If you’re a seasoned cannabis veteran, you’re intimately familiar with the wonderful effects of THC, but when people start talking about THCA, you may find yourself a little lost! When it comes to exploring new cannabis products and strains, THC is often the go-to choice because it’s so well-known, is widely available, and has a familiar effect for those with experience.
THC is the cannabinoid that is associated with the “high” that people experience because of its psychoactive component. There are loads of different cannabinoids found in cannabis, but THC is by far the most widely used. When people talk about THC, they typically refer to Delta-9 THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol to give it its full name.
So, what exactly is THCA? And how does it differ from THC? Let’s bring it back to the basics and answer the questions you have on THCA vs THC.
What is THCA?
Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid that is found in raw and live cannabis. All THC exists as THCA and only becomes THC when heat is applied to it. The process by which THCA is converted to THC is known as decarboxylation. This conversion occurs between 200-245 degrees Fahrenheit, or the temperature of the fire that comes out of your lighter… So before you apply said fire to said cannabis, know that that bud is loaded with THCA and not THC. Although THCA converts into THC, they have different properties.
Did you know THCA is the primary cannabinoid in cannabis that is still growing? THC and THCA have very similar chemical compositions, but THCA has one additional carboxyl group. Consider it as the precursor to THC!
THCA doesn’t bind very well with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in our bodies’ endocannabinoid systems. Simply put, THCA doesn’t fit in our CB1 receptors, which means that it can’t get you “high”.
What is THC?
THC is the chemical compound responsible for most of the psychological effects of cannabis. It attaches to the cannabinoid receptors in our brains and activates the areas responsible for concentration, coordination, memory, movement, pleasure, thinking and sensory information.
Other cannabinoids, such as CBD, can block the psychoactive effects of THC. If you don’t like the high that comes with taking THC, you can take CBD in combination with THC to lessen the feeling of euphoria. Find out everything you need to know about THC vs CBD.
What are the health benefits of THCA?
While it may not be as popular as THC or CBD, THCA has a wide range of health benefits. Unlike THC, THCA does not cause euphoria, and it won’t make you feel like you’re pinned to the couch. In fact, THCA doesn’t pass through the blood-brain barrier in the same way as other cannabinoids do.
That isn’t to say that it doesn’t have powerful effects – quite the contrary! Research has found that THCA is:
- Reduced obesity
A study published in 2011 found that THCA can help reduce inflammation in the body by preventing the COX-2 enzymes from converting unhealthy fats into inflammation. In fact, it’s thought that THCA might cut off inflammation directly at the source.
It’s commonly perceived that serotonin is the feel-good chemical in our brains, and many people try to increase their serotonin levels. However, high serotonin levels are not good for you.
THCA’s anti-nausea qualities come from its ability to reduce the serotonin levels in our bodies. One study found that THCA is better at reducing nausea than THC is, and is far more effective a preventing vomiting.
THCA can serve as a safeguard against the effects of neurodegenerative diseases, as it binds to the receptors that are essential for neurological health. A study in 2017 found that THCA binds to PPAR receptors more successfully than THC. It is being considered for the treatment of Huntington’s disease and other similar neurodegenerative diseases.
4. Reduced obesity
Another benefit of THCA is the effect it can have on reducing obesity and decreasing the likelihood of obesity-related diseases, such as diabetes. One study showed that THCA can help correct insulin resistance and glucose intolerance, which are critical factors in obesity related diabetes.
How to consume THCA
One of the most popular ways to consume THCA is through raw cannabis juicing, which has become a major trend amongst cannabis influencers. Cannabis juices have even found their way into many wellbeing cafés and juice bars. Juicing can extract the THCA from cannabis without converting large amounts into THC. It’s perhaps one of the easiest ways to enjoy THCA for medicinal or therapeutic purposes, without the high.
Raw cannabis tinctures and edibles are also available on the market, which contain higher levels of THCA than other hemp derived products. These products are often labelled with the correct dosage amount, so that consumers know exactly how much THCA they are taking.
If you are consuming cannabis by smoking, vaping or by eating cooked foods, then you are unlikely to be ingesting any THCA at all. Remember, THCA quickly becomes THC when exposed to heat.
How to incorporate THCA into your wellness routine
THCA comes with its benefits, and it’s as easy as blending raw cannabis leaves. If you’re not sure how to get your hands on THCA, try your local dispensary, as they may carry THCA products. It's also present in some full-spectrum hemp products, and regularly consuming smalls amounts of THCA over time can provide cumulative benefits.
Whether you’re looking for THC or CBD products, our products are of the highest quality and are 100% hemp derived. Our products contain natural fruit juice, so you can experience THC without any regrets. If you’re wanting to try our products, why not start with our Gummy Sampler Pack and discover your favorite flavor.
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