If you are planning to cook with cannabis or make your own infused medicants, you’ll need to do some plant processing prior to using marijuana as an ingredient in your recipe.
Unprocessed cannabis consists primarily of tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid (THCA), which is a biosynthetic precursor of THC. THCA is known to have anti-inflammatory and other beneficial effects, but it does not have the psychoactive components that produce the “high” generally associated with marijuana.
Cannabis decarboxylation, also known as “decarbing,” is a process that uses gentle heat to release carbon dioxide (CO2) and convert THCA to Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is responsible for the euphoric effects of marijuana.
When marijuana is smoked or vaporized, the heat causes THCA to lose carbon molecules and become THC. But when marijuana is used for edibles and medicants, standard processing may not generate enough heat for decarboxylation—so it is recommended that cannabis be heated in a specific manner prior to these uses.
Likewise, decarbing also turns Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA) into CBD, making it’s medicinal properties available, as well.
Decarboxylation Temperatures & Times