Raw or unheated cannabis flower has plenty of powerful therapeutic effects, but a particular range of heat is needed to convert precursor compounds like THCa and CBDa into THC and CBD – the compounds needed to feel the psychoactive effects.
The heat or activation results in an occurrence where these compounds work together to achieve an effect that cannot happen in the individual compounds on their own. This is also called the ‘entourage effect’ when talking about Full Spectrum CBD products. The entourage effect can be described as the cannabinoids working together to intensify the therapeutic effects of the whole plant.
The heating that takes place during decarboxylation activates cannabis’s psychoactive and therapeutic effects. Thankfully, this is now commonly done with a LĒVO home infusing machine, but it used to be done in ovens and then moved to the stovetop for the actual infusing process. If you’re curious, you can find those manual instructions here.
When it comes to edibles, decarboxylation (called ‘decarbing’ for short) is the process of heating cannabis compounds for roughly 30-45 minutes. The heat causes the release of carbon dioxide and removes a carboxyl group, and it results in the release of THC’s therapeutic and psychoactive properties.
The temperature should be high enough to initiate activity among THC and other cannabinoids but low and gentle enough to preserve the initial cannabinoids.
Decarbing happens quickly and naturally when plant material is smoked, but you need to decarboxylate raw flower if you plan to make cannabutter, oils, edibles, and lotions.
The Right Temperature for Decarbing at Home
There are many ways to activate the THC for edibles, ranging from rudimentary approaches used for centuries to contemporary home infusion machines. A home infusion machine has built-in technology that allows you to activate and infuse THC using specific settings for heat and time. Using a home infuser is a precise, efficient, and mess-free process. It may also reduce the smell of this process, depending on the machine, if you don’t want your house to smell like a skunk.
Using traditional methods or the latest technology with an enhanced home infuser both involve some common elements and processes for activating THC. Understanding this process will help you effectively use decarbing tools at your disposal.
Basic Concepts of Activating THC
All methods of activating THC are based on the same factors necessary for releasing the psychoactive and therapeutic properties. The process of decarboxylation involves heating raw flower to activate a range of cannabinoids that include THCa, CBDa, among others.
Raw cannabis flower contains the acidic cannabinoid THCa that acts as a ‘precursor’ to THC. That acid contains an extra carboxyl molecule that blocks the psychoactive effect. Decarbing removes that extra carboxyl group and the THCa transforms into THC due to the raw flower’s extended exposure to high heat. Several studies have confirmed a temperature range of 220-240°F is ideal for converting THCa into THC.
The process of activating cannabinoids influences the flavor, taste, and medicinal effects. After activating the THC, you can use the decarbed flower to infuse oil, butter, lotion, salves, and other fatty mediums. Warming the mixture of decarboxylated flower and oil (or butter, etc.) using low heat for 120 minutes or longer- while stirring, facilitates the molecular binding of THC to the fats in the carrier oil(s).
How Does a Home Infuser Activate THC?
A home infuser allows for more precision and control over the activation process than traditional decarbing methods. Recent research studies have indicated that less intense heating (or less decarbing) is highly effective for intensifying the activation of specific desired cannabinoids. Lower heating temperatures seem to retain more therapeutic properties of THCa and other cannabinoids than higher temperatures.
A LĒVO home infuser decarbs raw flower at 240°F for 30 min, plus Warming Up time, in ways that prevent damage to cannabinoids. LĒVO home infusing machines are also user-friendly and streamline the process for novice cooks. A LĒVO home infusion machine also features intelligent time and temperature controls, so you do not have to worry about making mistakes such as overheating, underheating, or burning the plant product.
Additionally, if you’re not certain about the time or temperature needed for your particular herb/strain, or carrier oil, we’ve developed this calculator for you!
Activating THC for Different Purposes
One study examined the most efficient temperatures and heating periods to activate cannabinoids. They found that 240° Fahrenheit for 30 minutes efficiently converted the majority of the THCA molecules into THC.
This temperature prevents degradation that can happen with higher temperatures or longer exposure. Flower decarbed at higher temperatures (250° or higher) could turn THCa into another compound called cannabinol (CBN). CBN is non-psychotropic, but it has many therapeutic benefits. It produces a sedative effect, so it is often used to manage insomnia.
Optimal decarboxylation conditions differ for each terpene and flavonoid. Decarbing methods, different temperatures, and heating duration all impact how cannabis compounds transform and interact. For example, CBDa-rich strains are efficiently decarbed at a higher temperature and for a longer duration of heat time than THCa strains.
We at Cannabutter Digest do hope the above answered any questions you might have about activating THC- in different use cases. Of course, should you have any other questions about either the process of decarbing/activating or the value of the LĒVO machine in your kitchen- we’d be happy to help.
Contact Cannabutter Digest for More Information on Home Infusing Machines
If you would like more information on using a home infusion machine to activate THC, please contact a Cannabutter Digest representative. We are happy to discuss how a LĒVO home-infusing machine can help you with nutritious meal preparation and so much more.
And when you’re ready to, share what you’ve made: @LEVO_Oil and be sure to tag it as #LEVOmade
Isn’t It Time To Expand Your Repertoire Of Culinary, Confectionery, And Craft Arts Into The World Of Home Infusions?
LĒVO has a library of recipes, educational content, calculators, photos, and MORE available on our website, or visit us on YouTube to see videos of recipes and our products in action! Not sure where to start? Take the LĒVO Quiz to see which machine is right for you! #LĒVOmade