Raw vs. Decarboxylated CBD: What Makes Them Different?

Raw VS Decarb CBD

For those who just entered the world of CBD, you might feel a little overwhelmed.  As you glance along the endless list of CBD products on the market, you’re going to see phrases like “full spectrum,” “terpenes,” “CO2 extracted” and “isolate” on the bottles of tinctures, creams, gummy candies and vape oils.  

To get the most out of your CBD experience, it’s actually very important that you take the time to learn what all of these terms mean. 

That’s because they each play a huge role in the way in which your CBD product will affect you.  CBD can be an incredibly beneficial product, but it requires that you know how to choose the right item for your specific needs.

Not to confuse you further, but one of the most important things to know is the difference between raw and decarboxylated CBD.  Interestingly, these two terms are rarely seen in the product descriptions on companies’ websites. 

However, by looking at the lab results that are available on these websites, you’ll be able to determine which type of CBD you’re thinking about buying so that you can make a more informed decision.

The good news is that these terms are actually fairly easy to understand, and, as you’ll see, they make a pretty big difference in terms of the effects that they provide. 


Luckily for you, we’re going to break down these two terms so that you’ll be able to completely understand what they mean in terms of your CBD experience. 


The decarboxylation process refers to the way in which CBD and other potential plant material is dried and heated before being turned into a product. 

Once the desired plant material from hemp has been extracted, it’s often exposed to a small amount of heat that activates some of the compounds in order to promote bioavailability.

If you have any experience with marijuana, you know that the plant in its raw form is not going to give you the psychoactive effects that you desire.  THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana, must have heat applied to it in order to do its thing.  That’s why marijuana is commonly smoked.  

Now, most CBD comes from the hemp plant, and the hemp plant is not psychoactive.  That’s because it contains 0.3 percent or less THC which is not nearly enough to get you high.  However, it does have other cannabinoids such as CBD which do respond well to gentle heating.  

When we talk about bioavailability, we refer to the way in which the body absorbs the compound.  It’s believed that heating CBD and other compounds in the hemp plant make them more likely to absorb into the body and work their magic.  

It’s widely believed that the decarboxylation process allows for a more potent CBD experience.  That’s why the majority of CBD companies consider this process standard in terms of manufacturing.


Raw CBD has not been heated.  Therefore, the CBD and its accompanying compounds are in their natural state. 

Now, as we said earlier, CBD tends to become more bioavailable when heat is added to it. 

However, this process has the potential to damage the chemical integrity of other possibly beneficial compounds found in the hemp plant such as CBN and certain terpenes.

Raw CBD essentially supplies you with a wider range of plant material that’s in the hemp plant.  That’s because none of it has been damaged by the heating process.

Which is Better?

The truth is that no particular form is better than the other.  Like everything when it comes to CBD, which one is better is a matter of personal preference. 

However, before you make your decision, there are some things to take into consideration.

The “Entourage Effect”

The entourage effect refers to the way in which CBD that’s taken along with all of the other plant compounds found in hemp produces highly beneficial effects. 

It’s believed that when CBD is taken in combination with these other compounds, each compound multiplies the benefits of the others.  For this reason, many people prefer taking full spectrum CBD. 

Full spectrum CBD contains every single compound that naturally exists in the hemp plant, providing the body with all of the cannabinoids in addition to terpenes and other compounds that have unique healing properties.

Severity of Your Symptoms

Many believe that decarboxylated CBD is better suited for people trying to treat severe symptoms like panic disorder and severe arthritis pain

This is because the CBD is more bioavailable, meaning that it has more potent effects.  While raw CBD will give you a wider range of benefits, it probably won’t be as effective.

Sensitivity to CBD

Another factor to consider is your particular sensitivity to CBD.  Some people find that CBD makes them feel drowsy. 

If you’re trying to avoid that drowsy feeling, raw CBD might be better since it’s not as potent.

What You’re Trying to Get Out of Your CBD Experience

If you’re taking CBD to treat a particular issue, you might want to go with decarboxylated hemp. 

However, if you’re just trying to take it as a daily supplement for its wide variety of potential benefits, raw might be better.

How to Decide Which One is Right for You

In order to figure out which type of CBD is better for you, we suggest starting with CBD in its raw form and taking it each day for about a month. 

By the end of the month, you’ll have a good idea of its effects and whether or not it’s actually helping you.  If you feel like it’s not doing enough, you can move up to decarboxylated CBD.

What Really Matters

While it’s important to know the differences between raw and decarboxylated CBD, the truth is that there are many other factors that are even more important when it comes to the quality of your hemp experience. 

For instance, you should always go with a product that doesn’t contain any pesticides or chemical solvents.  A lab report on the company’s website will give you all the information that you need to know about potentially harmful additives that may be present in their hemp.

Also, you always want to make sure that you’re getting your CBD from a company that’s trusted throughout the community. 

There are lots of cheap CBD products out there that don’t really do much of anything in terms of providing you with the relief that you deserve. 

Never purchase a CBD product without researching the company beforehand.  Otherwise, you might end up wasting a lot of money for a product that doesn’t contain nearly enough CBD to help.

Next, the way in which you take your CBD is very important.  Vaping CBD is primarily for people who want quick relief throughout the day. 

If you suffer from sudden symptoms like panic attacks or migraines, a vape oil can probably help you very quickly.

However, if you’re looking to treat a symptom that persists all day, you want to go with a product that delivers more long-lasting effects. 

Choose a CBD edible or an oral tincture as these products can be taken early on in the day and provide results for hours at a time.  

Lastly, if you’re looking for relief from topical pain, consider buying a CBD-infused cream that can be massaged into the area. 

If you’re looking to use a topical product, whether the CBD is raw or decarboxylated doesn’t matter as much as you won’t be ingesting the plant material.

Knowledge is CBD Power

In order to choose a hemp product that can actually help you with what you need, knowing the difference between raw and decarboxylated CBD is essential.  These two products can deliver extremely different results.  However, remember that no one is better than the other.  Ultimately, it comes down to you and your body’s unique needs.


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