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What is THCA?

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Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) is an acidic and non-psychoactive cannabinoid that is abundant in raw cannabis. When THCA is exposed to THC, it undergoes decarboxylation and converts into THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid. Consequently, juicing raw cannabis is a popular way of consuming THCA.

Effects and Benefits of THCA

Research has shown that THCA has remarkable therapeutic effects and benefits. However, most of the said research is still preliminary and necessitates randomized studies for confirmation.

One research demonstrated THCA’s  neuroprotective effects in an in vivo model. From this study the researchers made the following conclusion:

“THCA shows potent neuroprotective activity, which is worth considering for the treatment of Huntington’s disease and possibly other neurodegenerative and neuro-inflammatory diseases.”

This study highlighted potential benefits in addressing conditions such as:

  •         Huntington’s disease
  •         Alzheimer’s disease
  •         Parkinson’s disease

A different study showed that THCA has possible anticonvulsant benefits. However, the researchers in this study acknowledged that the “unstable nature” of THCA could potentially hinder drug development if the molecule is not first stabilized.

THCA has also shown potential in the management of nausea induced vomiting and anorexia nervosa. Most recently, research has demonstrated that THC-A has anticancer effects that limit tumor growth.

The exact mechanisms of how THCA exerts its therapeutic benefits are speculative. One study showed that the THCA has a weak affinity for both CB1 and CB2 receptors.

There isn’t sufficient evidence on THCA to conclusively state what it can treat and with what level of efficacy. However, the preliminary evidence serves as a basis for further exploration of medicinal cannabis research.

What’s the Difference Between THC and THCA?

Cannabis has over 100 different cannabinoids; THC and THCA are among them. The two have striking similarities but are not one and the same thing. The “A” in THCA connotes that this compound is in an acidic form. The acidic nature makes the major difference between THC and THCA.

In reality, all cannabinoids in cannabis are first found in their acidic forms. Other examples of acidic cannabinoids include CBGA and CBDA.

When cannabis is stored for prolonged durations or exposed to heat, the acidic phytocannabinoids degrade and give rise to their active (non-acidic) forms. This process is referred to as decarboxylation. THCA, in this case, converts to THC.

The chemical composition V and structure of THC allows it to have a high affinity for the CB1 receptors, which are predominant in the higher centers. This makes THC psychoactive. THCA does not have such properties, and hence it is non-psychoactive.

How is THCA Made?

THCA is found naturally in raw cannabis.

THCA isolate is made by eliminating all impurities through an exceptional refinement process, leaving behind a pure white THCA powder in its unadulterated form. When exposed to heat, THCA easily converts into THC. However, when it is not exposed to heat, it will remain in its raw acidic form that does not induce euphoria.

How to Consume THCA

Before choosing the best way to consume THCA, you should first ask yourself if you want it to decarboxylate or not. In this case, you are also asking yourself if you’re going to get intoxicated or not. If all you want to do is enjoy pure THCA, you should avoid consumption methods that will decarboxylate the THCA. This includes all the processes that involve heating.

 

Smoking

You can smoke cannabis flowers that have high amounts of THCA. You can take the THCA powder, roll it into a joint and proceed to take a puff. Alternatively, you can dab it. However, the moment you heat THCA, it will change into THC.

Suppose you prefer not to feel a psychoactive high and are looking for THCA for potential calming impacts therapeutic purposes. In that case, there is a broad scope of eatable items planned explicitly for managing THCA in its simple structure, including:

Juicing

Yes, you can squeeze your crude cannabis leaves like any other vegetable and make a smoothie. This technique permits you to remove the most THCA that is available in the leaves. You can also freeze cannabis juice and thaw it out whenever you want to have some more.

What dose of THCA will work for me?

The short response to dosing THCA will consistently be: start with a small amount and titrate upwards until you find your individual ‘sweet spot.’

Is THCA Psychoactive?

THCA is not psychoactive. This means that it does not trigger euphoria. That said, once cannabis is heated, vaporized, or cooked, it goes through decarboxylation, which transforms the non-psychoactive THCA into psychoactive THC.

Is THCA a Controlled Substance?

THCA is a metabolite of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is the primary psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis. Under federal law, THC is classified as Schedule I under the Controlled Substances Act, thus, its analogs could be construed to be illegal.

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Lydia K. (Bsc. RN) is a cannabis writer, which, considering where you’re reading this, makes perfect sense. Currently, she is a regular writer for Mace Media. In the past, she has written for MyBud, RX Leaf & Dine Magazine (Canada), CBDShopy (UK) and Cannavalate & Pharmadiol (Australia). She is best known for writing epic news articles and medical pieces. Occasionally, she deviates from news and science and creates humorous articles. And boy doesn't she love that! She equally enjoys ice cream, as should all right-thinking people.

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