What’s the Difference Between THC and THCa?
Here’s What You Need to Know When it Comes to THC & THCa.
What Exactly is THCa (Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid)
When cannabis grows it builds a profile full of cannabinoids unique to each plant. THC is the most well-known cannabinoid as it’s responsible for the psychoactive effects we get when consuming cannabis, but did you know that cannabis doesn’t directly produce THC? Instead, it creates all cannabinoids in an acid form, synthesizing tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) from their cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) precursor.
This antecedent to THC is non-psychoactive. To convert THCa to THC the cannabinoid must go through a process called decarboxylation. This begins to take place when fresh buds are dried and cured. However, most of the THCa converts to THC when exposed to heat, for example by smoking, vaporizing, or cooking edibles. Essentially, THCa is THC in its acidic, non-psychoactive form.
Why & When to use THCa
The variety of potential benefits range from:
- Anti-inflammatory properties beneficial for treating inflammatory diseases
- Neuroprotective properties for treatment of neurodegenerative diseases
- Antiemetic properties for treatment of nausea and appetite loss
- Antiproliferative properties noted in studies of prostate cancer
For consumers who are sensitive to THC it can be hard to ingest enough of the cannabinoid to relieve their symptoms. With THCa, consumers can still find equal or greater relief without psychoactive side effects.
Now on the opposite end of the spectrum, for those dabbers looking for a little extra potency – Guild Extract’s THCa crystalline is known as the purest isolate on the market testing around 99-100%. When vaped, the THCa converts to THC creating a clear and highly cerebral effect.
How to use THCa
THCa levels are particularly high in a live or freshly harvested plant. Raw cannabis is actually a known superfood and juicing parts of the plant can offer a higher amount of THCa.
For those who don’t have access to fresh cannabis plants, there are other ways to consume the cannabinoid, like using tinctures or THCa crystalline. These forms are processed using cold extraction methods to avoid the cannabinoid transformation. Tinctures are either alcohol or oil based and can easily be used by themselves, under the tongue, or mixed into your favorite drink.
Unlike most other extracts, isolated THCa takes on the form of crystals making it easy to break down into a powder and add to a capsule, smoothie, food, or dab.