What is Decarboxylation?

Decarboxylation (pronounced de-carb-ox-yl-a-tion), is a process that actives the psychoactive compounds in the cannabis plant so that you feel high when you consume it.

The cannabis plant contains THCA, which will not get you high, and that THCA needs to be converted into THC in order for you to get high. This is most commonly done with heat - the flame of a lighter, the atomizer in a vape pen, a torch with a dab rig, or an oven when making edibles.

THCA in the plant has an extra carboxyl ring in its chemical structure, and heat removes that ring, or de-carboxylates, the compound, hence where the term comes from.

How does decarboxylation work?

Decarboxylation occurs through heat, and also time. The high temperatures when smoking and vaporizing instantly decarboxylate compounds in weed, making them immediately available for your body to absorb.

Some decarboxylation can occur over time when drying and curing cannabis, after harvesting a homegrow.

Oxygen can contribute to the decarboxylation process, so to slow it down, keep your weed or weed products in an air-tight container to maintain freshness and potency.

Why decarboxylation is necessary for edibles

Decarboxylation needs to happen in all cannabis products in order to get high from them. Consuming edibles doesn’t involve heat, as with smoking a joint or hitting a vape pen, but the decarboxylation process still needs to occur to activate the weed in the edible before consumption.

When making edibles, buds are typically heated in an oven first to decarboxylate them, and then infused into a medium such as butter or oil. That infusion is then used to make edibles, such as brownies, cookies, gummies, and more.

Heating buds in an oven before infusion is necessary to activate the THC in the buds so it can be carried into the infusion, and then into the edible.

Source: Leafly.com

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