What are Cannabis Edibles?
Edibles are THC-infused food products in some shape or form, such as baked goods, gummies, or chocolates.
In order for food to be infused with THC, the psychoactive compound of the cannabis plant, the flowers from the female plant need to be processed in a way to activate the THC. This process is known as decarboxylation. When you smoke or vaporize (vape) cannabis, the heat rapidly transforms a more inert material into what gets you high.
What exactly is Decarboxylation?
Cannabis in its raw form contains the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA). In itself, THCA has medicinal and therapeutic properties, but it is not psychoactive. So if you were to eat raw cannabis, you would not acquire any psychoactive effects but rather non-psychoactive effects instead. THCA affects the body by producing anti-inflammatory, antiemetic and pain management benefits. As cannabis is cured (dried), THCA very slowly and minimally converts to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) over time. To accelerate this process and get the cannabis flower ready for consumption in edibles, the process of decarboxylation must be employed. Decarboxylation is a chemical reaction that removes a carboxyl group and releases carbon dioxide (CO2), and this happens to THCA when heated. It loses its carboxylic group causing it to transform to THC and become psychoactive.
How are edibles made?
In terms of foods, cannabis must first be heated slowly over time (220 to 235 degrees F for 30 to 45 minutes) to produce the psychoactive reaction. Raw cannabis buds can be ground and spread on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
The most popular edibles on the market today – and the ones you can easily make in your own kitchen – are baked goods. Another way to decarboxylate cannabis for baking is to slowly heat cannabis buds in butter or oil and to use the THC-infused carrier in recipes.