What Is THCA? Its Benefits and Uses


If you’ve ever wondered why you never get high from eating raw nugs of weed, then look no further than THCA. 

Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid or THC-A for short is a hidden gem of a cannabinoid mainly found in raw cannabis and hemp plants. 

Have you ever heard of THC? If you’re reading this, you most likely have. THCA is the precursor to this psychoactive cannabinoid.

When it comes to THCA, this special cannabinoid has its own particular set of attributes currently being investigated by many professionals within the medical and cannabis industry.

So, what is THCA, and what makes it so special? Keep on reading to find out!

What is THCA & How is it Made?

Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid is one of the more prevalent minor cannabinoids found in pot plants. 

Its chemical structure is very similar to THC, except for an additional Carbon Monoxide molecule. 

Unlike THC, THC-A is non-psychoactive, meaning it does not get you high.

In the world of cannabis, many people tend to refer to THC-A as the inactive form of THC as the combustion or exposure to heat (decarboxylation) removes the carboxyl group from THCA, converting it to Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient we all know and love.

Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid itself is made naturally through the growth cycle of the cannabis plant. 

Contrary to popular belief, the cannabis plant has little to no THC while it grows and is harvested. THCA is one of the most abundant cannabinoids found in raw cannabis until the point of decarboxylation

It can be found in many medical cannabis strains boasting a strong THC level. After you light your joint, THCA is then converted to THC. 

Some of the most common ways for THC-A to be decarboxylated naturally include being exposed to excessive sunlight or curing at room temperature. 

While weed plants will be exposed to various temperatures throughout the day if kept outside, prolonged exposure to the sun can expedite the decarboxylation process. 

Alternatively, if cannabis is stored at room temperature long enough, it will convert approximately 20% of its THCA to THC. 

If you want to decarb THCA pretty fast, light your cannabis. Rapid exposure to heat nearly instantly converts the THC-A to THC to produce its psychoactive effects.

What are the Benefits Of THCA?

THCA benefits

Even though research on THCA is still in its infancy, there are pockets of preliminary research and anecdotal evidence suggesting its efficacy in medicinal uses. 

Some of the potential benefits of THCA include:

  • Neuroprotective properties for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases: Studies have found that tetrahydrocannabinolic acid has beneficial properties for preventative measures against neurodegenerative activity in the nervous system. Specifically, THCA shows potential in combating the effects of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
  • Inflammation relief for arthritis and Lupus treatment: In certain preliminary studies, THC-A has shown the potential to be more effective than Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) at reducing the pain caused by inflammation.
  • Treatment for nausea and appetite loss: Working as an effective agent in subsiding the discomfort of nausea, THCA may help stimulate appetite.
  • Anti-Proliferative properties help treat prostate cancer: Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid has stunted the growth of prostate cancer cells in preliminary trials.

Though research is relatively limited at this time, THCA also holds potential in treating sleep-related issues such as insomnia, bodily issues like muscle spasms, as well as pain relief

Research has also indicated that THCA does not directly engage with the endocannabinoid system as THC does, but instead acts as a passive agent to provide its therapeutic benefits. 

More research and clinical trials will need to be conducted to validate these findings.

How to Get THCA

THCA is typically found in live cannabis plants. In other words, cannabis that has not yet been decarboxylated. 

Look for a strain of raw cannabis that boasts a high THC content to find the high levels of THC-A. 

Aside from that, some of the most popular routes people have gone to cultivate THCA include:

Growing Their Own Raw Cannabis 

Since it is largely found in the organic matter of the raw cannabis plant, growing the plant at home can potentially yield crops with a high THC-A content. 

Of course, you’ll have to cultivate a THC-heavy strain for an optimized yield, but typically, uncured and non-decarboxylated cannabis will give you the THCA you’re looking for.

Buying Raw Cannabis

THCA raw cannabis

If you’re not in the market for growing your own weed, you can always purchase medical marijuana that will fit your weed needs. 

As we said, you’ll want to keep your eye out for any uncured, high THC strains.

Juicing Cannabis

Some people like to blend the buds and leaves of the cannabis plant to get their THCA. 

Ideally, you will want to use raw cannabis when juicing the plant as its nutritional content will provide THC-A and a variety of other nutritious content like fibre and protein. 

You can also mix in other fruits and vegetables to add some extra flavor. Delicious, right?

THCA Specific Products 

Some products are specifically designated as THC-A exclusives like certain transdermal patches, creams, and balms. 

Purchasing these products is an efficient way to THCA directly without the interference of any other cannabinoid or psychoactive effects.

THCA Crystalline

THCA crystalline

THCA crystalline offers an extremely pure form of THCA to consumers. This cannabis concentrate is a pure THC-A product in crystal form resembling rocks of salt. 

THCA can be easily incorporated into edibles, consumed in capsule form, or added to food or beverages due to its texture. 

Another great way to get your THCA without the interference of other cannabinoids!

THCA – Medicate Without the High

The research supporting THCA is still in its early stages, with the cannabinoid being somewhat unknown. 

Yet, the promise and potential for growth of this non-psychoactive cannabinoid may lead it to be the future of cannabis medicine. THCA may help stimulate appetite, stunt cancer cell growth and reduce pain caused by inflammation.

You can find THCA in various products, including uncured, high THC strains, products such as THC-A patches, creams, and balms, as well as cannabis concentrates such as THCA crystalline.

As THC-A gains more research and popularity, we’re likely to find more products appearing on the market.

Stay tuned for information to come. Thanks for reading!

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