Botanical Extraction

Controlled Decarboxylation through Enzymes

Written by Jason Collins

The Controlled process of decarboxylation is crucial for extracting the full benefits of a cannabis bud.

For example, if a person ate a raw cannabis bud, it wouldn’t have much (if any) effect. However, when the bud is heated through decarboxylation, you can make the most out of your cannabis bud, which is why it’s important to understand this process in its entirety.

 

Easy as CBD, THC (, THCA, and CBDA)

Cannabinoids, such as tetrahydrocannabinol(THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), are naturally found in the cannabis plant, although at a very low concentration level – which explains why not much will happen if you eat a raw cannabis bud.

Interestingly, however, is the fact that these chemicals are first Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid (THCA), and Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA). These compounds are not active, which means a person won’t be able to get high from its inhalation or consumption.

 

Understanding decarboxylation

To activate these inherited chemicals, we turn to the process of decarboxylation – in other words, heating the THCA and CBDA to turn it into THC and CBD.

This process reacts with the chemicals and removes a carboxyl group. Examples of this would be vaping or smoking, as the heat activates the needed cannabinoids.

The same goes for making edibles or CBD-infused treats. The first step is to use temperature to heat the cannabis. Usually, anything between 220 and 240 degrees Fahrenheit works perfectly to convert the cannabinoids. This process is recommended for between 30 to 40 minutes.

 

Decarboxylation without heat, using enzymes

In some cases, enzymes are used for decarboxylation instead of heat. This activates advantages such as limiting the number of cannabinoids from degrading due to heat.

This process usually features when extracting CBD for medicinal reasons.

Enzymes such as pyridoxine and pyridoxal 5’Phosphate are used for the process. These enzymes decarb an amount of THC equal to double the chemical’s weight. For example, 500mg of pyridoxine is able to decarboxylate 1 gram of pure THC.

 

Sources

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20715795/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=833x8dRlpb8

https://digscholarship.unco.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1120&context=theses

 

 

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Jason Collins

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