Vintage Cannabis: Explained

In today’s California cannabis market, most dispensaries have a three-month shelf-life limit for flowers. That is three months from packing date—not from harvest. The reason given is that customers don’t buy “out-of-date” weed. 

Maybe the retailers are not storing the flowers under the proper conditions, or maybe the flower was bucked and trimmed or packed in a hot room. So, after three months in the store, the product has deteriorated to a point that it is no longer sellable. Perhaps the real reason is improper handling along the route of the supply chain. Maybe the retailer just wanted to move it off the shelf. Some buyers won’t even buy flowers more than four months after harvest.

Whatever! To my mind cannabis flower isn’t really ready to smoke until four or five months post-harvest. And most of the OG growers I talk to in Nor Cal agree. Frenchy Cannoli would have agreed, too. We often talked excitedly about making hash from aged or vintage cannabis, how it had a different flavor and different effect. 

Swami smoking. PHOTO David Robert Elliott

Back in the Hippie days, we never got fresh green weed—even after it was dried and trimmed, it always took several months to get here from Mexico, Colombia or Thailand. By the time you bought your lid and smoked it, the pot had aged for many months. Granted, we had to separate the stems and seeds, but it was still great smoke to inspire or chill out, like the best Panama Red, Acapulco Gold, Santa Marta Gold or Thai sticks.

Fast forward to 2022 and we are drying our own cannabis flowers for two weeks to a month in our wooden timber frame barn. The barn is nestled under towering Doug fir trees which keep it in cool shadow all year long. The autumn air here in the Emerald Triangle tends to be dry, especially during drought years, and that helps maintain an ideal temperature and humidity inside the barn.

The normal two-to-four-week drying period is just the beginning of the sequence which leads to vintage cannabis. This all is a rather complex process, not yet fully understood. 

The Benefits of Well-Aged Cannabis 

Fresh, dried flower will have definite spikes of pungent aromas, which can obscure the subtler layers underneath. The best small batch craft cannabis is carefully slow-dried, aged slightly and brought to a point of stabilization, under proper climate control. The slow aging process broadens out the aroma profile, rounding off the spikes and allowing other subtler fragrances to appear. Under the proper conditions, this biologic stabilization process takes about four to five months from harvest and in some cases even longer. 

For the next six months to a year, something mysterious and magical happens within the buds, such that the flower realizes the full breadth of its potential and reveals its true nature. The sacred herb has now become Vintage! Ready to bring its full benefits to those who consume her.

The flowers best suited to be aged for Vintage cannabis, are biologically—not chemically—grown in living soil, out under the sun, the way the Gods and our ancestors intended them to be. And they must have been harvested at their peak, then dried, manicured, aged and packaged, as well as shipped and stored in optimum, climate-controlled conditions. 

If packaged in a proper container and stored under ideal conditions, the flowers can maintain full vintage quality for at least a year, if the jar is not opened.

The Changing Compounds of Cannabis

Strawberry Cheesecake buds. PHOTO Brian Parks

How does this magic come about? and why does it take so long to create Vintage cannabis?

Mature cannabis flowers can produce as many as a thousand compounds. However, we focus on just a half dozen of the 150 cannabinoids possibly present in the flower, because those few are the most abundant, most potent and they are the only ones the testing labs report. 

In the living plant, the main cannabinoid is the so called precursor CBGA molecule, which transforms into the other cannabinoids, such as CBD, presenting in the mature female after harvest. Technically, the harvested plant is dead, but it’s biologically active for some time, as there’s still a great deal of moisture in the leaves, stems and flowers, which causes many compounds to undergo changes.

One of these changes is from CBGA to THCA in the harvested flower, but THCA can also change to THC through age and light, as well as heat. In addition, as time increases from harvest, the amount of CBN is said to increase, which is usually thought to come about through the degradation of THC. More probable, however, is the slow change of many different cannabinoid molecules degrading in the direction of CBN.

There are also numerous volatile or aromatic compounds. Some are only produced by the living plant and begin to evaporate or fade as soon as the plant is cut. Most prominent are a half dozen terpenes out of a possible 50, which produce the loudest smells and therefore are the only ones being tested. Nevertheless, scientists have found numerous other volatile compounds in cannabis, which together create the “nose” of the flower. 

In addition to terpenes, which account for perhaps 25% of the fragrance, there are other “aromatics” such as flavonoids, phenols, thiols, esters, ketones, benzaldehydes, alcohols and one of the more recent discoveries: volatile sulfur compounds. Sulfur compounds have been proposed as the volatiles that produce the gassy and skunk odors in cannabis.

