Decarboxylation of THC in Cannabis


There are two commonly used methods to detect and measure cannabinoids; Gas Chromatography (GC) and Liquid Chromatography (HPLC). These methods are similar in several ways but differ in that GC uses heat during it’s process and HPLC does not. The use of heat in the testing process is significant because Cannabis contains the carboxylic acid (THCA) some of which is converted to the psychoactive THC after it’s heated and is the reason most patients smoke or cook with Cannabis.

Because the vast majority of marijuana patients expose their medicine to heat before inhaling or ingesting, MI Canna Labs chooses to use Gas Chromatography for this analysis. Simply measuring the carboxylic acids that can be converted to cannabinoids PRE-decarboxylation (without heat) is less representative of what medical marijuana patients actually consume.


(supporting references)

Journal of Molecular Structure
Volume 987, Issues 1-3,

Marijuana Madness Cambridge University Press

Montana Biotech


California NORML