What is Decarboxylation, and why do I need to convert THCA to THC ?
Decarboxylation (or decarbing) is removing the CO2 and water vapor (COOH) from the botanicals, which can be done in an oven, or over time via air drying. It’s a chemical reaction which carboxylic acids loose a carbon atom in the carbon chain, that converts THCA to THC. 30 minutes at 240 F or 115 C. The results are dramatic. With a 30 minute decarb, THC in Kief can go from 3.8 percent to 25.4 percent. The THCA with 30 minutes goes from 24.5 percent to 2.6 percent. Longer times did not result in any statistically better percentages, but no more than 60 minutes is required. For Cannabis Trim, the THC goes from .6 percent to 4.8 percent, while the THCA goes from 6.5 percent to 2.9 percent. Again, a longer decarb did not result in much better percentages, however depending on moisture content, times do not need to exceed 60 minutes. However, decarbing might reduce or destroy Terpenes (see below). A combined Terpene extraction, followed by decarb, and then extraction may be worth trying. Moisture content will effect time in the oven. More moisture = more time.