As the moisture in the flower evaporates, many things happen. Some of the mono terpenes off gas, and others polymerize into longer chains and become bi-terpenes or sesqui-terpenes which do not volatilize as easily. The slow drying and aging aims to stabilize the changes in the terpenes. Many aromas can be preserved or sealed in by proper drying and stabilization of the harvested flower.

Another change taking place is the “oxidation” of the chlorophyll molecules, which break down through the opening of carbon links in the top of the ring allowing two molecules of oxygen to attach themselves. This a three-step process, taking some time, after which the chlorophyll no longer is said to “fluoresce,” meaning it no longer glows green. This is what happens to the fall leaves every year, and to cannabis after harvest.

The True Potential of Genetics

The point is, that if it is known that chlorophyll, terpenes and the main cannabinoids are slowly changing during and after drying, one must also assume that most of the other hundreds of compounds are also changing, especially the volatiles. As the residual moisture slowly decreases, this biological activity likewise decreases until the flower reaches a point of stabilization, three to five months after harvest.

Only at this stage have the flowers fully realized the potential of their genetics in response to their terroir. Only Vintage cannabis flower truly reveals and fulfills its destiny to serve, heal, entertain and inspire those who consume her.

So, choose some of your favorite most aromatic flowers, stash them away for a year in a dark glass container in a dark, cool place. Now your Vintage cannabis is finally ready to smoke.

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Cannabis Compounds Can Help Prevent COVID-19, but Not in the Way You Might Expect

Social media has been abuzz this week with news of a recently published laboratory study that found compounds in cannabis had the potential to stop COVID-19 from entering human cells. So does getting high increase immunity against COVID-19, or is it all too good to be true? 

The idea of using cannabis compounds to prevent or treat COVID-19 is exciting, but not unheard of. So many plants have antiviral properties, nature is essentially a giant, partially untapped medicine cabinet. To learn more about natural compounds, and for exclusive deals on all the trending cannabinoid products, remember to subscribe to The THC Weekly Newsletter. Also save big on Delta 8Delta 9 THCDelta-10 THCTHCOTHCVTHCP & HHC products by checking out our “Best-of” lists!

So, does smoking weed really prevent coronavirus? 

Short answer: no. I’ve been getting this question all week and to clarify, no, smoking cannabis will not prevent or treat COVID-19, as far as we know anyway. But a combination of terpenes along with two minor cannabinoids found in the raw plant matter can help – CBDA and CBGA.  

There are two studies in question that have been getting a lot of attention lately. First, we’ll take a look at the most recent, which was published on January 10, 2022, in the Journal of Natural Products. The study was conducted by researchers at Oregon State University, using a chemical screening technique invented on campus. They found that Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) and Cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) bound to coronavirus spike proteins and were able to inhibit the virus’s ability to enter healthy cells, at least in a petri dish.  

“These cannabinoid acids are abundant in hemp and in many hemp extracts,” says Richard van Breemen, study lead and researcher with Oregon State’s Global Hemp Innovation Center, College of Pharmacy, and Linus Pauling Institute. “They are not controlled substances like THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, and have a good safety profile in humans. And our research showed the hemp compounds were equally effective against variants of SARS-CoV-2, including variant B.1.1.7, which was first detected in the United Kingdom, and variant B.1.351, first detected in South Africa.” 

The second study, titled “In Vitro Evaluation of the Activity of Terpenes and Cannabidiol against Human Coronavirus E229,” was published by the peer-reviewed journal Life on March 29, 2021. The research studied the antiviral action of a proprietary formulation of terpenes. The blend, known as NT-VRL, is a combination of 30 terpenes including beta-caryophyllene, eucalyptol and citral developed by cannabis technology company Eybna. 

Antiviral plants, nature’s medicine cabinet

Medicinal plants have been used for thousands of years to treat various ailments; it’s how the human race has survived centuries-worth of plagues, pandemics, and other outbreaks of disease. Interestingly, many animals such as deer, bear, elk, apes, some birds, lizards, and spiders, are all known to self-medicate with several local plants as well.  

As far detached as we are from natural treatments, it’s estimated that even in modern western medicine, up to 25% of commonly used prescription and OTC medications contain compounds isolated from plants, or synthetic versions of these compounds. Take Marinol, for instance, a prescription anti-nausea medicine contains synthetic THC.

Healing plants work synergistically with the body’s natural capabilities, and they also boost the immune system making it less likely to get sick again in the future. Additionally, natural products typically work without destroying important cells and compounds that already exist in the body. Plant compounds can treat and prevent many different conditions including inflammation, bacterial infections, nausea, diarrhea, and viral infections.  

