Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCa)
What is THCa? Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, or THCa is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in raw and live cannabis, which actually exists in only minute quantities in the living plant. The non-psychoactivity of this cannabinoid is the main reason why ingesting cannabis in its raw form is unpopular among recreational users. Cannabis users however, are more likely to medicate using THCa since it possesses the same therapeutic benefits as THC without the high.
THCa is the acidic precursor to THC. As cannabis dries, THCa slowly converts to THC. Alternatively, being exposed to heat and sunlight will also THCa is converted to THC. Heat expedites this conversion through a process known as decarboxylation. Another way to convert THCa to THC is to store the plants; cannabis is cured to convert the THCa into THC, as well as drying it out to make it easier to burn, thus releasing the remaining THCa as THC.
What are THCa’s Effects and Benefits?
There isn’t enough research on THCa to definitively state what it can treat and with what degree of efficacy, but preliminary research and anecdotal evidence suggest that THCa will play a pivotal role in cannabis medicine as the industry propels forward. THCa stimulates the appetite like THC; it acts as a cannabinoid receptor agonist (a chemical that binds to a receptor and activates the receptor to produce a biological response), and in so doing helps in its neuroprotective (brain protection) effects, it is also a powerful anti-inflammatory, helps fight cancer and other tumors, aids with sleep, and more. Here are some of the potential benefits studies have started to unveil:
- Analgesic – Relieves pain.
- Anti-Emetic – Reduces vomiting, nausea, and and appetite loss.
- Anti-Inflammatory – Reduces inflammation; for treatment of arthritis and lupus.
- Anti-Insomnia – Aids with sleep.
- Anti-Proliferative – Inhibits cancer cell growth; noted in studies of prostate cancer.
- Antispasmodic – Suppresses muscle spasms.
- Modulates Immune System – THCa has been shown to both improve and potentially suppress the immune system functions.
- Neuroprotective – Slows damage to the nervous system and brain; for treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.
Where Can I Find THCa?
Every high-THC strain that has not yet been decarboxylated contains THCa, and these cannabinoid levels are particularly high as a live or freshly harvested plant.
We hope we’ve answered your question of what is THCa. If not, you can always speak to any one of FARM’s knowledgable budtenders for dosing information, and other THCa alternatives.