The marijuana reform has been sweeping through America in recent years, and more people than ever are very interested in the use of cannabis for multiple reasons. Cooking edibles is one of the most popular ways of consuming the cannabis plant. However, if you want to have potent weed, then you will have to pay attention to marijuana decarboxylation.
This is a science-based principle, which does not mean it is difficult to understand. Since it is so important, we will go over it in this article, as well as how microwave decarboxylation is done. Marijuana decarboxylation is the reason why THC has a presence in marijuana. It is a fact that raw cannabis can and will get you high. On the other hand, marijuana plants have Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid (THCA), and it does not cause such euphoric effects. It is here that decarboxylation comes in, being natural chemistry at its finest form. Mainly, when enough amount of heat is applied to the cannabis plant, the THCA is transformed into the THC you want.
What Is Decarboxylation?
This term, ‘decarboxylation’, refers to a chemical reaction. This reaction removes a carboxyl group from a substance and releases carbon dioxide from it. More precisely, when this process takes place, the COOH molecules are removed from the THCA group because it releases water and carbon dioxide. This process therefore physically changes the molecules of THCA, and turn them into THC, also known as delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol. This is a truly fascinating process that can turn a raw plant matter into potent marijuana for consumption. This process does not just make THC in marijuana. It also converts CBDA into CBD. To recap, raw marijuana has cannabinoids in raw forms, mostly THCA and CBDA, and to have the highest benefits, we apply heat to get THC and CBD.
Why Is Marijuana Decarboxylation Important?
When you think about marijuana and cannabis, the “high” produced from consumption is what comes to mind. Marijuana decarboxylation releases THC from THCA, but that does not mean cannabis does not possess useful properties when “raw”. However, it will not get you high, and most users want this.
Having access to fully decarboxylated marijuana is important to many medical marijuana patients, mostly due to the fact that they rely on THC and CBD for the healing effects they can provide. Therefore, without this process, any cannabis they consume would only have vitamins and the nonactivated cannabinoids.
In some scenarios, doing this is of utmost importance, like making marijuana edibles and cooking meals with cannabis. When you cook marijuana edibles, you will want the THC released before it is actually an ingredient. Some people tend to make a mistake and add raw cannabis to their dish, after which they are disappointed with the effects. This is because they did not properly decarboxylate their weed prior to cooking.
How to Decarboxylate Weed
Several ways exist to properly decarboxylate the weed before you cook. If you want more control during the process, use a regular oven or a microwave. However, if you want an easier way that is completely automated, you can have that as well. We will now take a closer look at the different ways of unlocking the full potential of cannabis. These include oven decarboxylation, microwave decarboxylation, and natural curing, and automated decarboxylation.
Decarboxylation in the Oven
Perfect decarboxylation temperature here can vary a bit slightly depending on the oven. However, scientific guidelines exist, and they should be followed so that your marijuana reaches the full potential. Regulating the heat according to the desired results is important, which means you should not overcook or undercook your cannabis. Lower heat at a longer period of time preserves the natural terpenes that produce the recognizable smell and taste of marijuana strains. Follow these simple guidelines when decarboxylation weed in an oven.
Use a grinder to break larger buds into smaller peanut sized pieces. You should try to fully break and spread apart the nugs in order for the heat to penetrate them all the way through. Next, spread the broken down marijuana evenly across a tin foil in a baking sheet.
Put the baking sheet into the oven and set it between 225 and 300 degrees, depending on the efficiency of your oven. According to some, you should preheat the oven first, but you do not have to. The decarboxylation has to affect the weed slowly. Bringing the oven and the marijuana inside it to the desired temperature together will maximize the effects this process has.
When you use the oven for the first time, pay close attention to your weed. In most of the cases, between 30 and 45 minutes should be enough. You will be able to tell when the process is completed because the golden brown and somewhat crunchy weed is the result. You are now ready to add the cannabis to dishes, as you have just unlocked its full potential!
This is absolutely the easiest way to decarboxylate marijuana. You can do the whole process in around 2 minutes on the highest settings. Other benefits of using a microwave also exist, like the fact that you do not have to have a hot oven running. Also, more importantly, you will never burn your precious weed from the overexposure to heat and the overcooking. This is an efficient way to get this job done quickly and efficiently.
There is however one drawback to using microwaves, as they can burn off terpenes quicker. This diminishes the smell and the taste of the strains. Therefore, if you escape burning them, microwaving is the most useful and simple technique here.
You can also successfully decarboxylate marijuana over time, by doing it naturally. Some of the growers still use this older method. It involves putting cannabis in jars and storing them in warm temperatures for weeks, or even months. The natural process takes place if the environment is set up accordingly. In nature, the cannabis bud would mature and fall from the plant, after which it becomes decarboxylated by the sun after days. The problem here, however, is that you might not realize that the full transformation of all of the THCA into THC happened. Therefore, it is not as precise, nor is it recommended if you want to cook edibles.
If you just want to plug in a device and set your marijuana inside of it, the automatic decarboxylation machine is the thing you need for this process. Thankfully, technology has come a long way, and these machines perform this decarb process without a sweat. Different brands exist, and you can choose them by the prices that vary considerably. They all do the same thing essentially, which is add heat to transform the cannabis into psychoactive marijuana.
Most of these decarb machines are small and can fit on any countertop. They simply plug into electrical outlets and have temperature settings you can choose. Carefully read the manufacturers guidelines and follow them. Most do the work in 120 minutes or less. Some of the additional features they might have are insulated containers, precise electric heated elements, and full decarboxylation each time.
Is Decarboxylation Necessary?
Many of the consumers have never even thought about decarboxylation prior to this article. Therefore, it is important to know that you do not have to do this to have value with your plant. Instead, cannabis contains over 400 cannabinoids, and THC and CBD are just the most well-known of the bunch. Other than these, marijuana is a valuable source of fatty acids, as well as omega 3. Science also proved that they greatly help with health issues. The same way superfoods contain tons of wealth in the form of vitamins and minerals, marijuana also has them. However, most of the users want the THC because of the psychoactive effects, and to do this, you need to fully decarboxylate marijuana before you consume it.
Decarboxylation When Smoking
When you want to smoke marijuana, decarboxylation happens instantaneously as you do it. When you light it up, you apply fire directly onto the buds inside the joint. This causes the decarb synthesis to take place immediately, and the smoke you inhale is fully activated with THC. So you see, there is no need to decarboxylate your weed before smoking it, and it is actually advised not to do it. If you happen to do it before smoking regardless, you might ruin the terpenes and make your marijuana both taste and smell bad.