In recent years, THCA has gained momentum in regards to its popularity because of its health benefits, which are varied from those of THC and even CBD. Check out the information below to gain a better understanding of THCA.
For a more hands-on explanation of the benefits, or recommendations for products, be sure to head on into your local weed dispensary.
THC’s PrecursorOne of the easiest ways to understand THCA is to think of it as the precursor to, or the earliest stage of, THC. Contrary to popular belief, if you consume raw or live cannabis – as in, eat the plant straight from the ground or even eat raw nuggets – you will not get high. That is because in order to have the psychoactive effects, cannabis must be dried out or heated.
If you leave the plant out to dry, or if you expedite the process and use heat, THCA slowly converts to THC. If you use heat, the process is known as decarboxylation, which simply describes what happens when you smoke or vaporize flower. So whether that’s in an oven baking your favorite edibles, or smoking flower using a lighter and a pipe or a blunt, heating THCA turns it to THC, giving you the psychoactive effects.
THCA BenefitsSo now that you know the process and what THCA is, how does it help?
While research on THCA and its health benefits is fairly in the early stages of development, from what has been gathered in recent years, there is solid evidence that points to THCA being a pivotal part of cannabis-related medicine as the industry makes leaps and bounds moving forward. In the preliminary studies, researchers have unearthed some of the following benefits:
- Anti-Inflammatory: THCA possesses anti-inflammatory properties that could help aid in the treatment of such diseases as arthritis and lupus. In a 2021 study using mice, THCA also showed great potential as a treatment for fatty liver disease thanks to its ability to work as an anti-inflammatory.
- Neuroprotective properties: If you have a family history of neurodegenerative diseases, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s, THCA could contain neuroprotective properties to help slow or prevent the development of these diseases.
- Anti-emetic: For those who suffer from chronic nausea or appetite loss, THCA has anti-emetic properties to help counter some of these issues. In another study done on rats, THCA was more effective in reducing nausea symptoms than CBD or THC.
- Anti-proliferative: THCA also has anti-proliferative qualities as well, which means that it can help inhibit the growth of cancer cells that are responsible for creating tumors. Notable studies have been conducted in regards to it aiding in prostate cancer.
However, with all of these benefits, more studies need to be done to solidify their medicinal abilities.
The LegalityMuch like CBD, opting for THCA products is a great choice for those who would like to utilize the health benefits, but don’t want any of the psychoactive effects from THC. However, unlike CBD, THCA can only be used or consumed in states where THC is legal. So before making a purchase of any kind, be sure to check out this list to see where your state lands on various cannabis laws. As of 2021, the FDA still lists marijuana as a Schedule I drug. According to the FDA website, this is “due to its high potential for abuse, which is attributable in large part to the psychoactive effects of THC, and the absence of a currently accepted medical use of the plant in the United States and Canada”. So, for the time being, if your state outlaws THC, it is best to avoid THCA as well. If CBD is legal where you live, try harnessing the healing properties of CBD instead, which also has many medical benefits without any of the psychoactive effects. Keep in mind that chemically speaking, CBD and THCA are still different, as one is a cannabinoid and one is an acid.
Where Is THCA Found?Every high strain of THC that has not yet gone through the decarboxylated process contains THCA. Here, these cannabinoid levels are just about as high as a freshly harvested or live cannabis plant. Because of this, raw cannabis parts can actually be juiced and used in health smoothies, capturing the benefits of THCA.
If it’s legal in your area, search around for a juice or smoothie bar that specializes in making THCA or cannabis-infused drinks. Not only are you sure to find something delicious, but also comes with a myriad of health benefits as well.