A key step in cannabis oil production is the decarboxylation of naturally produced THCA to psychotropic THC or CBDA to CBD, respectively. This step can be done either before extraction by heating the flower or after extraction by heating the cannabis oil. In both cases, heat is used to speed up the decarboxylation process. But with this heating step come considerations and problems. Excess heat or time will degrade the cannabinoids to unwanted side products, and it will tie up production capacity and generally incur higher production costs.
To better control this important processing step, we have developed an infrared (IR) monitoring solution that can track decarboxylation progress in near real-time. We have been able to validate the process for decarboxylation of both THCA and CBDA in both flower and oil. We will present our monitoring solution and the Agilent IR platform that enables this work.