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Decarboxylation Guide

Apr 28, 2020
Beginners Guides

Decarboxylation: Ensuring Proper THC Development in Your Plants

Most people are familiar with the process of plant photosynthesis from their studies in school. It is the process in which oxygen gets exchanged for carbon dioxide. Plants exhale oxygen as their waste product, necessary for humans but not plants, and take in the carbon dioxide people exhale in respiration. Everyone benefits. Another essential process that must take place before the plant can render either psychotropic or medicinal effect is that of decarboxylation. This is how the plant is activated to give its desirable results. Small producers and home cooks have several choices when it comes to decarboxylating their marijuana.

Marijuana Effects

First, it is useful to consider needs of the end user for your finished weed product. There are over a hundred known cannabinoids in marijuana, and each one interacts with receptors in the body and brain in unique ways. Everyone who uses cannabis hopes for a particular effect. However, not all cannabis users desire the same effect, as the vast number of continuously developing new varieties illustrates. There exist as many different reasons why people use cannabis products as there are strains of marijuana and people who use them.

Desired effects are closely related to the type of cannabis essence sought. There are six primary categories of cannabinoids. These include tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), cannabidiol (CDBA), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabinol (CBN), and cannabichromene (CBC). Together, they provide an impressive range of desirable benefits. THC and CBD are the best-known cannabinoids, but others provide for the requirements of specific populations.

The human body and brain come equipped with an endocannabinoid system of receptors, which react predictably with various cannabinoid compounds. The different cannabinoids available provide relief from an impressive number of complaints and have few to no unwanted side-effects. Cannabinoids provide relief from pain without the danger of addiction that other opiates pose. Some other unique benefits include increased clarity of thinking, a more extensive range of physical motion, the cessation of nausea and seizures, increased creativity, tumor reduction, and more.

Endocannabinoids significantly affect many physiological functions in the human body. Proper recognition and application of this health fact should influence not only each person individually but society overall, as a living, organic, communal unit. When a person’s endocannabinoid system receives what it requires to achieve balance, the result is that life-stress abates, a pause ensues, a breath without pain goes in and out.

Then, their emotional and physical maintenance can proceed more smoothly. The endocannabinoid system modulates things such as pain, sleep, motivation, mood, energy, bodily inflammation, intraocular pressure, body temperature, muscular control, rate of metabolism, memory, and more.

Curing Marijuana

Marijuana, even the most potent of strains, has little to offer if consumed right off the plant. Any benefits experienced with this manner of consumption is of negligible value. Assuming a grower starts with good genetics, the magic of marijuana production is in its curing and, in some circumstances, its decarboxylation. Cannabis is only ready to use once it has been properly dried and cured. An entire crop of feminized seeds or auto flower cannabis seeds can be lost to mold or mildew if they are not prompty dried properly right after harvest. This is the first important step.

The second is to create the circumstances for it to mellow into full potency, developing its desired character fully as it cures. Typically, dried weed stays sealed in the jar for several weeks until fully processed. Ventilate as needed when what growers call sweat builds up inside. This basically entails opening the lid for a few minutes, two times a day to ensure evaporated moisture can escape. Cannabis plants do not require heat in their drying process. What is essential is the free circulation of air throughout the growing phase and a balance of moisture control and ventilation when curing.

Buds that are correctly dried and cured confer many benefits. For example, the process improves both the taste and smoothness of the final product. The subtle aroma and flavor attributes unique to particular strains like tropicana cookies and blueberry marijuana have the time to develop to their full potential. Product potency and quality are significantly enhanced. Consider it the equivalent of the aging process in the creation of exceptional alcoholic spirits.

To begin the curing process, remove excess moisture by storing the harvested bud loosely in a cool, dark, and dry area where air circulates freely until all exterior moisture evaporates. It is imperative to dry the plant material quickly, or it runs the risk of becoming a habitat for marauding mold and mildew spores, which are the worst fear of every grower. Too much moisture for too long after harvesting equals crop loss. Be aware that some moisture will remain in the bud’s interior. Also, buds grown from indica seeds (afghan kush) tend to be more tight and dense, therefore requiring a little longer dry time. Conversely, sativa seeds (jack herer x girl scout cookies) yield much lighter buds that take longer to grow, but dry more quickly simply because the air can move through them more freely.

