The growing popularity of medicinal cannibals and the legalization in states across the country is also generating interest in consuming it in other forms. This is because many people who use marijuana legally for the treatment of illnesses may not want to expose their lungs to smoke. Furthermore, other forms of consumption have benefits including an easier way of measuring doses and a continuous delivery system.
Some states allow medical and other legal uses to grow their plants. This provides patients with the possibility of creating their edibles or oils to self-medicate, reducing the cost of the medicine while also controlling critical aspects such as the dose and the way that they consume marijuana. However, for people to create their own products, they must understand decarboxylation.
Why decarboxylation is necessary
Ingesting cannabis is not as simple as adding raw marijuana to your cooking. The raw cannabis plant has a component called tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) that can have many benefits including anti-inflammatory properties and other qualities. However, until it is converted to THC by decarboxylation, it is not psychoactive. This process requires heat and time.
In cases where cannabis is smoked or vaped, the chemical release is immediate because of the high temperature, thus providing instant absorption through the lungs. Although the process of drying the marijuana bud transforms some of the THCA and CBDA, the full potential of release will not be achieved. Even the process of extracting CBD from the plant requires certain procedures to ensure quality. Those looking to extract high-quality oil will need to review concepts like Filtration for Hemp and CBD Oil Extraction.
When heat is applied using fire and vaporized through the process, THCA is converted into THC, and carbon dioxide is released as a by-product. However, for edibles, the practice will be different and has distinct requirements to be effective. To cook cannabis so that the molecules are not lost, the concept of time and heat needs to be applied while managing temperature so that unintended consequences are avoided. For example, if the heat is too high, the terpenes, THC, and CBD will be lost in the process. Terpenes break down at about 310 degrees Fahrenheit but cannabis begins to decarboxylate around 220 degrees.
Properly handling the process
For those looking to create edibles legally, make sure that it is legal to handle and use the drug in your state. If needed, consult with medical marijuana lawyers. Laws in different areas permit the cultivation and consumption while others do not. Because of the federal scheduling of marijuana, failure to comply with state regulations can generate criminal charges at the federal level. Therefore, invest time in researching and talking to legal experts before engaging in any activity that can bring criminal charges. Once the legal aspect is clear, interested cultivators can proceed with creating their items.
As previously mentioned, decarboxylation requires temperature control. This can be achieved with a conventional oven. Preheat the oven to 230 degrees Fahrenheit. Buds should be broken into small pieces and spread throughout a baking sheet. The cannabis can be heated for 30 to 60 minutes and will need to be stirred around to even out the toasting. When the product is ready, it will be a medium-brown color and dry. Grind the marijuana with a grinder or food processor. At this point, the THCA and CBDA will have been converted to THC and CBD through the process of decarboxylation. Individuals can now use the remaining coarse grain to infuse butter or use any other mechanism for cooking edibles or other products.