Decarboxylation is an essential step in the process of creating CBD oil, which is a popular daily supplement that can be used to remedy a variety of ailments. Raw cannabis won’t offer the numerous benefits that you can get by using CBD, and while the science behind the process is complex, it is extremely important in creating the supplement that many people have come to rely on to improve their health.
So, what is decarboxylation? The scientific definition of this term is that it is a chemical reaction that will remove a carboxyl group and release carbon dioxide. The process converts inactive components in cannabis – which are not psychoactive – into active components, which unlock the effects that many people are looking for. With time, cannabis can go through the decarboxylation process on its own, or there are other ways that you can speed up the process.
The two main catalysts in the decarboxylation process are heat and time. Curing and drying cannabis over time will result in partial decarboxylation. Smoking and vaporizing can instantly decarboxylate cannabinoids as a result of the extremely high temperatures that are present, and this makes them immediately available for absorption via inhalation. However, people with respiratory conditions, children, or the elderly who are attempting to use cannabis for its medicinal purposes likely will not want to inhale the smoke, so extracting numerous cannabinoids and terpenes in the form of oil is often a better strategy.
Why Decarboxylation is Important for CBD
When discussing decarboxylation, the difference between CBDa and CBD needs to be addressed. CBDa is known as the acidic precursor to CBD, and when cannabis grows, it produces CBDa and not CBD. The same is true for one of the other main compounds of marijuana – THC – as the decarboxylation process is needed to turn the inactive THC-A into the psychoactive THC. In order to activate the CBD and to experience all of its benefits, it needs to be heated through vaporization, cooking, or smoking so that decarboxylation occurs. Even after the process has been completed, you still won’t get high by taking CBD, as the product is non-psychoactive and does not bind to receptors the same way as THC.
The decarboxylation process is important for getting the most out of the CBD. After the process activates it, CBD is available to be used within the body.
In the past, CBDa has had a tendency to be overlooked with CBD getting the attention of medical researchers. However, there are several studies that are currently examining the potential benefits of CBD, as well, including:
Antibacterial. A study completed in 2000 notes that more CBDa in a plant will lead to greater antimicrobial potency within the CBD that results after decarboxylation.
Anti-Nausea. A 2013 study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology showed that CBD-A could be used as an alternative to THC when it comes to preventing nausea and vomiting, and it doesn’t offer the psychoactive properties of THC. It has also been shown to have significant benefits in helping with anticipatory nausea experienced by chemotherapy patients.
Cancer. CBDa is thought to be one of many cannabinoids that can help to control the growth of tumors in cancer patients. A 2012 study published in Toxicology Letters found that CBDa could work to inhibit the migration of breast cancer cells.
Decarboxylation Temperature and Terpenes
When going through the decarboxylation process, the temperature that you use is extremely important. While a lower temperature will cause the process to take longer, delaying the process can actually be a good thing, as lower temperatures will allow you to retain more terpenes. The terpenes are the oils that give cannabis its unique smell and flavor, and they offer a variety of benefits. Some of the most popular terpenes in cannabis include:
Caryophyllene. A spicy smell, providing medical value for ulcers, arthritis, and gastrointestinal problems
Limonene. This citrus-smelling terpene offers anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties, and it can also help with depression and heartburn
Linalool. Medicinal value includes relief of depression and anxiety, and the terpene smells sweet like flowers
Besides the fact that retaining as many terpenes as possible will allow for some of these benefits, there is another important reason you’ll want to keep them around in your CBD oil – terpenes can actually boost the power of CBD and other cannabinoids, if they are present.
Decarboxylation Made Easy
If you are interested in trying out the decarboxylation process on your own at home, there are some simple steps that you can use:
Preheat your oven to 230° F.Break up cannabis buds and flowers by hand unit they are in small pieces of one ounce or less.Place the pieces on a baking sheet in a single layer, and make sure that the cannabis takes up the entire pan. There shouldn’t be any empty space.Bake the cannabis for up to 40 minutes, stirring it every 10 minutes to ensure even toasting.After the cannabis has turned a medium brown color and is dried, remove the baking sheet from the oven and give the cannabis time to cool. When handled, it should be crumbly.Use a food processor to pulse the cannabis until it becomes coarsely ground.
After the process, make sure that you store the cannabis in an airtight container so that it stays fresh until you need to use it to make extractions.
While the process of decarboxylation might be fairly simple and something that you can do on your own, extracting the CBD oil is another story. This is a complicated task that should be left to the professionals if you are hoping to get the maximum possible benefits from the CBD.
Going Beyond Decarboxylation
At C21™, we derive our products from organic whole-plant CBD oil that has already gone through the decarboxylation process, ensuring that it is as strong and effective as possible while preserving those beneficial & synergistic terpenes and cannabinoids.
What separates C21™ from every other cannabis company is our all-natural technology for creating CBD oil. Starting with organic grown hemp, the CBD oil is extracted using supercritical CO2 extraction for a pure and clean CBD oil free of any toxins or solvents. The CBD oil is then combined with curcumin (turmeric), heat and pressure to create the superior extracts that C21™ has become famous for.