When you start to do more with cannabis besides smoking flower, you’re going to hear the term “decarbing” a lot. As such, it’s definitely a good idea for you to know what exactly decarbing is and why we do it. Consider this your crash course!
What is “Decarbing”?
Decarbing is short for decarboxylation, which is the process of removing a carboxyl group. All cannabinoids have an extraneous carboxyl group attached to them. Heating cannabis up, as you would do with a lighter is what triggers decarboxylation. This is why eating raw cannabis will not get you high (though there are other reasons to eat raw flower).
Why do we need it?
Prior to decarbing, THC resides in the cannabis plant in the form of THCA, which is completely non psychoactive. If you were wondering why most dispensaries list the THCA content in their products in addition to the THC content, this is why. Have you ever smoked weed that hasn’t been cured all that well? It doesn’t get you all that high, does it? The curing process is essential to releasing some of the potential of your buds. Decarboxylation is essential for releasing all of it.
When do we Decarb?
Decarbing is done pretty much any time you consume cannabis. As I explained above, decarboxylation happens any time you heat up cannabis. You decarb cannabis whenever you pack it into a bowl and light it. Decarbing is especially important whenever you’re cooking with cannabis.
If you don’t decarb before cooking, your edibles are going to turn out super weak and you’ll be pissed because you wasted an ounce of perfectly good herb. Decarbing your herb before baking is much easier than it sounds. It simply involves throwing your cannabis in the oven at a temperature of 220°F for 30-45 minutes. Make sure you don’t leave it in there too long!
What if I don’t Decarb?
Nothing will happen. Cannabis has to go through decarboxylation in order to get you high. Eating raw weed won’t do anything to you, unlike what movies have led you to believe. There are some health benefits to eating raw cannabis, and many people are juicing it to get all the nutrients. You were always told to eat plenty of leafy greens when you were growing up, right?
Some Myths about Decarbing
There are a lot of myths out there about decarbing. One of them is that fresh and cured cannabis flower go through decarboxylation at different rates. This is not true; they both decarb at the same rates. Another common misconception is that curing bud is a method of decarbing, so no decarbing is needed before say, making edibles. While we’re on the subject, decarbing your herb in the crockpot is not the best method; the crockpot aka “waterbath” method is actually one of the slowest decarboxylation methods, and in most cases it never results in complete decarboxylation. The oven works okay, but there’s always the danger of burning off THC, since ovens don’t have as precise temperature controls. Your absolute best bet is to use a decarboxylator, which is specifically designed for this purpose.
Featured Image Source: Cannabis Training University