By this time, you’ve probably heard about THC, but did you know that THC has an inactive, non-psychoactive relative known as tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA)?
THCA is a cannabinoid from the cannabis plant discovered in recent years for its medicinal benefits and ability to produce beneficial effects without inducing a ‘high.’
Still, not many people talk about this special cannabinoid today and how it can significantly improve our health and well-being.
Curious about what’s so special about THCA?
Stay with us, and we will cover everything you need to know about THCA, the benefits it possesses, and how you can use it for yourself.
What is THCA?
THCA stands for tetrahydrocannabinolic acid.
It is the raw, non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis known as the acidic form of tetrahydrocannabinol, more commonly known as THC.
THCA and THC share many similarities. However, they are not the same thing.
The difference between THCA and THC is an extra carboxyl ring (COOH).
As the cannabis plant matures, it starts converting CBGA to three major cannabinoid precursor compounds: tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), and cannabichromenic acid (CBCA).
How does THCA Become THC?
In order to activate THCA and convert it into THC, it must be exposed to light and heat in a process called decarboxylation.
When THCA is exposed to heat, it loses its acidic carboxyl group to become THC. This reaction occurs when you light up a joint, vaporize cannabis or activate it inside a lab.
Many people also decarboxylate their cannabis by heating it in the oven.
You can do so by placing cannabis on a baking sheet and heating it for about 40 minutes in a 230-degree oven. And voila, you have your THCA converted to THC.
Potential Benefits of THCA
Researchers are investigating THCA’s effects and potential uses for the following conditions:
According to a 2011 study, THCA demonstrates anti-inflammatory properties along with other cannabinoids in the treatment of arthritis and lupus. What’s more, in 2017, THCA was observed again for its anti-inflammatory properties and was found to be effective in treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
In a 2012 study published in Phytomedicine, researchers found that THCA possessed neuroprotective properties.
Another 2017 study has also outlined that THCA shows potent neuroprotective activity that can be used in treatment for Huntington’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
Nausea and Appetite Loss
According to a 2013 study, THCA reduces nausea and helps with appetite loss like THC.
The research suggests that THCA may be a more potent alternative to THC in treating nausea and vomiting. This means that patients can medicate THCA without the psychoactive effects caused by THC.
How to Consume THCA
You can find THCA in raw, uncured cannabis flower.
Since smoking and vaping THCA converts it to THC, it is also not common to use these methods for taking advantage of beneficial THCA effects.
Here’re some of the best methods to consume THCA:
THCA topicals include products such as creams and balms infused with THCA.
When applied to the skin, THCA works through the receptors located in our body to calm pain and inflammation and help with muscle spasms.
THCA diamonds are one of the purest and most potent extracts on the market.
Containing levels of THCA as high as 99%, this cannabis extract can be used to deliver potent highs or eaten without decarboxylating it.
Without decarboxylation, THCA diamonds keep all of the effects of THCA and don’t cause a high.
However, if you want to medicate with psychoactive properties, you can vape or dab THCA diamonds to experience an immediate high.
Juicing Raw Cannabis
Making cannabis juice is also another popular way to consume THCA. What’s great about it is that the process is relatively simple.
To make cannabis juice, you will need cannabis leaves and some fruit juice to cut any bitterness.
Simply push the leaves through a juicer and mix them with your favourite fruit juice to enhance the flavour.
THCA – The Elusive Cannabinoid
THCA does not receive as much attention as other cannabinoids such as THC and CBD do.
The reasoning may be that research on THCA is still limited, meaning that we will hopefully see more research coming on this cannabis compound in the next few years.
However, it does not mean that this special cannabinoid is without its own uses and a wealth of medical potential.
THCA’s effects range from treating nausea and appetite loss to helping with inflammation and treating neurodegenerative disorders.
If you want to try THCA for yourself, look for products such as raw cannabis tinctures, raw cannabis edibles and cannabis flower that has not been dried or cured.
You can also consume THCA through raw cannabis juicing.