We already know that the raw cannabis plant is abundant in chemical compounds that the human body can benefit from. Besides cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes you can find cannabinoid acids.
These acids tend to be overlooked, however, they can provide strong therapeutic benefits. So let’s dive into this topic a little deeper and especially look more into what is THCA.
What is THC?
Tetrahydrocannabinol is the well-known compound of the Cannabis Plant, which is famous for its mind-altering effect. THC is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana and creates a feeling of euphoria. Some people seek out that feeling particular and others just deeply believe, that THC is great for pain management.
Since THC is illegal in most places of the world, so consumers, have to look for other, legal cannabinoids that can provide the same therapeutic effects.
That is where CBD or THCA can come into the picture.
So what is THCA?
THCA – Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid is a precursor of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), an active component of cannabis. Wikipedia To simply put THCA is the unheated form of THC, that can be found in the raw plant.
When we say raw, it means the cannabis flower that has not been cured, dried, or exposed to heat.
This can be tricky, because a minimal amount of heat or sunlight, can cause THCA to starts to break down and turn into THC.
The reason why THCA can turn so easily into THC is that they have almost entirely the same structure, besides one molecule. This molecule is Carbon Monoxide (Co2), which can make a huge difference.
THC vsTHCA: What is the difference?
So this might hard to believe, but the main difference is while THC makes you high, THCA doesn’t. Wait, What?!
Yes, so again THCA doesn’t make you high. How does that even possible? When you freshly harvest, the raw cannabis plant is rich in tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA). If you were to eat it in its fresh, raw form, for example in a salad, it would not make you high at all. You probably have heard that people lately like to incorporate cannabis in their cold press juice. This is because you can get all the benefits from the precursor cannabinoid acids.
As soon as you toss your herb into a cookie or a vaporizer and start to heat it, the one molecule (Co2) that makes the difference will break down and you will be left only with the psychoactive THC.
How come THCA doesn’t make me high?
This can sound super scientific, but we will try to break it down for you, so it can be easy to digest. As we mentioned before, THCA structure is only different than THC because of one molecule. THCA has a 3-dimensional shape, that can not bound to our cannabinoid receptors, specifically the CB1 receptor.
CB1 is expressed in the peripheral and central nervous system, and to get intoxicated, a cannabinoid, like THC must fit into the CB1 receptor.
When the raw plant is exposed to heat or light a process called decarboxylation, starts. During decarboxylation, the heat removes a carboxylic acid group of atoms from THCA. The break of this chemical structure results in THC.
THC now can easily find its way through our endocannabinoid system (ECS) into our central nervous system, causing us to get high like a kite.
Why should I consume THCA?
The “why” is pretty important. THCA carries numerous health benefits. However medical researches and fairly new in this topic, there are new information gets revealed every day.
As of now, we believe that THCA might be an effective neuroprotectant, so it might play an important part in treating multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease. It also can stimulate appetite, which can be beneficial for patients with anorexia nervosa. Research also shows that THC-A may help to slow the proliferation of cancerous cells. It also has powerful anti-inflammatory, and antispasmodic properties.
How should I consume THCA?
You might wonder, if minimum heat and light exposure can break down THCA, how can I actually consume it without risking getting intoxicated.
Juicing or Blending raw buds and leaves: You can get the best result if you find a high THC strain. Better if it’s fresh, but you can get away with the dry one as well. Add it to your juicer or blender with your daily juice or shake and enjoy the benefits.
THC Crystalline: Crystalline is a concentrate that is 95% of THCA, so it is almost pure. It’s a crystal-like texture kinda looks like crushed salt. Since THCA Crystalline is not yet active, it can be eaten without the psychoactive qualities. Beware, that If you were to heat it will turn into pure THC. You can sprinkle it onto food, or pack it in capsules to get the most out of it without breaking any law.
THCA rich Topicals: These are creams and balms that are mostly used for skin irritation, rushes, or to ease the pain of sore muscles and bruises.
THCA Tincture: You can also find high-quality tinctures on the market. You can use them just like you do with any other tinctures. Few drops under the tongue and you are good to go. Again, the most important thing is to not t heat them, just use them as is.
To sum it up…
THCA is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid acid, that can be found in raw, and live cannabis. THCA is the primary metabolite of THC. As soon as it starts to dry out or get heated, THCA breaks down into THC.
If you consume it in its raw, uncured form it won’t get you high, but it will provide you with plenty of health benefits. The tricky part is you got to handle it carefully since it might show up on a drug test, even if you consumed it in the right way and didn’t get intoxicated from it. THCA can be found in strains, that are high in THC, and those can be still illegal in certain states.
But all together THCA can be great for you, so if you can get your hands on it with no problem, you should give it a shot.