Chemically speaking what does decarboxylation mean in the context of THC?


I tried looking some stuff up on this, but most results are only methods general info. Older post here only linked to the wiki on decarboxylation.

Okay, so I *kinda* get what a carboxyl group is and how removing it releases CO2 while leaving a single hydrogen attached to the chemical. But what exactly does this look like in THC? What’s the molecular formula before decarb compared to after? And what about decarbing THC makes it more available and/or active in the brain? Does the lack of a carboxyl group let it absorb into the brain faster? Interact with the synapses more efficiently?

I’m just really curios about the chemistry of why heating THC makes it stronger.

In: 3

Heating cannabis converts the THC-Acid into regular THC by decarboxylation. Those are two *different* chemicals.

It doesn’t make it “stronger” it certainly really produces the psychoactive compound.

I’m not a pharmacist so I’m not that fit in pharmacokinetics, but my take would be that by removing the acid group, which are considered polar, it makes the compound more lipophil which results in the ability to pass the blood brain barrier and bond to receptors.

EDIT: word

You are correct, decarboxylation is the removal of a carboxyl function group, and looks like [This](

Thc pre-decarboxylation looks like [This](, and after decarboxylation it looks like [This](

The reason why decarboxylated thc is the active form is because of the difference in shape. When we talk about enzymes and agonists (molecules that interact with the enzyme that aren’t “native” to the organism) we use the lock and key analogy. The molecule has to have a very specific 3D shape in order to properly interact with the enzyme. In the case of THCA (which is what we call carboxylated THC), the carboxyl group exhibits something called stearic hindrance. This is a fancy term that means the key is the wrong size)