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What is Decarboxylation?

By Jessica Catalano

Cannabis in its raw form contains the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA). In itself, THCA has medicinal and therapeutic properties, but it is not psychoactive. So if you were to eat raw cannabis, you would not acquire any psychoactive effects but rather non-psychoactive effects instead. THCA affects the body by producing anti-inflammatory, antiemetic and pain management benefits. As cannabis is cured (dried), THCA very slowly and minimally converts to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) over time. To accelerate this process and get the cannabis flower ready for consumption in edibles, the process of decarboxylation must be employed. Decarboxylation is a chemical reaction that removes a carboxyl group and releases carbon dioxide (CO2), and this happens to THCA when heated. It loses its carboxylic group causing it to transform to THC and become psychoactive.

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