THCA isn’t the name of a Grateful Dead Record
THCA or r tetrahydrocannabinolic acid is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in raw and live cannabis. As marijuana dries or is heated the THCA slowly converts to THC—the main psychoactive constituent in cannabis. Decarboxylation or the process of applying heat expedites the conversion of THCA to THA. This process happens when weed is smoked or vaporized or even heated in the oven for use in cannabutter or edibles like marijuana brownies.
THC-A is what people in white coats call an acidic precursor to THC—meaning it exists before THC is formed. And you know what THC is right? It’s that stuff in weed that gets you high, man. However, like all cannabinoids in a living cannabis plant, Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid isn’t psychoactive, but it is the most abundant cannabinoid and terpenoid found in marijuana—potentially reaching over 30% of its dry weight. But to really get at its benefits
THCA vs THC
The THC-A in marijuana slowly begins to convert into THC as soon as it’s harvested. The process is sped up by exposure to light. Over time THCA will also convert to THC. The THCA to THC conversion also occurs when marijuana is burned, vaporized or heated. This is what’s happening to your weed as you fire up a joint. Decarboxylation is the name of the resulting chemical reaction of this process.
The Benefits of THC-A
THCA and other acidic cannabinoids have their own unique medical benefits. However THCA is responsible for delivering much of marijuana’s anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative properties that work to inhibit the growth of cancer cells and other tumors. It’s also responsible for weed’s ability to suppresses muscle-spasms as well as modulate the immune system—either enhancing or suppressing it.
Because they have different physiological and psychological properties knowing the ratio of THC to THCA in a particular strain is very important. Not only does this information allow dispensaries to determine the quality of their cannabis but also the effects it’ll have on users. Just imagine how important this information can be when it comes to edibles? Determining these acidic cannabinoid levels is easily accomplished in a lab.
Speaking of labs. So far there haven’t been a whole hell of a lot of studies specifically aimed at THCA just yet. But the ones that have been published sound pretty promising. So as the trend towards legalization continues this’ll allow greater access to cannabis and much greater research opportunities.
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