THCA and its BenefitsErica Smith
Cannabis is a subject that is so much discussed these days. Talks favouring and against its legalisation are a topic of finding a place on all big and small platforms. People also have their own opinions about it.
The cannabinoids in them are responsible for the properties they exhibit. Delta nine-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) are two cannabinoids many know about. You will also know that the “high” or euphoria you experience on taking cannabis is caused by THC. On the other hand, CBD does not give you a euphoric experience but comes with many medical benefits.
Research on cannabis focuses on the benefits and side effects of consuming it. Scientists have found over 150 cannabinoids and phytocannabinoids. One of them is THCA.
THCA (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid is regarded as a cannabinoid acid. Cannabis plants produce olivetolic acid and geranyl pyrophosphate as they grow. Based on breaking down in the condensation reaction, these acids produce cannabigerolic acid (CBGA). These later convert into cannabinoid acids that include THCA, cannabichromenic acid (CBCA), and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA). This chemical process is crucial as this is what is responsible for giving you all the help as a medicine.
Cannabis plants do not possess pre-activated cannabinoids. Through the condensation reaction, cannabinoid acids are created, which are now ready to convert and be used by the body. On heating cannabis for a certain period, the cannabinoid acids present in the cannabis undergo the decarboxylation process. Decarboxylation means removing the carboxyl group, i.e., the COOH group. So, on heating the cannabis, the carboxyl group is removed from the cannabinoid acids (THCA and CBDA), converting them into cannabinoids (THC and CBD). Only after they are converted into cannabinoids do they give you the euphoric effect of THC or the medicinal benefits of CBD.
In cannabis, a typical cannabinoid acid contains five carbon acids. Apart from these cannabinoid acids, you will also find acids that contain three carbon atoms. These are called varinoids. You can quickly identify the acids that are varinoids as their names have the word “varin” as their last part. Acids that have only one carbon atom have the suffix “orcol.” The difference in the number of carbon atoms makes each of them a different chemical compound.
You will find high THCA and CBDA cannabinoid acids in raw cannabis. 90% of THC is stored or found as THCA in natural cannabis in trichomes. Other cannabinoid acids are found in small amounts. As stated earlier, cannabinoid acids do not have an intoxicating effect on you. But they have antimicrobial and insecticide properties that protect them naturally as they grow and produce cannabinoids in their trichomes.
Understanding the benefits of THCA
Is THCA beneficial before it is converted to THC and without the psychoactive characteristics? Research on cannabinoid acids is in its early stage. Yet, the research so far confirms that they effectively reduce some symptoms. Some of the benefits of THCA are:
- It checks the growth of tumours in prostate cancer which causes the second highest death in men in the US.
- It being a neuroprotectant, helps protect the brain.
- It acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and thus reduces inflammation.
- It successfully reduces chronic pain.
- It acts as an antiemetic, thereby easing nausea or vomiting.
THCA is also helpful in increasing the absorption of orally consumed cannabinoids when taken simultaneously with THC or CBD. It is documented in recent research on cannabinoids. Research is still going on to fully understand THC’s role in the endocannabinoid system. It is yet not clear if THC activates the CB1 receptor in the endocannabinoid system or crosses the blood-brain barrier.
Extensive research is still on to find the way the drugs interact, the specific benefits and the effects of THC when taken for a long time. But it is said that THC has beneficial contributions to the entourage effect.
Any Side Effects of THCA?
Research on the effects of THCA on humans is still preliminary. Hence, not much extensive information is available about it and its consequences. Nonetheless, initial studies, research, case studies, and consumer experiences suggest that THC has minimal or no side effects and can be safely consumed. Furthermore, the side effects, if any, are insignificant compared to the increasing benefits the consumers are experiencing.
THCA, unlike THC, does not produce the “high” effect. Hence, people feel it is safe for consumption. The dizziness and paranoia caused by THC are because of the intoxicating nature of the cannabinoid.
THCA is obtained from the raw cannabis flower. These natural flowers should be stored in cool, dark places. Else the heat will convert the THCA content to THC. Consumers should also avoid taking excessive amounts, thinking it is mild. As you know, anything, when used excessively, is not good.
Availability of THCA
You can find THCA easily as it is available in all cannabis flowers and plant parts. Fresh cannabis and high THC strains are especially good sources. You will find labels indicating the percentage of THC or THCA when you buy raw flowers tested in labs. THCA is the acidic form or unconverted form of THC. So, the percentage of either essentially means the same.
Ways to use THCA
You will find products like balms, transdermal patches, oils, and tinctures that contain THCA.
Making juice using raw, fresh cannabis leaves and buds is another standard consumption method. Again, it benefits those who do not want the intoxicating effect as no heat is applied here. Only when you use heat does the THCA convert to THC and give you an intoxicating effect.
THCA can be taken with decarbed THC or CBD. It increases the absorption and bioavailability of CBD and THC.
All the research that has happened has given us adequate knowledge about THCA. Yet there is much more to be learnt. Cannabis, its compounds and their benefits will come to our help with the extensive research in this field.
For any help, you can take the advice of KIF Doctors. They will help you with consultation with marijuana doctors and their expert advice on any issue related to cannabis and its use.
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