In 2019, the global value of the legal marijuana buds market was over $9.1 billion. Experts also say that worldwide, the legal cannabis sector will be worth $73.6 billion by 2026.
The purported benefits of cannabis are among the main drivers for its huge market value. Some say that it helps them cope with their pain conditions, while others say it helps them relax. We need more scientific studies, but the preliminary ones do show promise.
With that said, if you’re new to the world of weed, it’s best you learn about cannabis decarboxylation first. This is especially true if you plan to cook with it rather than smoke or vaporize it.
Don’t worry, though, as we’ve come up with this easy guide to introduce you to this process. Read on so you can learn more about decarboxylation and its importance.
1. Cannabis Decarboxylation Is Key to Activating Cannabinoids
Cannabis, in its raw plant form, contains cannabinoid acids. In growing plants, one of the most prevalent of these acids is cannabigerolic acid (CBGa). The other most common acid in developing cannabis is cannabigerovarinic acid (CBGVa).
These two, through synthesis, allows for the creation of other cannabinoid acids. It depends on the type of enzyme, but CBGa and CBGVa can convert into acids like THCa or CBDa. THCa stands for tetrahydrocannabinolic-acid, while CBDa stands for cannabidiolic acid.
In addition, CBG or cannabigerol synthesizes from CBGa. CBGV or cannabigerivarin, on the other hand, comes from CBGVa.
All the cannabinoid acids may have potential therapeutic benefits. However, in acid form, they appear not to be as easily absorbed by the body.
By contrast, the body seems to “digest” the cannabinoid versions of these acids better. CBG, for instance, has shown to spread within the blood-brain barrier readily.
To turn these acids into cannabinoids, the plant must first lose carbon dioxide. That’s exactly what decarboxylation is, as it means “loss of carbon dioxide.” Through the process of decarboxylation, cannabinoid acids get converted into cannabinoids.
As such, cannabis decarboxylation plays a crucial role in activating cannabinoids.
2. Decarboxylating Cannabis Converts THCa Into THC
Of the 420+ compounds in cannabis, THC carries the most significant psychoactive effects. Meaning, it’s the cannabinoid found to bring the most “mind-altering” activity. Many of the other known elements in cannabis haven’t shown to possess the same property.
In states where medical and recreational cannabis is legal, adults can use THC. However, they must first decarboxylate cannabis so they can experience the cannabinoid’s effects. Note that THCa and other cannabinoid acids aren’t psychoactive.
Smoking and vaporizing marijuana is the quickest way to decarboxylate the plant. Combustion (or heat from vaporizers) allows for the instantaneous decarboxylation of weed. This, in turn, converts THCa into THC that you can then readily inhale.
3. Decarbing Helps Keep Cannabinoids in Edibles Intact
When you smoke or vaporize cannabis, you also convert CBDa into CBD. Your body can then absorb CBD when you inhale the smoke or vapor.
However, if you plan to make your own cannabis edibles at home, you need to decarb the buds or flowers first. Otherwise, high cooking temperatures will also “cook away” the converted cannabinoids.
4. Decarboxylation Helps Make Cannabis Easier to Turn Into Various Products
When you decarb cannabis, you “preserve” the acids that convert into cannabinoids. Decarboxylated buds or flowers, in turn, are easier to transform into other products. A few examples are cannabutter, cannabis oil, canna milk, and cannabis cream.
5. The Decarb Process Is Key to Making Cannabutter
If you don’t smoke but would still like to use cannabis, you may want to try cooking with it. As mentioned above, cannabutter is one of the things you can make from decarbed buds or flowers. It’s super easy to make, so long as you have an oven and a stove.
The term “decarboxylation” may have made you think it’s too scientific, but it’s very basic. You only have to use high-quality cannabis flowers or buds and “pre-cook” it in the oven. It takes about 25 to 30 minutes to decarb weed at 245 °Fahrenheit.
Be sure not to go beyond this time, as overcooking” may cause the cannabinoids to evaporate. Also, note that researchers found THC to dissipate in temperatures over 315 °F.
Once your decarbed cannabis cools, grind up the buds or flower into smaller pieces. It should only be coarse enough (take care not to turn it into a fine powder).
You can then mix the ground up decarbed cannabis with butter and water. Let this mixture steep over low heat (no more than 190°F) for about 45 to 60 minutes. After this, strain the mixture using a fine-meshed sieve into a container with a lid.
Cover the container and allow the butter to solidify in the fridge. Once the fat sets, you can throw the excess water. What’s left is cannabutter, which you can now eat as-is, use as a spread, or use to bake cookies, brownies, or other goods.
6. “Cooking” Raw Cannabis Can Make Your Edibles Taste Burnt
At this point, you’re likely thinking, “why not just cook the flower or bud straight?” Well, if you do this, you probably will end up with food that tastes burnt. Also, remember that high heat can “cook-off” whatever benefits the plant may be able to give you.
Moreover, the chlorophyll in the plant can give your food a greenish tint. Depending on the dish you’re making, this discoloration may render it unappetizing.
Get the Most Out of Your Buds by Decarbing Them First
There you have it, the most vital facts you need to know about cannabis decarboxylation. Now that you know why you should decarboxylate cannabis, then be sure to always do this with your buds. In doing so, you may be able to make the most out of that hard-earned money you spent on buying your cannabis buds.
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