Understanding Decarboxylation in Cannabis Extraction

Understanding Decarboxylation in Cannabis Extraction

What is Decarboxylation?

Decarboxylation is the process that activates compounds found in cannabis like THC and CBD so that they may be absorbed into the human body, and their medicinal or recreational effects may be felt. In its raw form, hemp and cannabis biomass usually contains high concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) and/or cannabidiolic acid (CBDA).

To simplify things, we can consider THCA as the raw, unprocessed form of THC. It does not cause any inebriating or euphoric effects. Similarly, CBDA is essentially the raw form of CBD. While THCA and CBDA have been shown to provide their own health benefits in recent studies, modern consumers are mainly interested in the inebriating properties and health effects of the THC and CBD cannabinoids.

How Does Decarboxylation Occur?

Decarboxylation either happens gradually over time, or more rapidly under the influence of heat. Until the consumer market was created for cannabis edibles and tinctures, little knowledge of the decarboxylation process was required by the average cannabis consumer. This is because the decarboxylation process occurs naturally when cannabis is smoked or vaporized, instantly converting the THCA and CBDA into THC and CBD, which is then absorbed into the lungs.

Processing Biomass in eXi Mobile Extraction Lab

Raw cannabis biomass contains THCA and CBDA, requiring a decarboxylation process to turn these compounds into THC and CBD.

As the demand for these ingestible products has steadily increased, experts in the cannabis industry have had to gain an understanding of decarboxylation on a much deeper level, especially when faced with the challenge of producing THC and CBD distillate at a large scale.

Why is Decarboxylation Necessary in Cannabis Extraction?

The reason decarboxylation is a necessary stage in the cannabis extraction process is that edible cannabis products containing THCA and CBDA won’t cause the desired medical or recreational effects when ingested. These cannabinoids must first be subjected to a decarboxylation process that will allow them to become stable versions of the THC and CBD cannabinoids. Distillates containing these cannabinoids can then be added to edible products and will be able to produce the desired effects when ingested orally by a consumer.

Storing extracted oil

Hemp and cannabis biomass must be subjected to a decarboxylation process before being turned into THC or CBD distillate.

extractX Mobile Labs

If you’re a hemp or cannabis cultivator, processor, or formulator creating CBD or THC products, and want to penetrate markets faster with no lab CapEx, then a mobile extraction lab may be right for you. If you are processing more than 75,000 lbs of biomass per year and are interested in a turnkey extraction lab for $0 lab CapEx and 4 months to installation, we want to talk to you today! Please contact us to learn about becoming an extractX partner.

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