A lot of plant extracts and isolated compounds possess broad-spectrum antiviral activity. Commonly used antiviral plants include: oregano, sage, basil, fennel, garlic, lemon balm (not lemon, but rather a lemon-scented plant that comes from the mint family), peppermint, rosemary, echinacea, sambucus, licorice, astragalus, ginger, ginseng, and dandelion. 

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What are cannabinoid acids? 

Simply explained, cannabinoid acids are precursors to the cannabinoids we all know and love, like THC and CBD. They are found on the stems, leaves and flowers of certain strains of raw cannabis before any type of heat application or processing takes place. Decarboxylation, also referred to as “decarbing” for short, is the process of using heat (and sometimes light and oxygen exposure) to convert cannabinoids from their natural acidic state to their ‘activated’ form. By heating raw cannabinoids, a chemical reaction takes place that removes the carboxyl acid group and releases CO2.  

Cannabis doesn’t create cannabinoids in the way we are familiar with them. Instead, it synthesizes several different cannabinoid acids; eight that we know of, to be specific. In order to become cannabinoids, these acids must be activated – or decarboxylated – using heat, light, and oxygen exposure. Above we briefly mentioned THCA and CBDA, but let’s quickly go over all of the known cannabinoid acids: 


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  • CBGA (Cannabigerolic acid, becomes cannabigerol) 
  • THCA (Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, becomes tetrahydrocannabinol) 
  • CBDA (Cannabidiolic acid, becomes cannabidiol) 
  • CBCA (Cannabichromenenic acid, becomes cannabichromene) 
  • CBGVA (Cannabigerovarinic acid, becomes cannabigerovarin) 
  • THCVA (Tetrahydrocanabivarinic acid, becomes tetrahydrocannabivarin) 
  • CBDVA (Cannabidivarinic acid, becomes cannabidivarin) 
  • CBCVA (Cannabichromevarinic acid, becomes cannabichromevarin) 

CBGA, THCA, CBDA, and CBCA are the most abundant cannabinoid acids. All of the plant’s compounds start as CBGA and various enzymes eventually convert it into the other three. In addition to these major acids, there are another four corresponding “V” compounds with slightly shorter chemical structures, and they are: CBGVA, THCVA, CBDVA, and CBCVA. 

Cannabinoid acids do not have any psychoactive effects, however, they do have numerous medical benefits. In the few studies that have emerged, cannabinoid acids were found to have antibacterial, antifungal, and insecticidal properties. In nature, their function is to defend the plant, so it makes sense that they work similarly in humans. 

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More about terpenes 

Terpenes are a very large and diverse class of organic compounds that are produced by a wide variety of plants including herbs, trees, flowers, and fruit. In cannabis, they are secreted by the same glands that produce some of the most prominent cannabinoids including THC and CBD; but their role and effects are vastly different. Terpenes are aromatic plant oils that, when combined with other plant compounds, create a limitless palate of scents and flavors. In nature, terps serve as a defense mechanism by deterring herbivores who are turned away by the smells, and by attracting predators and parasites that attack herbivores. 

Chemically, terpenes are hydrocarbon and they are the major component of rosin, a waxy type of sap that produced and developed throughout the life cycle of the cannabis plant. There are curing processes that can improve the final quality and content of the terpenes, but other factors that impact their development are climate, weather, age and maturation, fertilizers, soil type, and light cycles. 

As far as cannabis goes, terpenes – not classification – are key to differentiating between the effects and flavors of various strains. Some terpenes are relaxing, like those found in lavender, while others are energizing, like the terps abundant in citrus fruit. Some smell fruity, some are piney, and others are musky. The possible variations are endless. So far, over 100 different terpenes have been discovered in cannabis plants alone, and each strain typically has its own unique blend and composition of terps. 

Terpenes have long been known to hold great therapeutic value, and some of the more common ones – like limonene, pinene, and caryophyllene – have been studied more extensively, considering they’re found in many different types of legal plants. More research is needed to determine the extent of their medicinal effects when combined with other cannabis plant compounds. 

Final thoughts on cannabis and COVID-19

To summarize, both of these studies are extremely promising, albeit not very surprising, knowing what we already know about plant compounds. More research needs to be done to see exactly how cannabis-based treatments, cannabinoid acids specifically, can be used to treat or possibly prevent COVID-19. Keep in mind that simply smoking weed will not prevent coronavirus, and if you’re already sick, it could make matters worse by further irritating the throat and lungs. To utilize CBDA and CBGA, you will need to find products that contain these cannabinoids, or eat raw cannabis.

