Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid that has been found to have therapeutic effects despite its young age of study. You’ve undoubtedly heard of THC, but THCA has unique characteristics. THCA is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid present in raw and living cannabis. As the plant dries, THCA converts to THC gradually. Decarboxylation occurs when you smoke or vaporize flowers, and it’s a fancy word for what happens when you do so.
Cannabinoids are a group of compounds that occur in the cannabis plant. Researchers claim there may be hundreds of additional chemicals in addition to terpenes and flavonoids. However, because marijuana is prohibited, studies into its characteristics are limited. We know about THC and CBD because they’re the two most prevalent cannabinoids, generally speaking.
It appears to be a given that these are two of the few cannabinoids with medical applications. In reality, however, limited research on other chemicals paints a different picture.
This suggests that cannabis and hemp compounds function better together than they do alone. This is known as the ‘entourage effect.’
It’s also conceivable that individual cannabinoids and terpenes have unique applications. There are hundreds of non-intoxicating cannabinoids in cannabis, as well as a number that might cause a high. Of course, aside from THC, there isn’t enough of any intoxicating cannabinoid to produce this effect alone.
The endocannabinoid system is a group of natural chemicals that work in the brain and body to support homeostasis. In recent years, researchers have been studying what effects cannabinoids have on this system. One cannabinoid that’s gaining attention is THCA. We look into it and see how it differs from THC in this article
What Is THCA?
THC is the most well-known chemical in cannabis. It’s the molecule that gives people such a euphoric high. Modern breeders have been known to create crops with as much THC as possible. What many individuals aren’t aware of is that only trace amounts of the substance may be found in raw marijuana.
It’s possible to decarboxylate cannabis by exposing it to heat. The function of vaporizing or smoking marijuana is completed automatically by the process. Drying and curing the buds may also be used to ‘decarb’ them. This technique, on the other hand, takes a long time.
The acid found in the cannabis plant, CBD, is non-psychoactive and lacks the same effects as THC. The Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDa) cannabinoid found in hemp does not bind effectively to CB1 receptors and has very low affinity for other CB receptors. The second most abundant cannabinoid in cannabis after THC, it is nicknamed “the good stuff” because of its wide range of medical applications. It’s sometimes marketed as a nutritional supplement or pain medication. Its chemical name is cannabigerol; its common names are CBG, cannabigerolic acid, or simply “CBGA.” Both CBD and THCA are acidic compounds that produce little if any psychoactivity when consumed. While THC and THCA
THCA’s primary cannabinoid, CBDA, does not cause any psychoactive or mind-altering effects. This is why you could theoretically eat a large quantity of uncooked marijuana buds and only feel mildly altered.
THCA, on the other hand, is not inactive when it comes to its impact on humans. Instead of producing a psychedelic high, it may have dozens of health advantages, including an analgesic (pain-relieving), anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective profile.
THCA is produced from CBGA, just like THC and other cannabinoids. The enzymes in plants convert CBGA into one of three cannabinoid precursor chemicals as they grow: THCA, CBDA, and CBCA.
Cannabinoids are acids with two carboxylic acid groups, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Cannabinoid acids include THC and CBD. THCA, on the other hand, has an unshaped three-dimensional structure that prevents it from fitting into cannabinoid receptors, particularly CB1 receptors. The reason why cannabis makes you high is because it fits into your CB1 receptors. When THCA is cooked at high temperatures (particularly when smoked or vaped), it transforms into THC. At this stage, it causes a feeling of euphoria.
What Properties Does THCA Possess?
To begin, it is important to issue a disclaimer of sorts. There isn’t enough research on THCA to say what it can do. That said, the studies that have looked at cannabinoids in general have yielded favorable results. It has been suggested that THCA promotes hunger in a similar way to THC. It acts as a cannabinoid receptor without being psychoactive, and it may provide neuroprotective benefits.
Here’s a more comprehensive list of THCA’s possible characteristics. Keep in mind that we still need considerably more study:
- Helps with insomnia
- Modulates the immune system
There have been a few research papers published on the benefits of THCA. Ruhaak et al., writing in Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin in 2011, studied six cannabinoids for this study. The researchers wanted to see if these cannabinoids had anti-inflammatory effects. They discovered that THCA has anti-inflammatory characteristics.
The study by Moldzio et al., which was published in Phytomedicine in June 2012, investigated the effects of THC and THCA. According to the findings, THCA may help protect against neurodegenerative disorders.
In July 2013, researchers from the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Rocky Mountain Poison Center published a study in the British Journal on Pharmacology. THCA and CBDA were proven to be helpful in decreasing vomiting and nausea. In fact, their effectiveness exceeded that of THC and CBD. The research was conducted on mice, but it was still exciting.
