Fresh cannabis contains more tetrahydrocannabinol acid

Freshly harvested cannabis will contain a large amount of THC in the form of tetrahydrocannabinol acid (THCA). This acid is not psychoactive, but as the plant material dries it converts to active THC by a natural process known as decarboxylation. Most of the acid will convert to THC during a period of up to two years, but by then most of the THC will have oxidized into cannabinol. The heating process is used to speed decarboxylation within the plant material, either in the form of smoking or gentle cooking for edibles. Amino acids have a two-carbon bond. One of these carbons is part of a group called the carboxyl group. The decarboxylating process causes the removal of a carboxyl group within the cannabis material, to convert the cannabinoids into substances that will produce a psychoactive effect. The resultant plant material can then be used to make your concentrates.

Effect of heating time and temperature on the THC content of n-hexane marijuana extract after heating on the glass surface in an open reactor

Recommendations for the production of cannabis concentrate

It is good practice to make your cannabis concentrates as potent as possible as the strong taste of raw cannabis can be quite overpowering, so the more potent the concentrate, the less you require in your recipes. Using concentrates alongside conventional ingredients results in a better-tasting product. For example, if a cake recipe calls for 200 grams of butter, then it is preferable to use 100 grams of your cannabis butter alongside 100 grams of regular butter. To decarboxylate your plant material, take your cannabis bud or trim and spread it evenly on a baking tray or ovenproof plate, then place it into an oven set at 223°F (106°C). Don’t set the temperature any higher as the additional heat will vaporize the cannabinoids. After 25 minutes, using oven gloves remove the cannabis from the oven and it should be dry and crisp.