Published on: 04/3/18
Decarb or RAW? If you’re new to CBD this might be one of your top questions. The difference between Raw CBD products and its decarb cousins, also referred to as Decarboxylation CBD, is a bit of a science. However, once you have the insight, it’ll be much easier to know what product option is the best for you.
Before picking out a favourite, it’s rather important to have basic knowledge of the different compounds in cannabis sativa. As their functions have a lot to do with the difference between decarb cbd and raw cbd, this is not something you’d want to overlook before making a purchase.
So, let’s get down to business. First, a quick chemistry lesson with a charming dash of history - We’re taking you all the way back to the beginning.
Cannabis sativa, Compounds & Cannabinoids
For a good handful of millennia, the cannabis plant has been used for both medicinal and recreational purposes. In some of the oldest documents discussing medicine, cannabis is featured as a treatment for a variety of ailments.
However, it wasn’t until recently that we began to understand exactly how the plant works. This discovery started when Israeli researcher Raphael Mechoulam discovered the cannabinoids THC and CBD in the 1970's. Since then, large amounts of research have been carried out with great interest all around the world.
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Now, a Close-up Look at the Plant
The cannabis plant contains an endless number of chemical entities. More than a hundred of these are what we refer to as cannabinoid compounds. They interact with the human endocannabinoid system; a system responsible for regulating many different body functions such as:
- Inflammation and Neuroinflammation
- Reproduction and Fertility
- Temperature Regulation
- Immune System
The endocannabinoid system is best described as a complicated network of receptors. As locations and densities of the receptors can vary from body to body, each and everyone of us is said to have a unique system. For this simple reason, individuals can sometimes respond to cannabinoids differently.
While the THC and CBD cannabinoids probably score the highest on the popularity scale as we speak, they are not the only ones worth paying attention to. In fact, there are many others that both interact with the endocannabinoid system and enhance one another in what is known as the entourage effect.
A different type of compound that deserves mentioning here are terpenes. Terpenes are the aromatic compounds that make up the unique scents and flavors in different cannabis plants. Causing that signature funk isn’t all they do though. Terpenes also operate to protect the plant by repelling both insects and bacteria.
So, where does decarboxylation even come into this you might ask yourself? Sit back, we’ll get to that now.
Decarboxylation Changes Compounds
Simply put, decarboxylation is a descriptor for an array of methods that activate chemicals in cannabis. This is usually done via heating or drying.
Decarbing at lower temperatures can help preserve some of the trace compounds of cannabinoid acids and terpenes.
THC, the psychoactive sibling of CBD, is in fact only accessible through the decarbing process. In the raw plant, on the other hand, it shows up as the cannabinoid acid THCa; a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that has its own health benefits. When the oil is heated, the chemical process of transforming the acid into a hydrocarbon (THCa to THC), enables the compound to bond with cannabinoid receptors more efficiently.
Even though decarboxylation makes CBD and THC all the more accessible, the heating process of decarboxylation can also damage the trace compounds. If worse comes to worst, it can entirely eliminate them. Naturally, that means that any benefit that came with them also goes away.
I’ll save you the complicated chemistry lesson and leave you with this little reminder: decarboxylation changes the compounds found in the cannabis plant. Some are transformed, while others are made more bioavailable.
So, What Does Raw Do?
Raw indicates that there’s a part of the hemp plant that didn’t go through the curing and heating process of decarbing. That means that cannabinoid acids, trace compounds and terpenes are all still present.
Using methods such as CO2 extraction, you can derive a raw oil from the plant. This is a method that extracts that entourage of compounds from raw plant matter without the use of chemicals. If that product is then filtered but not decarbed, you’re left with CBDa intact as well as CBD.
Along with this comes a wide array of cannabinoids, terpenes and trace compounds that are all known to have health benefits. In other words, with the raw product, you’ll get more cannabinoids than you would with the decarb version of the product. On the other hand, they won’t be as accessible.
Should I Go Raw or Decarb?
The time has come for the big finale, but unlike most other finales, we are in the fortunate situation of having two winners. As it turns out, it all comes down to what you’re looking for. In the end, it depends on your needs.
Raw CBD is the way to go if you wish to access the huge variety of compounds and cannabinoids available. These include terpenes, THCa and CBDa; compounds that are otherwise broken down during the heating process.
If you want a product that’s is specifically high in CBD, you might want to try out decarb CBD. The decarboxylation makes CBD all the more bioavailable and is for that reason a lot easier to absorb.
One Last Piece of Advice
While people may often use the Raw CBD for mild anxiety and insomnia, those with more severe cases of anxiety, arthritis, migraines and insomnia may look to decarb CBD. However, as previously mentioned, a person’s endocannabinoid system can vary and might be affected differently by various strengths of CBD.
We encourage beginners to start out low and slowly up their dose. This should always be done based on how they feel when using a specific product.
If you need help or advice on choosing Decarb or RAW CBD, feel free to consult our Customer Care team through the chat box on our website. Alternatively, you can head over to our simple CBD User Guide in order to get more information about different products. Either way, we’ll be happy to help you choose the right product.
Disclaimer: Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Endoca and its staff. This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or cure. Endoca CBD products have not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).