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Disclaimer: Hi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advice, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, especially regarding cannabis as part of medicinal regimen or any questions about COVID-19, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

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CBGA More Effective For Seizures Than CBD, Study of Mice Finds

Researchers in Australia say they’ve discovered the “mother of all cannabinoids,” and it isn’t THC or CBD. For the first time, a study reports that three acidic cannabinoids found in cannabis, notably cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), reduced seizures in a mouse model of Dravet syndrome, an intractable form of child epilepsy.

The three acidic cannabinoids—CBGA, cannabidivarinic acid (CBDVA) and cannabigerovarinic acid (CBGVA)—”may contribute to the effects of cannabis-based products in childhood epilepsy,” and were noted with “anticonvulsant potential.” CBGA, however, demonstrated the most potential for certain anticonvulsant effects.

“From the early nineteenth century cannabis extracts were used in Western medicine to treat seizures but cannabis prohibition got in the way of advancing the science,” said Associate Professor Jonathon Arnold from the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics and the Sydney Pharmacy School. “Now we are able to explore how the compounds in this plant can be adapted for modern therapeutic treatments.” The study was recently published in the British Journal of Pharmacology

CBGA is the precursor “granddaddy” molecule of CBDA and THCA, which eventually convert to THC and CBD, among other compounds. CBGA is part of a protective system for cannabis, produced by trichomes that triggers targeted plant cell necrosis—natural self-pruning to allow the plant to focus energy on the flower. 

“We found that CBGA was more potent than CBD in reducing seizures triggered by a febrile event in a mouse model of Dravet syndrome,” Lead author of the study, Dr Lyndsey Anderson, said. “Although higher doses of CBGA also had proconvulsant effects on other seizure types highlighting a limitation of this cannabis constituent. We also found CBGA to affect many epilepsy-relevant drug targets.”

Fight Against Dravet Syndrome with CBGA

The mission for the team at the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics is simple: develop a better cannabis-based treatment for Dravet syndrome—an intractable form of child epilepsy.

In 2015, Barry and Joy Lambert made a hefty donation to the University of Sydney to push forward scientific research on medicinal cannabis. Barry and Joy’s granddaughter Katelyn suffers from Dravet syndrome.

“After using hemp oil for treatment, we got our daughter back. Instead of fearing constant seizures we had some hope that our daughter could have a life worth living. It was like the noise cleared from her mind and she was able to wake up. Today Katelyn really enjoys her life,” said Michael Lambert, Katelyn’s father.

In order to learn more, the research needs to be continual. “Our research program is systematically testing whether the various constituents of cannabis reduce seizures in a mouse model of Dravet syndrome,” said Associate Professor Jonathan Arnold. “We started by testing the compounds individually and found several cannabis constituents with anticonvulsant effects. In this latest paper we describe the anticonvulsant effects of three rarer cannabinoids, all of which are cannabinoid acids.”

The Entourage Effect

In the meantime, anecdotal evidence from cannabis consumers abroad suggests that there is more to cannabis’ healing powers than THC and CBD, although the science is limited.

Families like the Lamberts have noticed significant drops in seizures when children facing intractable epilepsy take cannabis extracts, although the source makes huge differences.

Supporting the concept of the Entourage Effect, there are unknown benefits from lesser known cannabinoids. Many people believe that the presence of terpenes and other compounds in cannabis make it more effective.

Harvard Professor, Dr. Lester Grinspoon, said that you need more than THC and CBD if you want cannabis’ full effects. It should be called the Ensemble Effect, not the Entourage Effect, he said. Dr. Grinspoon believed THC should be taken with CBD and other phytochemicals in order to be more effective. Any chemical in isolation does not perform the same way as it is found in nature, he believed.

Dr. Raphael Mechoulam is best known for his extensive work in cannabis acids, as well as Dr. Ethan Russo. In 1996, Japanese researchers found that CBGA is a precursor to CBDA and other compounds.

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Cannabinoid Acids – What are they and what are the health benefits of using them?

Simply explained, cannabinoid acids are precursors to the cannabinoids we all know and love, like THC and CBD. They are found on the stems, leaves and flowers of certain strains of raw cannabis before any type of heat application or processing takes place.

In fresh buds, most cannabinoids are present in the form of plant acids. Heat will break down these acids, causing them to lose their carboxyl group and become regular cannabinoids (for example: THCA to THC, or CBDA to CBD). This process is aptly known as decarboxylation, but we’ll get more in depth on that later. Until now, the focal point of most cannabis research has been centered around activated cannabinoids, rather than the raw acidic forms. As the industry continues to grow and develop, more emphasis is placed on the importance of minor cannabinoids, cannabinoid acids, terpenes, and other lesser-known cannabis compounds.

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What are cannabinoid acids?

