Why Decarboxylation?

Ever wonder why you don’t get high from eating raw cannabis? It’s because the cannabinoids that bring the buzz haven’t been turned on yet. Decarboxylation is the on-switch for these cannabinoids — the process of applying heat to cannabis over time to activate its compounds for the desired effect.

Knowing the ins and outs of decarboxylation — most importantly, how much heat to apply to your weed and for how long — is especially crucial in making a proper weed edible. At West Coast Cure, we love cannabis products that seamlessly convert the pure, molecular goodness of the plant to mind-bending sensations. That’s why we’re making Solventless Gummies with Live Ice Water Hash — an homage to the art of rosin that delivers the full flavors and sensations you get from dabbing or vaping. Made possible through decarboxylation. 

So how does it all work? Here’s a quick, helpful guide to decarboxylation — the science behind it, what’s required to do it right, and how we use decarboxylation to make pure, potent Solventless Ice Water Hash Gummies.

What is Decarboxylation?

Decarboxylation is primarily about removing a carboxyl group from the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCa), turning it into Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main intoxicating weed compound. In its raw form of THCa, the molecule does not fully bind to the CB1 endocannabinoid receptor cell. Binding to this receptor is how cannabis achieves a psychoactive effect on the body. Decarboxylation is the process of converting the THCa to a form (delta-9 THC) which is full binding to the CB1 receptor. 

How to Decarb Your Weed

When you smoke cannabis, you’re instantaneously decarbing your weed through combustion, activating all the THC upon inhale. That’s why you don’t need to decarb your weed before you smoke it. Cooking edibles is a different story. If you want that potent, permeating high edibles are known for, you must decarb your plant material first.

Decarbing for homemade edibles typically involves breaking your bud up, spreading it over a baking sheet with parchment paper, and baking it in the oven for 45 minutes at approximately 250 degrees Fahrenheit (121 Celsius).

Why Decarboxylation Matters

Decarboxylation doesn’t just increase potency in weed edibles, it creates potency. In its natural form, cannabis is full of THCa. While a beneficial compound in its own right, THCa doesn’t elicit a high in its carbolic acid state. Whether it’s through combustion while smoking or at specified, controlled temperatures for edible making, you need some combination of time and temperature to unlock all that THC and get to the experience you expect from quality cannabis. 

But is it possible to over-decarboxylate your cannabis? Absolutely. Decarboxylate your bud over 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 Celsius) and you may burn off the good stuff altogether. The real trick to decarboxylation, especially when making edibles, is to apply just the right temperature over an optimal amount of time, activating as much of the plant’s THC as possible without burning off terpenes and other precious compounds. Myrcene, Limonene, Pinene, and Linalool are all major terpenes in weed that contribute to the literal flavor and effects (linalool, for example, is thought to have soothing properties, which may contribute to a cultivar’s relaxing high). And they all have different boiling points, all of which are lower than THC. Terpenes are incredibly volatile compounds — the moment you harvest a plant, it’s a race against the clock and every environmental factor to save them in the final product. A finely tuned, professional decarbing process will ensure a thorough activation of THC without sacrificing all those precious terps and other compounds that make the plant sing.

Why Not Distillate?

Edible manufacturers often turn to distillate for its versatility and guaranteed potency. Distillate is a cannabis extract stripped of all compounds except a specific cannabinoid, most often THCa. You can easily activate it with rapid heat and, more importantly, use it to dose edibles with optimal consistency. 

While there’s no shortage of edibles on the market with THC distillate, West Coast Cure wants you to get the most out of every cannabis experience, especially an edible one. So we formulate our gummies with handcrafted, solventless hash that offers the full-spectrum cannabis high, mirroring the unique ratio of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids from its source plant. It’s our top priority as stewards of the plant, and we’re willing to do the work of precise decarboxylation to contain the full hash experience in a convenient edible form.

Low and Slow: How We Decarb

Each cultivar provides a unique sensory experience based on its cannabinoid and terpene production. Our Solventless Hash Gummies are a rare breed, harnessing that multisensory experience while delivering the potency you expect from a reliable, quality edible. And they work because we keep things “low and slow” when we decarb.

When you smell cannabis, you’re literally smelling the terpenes coming off the bud. That’s how volatile these compounds are, and that’s why we implement a proprietary, 16-24 hour decarboxylation process under moderate heat — activating all those groovy cannabinoids without burning off volatile terpenes that add vital dimensions to the overall experience. Everything we do is to honor the work of our Emerald Triangle farming partners. We fine-tune our decarboxylation process to preserve all the flavors and sensations the farmer cultivated just for you. And once our solventless hash has sufficiently decarboxylated, we formulate it into Cultivar Specific Gummies, allowing you to taste the terps and feel the holistic effects of a super chill dab in a tasty, convenient package.