What Is Decarboxylation And What Does That Mean For CBD?

Decarboxylating, or decarbing, cannabis allows users to feel the plant’s distinct and intoxicating effects by exposing them to its active ingredients.

Decarbing procedures primarily target cannabinoid acids, also known as inactive cannabinoids, which are contained in the trichomes of the plant. Trichomes are mostly present on cannabis flowers, although minor amounts can also be found in leaves and stems.

When cannabis matter is heated, the molecular structure of the cannabinoid acids changes. The acids lose one carboxyl group (-COOH) as carbon dioxide while maintaining one hydrogen atom when decarboxylated.

22 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and four oxygen atoms make up cannabinoid acids. One carbon atom and two oxygen atoms are lost in the carboxyl group (CO2). The molecular mass of THCA, for example, drops by around 12% when the carboxyl group is removed, resulting in the active THC molecule.


What is the significance of decarboxylation?

Because there is no heat supplied during intake of edibles, tinctures, and other consumable commodities, decarboxylation is one of the most significant processes. Decarbing activates the most important cannabinoids in the plant: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) (CBD). Decarboxylation prior to consumption is not required for smokeables, as this occurs when the flame or electric heating element strikes the plant.

THC and CBD products like strong CBD hemp capsules, CBD oil, cream etc are agonists or partial agonists of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Multiple bodily processes controlled by the ECS, such as sleep, hunger, pain, inflammation, immunological response, and mood, might be affected by decarboxylated cannabis use. When making a small or big batch of cannabis-infused items, decarbed THC and CBD can be added.

Medical marijuana users who use it orally or topically to address their symptoms must make sure their cannabis is decarboxylated. To guarantee that the infused product is ready to ingest after purchase, commercial producers handle the extraction and decarboxylation processes.

What Is the Decarboxylation Process?

Decarboxylation is a process that happens over time with the application of heat, therefore it can happen at different speeds depending on time and temperature. To avoid cannabinoid breakdown or combustion, the secret is to decarboxylate cannabis at the right temperature.

The temperature at which cannabinoids and terpenes decarboxylate differ. THCA, for example, requires temperatures of around 220oF for 30 to 45 minutes before the chemicals begin to decarboxylate. Decarboxylation time varies based on the material and amount of decarboxylation required.

Is It Better To Decarb Or Not To Decarb? That is the issue.

Although decarboxylation is an important stage in the consuming process, it is not required for all cannabis. The two primary cannabinoids, THC and CBD, have been the focus of much of today’s cannabis research. Researchers have recently focused their attention on the medicinal potential of non-psychoactive cannabinoid acids like THCA and CBDA.

Even if they wanted to, producers and customers can’t avoid decarboxylation. It’s a natural process that can be sped up and fine-tuned with the correct tools and equipment to produce delectable butters, oils, and other products. Consider decarb furnaces designed exclusively for cannabis business operations for the greatest temperature and time control.

Cannabis Decarboxylation Temperatures

The temperatures and techniques of decarboxylation used by cannabis consumers and producers differ. Lower decarboxylation temperatures, on average, take longer to fully decarb. Marijuana’s active components will be degraded if it is exposed to high decarboxylation temperatures for an extended period of time.

When users decarboxylate raw cannabis material, the THCA in the trichomes begins to decarboxylate at around 220 degrees Fahrenheit. CBDA begins to decarboxylate at 245oF and can take up to 90 minutes to completely decarb in CBD-rich strains.



Many of the more volatile terpenes with lower boiling points can be degraded by decarboxylation following extraction, yet it is required for many extraction procedures. To avoid terpene loss during pre-extraction or post-extraction decarboxylation, certain procedures must be applied. 

Unfortunately, most cannabis extractors do not take the effort to retain terpenes because these processes are sometimes complex and expensive. Extraction and post-processing can potentially degrade terpenes. Terpenes can be maintained since hydrocarbon extraction does not need decarboxylation.


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