Cannabis doesn’t create cannabinoids in the way we are familiar with them. Instead, it synthesizes several different cannabinoid acids; eight that we know of, to be specific. In order to become cannabinoids, these acids must be activated – or decarboxylated – using heat, light, and oxygen exposure. Above we briefly mentioned THCA and CBDA, but let’s quickly go over all of the known cannabinoid acids:

  • CBGA (Cannabigerolic acid, becomes cannabigerol)
  • THCA (Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, becomes tetrahydrocannabinol)
  • CBDA (Cannabidiolic acid, becomes cannabidiol)
  • CBCA (Cannabichromenenic acid, becomes cannabichromene)
  • CBGVA (Cannabigerovarinic acid, becomes cannabigerovarin)
  • THCVA (Tetrahydrocanabivarinic acid, becomes tetrahydrocannabivarin)
  • CBDVA (Cannabidivarinic acid, becomes cannabidivarin)
  • CBCVA (Cannabichromevarinic acid, becomes cannabichromevarin)


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CBGA, THCA, CBDA, and CBCA are the most abundant cannabinoid acids. All of the plant’s compounds start as CBGA and various enzymes eventually convert it into the other three. In addition to these major acids, there are another four corresponding “V” compounds with slightly shorter chemical structures, and they are: CBGVA, THCVA, CBDVA, and CBCVA.

Cannabinoid acids do not have any psychoactive effects, however, they do have numerous medical benefits. In the few studies that have emerged, cannabinoid acids were found to have antibacterial, antifungal, and insecticidal properties. In nature, their function is to defend the plant, so it makes sense that they work similarly in humans.

More on decarboxylation

Decarboxylation, also referred to as “decarbing” for short, is the process of using heat (and sometimes light and oxygen exposure) to convert cannabinoids from their natural acidic state to their ‘activated’ form. By heating raw cannabinoids, a chemical reaction takes place that removes the carboxyl acid group and releases CO2.

There is no agreed best temperature at which to decarb cannabis flower, although there are some useful guidelines to consider. We know that most of the plant compounds begin to boil somewhere between 320 and 356 degrees Fahrenheit, so make sure you don’t go this hot. It’s also known that many terpenes – which are naturally occurring aromatic oils that give plants their smell and offer their own unique health benefits – start to boil when you reach the 300 degree F mark.

Therefore, you should probably keep you decarbing temperatures to between 200 and 350 degrees Fahrenheit. But note that the lower the temperature used, the more time your flower will need to decarb; and vice versa. It also varies based on the cannabinoid as well, when it comes to debarbing CBD rather than THC, it’s necessary to heat the material for longer. About twice as long, by most estimates, and some would argue that higher temperatures are better as well.

How to utilize raw cannabinoids are what are the benefits?

To reiterate, cannabinoid acids are only found in raw cannabis material that’s fresh (not dried or cured) and hasn’t been exposed to any kind of heat. Although they are less frequently discussed compounds for the time being, you can find some tinctures and oils that incorporate extracted cannabinoid acids, mainly THCA and CBDA.

Aside from that, the most efficient way to harness these cannabis acids is through your diet. You can use the raw, uncured buds and leaves to make juice, smoothies, salads, dressings, and cold sauces. However you would eat any other leafy green vegetable such spinach, kale, or swiss chards, the same can be done with your cannabis plant matter.

They can also be finely chopped and used as an herb just like parsley, oregano, dill, or basil. This would not only add a rich flavor profile to your dish, but it would certainly improve the nutritional content as well. Store it in the crisper drawer with your other salads and veggies. Luckily for us, we live in a time where cannabis use doesn’t have to be done behind closed doors, so you can find many delicious recipes using raw flower online.

What are the medical benefits?

Cannabis acids act quite differently in the body than standard cannabinoids. Instead of interacting with the cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2), cannabinoid acids inhibit the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) enzyme, which is associated with the inflammation response. In this way, cannabinoid acids can offer anti-inflammatory effects similar to that of commonly prescribed NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). 

Looking at CBDA specifically, one 2013 study found that it was a thousand times more powerful than CBD at binding to the 5-HT₃ serotonin receptor, which is linked to nausea and anxiety. It can be used effectively to treat numerous mental health conditions such as depression and post traumatic stress disorder, as well as different digestive illnesses.


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When it comes to THCA, research is still in its infancy, but there is some preliminary data and quite a bit of anecdotal evidence indicating that it may have a critical part in the future of medical cannabis. Some of these early studies suggest this cannabinoid acid could possibly be helpful in treating Inflammation, Neurodegenerative conditions, Nausea and loss of appetite, and Prostate cancer.

