CBD is one of the most well-known plant compounds found in the hemp plant, alongside tetrahydrocannabinol. But did you know, when hemp is in its growing, raw form, there is actually very little CBD present? Sure, it can be a CBD-heavy strain of hemp, but when the plant is alive, most of that CBD is actually in its acid form, called CBDA, or cannabidiolic acid. CBDA has its own benefits, and only with time and heat can CBDA convert to what we all know and love as CBD. This process is called — you guessed it — decarboxylation.
In this article, we’re going to answer a few questions. They include:
– What is decarboxylation?
– How does decarboxylation work?
– Do you need to decarboxylate CBD?
– How to decarboxylate cannabis?
When someone talks about decarboxylation, you might hear the term “decarb,” which is shorthand for this cool chemical reaction. So let’s dive right into it.
What Is Decarboxylation?
What is decarboxylation? It’s the process that activates compounds found in the hemp plant, converting the acidic form of major and minor cannabinoids into their active form, like CBD. If you’ve ever seen raw hemp, you’ve likely seen the tiny “hairs” all over the buds that look like little crystals or sparkling water droplets. These are called trichomes. The cannabinoids in their acidic form can be found in these trichomes. Each of them has an extra carboxyl group, carbon-oxygen-oxygen-hydrogen (-COOH), attached to their chain, making them an acidic cluster.
How Does Decarboxylation Work?
If you consumed a handful of raw hemp, you might think that was a bad idea, that you’d feel the effects in a similar way to smoking or eating a ton of CBD. But you likely wouldn’t. Eating raw flower would be similar to eating a bag of kale. Yes, there are many benefits because you’re consuming fresh greens, but the CBD isn’t activated yet, so it won’t be the same as consuming CBD products that are decarbed. Of course, some of the CBD and other phytocannabinoids could be slightly decarbed based on the temperatures, atmosphere, and curing time. Still, they won’t be anywhere near their fullest decarb potential.
Decarbed CBD means bioavailable CBD. CBD in its acidic form can’t bind to the cannabinoid receptors the way active CBD does.
How does decarboxylation work, exactly?
Through the two main catalysts of time and heat. If you’re drying and curing your own hemp buds, that process will trigger a partial decarboxylation. When third-party testing is done, some results may show both CBD and CBDA, and this could be due to some of the CBD not converting for whatever reason.
Do You Need To Decarboxylate CBD?
Learn more about decarboxylation, CBD, and the host of benefits that come from CBD itself. Do you need to decarboxylate CBD? Well, that depends, really. If it’s technically CBD, it’s already been decarbed. If you’re purchasing a premium CBD oil like HempFusion’s Broad-Spectrum CBD Tinctures, it’s already primed and ready for you to consume and enjoy its many benefits.
If you’re purchasing straight CBD, cured flower, or concentrate from the store for smoking or vaping, you will need to decarb it through a heat source like fire. Lighting the flower or concentrate makes the cannabinoids instantly available for the body to absorb through inhalation.
What is decarboxylation? It is a requirement to be able to enjoy the many benefits of CBD. Edibles, tinctures, and capsules that contain CBD oil will already be decarbed and ready to enjoy. Cured CBD flower or concentrates will need to be exposed to the right decarboxylation temperature to activate the compound to its fullest potential.
Benefits of non-decarboxylated CBD
Non-decarboxylated CBD, a.k.a. CBDA, has many benefits, although more research is being conducted to understand the ins and outs of the hemp plant more.
So far, it looks like some of the health benefits of CBDA include:
– Helping ease or stop nausea and vomiting in rats. More studies are needed to see how this translates over to humans.
– A raw plant material (hemp) that contains essential fatty acids, nine essential amino acids, vitamins, enzymes, dietary fibers, terpenes, cannabinoid acids, flavonoids, and so much more.
If you want to consume non-decarboxylated CBD, you can enjoy the raw plant in salads, juices, and smoothies. Just note how you’re preparing it. If your juicer heats the compound, it will start to decarb and become CBD. Hemp is a nutrient-dense plant that may also have additional health benefits beyond the normal nutritional benefits, but more research is needed before making any claims.
How To Decarb CBD
If you’re wondering how to decarboxylate cannabis or your own CBD plant material, you can do so at home. There are fun and useful tools like The Magical Butter Machine, which will do the decarbing for you while also infusing it into your favorite fats like butter, salves, or coconut oil.
CBD decarboxylation temperatures vary based on what you’re trying to achieve. The highest quality decarbing will likely be carried out by premium brands like HempFusion, which have the equipment and skillset to achieve optimum activation. Doing it at home is also possible, although the results might not be quite as consistent.
If you’re going to decarb your CBD at home, you usually want to heat at lower temperatures for a longer period of time. Higher temps can scorch and break down the plant material, damaging beneficial terpenes and cannabinoids along the way.
A typical CBD decarboxylation temperature is 230F. This isn’t an agreed-upon number by all experts but is a reasonable rough estimate. If you have raw or cured plant material, you can start the decarboxylation process by:
– Heating your oven to 230 degrees Fahrenheit.
– Line a baking sheet with foil.
– Spread the cannabis or hemp flower pieces evenly on the baking sheet.
– Bake for around 40 minutes.
– Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Now your plant material is decarbed and ready to be infused into other products.
Decarboxylation CBD and Your Health
What is decarboxylation? We hope you have enough information to understand why decarboxylation is a necessary process for enjoying your CBD. For without it, you wouldn’t be able to reap the rewards from this powerful plant. Knowledge is power, and the more we understand about hemp as a whole, the less mysterious and misunderstood it becomes. To learn more about CBD oil, check out our FAQs.