decarboxylation: the activation of cannabinoids

Have you ever wondered why eating raw marijuana won’t get you high? Or why it must be inhaled or eaten as a food product to give you those euphoric effects? The answer to why is because
THC — the cannabinoid responsible for its high inducing effects — requires heat to become psychoactive. And just like with THC, if you’re looking to reap all the health benefits of CBD, some form of heat activation is crucial.

Cannabinoids such as THC and CBD are originally synthesized by cannabis as acids. They’re known as THCA (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol acid) and CBDA (cannabidiolic acid). In fact, it may come as a surprise that raw cannabis doesn’t naturally synthesize high amounts of the bioavailable CBD we all know and love. Initially, cannabis produces just one “mother cannabinoid”, known as CBGA which, over time, turns into the acid precursor to cannabinoids we are familiar with like CBDA and THCA. 

These acidic cannabinoids are thermally unstable and must be decarboxylated with exposure to heat. After the hemp plant has naturally synthesized CBGA into CBDA and THCA, the plant must be heated in order to change the molecular structure of its acid form into the bioavailable CBD and THC. During extraction processes, this is referred to as decarboxylation.

Decarboxylation is a crucial step in the efficient production of the major active cannabinoids in cannabis. As stated, these cannabinoids don’t occur in significant concentrations in cannabis but are formed through the decarboxylation of their corresponding acids. In scientific terms, the cannabinoids are losing a part of their molecular chain.

How does Pachamama decarboxylate its hemp?

To provide you with the cleanest CBD products possible, we’ve adopted innovative and sustainable methods to produce all of our full spectrum hemp extracts.

Traditional extraction methods can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours to perform the decarboxylation process and the long exposure to heat and chemicals can damage therapeutic compounds, drastically lowering their potential. At Pachamama, our solventless extraction method performs the cleanest and quickest decarboxylation process of any extract. The cannabinoids in our hemp get activated in under two seconds, using only heated air and pressure. This process is specifically designed to preserve the integrity of our hemp’s beneficial compounds by ensuring that it is never over-exposed to heat or chemicals.

To learn more about the unique methods we utilize, check out our process by clicking here.


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