Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Does microwaving weed destroy THC content?

Short answer: No.
I have been asked this question several times and it makes me wonder what people are really trying to ask... 
So here's a longer answer.
There are 66 known cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. Your body makes endocannabinoids that plug into the two known cannabinoid receptors in your body. It so happens that some plants produce compounds which are shaped just like the endocannabinoid compounds our body produces. Just like a large part of our pain management pharmacopoeia is based on adding plant-derived opiod compounds into our bodies, cannabinoids have a wide range of effects on appetite, pain, memory and mood.
The first cannabinoid isolated by humankind was delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC for short. THC is generally considered to be partly responsible for the euphoric effects of cannabis. But there are many other cannabinoids that are as important, if not more so, for those interested in natural medicine.
The THC molecule is largely inactive until it is heated to around 220 degrees farenheit, at which pointdecarboxylization happens. This removes the attached "carboxyl group" and turns THCA into psychoactive THC.
Pot smokers don't need to know this because it happens automatically when they smoke pot, heating the vegetative matter well beyond 220 degrees farenheit. In fact, if you imagine a joint, the cannabinoids in the burning "cherry" are being almost entirely incinerated. Directly behind the cherry, when the pot smoker draws in, the vegetative matter is being heated to a point between 200-400 where decarboxylization happens and the active cannabinoids vaporize into the (paper-wrapped) air, being drawn into the pot smoker's airways with a host of other toxic chemicals.
Decarboxylization is mostly a concern for ingested or topical cannabis preperations. When cooking with pot, most people recommend heating the material to something around 200-300 degrees in order to "activate" the THC cannabinoids before ingestion.
I've seen some people that recommend a microwave for this purpose, turned on high for 1-2 minutes. Assuming that heats the liquids in your pot to around 220 farnheit, it should work. But you would also be sticking your pot in the microwave. And then you'd have to answer to yourself, and perhaps others, the question...... 
"Why the hell am I
 microwaving my weed?"

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