What is Decarboxylation?

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What is Decarboxylation?

Decarboxylation is a very important process when it comes to understanding Cannabis, and the compounds that affect our bodies. We mentioned in a previous blog post that CBDa is the acid precursor of CBD, and that it needs to go through the decarboxylation before it becomes Cannabidiol. 

The same process goes for compounds such as THC- THCa being the acid precurser which is not psychoactive- once decarboxylated it turns into THC, which is psychoactive

So, what is Decarboxylation? If you’re a science geek you’ll like this one!


In short, Decarboxylation is a chemical reaction which removes something called a carboxyl group (-COOH) which releases CO2. Generally, the decarboxylation refers to a reaction between carboxylic acids and the process of removing a carbon atom from the carbon chain. 

This process is one of the oldest known reactions that happens organically in plants- the reverse reaction (carboxylation) is a very important part of photosynthesis. 

Generally, in Cannabis, this process happens naturally when the plant is exposed to long periods of hot sunshine, when the plant becomes old or when it is burned. 

When talking about the production of CBD products, almost every oil, paste, balm or cream needs to go through this process to create the food supplement that we all love. It is part of the cannabinoid extraction process and changes the way our bodies use the compounds. 

Below we have included a graph with the whole process below!