What is THCA?
Often confused with THC, THCA is a little known cannabinoid that has shown great medicinal promise. Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid is often misunderstood due to its short lifespan in the cannabis plant. THCA only exists in cannabis when it is alive and degrades into THC when the plant is dried or combusted. Though THCA becomes THC later in its lifespan, THCA has none of the psychoactive properties that THC is known for.
This confusion between THCA and THC can make it hard to measure its levels within the plant. If a grower lab tests their cannabis product while it is still fresh and alive, the results may show large amounts of THCA, but if they continue on and cure the marijuana, that THCA will no longer be present. At that point the plant will have higher levels of THC than previously shown.
To understand the future potency of a cannabis strain before it has been cured, the percentage of THCA must be multiplied by 8.77, then added to the percentage of THC in the plant. This equation provides the producer or patient with an accurate estimate of the amount of THC that will be present in the plant after it has been cured.
Medicinal Benefits of THCA
Another similarity between THCA and THC is that they are both often the most abundant cannabinoid in a plant, depending on the time at which it is tested. THCA on its own, however, has been seen to have many benefits in the limited number of studies that have been conducted of the plant. Studies have found THCA to have anti-inflammatory, neuro-protective, anti-emetic, and anti-proliferative properties, all which could make it medically beneficial for a range of conditions.
This variety of potential medicinal benefits could make THCA an important cannabinoid for patients with a variety of medical conditions that already benefit from marijuana. Its anti-inflammatory properties could make it beneficial for those with pain, muscle spasms, PMS related cramping, or auto-immune conditions.
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Incredible Neuro-Protective Qualities
The neuro-protective qualities could aid patients with neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease as well as those with dementia. THCA’s anti-emetic properties could help people with stomach conditions from nausea to lack of appetite. It is also believed that THCA could have anti-proliferative properties that could help slow the rate of certain diseases and cancers.
Though all of these potential benefits of THCA need continued research to be definitively proven, the possible potential of the cannabinoid cannot be ignored. THCA could have even more benefits than we currently know and understand, and in turn it could prove to add to the long list of medical benefits that people already experience from cannabis. One of the aspects of THCA that makes it particularly intriguing is, much like CBD, its lack of psychoactive properties.
Grow Your Cannabis…
If you are interested in trying out THCA, you may have to search a bit to get your hands on some fresh cannabis. Growing your own cannabis varieties with high levels of THCA can be a great way to have access to it at all times. Once you have fresh cannabis, the most common way that people consume it to receive the optimal amount of THCA is through juicing. Cannabis juicing is beginning to gain traction as more people are realizing its medicinal benefits.
Raw cannabis juice can be extracted just like any other plant through a juicer. It is important, however, that your juicer does not heat the plant as it is being extracted, or it could promote the transition from THCA to THC in the final product. Cannabis juice can be enjoyed straight, but most people find it more pleasing to dilute cannabis in other juice. Carrot juice is known to be a particularly good juice to serve with cannabis juice to get your daily dose of cannabinoids in the morning.
If you are new to cannabis and want to learn more, take a look at our Cannabis 101 post. HelloMD can help you get your medical marijuana recommendation; it’s 100% online, private and efficient.