ways to do it properly.

What are the main methods for successfully decarboxylating cannabis?

First, the parts of the marijuana you will need to use for this process are – guess what? – the inflorescences. Once you have recovered enough of them, you can begin.

You can choose several methods, and I will tell you about the most popular ones below.

The most popular method, because of its practicality, is baking. Those who prepare marijuana-infused edibles often make use of this technique, following the steps below:

  • chop the tops, obtaining a homogenous powder;
  • line a baking tray with a sheet of baking paper;
  • place the powder on the baking tray and distribute it as evenly as possible;
  • preheat the oven to 110° C;
  • bake the powder for about thirty minutes, stirring it halfway through baking.

Those familiar with this activity recommend not losing sight of the cannabis during baking and meticulously adhering to the directions regarding temperature and baking time. It seems that it is straightforward to spoil cannabis and then have to throw it away. And no one would ever want to use the oven for this purpose!

This method, as I said, is the most widely used, but it is certainly not the only one.

Expert decarboxylators also point to the vacuum method, which seems to be the one that guarantees the least risk of overcooking.

Let us see why.

This method consists, on a practical level, of bain-marie cooking, through the use of a particular bag also used successfully for sous-vide cooking.

The absence of the risk of burning everything consists precisely of the inability of the water to exceed a temperature of 100°.

Below are the different stages of this technique:

  • grind the tops and seal the resulting powder inside a unique bag;
  • fill a pot with water and bring it to a boil;
  • once it comes to a boil, lower the flame;
  • immerse the bag in hot water and let it boil for about an hour.

This method is undoubtedly more time-consuming but seems to guarantee the success of the process.

Finally, let us examine the method of natural decarboxylation of marijuana.

As days go by, cannabis can put the mechanism into action naturally and automatically.

The timing, however, is considerably longer than in the methods described above. It is because the inflorescences are capable of self-decarboxylation when in contact with the elements. But – as you can imagine – the timescales are not only very long but also impossible to predict.

Now you finally know what decarboxylation is and why it is so vital that it happens.

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In summary, what is the purpose of decarboxylating cannabis?

Before reading this article, you may not have known that the decarboxylation of marijuana is an essential process for developing its active ingredients.

To benefit from it without combustion, this must be done in advance. Not doing so before adding it as an ingredient in the famous cannabis edibles, for instance, would mean obtaining a final product lacking in the typical effects of marijuana.

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