Cannabinoid 101: What is THCa?
You’ve read about many different cannabinoids, or compounds found in cannabis plants. But what is THCa, and what makes this cannabinoid unique?
THCa, or tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, is found in abundance in cannabis plants. As the precursor to THC, this potent cannabinoid has great potential for providing pain relief and more.
THCa is the acidic precursor to delta-9 THC, the most prominent cannabinoid that has intoxicating effects in cannabis. THCa is not intoxicating, and this cannabinoid is found at its highest levels in raw cannabis. THCa converted to THC through heat—through smoking or vaping—creates the most popular cannabinoid and its intoxicating effects. Essentially, THCa is THC in its raw form before decarboxylation.
Until heat is applied, THCa doesn’t readily react with the body’s endocannabinoid receptors. However, some individuals have anecdotal support for consuming raw cannabis with high levels of THCa, including juiced or as a tincture or topical. It’s being added as an extraction to prerolls and other cannabis products.
The benefits of THCa
You’ve read about CBGa, the acidic version of CBG that is considered the mother of all cannabinoids. As the plant grows, cannabinoids grow and develop, and CBGa eventually breaks down into other primary cannabinoids, including THCa.
Similar to other primary cannabinoids, THCa is nonintoxicating. It has many of the potential benefits of other nonintoxicating cannabinoids, including anti-inflammatory properties and working to curb nausea. Some people find it less effective for inducing sleep compared to THC.
While research on THCa is limited, some studies show THCa as having potential:
> Neuroprotective properties
> Benefits for treating seizure disorders
> Benefits for treating inflammatory bowel disease
All of these early studies are limited. As with any new cannabinoid regimen, talk with your healthcare provider to determine how cannabis products may interact with any medications.
How can I try THCa?
Ready to try THCa? Start by talking with the associates at your favorite cannabis dispensary who can point you toward cannabis products and strains with high levels of THCa. If you live in a state with medical or recreational cannabis laws in place, you likely consume THCa every time you smoke cannabis, as THCa is converted to delta-9 THC with consistently applied heat.
Looking for something in states without medical or recreational cannabis? If you’re ready to shop online, check out any COA to see the contents of your favorite Haygood products, including our THC-O and Delta-8 Cartridges.