THCA is the acid form of THC that’s found in the raw cannabis plant. In general, cannabis produces all cannabinoids in acid form. One of the most abundant of all cannabinoid acids is THCA, which is a precursor to THC. On its own, cannabinoid acids don’t make users high. Instead, these acids deliver a variety of health benefits minus changes in consciousness. When one consumes THC, a decarboxylation process normally takes place first.
The raw cannabis movement is largely led by the benefits of THCA. More consumers are looking for smoothie and juice recipes to consume raw cannabis for its non-intoxicating, medicinal benefits (thanks to CBD’s rise in popularity).
Research is still preliminary and some results are still anecdotal, but the consumption of cannabinoid acids (the “A” in THCA) is believed to be a key to preventing chronic diseases (IBS, glaucoma, fibromyalgia) caused by an endocannabinoid production deficiency.
THCA is commonly being used as a nutritional supplement and dietary enhancer for its:
- Anti-inflammatory properties to help with conditions like lupus and arthritis
- Antidiabetic properties, reducing the risk of developing early onset diabetes
- Neuroprotective properties to treat neurodegenerative diseases
- Antiemetic properties to battle loss of appetite and nausea
Whether you’re smoking or juicing, understanding the various ways cannabinoids convert and interact with our bodies is crucial to achieving the effects we desire (and avoiding the ones we don’t). As more research is conducted in pursuit of a deeper understanding of how humans and cannabinoids interact, we can safely integrate raw cannabis into our daily diets to take full advantage of everything the plant has to offer.
Furthermore, medical cannabis patients who have been diagnosed with seizures or epilepsy may benefit more from consuming multiple cannabinoids and whole plant compounds rather than just CBD on its own. However, each individual case is different. In addition to the medical benefits listed above, there are more uses for THCA. For example, it has been found that THCA has a significant impact on the endocannabinoid system. Thus, reports indicate THCA’s ability to deliver anti-spasmodic, anticonvulsant, and anti-insomnia effects to users while also being immune supportive.
Moreover, regarding THCA’s anti-proliferative properties, one study conducted in 2013 found that in animal models and cell structures, THCA inhibited the proliferation of prostate cancer cells. Additionally, a study that was conducted one-year prior (2012) discovered that THCA neutralized damage caused by oxidative neurotoxins. Although more research should be conducted to confirm this finding, this discovery represents the potential of consuming THCA to help treat neurodegenerative diseases caused by oxidative stress.
Lastly, at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, Erin Rock and other scientists found that extremely low doses of THCA were able to prevent nausea in rat subjects. It was also discovered that THCA successfully synergizes with CBDA, thus, acting as a strong antiemetic compound.
Overall, the medicinal and therapeutic effects of THCA should be researched and studied more. However, the effects and properties that have already been discovered point to the significant potential of this compound, which shouldn’t be dismissed. If you’d like to consume THCA, it’s suggested to look for high-THC strains that haven’t been decarboxylated yet. You could also juice or blend raw cannabis parts such as leftover fan leaves, buds, and/or stems to reap as many benefits of THCA as possible!