What is decarboxylation and what does it matter in the context of CBD?

Decarboxylation is a key step in the production of CBD oil, but what is it really about? Don't worry if you don't know this, because in today's article we will explain exactly what it means to "decarboxylate" and why it matters in the context of CBD. While this concept may seem strange to you at the moment, decarboxylation itself is extremely simple.

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Understanding where cannabinoids come from

Before explaining why decarboxylation is important, it will help us understand how cannabis and other Cannabis sativa subspecies produce cannabinoids. As a young seedling, hemp does not automatically contain high amounts of CBD. In the earliest stages of life, this plant generally contains little cannabinoids.

You can compare all the different cannabinoids found in cannabis to a huge family tree, all of them derived from the cannabinoid precursor CBGA. As the plant grows, it undergoes various chemical changes. With each change, new cannabinoids are created, some of them change their structure, and many of them completely disappear.

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How does decarboxylation work?

The process described above is not the end of the chemical changes that cannabinoids undergo. All the cannabinoids present inside the plant exist in a raw, acidic form. CBD starts its life as CBDA. Unfortunately, CBDA cannot interact with our endocannabinoid system in the same way as CBD, so we need to transform it from a raw chemical into an "active" substance. CBD can be decarboxylated using heat or a series of controlled chemical reactions.

After removal of the carboxyl group from the original substance (CBDA), the decarboxylated CBD remains - "de" means removal, while "notch" refers to carbon (carbon). Decarboxylation is the process of converting cannabinoids from "raw" to active form.
In the simplest case, if you leave the cannabis flowers outside in the sun, the heat will cause decarboxylation over time. The same is also true if you would heat the hemp flowers with a fire - you would convert CBDA into CBD. Obviously, in this example, the process cannot be controlled and excessive temperature will completely destroy this cannabinoid. In the industrial production of CBD oils, decarboxylation is performed under controlled and carefully monitored conditions.

What are the benefits of decarboxylating CBD?

We alluded to this before - CBDA and CBD affect the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS) in different ways. This first cannabinoid may have several advantages of its own, but the ECS has difficulty processing it.
Basically, decarboxylation allows CBDA to transform into a more influential counterpart. If you want to get the most out of CBD, it must first be decarboxylated. Therefore, most commercial CBD oils contain CBD and only trace amounts of CBDA. Neither of these cannabinoids has a psychotropic effect.
We don't want to completely write off the raw version of this cannabinoid as it may have its own unique characteristics. The presence of CBDA along with CBD also allows us to experience the entourage effect which increases the overall effectiveness of cannabinoids.