The non-intoxicating effects of THCA are a big part of the reason that fresh, raw, unheated cannabis is a superfood. You may have heard of juicing cannabis or adding raw cannabis to smoothies for health enhancement. There’s good reason.
Here are the most common ways that weed is decarboxylated:
Conventional oven: When making edibles, you’ll want to activate, or decarboxylate, the weed before adding it to the butter, oil, or other medium. When weed gets ground up, spread evenly across a baking sheet that’s lined with parchment paper, and is baked at 230 degrees Fahrenheit, or 110 degrees Celsius, for 30-90 minutes (depending on the bud’s moisture content), it slowly converts most THCA into THC.
THCA is a cannabinoid that until recently has been closely compared to THC. Though THCA doesn’t get one high and THC certainly does, there is a relation: THCA is the precursor to psychoactive THC effects .
The human body is not capable of converting THCA into THC.
Room temperature conversion: THCA also converts to THC when stored at room temperature for a long enough time. In olive oil, 22% of THCA will convert over the course of 10 days at 77 degrees Fahrenheit, or 25 degrees Celsius. Under the same conditions, 67% will convert in an ethanol extraction. And over time, cannabis stored at room temperature and with little light exposure, will convert 20% of its THCA into THC.
It’s commonly assumed that during the marijuana plant’s growth process that it is ramping up THC levels until ripe for the picking, but the primary cannabinoid being produced is actually THCA. How does THCA become THC?
Most cannabinoids, including cannabidiol ( CBD ), cannabigerol (CBG), and tetrahydrocannabivarin ( THCV ), are in the acidic form (CBDA, CBGA , and THCVA) when cannabis is harvested. The unactivated forms of THC and CBD , along with other cannabinoids, have benefits themselves that we are still learning about.
So why does THC get us elevated and THCA doesn’t? The reason is due to the three-dimensional shape of the THCA molecule. It is a larger molecule that doesn’t fit into our cannabinoid receptors, specifically the CB1 receptors. A cannabinoid must fit into a body’s CB1 receptor in order to have an intoxicating effect at all.
There is a big difference between THCA & THC. Learn the differences between the two and how that affects your body.
Though all of these potential benefits of THCA need continued research to be definitively proven, the possible potential of the cannabinoid cannot be ignored. THCA could have even more benefits than we currently know and understand, and in turn it could prove to add to the long list of medical benefits that people already experience from cannabis. One of the aspects of THCA that makes it particularly intriguing is, much like CBD, its lack of psychoactive properties.
To understand the future potency of a cannabis strain before it has been cured, the percentage of THCA must be multiplied by 8.77, then added to the percentage of THC in the plant. This equation provides the producer or patient with an accurate estimate of the amount of THC that will be present in the plant after it has been cured.
Often confused with THC, THCA is a little known cannabinoid that has shown great medicinal promise. Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid is often misunderstood due to its short lifespan in the cannabis plant. THCA only exists in cannabis when it is alive and degrades into THC when the plant is dried or combusted. Though THCA becomes THC later in its lifespan, THCA has none of the psychoactive properties that THC is known for.
The neuro-protective qualities could aid patients with neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease as well as those with dementia. THCA’s anti-emetic properties could help people with stomach conditions from nausea to lack of appetite. It is also believed that THCA could have anti-proliferative properties that could help slow the rate of certain diseases and cancers.
If you are interested in trying out THCA, you may have to search a bit to get your hands on some fresh cannabis. Growing your own cannabis varieties with high levels of THCA can be a great way to have access to it at all times. Once you have fresh cannabis, the most common way that people consume it to receive the optimal amount of THCA is through juicing. Cannabis juicing is beginning to gain traction as more people are realizing its medicinal benefits.
This variety of potential medicinal benefits could make THCA an important cannabinoid for patients with a variety of medical conditions that already benefit from marijuana. Its anti-inflammatory properties could make it beneficial for those with pain, muscle spasms, PMS related cramping, or auto-immune conditions.
Another similarity between THCA and THC is that they are both often the most abundant cannabinoid in a plant, depending on the time at which it is tested. THCA on its own, however, has been seen to have many benefits in the limited number of studies that have been conducted of the plant. Studies have found THCA to have anti-inflammatory, neuro-protective, anti-emetic, and anti-proliferative properties, all which could make it medically beneficial for a range of conditions.
Raw cannabis juice can be extracted just like any other plant through a juicer. It is important, however, that your juicer does not heat the plant as it is being extracted, or it could promote the transition from THCA to THC in the final product. Cannabis juice can be enjoyed straight, but most people find it more pleasing to dilute cannabis in other juice. Carrot juice is known to be a particularly good juice to serve with cannabis juice to get your daily dose of cannabinoids in the morning.
This confusion between THCA and THC can make it hard to measure its levels within the plant. If a grower lab tests their cannabis product while it is still fresh and alive, the results may show large amounts of THCA, but if they continue on and cure the marijuana, that THCA will no longer be present. At that point the plant will have higher levels of THC than previously shown.
What is THCA? Often confused with THC, THCA is a little known cannabinoid that has shown great medicinal promise. Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid is often misunderstood due to its short lifespan in the cannabis plant. THCA only exists in cannabis when it is alive and degrades into THC when the plant is dried or combusted.