Perhaps you haven’t heard about CBD and decarboxylation before. Don’t get overwhelmed by this word, it sounds more complicated than what it really is.
Decarboxylation is a chemical reaction where a carboxyl group is released as carbon dioxide (CO2). But, why is this important when we talk about CBD oil or THC oil?
Don’t worry, it’s not difficult to understand it and I am going to explain why this process is so important for CBD oil or THC oil.
What is Cannabis or CBD Decarboxylation?
As previously mentioned, decarboxylation is basically the chemical reaction where a carboxyl group is removed and released as CO2.
But why is this so important? Perhaps you wonder why you should care about decarboxylation? Simply, because without decarboxylation there’s no THC or CBD! We need the decarboxylation process in order to activate the CBD therapeutic properties or the THC psychoactive properties.
CBD is becoming very popular as a treatment for anxiety and also as an effective treatment for epilepsy, especially very aggressive forms of epilepsy that affect children. In addition, CBD has been widely researched as a substitute for opioids.
Perhaps you have heard about the opioid crisis in the US, where many people died of overdose caused by using opioids. Opioids are highly addictive, and moreover, we develop opioid tolerance over time. That’s why we need higher doses of opioids after a prolonged use.
CBD does not cause accidental overdoses and it has great properties for the treatment of insomnia and pain. To sum up, CBD could be a great alternative to dangerous opioids.
CBDa vs CBD
CBDa is found in the raw plant material and it is the acidic form of CBD. Although CBDa is generally labelled as pharmacologically inactive, it has medical properties on its own. For instance, CBDa has anti-inflammatory properties and a greater potency at inhibiting vomiting and nausea. Therefore, it is been studied as a treatment for nausea and as an antiemetic.
On the other hand, CBD has been used for anxiety treatment, chronic pain or as a medicine for epilepsy. Researches are more advanced on CBD than CBDa and it is believed it has more properties than CBDa. For instance, some preclinical studies conclude than CBDa is less efficient than THC and CBD as a treatment for cancer. However, it is important to emphasize that not CBD nor THC have been approved for cancer treatment. To sum up, studies are still ongoing.
Cannabis decarboxylation is essential to obtain both THC and CBD. Furthermore, decarboxylation is especially important for THC use because THC-a does not cause any high and many of its properties are inactive if the plant material is not decarboxylated.
CBD, THC and decarboxylation
Decarboxylation is obtained by simply drying the plant material for a long time. However, if we are looking for a fastest decarboxylation process, then we need to heat up the plant material.
Certainly, decarboxylation occurs when you smoke or vape it. However, if you vape or smoke plants that have previously been decarboxylated then you will get a stronger high (if you want to use THC) or you will obtain the CBD properties if you want to vape CBD.
Moreover, decarboxylation is needed for CBD or THC oils, lotions, butter etc. For instance, if you bake cookies, you will decarboxylate the plant material once you bake it. To sum up, 1-2 hours at 106 to 110 ºC (222.8ºF to 230ºF) is enough to decarboxylate it. Or heating up the remnant solution for 24 hours on a hot plate (for instance, using a coffee machine).
To sum up, if you want to get higher concentrations of THC or CBD then you better decarboxylate it, also known as, “activate the cannabis”.
In conclusion, it all depends on what you want to achieve with your cannabis. If you want to get as much THC potency as possible, then you need to decarboxylate it.
How to decarboxylate cannabis/marijuana?
It is very simple to decarboxylate it. However, there are many theories about the right temperature and time. Some sources claim that too much time or higher temperatures than 110 ºC (230 ºF) are counterproductive. Generally, it is recommended to decarboxylate for 1 to 2 hours at no more than 110 ºC.
You can just simply decarboxylate it with a coffee machine or with an oven. Nonetheless, it depends if you want to decarboxylate the plant material or CBD/THC oil.
CBD needs longer time than THC to decarb. To decarb CBD oil it is very efficient and easy to use a coffee machine. Just simply place the oil on the coffee machine plate and leave it there overnight.
Remember that even without decarboxylation both CBDa and THCa have some medicinal properties. However, CBD and THC bind directly to our endocannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2. CB1 is our endocannabinoid receptor for THC and CB2 is our endocannabinoid receptor for CB2. To sum up, CBD and decarboxylation is necessary for a better interaction with our endocannabinoid system.
THC or CBD and decarboxylation is a simple process that consist of removing a carbon atom from a carbon chain. In other words, the acidic form of THC and CBD are converted into CBD and THC and the carboxyl group is released as CO2.
The decarboxylation process is obtained by simply heating up the plant material. Generally, it is enough with 1-2 hours at 110 ºC.