Decarboxylating, or “decarbing”, is when the cannabis is heated just enough to transform the non-psychoactive cannabinoid THCA into THC, which is the form of the cannabinoid that give you the “Euphoric” feeling. While studies are now showing some benefits of THCA from raw cannabis, like anti-inflammatory and anti-nausea, the goal of these (and most) edibles is to enjoy the benefits of THC and other active cannabinoids.
The most common way that people decarb their cannabis is by breaking it up into small pieces, placing it on a sheet pan and “baking” it in the oven at 220 for about 25 minutes. Some people will drop the temperature lower and bake a little bit longer, so as to preserve more terpenes, which in turn will give you more of an entourage effect.
If you aren’t comfortable using an oven, an even simpler way of decarbing is to use a tabletop device like the Ardent or a DecarBox. You can also use the already vaped bud (AVB) leftover from your flower vaporizer! Either way you decide to decarb, the key is to make sure you are staying below 300 degrees fahrenheit.
Now, this will create a lovely aroma in your kitchen. So be sure that you are somewhere that is OK and don’t have any housemates that will be annoyed. While ingesting cannabis is discrete, the preparations aren’t as much. There are products like Kushley, that can neutralize the odor from decarboxylation, as well as consuming cannabis.
Once you have your decarbed cannabis, you are ready to make an edible!
By Lilly Bertone
Before we dive deeply into the different terpenes and cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, it’s important to first talk about The Entourage Effect.
Along with THC, the cannabis plant produces over 400 different chemical compounds that include dozens of other cannabinoids like CBD and CBN, and hundreds terpenes like pinene, linalool and myrcene. When the compounds are applied together (whether it’s through smoking, vaping or especially transdermal applications), they work to provide unique effects and benefits.
Think of it like The Beatles. There is no doubt that John, Ringo, George and Paul have had successful solo careers. But they were never as good as when they were creating music together. That’s the entourage effect!
Photo from johnstoskopf.blogspot.co.uk
The entourage effect is a good reminder for patients not to focus on one specific cannabinoid or terpene for their relief. In a 2011 study titled “Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects”, Dr. Ethan Russo studied the benefits of common cannabis compounds. This study confirmed the widely known fact that CBD helps buffer the anxiety and paranoia that can come with consuming THC.
Another exciting discovery was that while pure CBG can powerfully inhibit MRSA bacteria, when it is combined with the terpene pinene (also known for being effective against antibiotic resistant bacterial strains) further enhanced it’s antibiotic effects thanks to the increased permeability that terpenes provide.
One of the other noted combinations was CBN with THC acting as a more effective sedative than when either was used alone. In the cannabis market today, you see that data reflected in tinctures and vape pens with the high CBN to THC ratios being featured as a potential aid for sleep.
While it’s still considered a theory, it’s promising to see more studies being done to confirm what consumers seem to have known for ages.