THCA and Its Benefits
Indeed, cannabis contains hundreds and hundreds of active compounds — 60 of which are cannabinoids. However, it seems that many people think that all of them serves the purpose of psychoactivity.
But in truth, most of cannabis’ compounds work together to create a synergistic effect that provides therapeutic benefits that the plant is so well known for. With that said, there are a few molecular differences that account for radical changes in the way these compounds affect us.
Generally, cannabis produces all cannabinoids in acid form. One is called THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) — the acid form of THC. However, when it comes to marijuana, as many think of it, THCA is considered non-psychoactive and won’t get you high.
Instead, it’s said the cannabinoid acid could provide a bounty of health benefits. What exactly does all of this mean though, and how can it have a positive impact on one’s life? Read on to learn more about this cannabinoid acid and what current research is saying about its benefits.
What is THCA and can I smoke it?
When not exposed to heat, the cannabis plant contains resin glands that are rich in cannabinoid acids. In terms of chemical structure, THC and THCA are almost identical, however, cannabinoid acids such as THC found in raw cannabis can’t get you high alone, as they don’t contain psychoactive properties.
speaking, you wouldn’t get high at all if you decide to eat a bunch of raw cannabis buds. In order to experience a high from cannabis, THCA must first be broken down into the psychoactive THC.
Unlike THCA, THC is not actually present in raw cannabis plants. But, when the flower buds from a raw cannabis plant are cut off dried and aged, THCA will slowly convert to THC. Over time, this will become a natural process, in which, the flower will dry out and eventually become cured.
To exponentially speed up the process, decarboxylation is used — a term used to describe the rapid transformation of THCA to THC via combusting or vaporizing the buds. Until THCA has been fully converted to THC, only then, are psychoactive effects delivered.
The thermal stability of THCA is pretty iffy. Considering what we’ve discussed (how THCA gets converted into THC as soon as you fire it up), it makes no sense to say that you can smoke or vape a cannabis strain containing high levels of THCA.
Now, if you don’t intend on heating cannabis and prompting the decarboxylation, you might be wondering how you can benefit from consuming THCA found in cannabis – uncured and unheated. While we are in the early stages, research already suggests that THCA delivers immense medical and therapeutic benefits minus the high.
What Are the Benefits?
Without undergoing the decarboxylation process, THCA is closer to active than inactive in terms of the effect that it has on humans, as it contains little to no THC. When there is no heat or pressure applied, THCA in uncarboxylated cannabis can be placed in a drink or meal without making any changes in cognitive function.
This is great news for those who desire the medical applications of THCA without the psychoactivity. Science has discovered the following benefits:
Whether smoked or vaporized, there are a lot of people who have turned to cannabis for help in alleviating symptoms of nausea. But, there’s some evidence
that suggests THCA found in raw cannabis might also be able to help provide relief and also counterbalance feelings of wanting to vomit and even loss of appetite.
Inflammation is our bodies natural response to protect itself against injury, stress or illness. However, when in a constant inflammatory state, the body can suffer from a range of diseases and mental health issues, left untreated. This is why it’s important to note that, like many of cannabis’ compounds, THCA has been thought to be a powerful anti-inflammatory.
According to a study
published by the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, it would appear that THCA has the capability of interacting with the TRPA 1 receptor — involved in the detection of pain and cold-evoked sensations.
In other words, this particular receptor allows us to avoid certain temperatures, respond to pain, and even itching. This may mean that THCA may be able to reduce pain, cramps, spasms, and possibly more with continued research.
Antioxidants protect our bodies from harmful toxins, and while there are a number of them found in raw cannabis, THCA is the most prominent one. Although more research is needed, in a 2017 study
, THCA was found to be an effective neuroprotectant that addressed damage caused by neurotoxins.
This suggests that it could potentially be used to help with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
To summarize everything we’ve learned here, the difference between THC and THCA ultimately comes down to heat. As we said, there’s little research conducted on the effects of raw cannabis’ THCA.
But, if we pursue a deeper understanding of how human interacts with cannabinoids, we may be able to see an increased integration of cannabis in our daily diets to reap the benefits of the medicinal plant.