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What is Decarboxylation? Why Does it Matter?

In short, Decarboxylation is the process of applying the right amount of heat and time to activate the THC in cannabis. You can’t experience any effects of cannabis (i.e. feel “high”) unless it’s been decarboxylated.

At Ardent, we build decarboxylators – we’ve spent almost a decade working with laboratories to test and fully understand the decarboxylation process and how it impacts our cannabis.

This guide will tell you everything you need to know about decarboxylation.

What Is Decarboxylation

A deceptively simple concept, executing proper decarboxylation is difficult even for professionals. Incorrect decarboxylation leads to hydrolyzed (burned off) cannabinoids, degraded THC to CBN, and/or fail to fully convert, all of which result in inferior medicine with wide variability in dosing and effectiveness.

However, properly decarboxlyated cannabis has a number of benefits:

  • THC activated directly into your cannabis flower
  • Maximum THC potential per gram of cannabis
  • Easy to create your own sublinguals, edibles, medicine and dose at home


What causes decarboxylation?

Decarboxylation is a function of time, temperature and atmosphere.

In its natural plant form, the cannabinoids, including THC, are locked in an acidic form that is not bioavailable to the body’s cannabinoid receptors (the acidic form of THC is THCA).

THC and THCA are identical in molecular structure, except for a carboxyl group present in THCA but not THC. This small difference is actually a big deal; the presence of the carboxyl group prevents THCA from binding to cannabinoid receptors in the body’s brain and nervous system.

The presence of THCA in the plant explains why eating raw cannabis does not produce the therapeutic effect or “high” that a patient would expect from ingesting cannabis.  In order for inactive THCA to become bioavailable THC that can properly bind with the body’s cannabinoid receptors, the carboxyl group must be removed from the THCA, hence the term “decarboxylation.”


Decarboxylating will save you time and money

Decarb done wrong leads to incredible waste of cannabis, inconsistent reactions to the medicine, and general uncertainty for patients, and many are discouraged from attempting this process based on these well-grounded fears.  Unfortunately, none of the common methods of decarbing is efficient and effective, and until now, there was no way for a patient to precisely decarb outside of a laboratory setting.


What can you do with decarboxylated weed?

A proper decarb gives you a fully activated flower, meaning you can use it as is.

  • Sublinguals
  • Smoking
  • Easily making edibles
  • Tinctures
  • Oils
  • Pain salves

These are just a few, read our favorite ways to use decarbed herb.


How can you decarboxylate cannabis?

While decarboxylation may seem slightly confusing, the good news is, you can decarb weed yourself at home.

A few traditional methods include:

  • Toaster oven
  • Traditional oven
  • Crockpot

These methods do present a few challenges:

  • A proper decarb requires consistent temperatures throughout the process. These methods are inconsistent and have been shown to get only 70% decarboxylation.
  • Recent lab-testing shows that at that temperature and time, you’d be losing 54mg of THC per gram. Scale that up to an ounce and you could be wasting up to 1/4 or more of your stash – OUCH!
  • If live with other people (or have neighbors), these methods will stink up your home, awfully.

Here at Ardent, we’ve developed the first in home decarboxylator that makes it simple to decarb weed from the comfort of your own home. 

After years in the lab working with a scientific research team, we developed the NOVA. The first in home decarboxylator that delivers a perfect decarb with the simple push of a button.

👉 If interested, you can learn more about the NOVA here.

Questions? Please leave them below!


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