Snoop Dogg, our generation’s king of all things weed, never ceases to surprise. His latest blunt-smoking modus operandi involves putting a fully-rolled joint into the microwave for 11 seconds, which he says helps to “trap all the ingredients.”
Why you might be wondering? Let’s look at the science, which Snoop obviously did.
You may have heard the word decarboxylation, which in organic chemistry speak means the removal of one or more carboxyl groups (a combination of two functional groups attached to a single carbon atom), from a molecule. In weed speak, this refers to the process of heating up cannabis to a specific temperature to activate the compounds in it. While it may sound like something to be done in a chemistry lab or at least with a special decarb machine (which exists by the way), you can also decarb your cannabis at home with the appliances in your kitchen, like the simple microwave.
What happens then? Decarboxylation is a chemical reaction that causes a carboxylic acid to release carbon dioxide. Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, THCa, is a carboxylic acid. During the decarboxylation process, THCa gives off one carbon atom and two hydrogen atoms (which form carbon dioxide CO2). The process also converts cannabolic acid (CBDa) into CBD.
THCa, the natural state of THC found in the plant, won’t get you high because it can’t stimulate your cannabinoid receptors. However, when you apply heat during the decarboxylation process, the chemical structure of THC changes to Delta 9 THC, making it possible for this compound to interact with your endocannabinoid system and get you high. So, when Snoop lights his blunt, he's already got readily available psychoactive THC, apart from the THCa that is being converted to THC when he takes a puff. This ultimately translates to a more intense high.
Why Then The Microwave?
The first commercially available microwave oven, "Radarange" developed in 1947 by Raytheon RTX, was huge and cost nearly $5 grand. Once the size and price shrunk, they became popular in middle-class homes in the 1970s.
Instead of producing natural heat like an oven, a microwave targets water molecules (moisture) in the food or anything you put in the microwave.
Why Don’t We Do This All The Time?
If decarboxylation is so effective, why doesn’t everyone pop their blunt into the microwave for 11 seconds? Actually, we're already decarbing our weed as we smoke it by creating the heat that activates the THC, which happens when you puff, puff pass or puff puff hold.
Do we need the weed to be any stronger than it already is? That's a question of opinion. But, don't ask Snoop. We're already pretty sure what he'll say.
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