Once all excess moisture is gone, store the buds in a tightly sealed glass container. You may notice condensation collecting on the inside of the glass. Ventilate as needed. Over time, the moisture will reinhabit the buds, hydrating them slightly but without the danger of fungi. Many producers call this process sweating. It takes experience to judge plant moisture correctly. Sometimes it becomes necessary to go back and forth between the drying and sweating stages more than once in pursuit of the perfect balance.

Decarboxylating Marijuana

Decarboxylation is the final required step in the production of premium cannabis products. Up to now, in this process, the desired cannabinoids, although fully developed, have been inactive. A product one smokes, vapes, or burns in pipes, bongs, bubblers, and the like is decarboxylated as the heat is applied to it. Cannabinoids that seconds before were in their inactive forms THCA and CBDA transform into active, healing, and far more potent forms of THC and CBD.

Not all who enjoy the benefits associated with the recreational, spiritual, and medicinal uses of quality cannabis products wish to smoke it. Many prefer edible products instead of smoking. Additionally, many who smoke also use edible cannabis products at times.

Until it has been decarboxylated with an appropriate amount of heat for a predetermined length of time in search of a particular result, its desired cannabinoids remain inactive. The various desirable effects of the endless variety of strains of marijuana and cannabis products are mostly unavailable until they are decarboxylated. Decarboxylation activates their true potential. It is essential to the process of creating infused and edible cannabis products with predictable results and psychotropic effects.

With direct-burning processes, decarboxylation is all but instantaneous. However, as no direct measure of decarboxylation exists, it can be challenging to determine if the process has occurred when preparing cannabis for edibles. Therefore, experts recommend using tried and true (and widely available) recipes for best results. There is no sense in wasting premium weed seeds.

The decarboxylation process is a quick and straightforward two-step procedure. First, break up your product until it is in small, uniform crumbles. It isn’t necessary to grind it into a powder. Still, you do want to expose as much surface area as possible to receive maximum airflow for the most efficient dehydration process without plant damage. Place it on a foil-covered pan or cookie sheet and spread it out as much as possible. Air must have room to circulate freely, so batch product quantities for maximum efficiency.

Second, preheat the oven to low (no higher than 200 degrees Fahrenheit). Bake the cannabis for approximately fifteen minutes, stirring if necessary for even heating. Larger nuggets may require additional time. Resist the temptation to hurry the process by raising the temperature at this stage in the process. It is important to avoid bringing any residual moisture within the bud to the boiling point, as this degrades product quality, appearance, and value.

When you feel confident the product is thoroughly dry, raise the temperature to 225-240 degrees Fahrenheit. Let the cannabis bake at that temperature for approximately an hour, or until it is dry and lightly browned. Stir as needed to prevent burning and scorching. When finished, turn off the oven and allow the product to cool. Congratulations—your cannabis is now officially cured and decarboxylated and is ready to be used in cooking. However, there is still one more step before you can whip up that batch of magic brownies. You must create cannabis-infused oil.

Cannabis Oil

To make cannabis oil for cooking, combine two cups of oil for every one cup of ground, decarboxylated marijuana, or any quantity you prefer so long as its ratio is 2:1. Apply heat to this mixture using your preferred method (just don’t microwave) for prolonged, slow heat.

Options include using the following: a saucepan for at least three hours, stirring frequently, a slow cooker for any length of time ranging from 6 hours to 3 days, or a double-boiler for eight hours and whatever you do, don’t let the water run dry. Regardless of the method you choose, it will take time for your cannabis-oil mixture to infuse fully. Give it the time it needs. Let it mingle gently over time. There is no need to rush the process, and the resulting product is surely worth the wait.

There is no substitute for well-prepared, consistent, potent cannabis products. All it takes to produce such products is knowing the right thing to do at each step of the process. Education is free. Starting with the best ganja beans money can buy will point you in the right direction. Once your i-49 seeds have arrived, just return to this online grow guide whenever you have questions that arise. Happy growing!

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