Self-reported use of THCA describes success in treating insomniamuscle spasms, and pain. This is only anecdotal evidence though and more studies will have to be conducted before we can substantiate any of these claims.

Final thoughts

Although research is lacking, we do have some evidence that cannabinoid acids can play a pivotal role in treating different medical conditions. Since they have no intoxicating properties, and with the growing interest in natural diets and healthcare options, this brings an entirely new focus on the benefits of consuming raw cannabis or using products that utilize cannabinoid acids.

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Decarboxylation: How Cannabis Becomes Psychoactive

Decarboxylation, which is an essential action in enjoying cannabis flowers and edibles, is a process in which carbon dioxide (CO2) leaves a stable molecule and floats off as a gas. Atoms in a molecule can be thought of like billiard balls, with each one having a size, weight, and exact position. As these atoms float away, the substance left behind will become lighter, like a dry towel being lighter than that same towel soaking wet. The idea is that as the CO2 leaves, the weight left behind is reduced.

Decarboxylation typically occurs by heating, but can also be caused by exposure to certain frequencies of light, and certain substances like molecular oxygen in the air.

If the weight of the molecule before and after its decarboxylation is known, then a percent of mass lost in decarboxylation can be calculated. If the CO2 contributes 10 percent of the weight of a molecule, than 90 percent of the mass remains after decarboxylation. This would mean that continuously heating 100 grams of this substance would eventually yield 90 grams of the decarboxylated substance, as the remaining 10 grams represent the weight of CO2 which gassed off.

How Does Decarboxylation Affect Cannabinoids?

Decarboxylation of cannabinoids and cannabis products is very crucial to understanding the power of cannabis as medicine. The cannabis plant only has the ability to produce cannabinoid acids, like THCA, and THC is only created by decarboxylation outside the plant. This decarboxylation is usually done by fire when smoking, or by baking in edibles. Most cannabinoids lose approximately 87.7 percent of their mass upon decarboxylation. This means that if you had 100 grams of crystalline isolate of a cannabinoid acid, such as THCA, after decarboxylation you would have 87.7 grams left of THC.

This is important for people decarboxylating their cannabinoids themselves, such as producers of cannabis-infused edible products and hash oil producer that wish to sell decarboxylated oil. This is also important for advertisers of raw cannabis products such as cured cannabis flower, who must either report the value of the cannabinoid acid directly observed by the testing lab, use the theoretical conversion, or display both.

This labeling issue with raw flower is not as easy as it seems at first glance. Let’s consider a typical example of THC-dominant cannabis. The lab will test the flower and find 26 percent THCA and 3 percent THC. This is because some of the cannabinoid acids produced by the plant are decarboxylated by air and sun before harvesting and curing. The smaller the amount of THC observed directly by the lab typically indicates that the cultivator has submitted fresh cannabis that has been protected from light and exposure. A very high THC content indicates that the cannabis flower is not as fresh and been more exposed.

Now the dispensary has to either advertise two numbers, 26 percent and 3 percent, or advertise one theoretically calculated number, 25.8 percent, or both. Both allow the patient to access the greatest amount of information and be the best informed, while also reducing liability on the cannabis business involved in label making.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a well-known cannabinoid for being the primary intoxicant and euphoriant of cannabis. THC is also one of the most practical and safe treatments for neuropathic, chronic, and other types of pain. THC is effective in addressing both the immunological and symptom component of multiple sclerosis (MS).

Despite the fact that THCA is not an intoxicant, it is a powerful medicine. THCA is one of the strongest anti-inflammatory agents in cannabis. Smokers receive very little to none of this cannabinoid, due to its decomposition in the smoking process. THCA is an anti-inflammatory agent, and according to one study, a more powerful neuroprotective agent than THC. THCA is a powerful COX-1 and COX-2 antagonist, similar to aspirin and ibuprofen, but with far less toxicity to the liver.

The effects of THCA and THC reflect the diversity of action on the human body a cannabinoid and its precursor acid can have. The other cannabinoids, CBD, CBG, CBC, and THCV all have acid forms which have distinct effects on human health.

Cannabidiol (CBD) has been shown to be an effective medicine for people suffering from anxiety. What CBD has also been shown to be effective at fighting is breast cancer cells. Many of these studies find that CBD promotes apoptosis, or cell suicide, in breast cancer cells while leaving the healthy cells unaffected.

Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) is CBD’s acid precursor from raw cannabis flower. CBDA has also been shown to fight human breast cancer, but in a different way. Whereas CBD causes apoptosis in breast cancer cells, CBDA has been shown to slow or stop metastasis of breast cancer cells by arresting their motility, or ability to move throughout the body. This evidence would indicate that a breast cancer patient may want to talk to their doctor about dual CBD/CBDA therapy, taking both decarboxylated CBD and raw CBDA together.

