THC is the most famous and well-studied cannabinoid due to its psychotropic effects, but it wouldn’t exist without THCA, its progenitor. You can buy more products in our store. So, what’s the difference between THC and THCA, and why aren’t there more definitive findings on the impact of THCA?
What is THCA?
The acronym THCA stands for tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, and it is the substance that leads to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). When cannabis is growing, it forms carboxylic acids as cannabinoid metabolites that are then transformed into non-acidic substances during decarboxylation. Almost all cannabinoids begin their existence in an acidic form with varying structures and effects from those of their non-acidic versions.
Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), which is present in high amounts in fresh cannabis, but unstable under controlled storage conditions and when exposed to light and/or heat, readily decarboxylates into THC. In fact, one THCA research revealed that “THCA decarboxylates even when stored between 4 and 18 degrees Celsius (39-64 degrees Fahrenheit), so THC contamination in THCA is almost unavoidable.” This THC contamination even among pure extracts makes lab tests based only on CBDA so hard to interpret.
What does THCA do?
THCA is non-psychoactive, which means you don’t get a “high” when you consume it. Because THCA does not bind to CB1 receptors, the receptors with a strong binding affinity for THC, this is the case. (For more information on cannabinoids and their receptors, see our blog post How Marijuana Functions in the Body). THCA research revealed that while THDelta binds modestly to both of the two major cannabinoid receptors
Although the presence of other cannabinoids, particularly CBD, is essential for certain types of cannabis products, such as edibles or tinctures, extracts that are primarily made up of THCA have been shown in studies to have anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties. THCA has also been proven to decrease nausea and vomiting.
What are THCA’s Effects and Benefits?
There isn’t enough research on THCA to conclusively determine what it can cure and with what degree of effectiveness, but preliminary study and personal testimonies suggest that it will be a vital component in cannabis therapy as the industry develops. Here are some of the potential advantages that studies have begun to show:
- Anti-inflammatory properties have been found for arthritis and lupus
- Neuroprotective chemicals may be used to treat neurodegenerative diseases
- Anti-emetic effects of quinine include treatment of nausea and appetite loss
- In studies of prostate cancer, anti-proliferative effects have been noted
Insomnia, muscular spasms, and pain are all possible medical possibilities supported by individual accounts. Unfortunately, further research will be necessary to establish all of the above advantages before we can fully comprehend what THCA means for cannabinoid-based medicine in the future.
Where can I Find THCA?
The amount of THC present in the highest-THC marijuana strain that has not yet been decarboxylated is THCA, and these amounts are particularly high as a live or freshly harvested plant. As a result, raw cannabis ingredients are commonly juiced for their THCA effects (sweet potato pear smoothie anyone?).
Products such as Present Naturals and Mary’s Medicinals transdermal patches are marketed specifically for their THCA content. Without the danger of psychoactive effects, products like these provide benefits from THCA without the need for prescription drugs. As THCA becomes more popular, we’ll likely see additional items like this emerge.
How THCA Becomes THC
The short answer is that it’s decarboxylated. The process of decarboxylation, or heating and light, is the key. The chemical structure of THC is altered by heat, making it a good fit for our endocannabinoid system (ECS) and CB1 receptors in our brains, which allow for the pleasurable high that we’ve come to know.
While THCA does not cause intoxication, some people consider fresh, raw, unprocessed cannabis to be a superfood. You’ve undoubtedly heard of juicing marijuana or combining it with other fruits and vegetables in order to increase your health. There’s a reason for that.
Raw cannabis, like avocados, kale, Greek yogurt, green tea, and garlic, has the ability to help with arthritis, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, and other disorders.
The non-psychoactive cannabinoid CBD, which is found in cannabis plants, has been shown to have a variety of medicinal benefits and is commonly used as a nutritional supplement and dietary supplement for the following reasons:
Anti-inflammatory. According to a 2011 research published in the Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, as well as other cannabinoids, THCA has anti-inflammatory abilities in laboratory experiments. THCA’s anti-inflammatory qualities make it an excellent candidate for treating fatty liver disease in a 2021 study involving mice.
Neuroprotective. According to a study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology in 2017, THCV’s ability to help prevent neurodegenerative diseases has been verified.
Anti-emetic. This is the degree of hunger and nausea that can be reduced. According to a study published in the journal Psychopharmacology in 2020, both THCA and CBDA were successful in reducing nausea and vomiting in rat models, compared to THC and CBD.
Anti-obesity. THCA reduced fat mass and increased lean mass in a mouse study published in the journal Biochemical Pharmacology, according to a 2015 research. THCA’s apparent ability to reduce obesity and disease such as diabetes and fatty liver disease was reported in a 2010 study. Because all of the previous discoveries require further exploration, any definitive conclusions should be taken with caution.
The Effects of Tetrahydrocannabinol on the Body:
THCa has been studied in terms of its effects on the body, and preliminary findings have already emerged. Although no assertions may be made about this cannabinoid component, here is a summary of its effects on the body:
- In other words, it appears to be an anti-emetic, i.e., it reduces vomiting, nausea, and loss of appetite;
- It appears to have an impact on neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s in the same way that CBD does;
- The anti-inflammatory effects of Vitamin C are utilized in practice for the treatment of a variety of illnesses and conditions;
- Finally, it would be a helpful anti-proliferant to stop prostate cancer cells from growing.
Understanding the Difference between THCa and THC
In practical terms, THCa is the psychoactive chemical present in cannabis that has not yet been transformed into a recreational drug. Cannabis use is prohibited in France due to its detrimental influence on the economy, health, and violence in society.
CBN is a unique cannabinoid found in cannabis plants. THC and CBN are the two primary cannabinoid chemicals found in marijuana, but they have entirely different effects. Since CBN does not appear to have the same psychotropic properties as THC.
Although, for the time being, 9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid is not permitted, CBD is currently the only thing that may do so. However, preliminary findings of study tend to suggest it as a natural substance containing active components that are beneficial to the body.