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  • POSTED JUNE 12, 2018
Decarboxylating using cannabis accessories
Having a working understanding of the myriad accessories available to patients is a good start to being able to properly medicate using cannabis. Equally important to the conversation of what products there are, is knowledge of how to use those accessories. Where some cannabis accessories, like papers, are quite basic, others, like vaporizers, can be a little harder to figure out.
In order to activate cannabinoids, cannabis must first be decarboxylated. A fancy word to essentially mean activate, decarboxylation is a pre-requisite to being able to use cannabis for medical or recreational purposes. The cannabinoids of whole cannabis flowers have an extra carboxyl group attached to their molecular chain, for instance THCA is the precursor to THC. Only when decarboxylated can the THCA be converted to THC, which can then be consumed for its medical and recreational value.1
While decarboxylating sounds extremely complicated, the process is actually quite simple. All that’s needed to activate cannabinoids is a combination of time and heat. Using a rolling paper, bong or pipe, cannabinoids can be decarboxylated immediately by combustion. When the cannabinoids are heated by a lighter, inhalation permits for almost instantaneous therapeutic results. For that reason, these traditional accessories remain popular among contemporary patients.
That said, the vaporizer represents perhaps the most popular of all technological advancements in the cannabis space to date. Given all of the popular products on the market this day and age, this is a bold statement, one perhaps justified by the number of patients and recreational users that now use this device.2
Recommended by most healthcare professionals in the medical cannabis space, use of vaporizers to consume whole flowers is reported to eliminate nearly all of the impurities – smoke, resin and tar – from the equation. Where combustion inevitably leads to a small intake of irritating and unhealthy toxins, vaporizing has exactly the opposite impact. Also, there is no smoke and little smell releases when cannabinoids are decarboxylated using a vaporizer.3
In the context of edibles and infusions, decarboxylation also plays a pivotal role. Even when consumed by ingestion, cannabinoids like THC and CBD must be separated from their primary
carboxyl group. Again, while this sounds like a daunting proposition, decarboxylating whole flowers for use in edibles, for instance, is again very simple. Using a cookie sheet and oven, flowers can be heated, thus decarboxylated, and then used to make oil and butter.
Of course, there are a number of other accessories that are popularly used to decarboxylate cannabis. Really, the list is as extensive as the number of products that are now available to consumer cannabis, in any of its forms. But, regardless of whether a patient chooses to medicate with edibles or a cannabis accessory, the process of decarboxylation continues to stand as a pre- requisite to treating any condition with cannabis.

1. “Decarboxylation: Best way to decarboxylate weed.” http://www.ncsm.nl/english/diy/decarboxylate-weed
2. “Classic marijuana sales are tumbling as a new way of getting high takes over.” http://www.businessinsider.com/vaping-vs-classic-marijuana-sales-2017-2
3. “Vaporizing 101: what are the benefits of vaporizing over smoking?” https://www.cannakorp.com/2017/01/31/vaporizing-101-what-are-the-benefits-of-vaporizing-over-smoking/

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