The cannabis plant can produce hundreds of cannabinoids. However, only a few of them have the power to cause the euphoric feeling of being high. Most users assume that the cannabis plant produces THC during its growth stage, but this is incorrect. When the cannabis plant is growing, it produces the THCA molecule; THC comes later on in the growth cycle and is a different compound altogether.
The Difference Between THC And THCA
The difference between THC and THCA is that the latter is not intoxicating, while the former is. THCA is the precursor to THC and must be exposed to heat and dryness for a prolonged period, to change into the substance that makes users feel high. This is one of the main reasons why eating or drinking the raw plant will not have any sort of intoxicating effect.
THCA turns into THC via a process known as decarboxylation. Cannabinoids are heated and dried to a point where they eliminate a carboxyl group. Decarboxylation boosts the cannabinoids’ ability to interact with the users’ cannabinoid receptors.
THCA molecules do not have any kind of intoxicating effects because their molecular shape does not fit into the brains’ cannabinoid receptors. THCA is shaped differently from THC as it has an additional carboxyl group attached to the molecule.
This specific group is what makes THCA an acid. A significant portion of cannabinoids (THCVA, CBGA, and CBDA) adopt this acidic nature when harvested. It is only much later that they turn into the cannabinoids that most people are familiar with (THCV, CBD, and CBG).
Benefits Of THCA
Even though not much research has been done on THCA, unlike its popular counterparts CBD and THC, the data collected by experts in the field so far has revealed numerous benefits.
The following are some of the issues THCA has been shown to help alleviate:
- Weight loss
- Joint ache
- Muscle spasms
- Neurodegenerative disease
- Anti-proliferation (a condition that involves cell growth inhibition usually seen in people with prostate cancer)
- Immune system modulation
With these known benefits and the decriminalization and legalization of cannabis use in some American states and other countries, there have been many changes seen in the sector.
For instance, there has been a further realization of the potential benefits of cannabinoids. As a result, we are likely to see more distinctive results regarding the impacts and benefits of THCA in the coming years.
Is THCA Legal?
On a federal level, THCA is not categorized as a banned substance. However, THCA could be viewed as an analog of THC, and therefore, possessing it could lead to prosecution under the Federal Analogue Act, depending on where you live. Also, no sample of THCA is completely free of THC.
THCA can also be found as oil that can be consumed in a variety of ways. It is extracted from THCA at room temperature, as this helps to ensure the molecule does not turn into THC. However, with time, the contents will convert into THC unless the product is stored at very cold temperatures. THCA oil may also be used to ease physical pain, reduce inflammation, stimulate one’s appetite, and induce calming effects. Users can also apply THCA tinctures under their tongues or use them as a spray. Learn more about making herb infused butter.
Products High In THCA
Cannabis Flowers, especially raw ones, are extremely rich in THCA. By grinding the plant and adding it to your favorite juice or food, you’ll be able to feel the effects of THCA. But, once the plant dries up, the THCA level decreases, and with decarboxylation, due to heat, it simply converts into THC.
There are several products available on the market that are focused on delivering THCA to users in convenient packages. However, accessing them may not always be so easy. Read about the smell of vaping weed.
THCA has great potential when it comes to health benefits, and with the ever-growing interest in it, we can rest assured that the experts are sure to find more.