Cannabigerol (CBG) has been shown to have some potent anti-inflammatory properties that are particularly applicable in inflammatory bowel disease (IBS). Additionally, CBG has been shown to have some properties not known among many other cannabinoids, such as an ability to interact with human adrenal receptors and serotonin receptors. Currently, more studies need to be done on cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) in isolation from CBG to get an understanding what, if any, difference there are between the cannabinoid and its precursor acid on human health.

It is important to note that the mass loss is not a conversion rate. Mass loss assumes that all of a substance will decarboxylate and calculates how the mass will change. An accurate answer must account for how much of the cannabinoid will decarboxylate. Studies indicate that 30-70 percent of cannabinoids undergo decarboxylation under standard smoking conditions. This is why our calculations are only a theoretical maximum, and are not a result with the same standing as those directly observed in the plant. This is also why it can be very important to label your theoretical calculations as such, and provide all original values provided by lab results, as a means of reducing liability upon your business.

TELL US, have you ever heard of decarboxylation?

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Customize Your Cannabinoids – Now You Can Mix’ N’ Match

Most of what’s gone on in the field of medicinal cannabis has been related to simply isolating and/or replicating a specific cannabinoid to get its benefits. In today’s world of cannabis medicine, the new thing is for a customer to order a premium blend of their favorite compounds, because today, you can actually customize your cannabinoids.

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Isolating cannabinoids

There’s plenty in the worlds of medicinal cannabis and recreational marijuana that have nothing to do with isolating anything. If a person wants to smoke hemp flowers, or buy a few grams of high-THC weed, they’re getting the whole plant, no isolation needed. However, the fields of medical and recreational cannabis have been more and more reliant on the idea of isolated cannabinoids. CBD is the most popular right now, with CBD oil and vape cartridges flying off store shelves all over the world.

Much like with other forms of pharmaceutical medicine, where we often pop a pill without really thinking what that circular, chalky, perfectly-shaped tablet contains, where it came from, and how it got to be in the form we take it in, we don’t often question how our CBD oil came to be.

Cannabinoids don’t start out as cannabinoids, but rather as acids that must be heated – or decarboxylated – in order to form into the cannabinoids we are familiar with like THC, CBD, and even the rarer CGBV, and THCV. Solvents are then used to separate certain parts. These can include, ethanol, hydrocarbon (butane, propane…), chloroform, light petroleum, and CO2 – which doesn’t leave a residue.

personalized cannabis medications

After extraction with one of these solvents, the solution is filtered at least a couple times, generally through something like charcoal. Then it should be made more concentrated, down to about half the volume, using a 2% aqueous sodium sulfate solution. When the solvent is stripped out, and the solution is concentrated, its left as a crude oil. At this point it can even be purified further with redistillation or column chromatography.

After extraction, the oil is put in alcohol, mixed, cooled (to remove unwanted terpenes, chlorophyll and flavonoids), and then heated to burn away the alcohol. Something called short path distillation is used to isolate different compounds using their individual boiling points. A pure powder of a specific cannabinoid is left at the end which can then be used in different ways for different kinds of products. It might not be important to know all the steps of isolating a cannabinoid, but understanding it as a process is important, because this process takes time and money.

Rare cannabinoids

We’re all familiar with THC at this point, as it is the most prevalent cannabinoid of the cannabis plant (for high-THC marijuana). Most of us now know a good bit about CBD too, which also can be found in plentiful amounts, particularly in low-THC hemp.  We also know there are more than 100 cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, even if some of them appear in only trace amounts. The ability to isolate some of these rarer cannabinoids through the process above, gives users that much more choice in terms of products, and the ability to now formulate different mixtures of cannabinoids. Some rarer cannabinoids, and cannabinoid acids, that are now becoming more popular due to the ability to isolate them, are the following:

  • CBG – Cannabigerol – Comes from acidic precursor CBGA and makes up less than 1% of a cannabis plant.
  • CBN – Cannabinol – A phytocannabinoid with THC as a precursor.
  • CBC – Cannabichromene – The second most prevalent cannabinoid in cannabis.
  • CBCA – Cannabichromenic Acid – The acidic precursor to CBC.
  • CBGA – Cannabigerolic Acid – The precursor acid that transforms into acids THCA, CBDA, and CBCA, which in turn produce other cannabinoids.
  • CGBV – cannabigerivarin – A cannabinoid acid with CBG as a precursor.
  • CBNA – Cannabinolic acid – The parent compound that transforms to CBN through decarboxylation.
  • CBCV – Cannabichromevarin – Closely related to CBC, with the difference of a propyl chain.
  • CBDV – Cannabidivarin – Closely related to CBD, and mainly found in cannabis indica landrace strains, generally from Asia and Africa.
  • THCV – Tetrahydrocannabivarin – Similar to THC, and does produce a psychoactive effect.
  • CBDA – Cannabidiolic acid – The precursor to CBD that exists in acid form.
  • THCA – Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid. The precursor to THC that exists in acid form.

