Medical Cannabis: What Is Decarboxylation?

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“Today I want to talk to you about a process called decarboxylation, another one of those fancy long words. But basically what this comes down to is preparing marijuana to be most available for use. One of the things that most everybody knows is that marijuana contains THC, and that’s the active ingredient that gets your high. The problem is actually that that’s not entirely true. First of all, that does get you high but there are about 79 other chemicals in there that also important, and we’ve sort of talked about that in other videos. The thing that people don’t realize is that THC is an active ingredient, but it doesn’t exist in the bud as you pick it from the plant. It’s actually THCA, which is in the flower. and that you need to convert that THCA into THC in order to get any of the benefits. That’s the process called decarboxylation and I don’t really think you want to hear anything about the chemistry of that, but the issue is that you do that by heating it. So if you put your marijuana in a joint and light it up, you’re burning it, and that converts your THCA into THC. It also does it in a very crude and brutal fashion, and so the efficiency of the conversion is really poor. Meaning, most of the THCA is getting lost in the smoke, and not actually doing you any good at all. The other thing to know is that when you have THCA it also converts into another chemical which is less active called CBN, so you have two chemical processes that are going along at the same time. what you really want to do is maximize the conversion of THCA into THC without losing too much of it into CBN. So how do you do this? Well, as I’ve pointed out, high temperatures don’t do a good job of that because it’s inefficient. You really need to go kind of like you’re doing a barbeque, low and slow, alright? so the idea is before you’re going to use the marijuana, you want to decarboxylate it, and there are devices out there that will help you do this. But essentially what you want to do is break up the flower into usable portions and then heat it for a long period of time. It turns out that the magic number is 100 and 100. That’s 100 degrees celsius, which is also not surprisingly 212 degrees fahrenheit, or the boiling point of water, and you do that for 100 minutes. Now, don’t get silly and put your weed into a pot of boiling water because you’re going to have soggy weed soup. What you need to do is isolate that, say in a boiling bag, or even if your oven will go that low, just on a mat on your oven, and essentially you just boil it in its pouch for 100 minutes, and take it out, and you will have had the most conversion with the least loss.”


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