Have you ever eaten raw cannabis or seen someone else do it? In the classic stoner movies, a character sometimes has to eat a bunch of weed to avoid getting arrested or caught by their parents.

If you’ve done it yourself, you know that the effects are lackluster at best. But if you’ve ever eaten proper edibles, you may have even felt ‘too’ stoned. Have you ever asked yourself why?

This is due to a process called decarboxylation. This is important for cannabis users to understand. Read on to learn what is decarboxylation and why it is so important.

The Science of Getting Lifted

Gone are the days when the only people who worked with cannabis were hippies and dealers. The widespread acceptance of this plant that we see today has allowed proper scientists to study its effects and benefits.

Now we know so much more about how it works and why. This is great for the average user who simply gets to enjoy the magic.

This doesn’t mean we can’t learn a little more about it. Today, let’s talk about the basics of how we get the most about of cannabis through decarboxylation. 

What Is Decarboxylation?

If we open up an organic chemistry book, we will see that decarboxylation is a chemical reaction in which a carboxyl group is removed from a molecule. 

That doesn’t sound very interesting or related to cannabis at all. But consuming decarboxylated cannabis is the only way to get the desired psychoactive effects.

Now that probably got your attention.

Decarboxylation and Cannabis

This is such an essential part of consuming cannabis and most of us don’t even realize it. THCA is a cannabinoid that is less widely known than THC and CBD.

Despite this, fresh flower and concentrates generally have a higher concentration of THCA than the other cannabinoids. It is through the process of decarboxylation that THCA converts into THC.

There are plenty of myths and half-truths floating around the internet. Check out this great article at Ardent Cannabis that dispels these myths so you don’t get taken for a ride.


THCA is chemically similar to THC except that it has an added carboxyl group. Although it’s psychoactive effects are nearly negligent, it does have neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties and other health benefits.

THC, on the other hand, gives the user the signature ‘high’ that most crave.

How to Decarboxylate Cannabis

Fortunately, you don’t have to be a chemist to perform this process. If you’ve ever consumed cannabis you’ve almost certainly done it yourself.

Heat and time are all that’s needed to convert THCA to THC. The minimum temperature needed to do this, also known as the ‘decarb temp’, is 220 degrees for about 40 minutes. This why you need to bake cannabis flower before you can use it for cooking.

Otherwise, fire is hot enough to decarboxylate THCA instantly. That is why smoking cannabis flower is guaranteed to achieve decarboxylation.

Enjoy The Benefits of Decarboxylation

Now that you know what is decarboxylation, you use this to your advantage to get the most out of your herb.

Whether you are making edibles, smoking flower, or vaporizing concentrate, this process is essential. Don’t make a rookie mistake and most importantly, enjoy!

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