But, as you can see by the dates of these studies, there has been little recent research. Scientists have a difficult enough time obtaining money to conduct THC and CBD tests!
What are THCA’s Effects and Benefits?
There isn’t enough research on THCA to determine what it can cure and in what degree of effectiveness, but preliminary study and anecdotal evidence suggest that it will have a major role in cannabis medicine as the industry grows. Here are some of the potential advantages that studies are now revealing:
- Anti-inflammatory properties for treatment of arthritis and lupus
- Neuroprotective properties for treatment of neurodegenerative diseases
- Anti-emetic properties for treatment of nausea and appetite loss
- Anti-proliferative properties noted in studies of prostate cancer
Insomnia, muscular spasms, and pain are other possible medicinal uses supported by patient testimonies. Unfortunately, further research will be required to validate all of the aforementioned advantages before we can fully comprehend what THCA means for cannabinoid-based drugs in the future.
How To Use THCA?
How can you utilize THCA’s medical capabilities while avoiding smoking it and converting it to THC? Trimming raw cannabis buds and ‘juicing’ the plant material is one approach. On this website, we offer a great raw cannabis smoothie recipe. It’s a quick and easy method to get the most out of THCA.
To make THCA Tea, place the cannabis in a pan with enough water to cover it by about an inch. Simmer for at least one hour or until desired strength is reached. Steep in hot water for around 15 minutes and then strain.
It’s crucial not to expose the cannabis to temperatures above 250 degrees Fahrenheit, as this will cause it to break down into THC. According to Dr. William Courtney of the Cannabis International Network, raw cannabis contains 1,000 times more therapeutic cannabinoid acids (THCA) than smoked or vaporized cannabis (i.e., THC).
CBD has some of the same traits as THC oil, according to research. It also does not cause intoxication. Check out this article on CBD hemp oil for more information. Proponents claim that it may help with sleep, pain, and anxiety relief.
Can You Smoke THCA?
Theoretically, if THCA is exposed to heat, the answer would be yes. When THCA is heated to 212 degrees Fahrenheit for four hours, it will convert into THC completely. If you burn or vaporize raw cannabis, THCA will be lost.
When THC is smoked or vaped, it transforms into THCA. You’re also aware that when cannabis is dried and cured, the conversion process slows down. However, there are other techniques for decarboxylation to occur:
- Leave THCA out in the open for long enough and it will convert into THC. Keeping THCA exposed to 77 degrees for ten days in olive oil, for example, results in 22% of THCA becoming THC. This percentage increases to 67 percent when using ethanol as a solvent. Even marijuana kept under low light conditions can turn 20% of its THCA into THC after time.
- The following information applies to both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.
- A Convection Oven: When decarbing cannabis using a convection oven is one of the most typical strategies. Place the raw cannabis on a piece of parchment paper and bake it at 230°F for 30 minutes to 90 minutes, depending on the bud’s moisture level. It might take as little as 30 minutes but it can also take 90 minutes or more.
Why Do Dispensaries Label THCA Content?
Have you ever seen your dispensary label the amount of THCA in a strain rather than the amount of THC? As a result, when computing a strain’s potency, it must be taken into account.
The most common technique to assess marijuana strength is by gas chromatography. The plant material you’re testing is heated in this method. During this procedure, decarbs and decarbines THC. The percentage of the drug’s potency is determined by calculating the percentage of THCA in the plant material. That’s at least the goal with this technique.
In reality, cannabis decarboxylation and reduction result in a significant weight loss. THCA molecules lose a lot of their carbonyl groups as a consequence of the heating and decarbing procedures. This formula may be used to estimate the amount of THC present in marijuana:
THC = (% THCA) x (Final Mass/Initial Mass) + (% THC)
For others, the formula above represents a “maximum” THC level. When you smoke marijuana, however, not all THCA converts into THC. It’s absurd to assume that 30% THCA equals 30% THC. When you smoke any given strain, anywhere from 30% to 70% of the THCA isn’t changed to THC.
The plant matter in cannabis has a lot of THCA when it is raw. When you decarboxylate it, this chemical is converted into THC, the psychotropic cannabinoid that provides an intoxicating high. There isn’t much of a difference between the two in terms of molecular structure. However, their end effects on the human body and brain are significantly different. THCA does not produce intoxication.
Despite this, advocates of raw marijuana claim it has a number of health advantages. Another point to consider is whether you want to learn more about this sort of cannabis. Just keep in mind that high temperatures will cause the THCA to be “replaced” by THC. You may try THCA by putting together a raw weed smoothie or as a leafy green!