What is THCA and what are the benefits of this cannabinoid?
Cannabis plants produce over 100 different cannabinoids, all of which contribute to how a smoking, vaping, edible, or topical experience will affect you. While you may not realize it, THCA is a part of the plant, and it’s time you learn more about it.
What is THCA?
THCA is the acidic form of THC, full name: tetrahydrocannabinolic acid. As a cannabis plant matures and its buds grow, its terpene and cannabinoid content begin to develop. The first cannabinoid the plant will develop is CBGA, also called the “mother of all cannabinoids” because it will eventually break down and produce primary cannabinoids, like THCA and CBDA.
THCA is not intoxicating if ingested. Chemically, it has an additional molecular carboxyl ring, which prevents it from binding to receptors in the brain responsible for feeling high.
You may be thinking, ‘what’s the point if it doesn’t get me stoned?’ But without THCA, we wouldn’t have THC or the numerous health benefits attributed to it.
When THCA is exposed to heat, such as when smoking, vaping, dabbing, or cooking, it will convert into the intoxicating, beloved cannabinoid THC.
THC vs. THCA
The biggest difference between THCA and THC is that THCA does not produce the intoxicating effects that THC does. However, THCA must be heated to create THC, through smoking, vaping, dabbing, or cooking for edibles. This conversion alters the molecular structure of THCA by removing a carboxyl ring. This also helps THC bind to CB1 receptors in our bodies.
Effects-wise, THCA and THC overlap in some areas. Both have potential to treat nausea, but THCA shows far more promise for addressing inflammation. On the flip side, because THCA isn’t intoxicating, some may find it less effective for sleep than activated THC. And while THC isn’t recommended for seizure disorders, THCA may show some promise in addressing those conditions.