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?
The acidic precursors are considered “thermally unstable,” which is another way to emphasize that they will alter when exposed to heat. Because of this instability, the molecules lend themselves to several different methods of decarboxylation.
Here are the most common ways that weed is decarboxylated:
Smoking: When a flame is used to smoke dried, cured bud, a high degree of heat is applied in a short amount of time, resulting in the rapid conversion of THCA to THC. However, not all THCA will convert and, though smoking is the most common way to enjoy THC’s effects, it’s not the most efficient.
Cannabis concentrates : By isolating the THCA content from a cannabis plant, THCA crystalline can be extracted and consumed in dabs. Similar to vaporization, decarboxylation transpires rapidly when using the dabbing method, breaking down the THCA into active THC. In its pure form, THCA crystalline has little flavor or aroma, as most cannabis extractions aim to strip away the terpenes and flavonoids to isolate the cannabinoids. But many producers reintroduce cannabis-derived terpene blends back into the concentrate. Not only does the addition of terpenes improve the flavor, but these distinctively aromatic plant molecules also work together with cannabinoids to produce entourage effects that enhance the therapeutic potential of cannabis.
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.
- Anti-inflammatory properties – A 2011 study published in the Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin suggested that, along with other cannabinoids, THCA demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties.
- Anti-proliferative properties – A 2013 study that analyzed cell cultures and animal models concluded that THCA could prevent the spread of prostate cancer cells.
- Neuroprotective properties – In a 2012 preclinical study published in Phytomedicine, researchers found that THCA showed the ability to help protect against neurodegenerative diseases.
- Antiemetic properties (increasing appetite and decreasing nausea) – A 2013 study conducted by researchers at the University of Guelph in Ontario found that both THCA and CBDA were effective in reducing nausea and vomiting in rat models, even moreso than THC and CBD, respectively.
THCA is believed to offer an assortment of medicinal benefits , and is commonly used as a nutritional supplement and dietary enhancement for its:
There is a big difference between THCA & THC. Learn the differences between the two and how that affects your body.
 Verhoeckx, K. C., Korthout, H. A., van Meeteren-Kreikamp, A. P., Ehlert, K. A., Wang, M., van der Greef, J., … & Witkamp, R. F. (2006). Unheated Cannabis sativa extracts and its major compound THC-acid have potential immuno-modulating properties not mediated by CB 1 and CB 2 receptor coupled pathways. International immunopharmacology, 6(4), 656-665.
Despite these differences, THCA and THC share some similar therapeutic properties. Both are anti-inflammatory, because according to several studies, both can mediate in inflammatory processes, so they could be useful to treat pathologies such as fibromyalgia or osteoarthritis. In addition, from these anti-inflammatory properties, both components can be postulated as potent neuroprotective agents in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Likewise, the THCA also has other quite interesting properties. There are trials that show that it has antiproliferative effects, very suitable for treating tumors and cancer, especially in cases of breast or prostate cancer.
 Ruhaak, L. R., Felth, J., Karlsson, P. C., Rafter, J. J., Verpoorte, R., & Bohlin, L. (2011). Evaluation of the cyclooxygenase inhibiting effects of six major cannabinoids isolated from Cannabis sativa. Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 34(5), 774-778.
The cannabis plant is made up of hundreds of components, known as cannbinoids, that each have their own therapeutic benefits. One of these components is tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, better known as THCA.
However, research focused on THCA or any other acid form of other cannabinoids is very scarce. It is known that they can offer other properties that could treat various pathologies, but for this we should continue to study all their properties and what doses should be administered for it to work.
The biggest difference we can find between the two is that THCA is not psychoactive. This means that consuming it does not produce a sense of euphoria. The reason why this occurs is that each interacts differently with the CB1 receptor, one of the cannabinoid receptors of the endocannabinoid system. It is for this reason that other cannabinoids, like the cannabidiol or CBD, for example, are also not psychoactive
It is the component of cannabis Sativa L, precursor of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), one of the most abundant cannabinoids in the variety of cannabis plants. THC derives from the THCA through a chemical process called decarboxylation, which occurs during the drying of the plant. This process becomes faster when cannabis is heated, such as when smoking or vaporizing.
The two components have also shown to have antiemetic properties. However, it should be noted that there are studies that indicate that THCA would have more ability to stop nausea and vomiting than THC.
The cannabis plant Sativa L has more than 100 cannabinoid compounds: one of them is the THCA. It is not psychoactive but has certain therapeutic properties.