What is THCA (Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid)?

Every cannabis enthusiast is familiar with THC, which’s the cannabinoid that makes marijuana psychoactive. They are also familiar with CBD, the leading compound in hemp that has seen massive popularity since it first hit the market a few years ago. However, there are far more fascinating compounds than just these two, and they deserve their own appreciation due to their unique properties. In fact, the cannabis plant is naturally rich in a large variety of compounds known as cannabinoids which are unique in the way in which they work within the human body. So, today, we’ll be discussing one of the most unappreciated compounds in cannabis, which is THCA.

Now, we know what you’re thinking. That sounds an awful lot like THC, doesn’t it? Well, there is a reason for that, which we will explain shortly. But for now, let us just say research increasingly shows that THCA in and of itself may be a highly useful compound thanks to its fascinating properties and potential effects.

Your Endocannabinoid System and the Cannabinoids in Cannabis

To truly appreciate the potential capabilities of THCA, we first have to discuss the endocannabinoid system, as this directly has to do with how THCA processes in the body. Basically, the endocannabinoid system is a recent bodily system discovery that is found in every mammal. Its job, according to researchers, is to manage homeostasis. To do this, it produces cannabinoids and these cannabinoids bind with cannabinoid receptors everywhere throughout the body. When this happens, they correlate with the functions of important bodily systems, meaning that they control processes such as hormonal secretion, mood, inflammation levels, immune function and more.

However, these cannabinoid receptors must receive adequate amounts of cannabinoids in order to maintain these important bodily processes. Now, what happens if they don’t? First, many of us are naturally lacking in cannabinoids. But, CBD is a cannabinoid, and like other cannabinoids, because it supplies the endocannabinoid system with exactly what it needs to do its job. But again, CBD is just one of many cannabinoids.

THCA, like every cannabinoid, is used by the endocannabinoid system. Although, THCA is also unique, as you will soon find out.

How is THCA Classified?

THCA classifies as a precursor to THC. This means that before a cannabinoid becomes THC, it’s THCA. Moreover, the way in which hit transforms into THC is through a process known as decarboxylation. Interestingly, decarboxylation is a process of applying heat to the compound so that it becomes bioavailable in a different way. For instance, when THC-heavy cannabis is smoked via combustion, it produces psychoactive effects. But, in its raw form, which is what THCA is, there are no psychoactive properties. It’s also believed that age speeds up the process of turning THC into THCA.

So, THCA is raw THC, plain and simple. However, it doesn’t get anyone high. So, what else can it do? Let’s find out.

What are the Properties of THCA?

For a long time, THCA was disregarded altogether, because it was believed that THC only provides useful effects as a decarboxylated compound. However, a new interest in THCA has developed thanks to more research going into cannabis. Therefore, scientists know more about THCA than ever before and are applying this knowledge to advocate for the use of this unique compound.

One fairly recent study showed that THCA may have antioxidant properties plus powerful anti-inflammatory properties. It seems that the compound may also have unique effects on the respiratory system.

More studies have found a link between THCA and pain relief, as well as relief from sleeping disorders. And, some suggest it may be able to regulate the production of serotonin, the crucial neurotransmitter that has an enormous influence on our mood.

How is THCA Produced?

The thing about THCA is that it doesn’t need to be adulterated in any way since it already exists in cannabis. Again, THCA is simply a compound that’s found in raw cannabis, therefore it’s naturally abundant.

Where Can I Find THCA?


THCA is a raw compound, meaning that it has not been decarboxylated. Therefore, the best way to get THCA is through a cannabis extract without the application of heat. Today, raw cannabis extracts are becoming more and more popular as we discover the unique effects of these compounds in their purest forms.

The interesting thing about THCA is that it’s present in higher volumes in the marijuana plant in comparison to the hemp plant. We know this, because marijuana is psychoactive, while hemp is not. Hemp contains about 0.3 percent THCA, while the amount in marijuana is far higher. Therefore, naturally, the most abundant source of THCA would be marijuana as opposed to hemp. Of course, marijuana is not legal on a federal level, while hemp is. So, unless you live in a state in which you have legal access to marijuana, your best source is hemp.

But, that’s not so bad after all. This is because the hemp plant has enough THCA to provide you with its unique properties. Additionally, there are synergistic effects of the hemp plant, which is why full-spectrum raw hemp extract is definitely the way to go. This type of extract gives you the full variety of hemp compounds as they exist in nature, allowing you to experience the entourage effect, which refers to consuming the whole plant as nature intended. It is possible each compound boosts the properties of the other when consumed in this manner.

THCA is a Cannabinoid That’s Only Just Beginning to Catch the Attention of Medical Researchers

As additional research gets released regarding this specific cannabinoid, we’ll know more about the results of consumption by the human body. For now, please know that it is possible to acquire THCA in its raw form by seeking out raw CBD products or raw plant material.

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