And many more, most of which have gotten so little attention as of yet, that there isn’t much written about them, or studies yet performed on them. Whereas major cannabinoids like THC and CBD can take up about 2-20% of a plant’s biomass, these lesser cannabinoids generally make up less than 1%.

medicinal cannabis

One of the interesting things about cannabinoids, though, is that they each have their own medicinal profile, as they are all unique compounds unto themselves. Sometimes you might want something pure, like CBD oil. Maybe other times you want the whole plant, and the synergistic effect of all parts working together. And on other occasions, you might want to mix and match the different parts and pieces available, to customize your cannabinoids to create medicines very specific to your particular wants and needs.

Mix n match

This new industry of customizing cannabinoids is only just beginning, but it does seem to be taking off. The companies that offer this service are offering a way to create custom medicines, while also introducing customers to lesser known cannabinoids, and cannabinoid acids. The idea of personalized medication is conceptually new to Western medicine. While different people are given different medications to take, in different quantities, pharmaceutical medications are not formulated with a specific person in mind, or tweaked to meet that specific person’s needs. Natural medicine traditions are much more likely to create specialized medication for patients, and this new movement towards the ability to customize your cannabinoids is a mirror of this concept. Instead of the standard ‘trial and error’ in standard medicine, where a person might be cycled through tons of different medications to find something that works specifically with their genetics, the idea is now to tweak the meds to meet the person’s needs.

Companies getting in on it

Global Cannabinoids is a Las Vegas based CBD oil company that now offers something else. CBD oil, and other private label products, that can be customized by the buyer to have an exact profile of cannabinoids – rare and not rare – to meet their needs. This is twofold in that it exposes people to more rare options than the standard CBD, while also giving a level of personalization.

Global Cannabinoids is already one of the biggest white label and private label suppliers of CBD, as well as a leading ingredient supplier for brands that use hemp-derived cannabinoids for their product lines. The company is one of the biggest suppliers for wholesale and bulk cannabinoids, even rarer ones. Customers can purchase CBN, CBC, CBG, and CBDV in the ratios of their choosing. Obviously, there are plenty more rare cannabinoids, as mentioned above, but this opens the door, and gets the ball rolling for using rare cannabinoids at all.

Another company moving in the same direction, is Socati, a company based out of Houston, Texas with a Montana-based facility for manufacturing cannabinoid ingredients, that is known for producing USDA certified organic hemp products. Now, they’re opening up their offering a bit more, just like Global Cannabinoids. Socati recently launched a line of private label products offering the ability to customize your cannabinoids. Custom ratios of CBD, CBG, CBN, and other rare cannabinoids can be made per personal desire in the following products: gummies, tinctures, crystalized flavor powder, pressed tablets, softgels, and capsules.

medicinal cannabis

Precision Plant Molecules is another company now offering a tailored cannabinoid experience. The company is a specialty cannabinoid-based ingredient supplier. It extracts and processes hemp to create distillates, oils, concentrates, extracts, and isolates. While there isn’t much press about the company’s ability to customize your cannabinoid experience, it is explained on their website. PPM uses several minor cannabinoids along with CBD, like: CBN, CBC, CBG, CBT, CBDV, THCV, CBGA, CBDA, and others. According to its website: “Fully customizable ratios of cannabinoids afford more effective health and wellness products. Enriching to achieve a specified ratio of cannabinoids smooths the variability in even Mother Nature’s most stable chemovars.” I expect we’ll be hearing more about this company in the news soon.

The same can be said for Trait, which also hasn’t quite made big news, but which now with Trait Tailored, is also offering customized cannabinoid combinations. According to its website, “Trait Tailored’sTM patent pending technology enables growers to perfectly customize the cannabinoid profiles of their hemp or cannabis strains with ground-breaking precision.” It goes on to say, “With TailoredTM, growers are able to produce strains with greater volumes of CBD, CBG, CBC and other less common cannabinoids to make more refined and desirable products for consumers.”


Customizable medicine is certainly a new thing for most people. As the field of medicinal cannabis grows bigger and bigger, more options are being made available that were never a part of standard Western medicine before. Now, instead of cycling through tons of meds to find the one that works, you can customize your cannabinoids to create the perfect combination for all your health needs.

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