If you are brand new to the cannabis world and want to know more about what activates hemp or marijuana , then you definitely came to the right place.
Have you ever watched a movie where actors portray stoners that got pulled over? Just as they are about to get busted by the cops, what do they do? Hey man quick, grab the weed, and start shoving as much as they can into their mouth, trying to eat the evidence. Later the movie shows them all high as a kite, sitting around eating potato chips.
These type of scenes of eating raw cannabis has creeped it’s way into popular culture with not only movies, but also in song lyrics, and in video games.
Sure, it’s a funny stereotype, but is this really true? Do they really get all greened out, down for the count?
This article will explain why raw weed, whether hemp or marijuana, will not get you “high” until it’s been decarboxylated (dee-car-box-el-lated).
Truth is, that eating raw marijuana or raw hemp flower won’t get you baked unless it’s been activated and that is what decarboxylation is for. It is the process of activating the compounds that produce the beneficial effects that the cannabis plants provide.
Raw cannabis in it’s organic flower form has no psychoactive properties. Actually, eating raw hemp or marijuana as portrayed in movies is a unpleasant experience. It has a bitter taste, it is very dry, and hard to swallow. I don’t recommend eating it like that.
That’s not to say it cannot be eaten raw. There are plenty of raw flower connoisseur’s who enjoy the plants nutritional and medicinal properties. But they don’t eat it like it’s portrayed in the movies, and they certainly don’t eat it to get high. People who eat the plant treat it as just another healthy leafy green. They tend to eat the leaves prior to the budding stages.
What is Decarboxylation?
The hemp and marijuana plants in their raw state are ACIDIC (aa-sid-ick) which has no THC or CBD. THC and CBD are the primary cannabinoids which provide the feelings a user is seeking. But if we apply heat to raw flower, then it converts over to a NON-ACIDIC state. It is this non-acidic state that the THC and CBD become activated. We call this process of applying heat, DECARBOXYLATION.
In terms of cannabinoids. It changes the marijuana cannabinoid from THCa to THC and it changes the CBDa cannabinoids to CBD. At the molecular level, it is the heat transforms the chemical compounds structure by removing what is called a carboxyl group.
No need to get hung up what CARBOXYL groups mean. Just know that the NON-ACIDIC FORM OF CANNIBIS is what provides the therapeutic benefits.
How does Decarboxylation happen?
Heating hemp flower or marijuana bud is key to delivering the desired therapeutic effects. But how does this decarboxylation happen?
- NATURAL DECARBOXYLATION – Fresh raw cannabis is acidic and does not have any psychoactive compounds. But given even enough time and exposure to sunlight in warm temperatures, the decarboxylation process can start to occur naturally. This explains why there is a slight chance of experiencing a mild buzz if you eat enough aged raw weed.
- INSTANT DECARBOXYLATION FOR IMMEDIATE EFFECT – Applying fire to your smoking device, causes a combustion process of burning your flower or vapes. This combustion spontaneously starts the chemical reaction of changing the cannabinoids from THCa and CBDa to THC or CBD. Simultaneously as it’s burning, the smoke or vapor you inhale carries the activated cannabinoids in to your lungs.
- INSTANT DECARBOXYLATION FOR LATER EFFECT – Smoking or Vaping is a great delivery method. But decarboxylation can also occur by heating cannabis to a certain temperature without burning it up in smoke. This is useful when making edibles like CBD Oils, Creams, and Gummies. The way this works, is that acidic form of the plants cannabinoids get extracted from the plant matter. These cannabis extracts then gets heated to a temperature for decarboxylation. The heated substance is then stored for later use as an ingredient that can be mixed with food, beverages, oils, and creams.
Why Edibles like Delta-8 products need Decarboxylation
Knowing that decarboxylation requires heat. Then how does a CBD gummy or a D8 Gummy get activated?
Gummies along with a wide array of cannabis edible products are made with the plants extracts. These plant extracts can be either in a concentrate form, which leaves most of the plants cannabinoids and terpenes intact. Or it can be a distillate that separates the extracts into specific cannabinoid components.
For example, CBD, THC, CBG, CBN, and Delta-8 can be distilled or isolated to create a stand alone product. This distillate product is then used as an ingredient to make oils, creams, and gummies.
Both distillates and concentrate extracts pass through a decarboxylation process prior to final stages.
Who does the decarboxylation?
YOU DECARBOXLYATE – If you smoke or vape then you are the person doing the decarboxylation. It doesn’t matter whether it’s marijuana flower or hemp flower. Once you apply heat, the chemical transformation of the remaining THCa instantly converts to the THC cannabinoid as it enters your lungs.
CERTIFIED LABORATORIES – Qualified technicians at certified laboratories with special automated equipment perform the decarboxylation process after extraction. Whether you use CBD Oils, Delta-8 Gummies, Shatter, Dabs or even some THC vapes, most of these products have already been heated for the activation process. Dispensaries like Priceland use certified laboratories to process their flower. We do not advocate that you perform this process on your own, but with a quick google search you could find a number of do-it-yourself options.
Final Word on What is Decarboxylation?
Decarboxylation is the process of heating cannabis to the point where a chemical reaction occurs. The chemical reaction is the process of converting the acidic version of cannabis to it’s non-acidic version. For marijuana the acidic version THCa that gets converted to THC. For Hemp the acidic versions are CBDa that get converted to CBD and Delta 8.