Of the more than 100 phytocannabinoids found in cannabis plants, none are more famous than delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Known simply as THC, this compound is responsible for the heady experience associated with cannabis consumption, and it offers a wide range of therapeutic benefits as well.
Of course, before THC is THC, it begins in its acidic form. Known as THCa, this compound has a unique set of benefits all its own. And, while not nearly as bountiful as THC products, THCa products are becoming popular among many cannabis consumers and reaching dispensary shelves everywhere.
What is THCa?
Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCa) is the precursor to THC. This non-intoxicating cannabinoid appears naturally in cannabis in its acidic state. Once cannabis is harvested, the THCA begins to slowly transform into THC. When heating cannabis with a lighter, vaporizer, or other heat source, the transformation process is accelerated. This is why you won’t feel “heady” when consuming raw cannabis, but will once the cannabis has been exposed to heat.
It’s not just THC that exists in the plant in its acidic form. Most phytocannabinoids convert from their acidic form into their active form. In fact, many begin as Cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), when the plant is just a seedling. As it grows, the CBGA converts into THCa, CBDA, and the acidic forms of the many other phytocannabinoids found in a mature cannabis plant.
The benefits of THCa
Research into THCA is still preliminary and relies heavily upon findings from animal studies. Promising findings in these early studies, however, offer some promise that THCa could be a useful tool when it comes to health and wellness. Much more remains to be learned about THCs and how it interacts with other cannabinoids to truly optimize its therapeutic potential.
- Anti-inflammatory/analgesic: THC is known as an anti-inflammatory, and THCs appears to act similarly. One study demonstrated that THCa inhibits enzymes responsible for causing inflammation and pain. This means reduced inflammation in affected areas, whether from conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or from gastrointestinal distress.
- Anti-emetic: Like the active form THC, THCa appears to be effective at preventing nausea and vomiting, at least according to one study on lab rats. The findings of that study led researchers to conclude that "THCa may be a more potent alternative to THC in the treatment of nausea and vomiting."
- Reduces risk of metabolic disease: A study on lab mice found that THCa can significantly reduce fat mass and body weight gain while also correcting glucose intolerance and insulin resistance, key elements of obesity-related diabetes.
- Neuroprotective: Like several other phytocannabinoids, THCa appears to offer protection against the degradation of nerve cells. This could delay the effects of neurodegenerative conditions like Huntington's disease, though much more research is needed to understand how to effectively apply these findings.
Exploring your options at Trulieve
THCA comes in a wide range of products, thanks to the virtually pure isolate that extractors pull from cannabis plants. Isolate can be used as a tasteless, odorless ingredient in the creation of almost any infused product. At Trulieve, select dispensaries carry Blue River THCa concentrate. Available products vary depending on your local Trulieve location. Explore the menu of your neighborhood Trulieve to see which THCa products are available.