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Everything You Need To Know About THC-A

What is THCa?

What is THCa? As if there were not already enough letters to remember, now we are adding THC-A to the list. THCa, like THC, CBD, CBN, and CBG, is just another cannabinoid that is naturally produced by the cannabis plant. In fact, many strains of marijuana may contain more THC-A than any other cannabinoid. It can be quite abundant. So what then, is the difference between THCa and THC? The answer to this lies with the “A” in THC-A.

Tetrahydrocannabinol-Acid (THC-A) is the molecule that all forms of THC start as. That’s right, Delta-9 THC, Delta-8 THC, and even Delta-10 THC, all begin as THC-A. Even before that, THC-A starts as the mother of all cannabinoids, CBG-A. CBG-A eventually converts to all other types of cannabinoids including THC and CBD.

Unlike other forms of THC, THC-A, when consumed or inhaled, does not produce any psychoactive high. It is only once the “acid (A)” is removed from THC-A, that it becomes an active molecule. This conversion occurs through a process called decarboxylation. When “decarbing”, heat removes the acidic part of THC-A, leaving behind the active THC molecules like Delta-9 and Delta-8 THC. To decarb THC-A, heat must be applied. When making edibles, this can be done in the oven. When smoking cannabis flower, this is accomplished just with the heat from the smoke. Even in ideal storage conditions, THC-A will slowly convert to THC.* It is inevitable.

What is THCa? What Does THCa Do?

what is THCa
What is THCa and What Does THCA Do by Thrive Flower

What is THCa? The main difference between THC-A and THC is that THC-A will not produce a psychoactive high like the non-acidic forms of THC will. THC-A does not produce a high because it does not bind to the cannabinoid receptors*,* found in your body’s Endocannabinoid System (ECS). The binding of cannabinoids like THC to the cannabinoid receptor, CB1, is what creates the high we feel when using cannabis. 

So, if it does not get you high, what does THC-A do? Before THC-A goes through decarboxylation and turns into THC, it has several benefits that can help achieve your wellness goals.

Research has shown THC-A has potent anti-inflammatory properties that could help those with Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD)*. It can also be used to reduce nausea and vomiting*. After THC-A converts to THC, it can continue to benefit your digestive health. 

Beyond the digestive benefits, THC-A is also a known neuroprotective*. This means that THC-A could help protect your nervous system. 

“THC-A shows potent neuroprotective activity, which is worth considering for the treatment of Huntington’s disease and possibly other neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory diseases”

Other neurodegenerative neuroinflammatory diseases include Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and multiple sclerosis (MS).

Frequently Asked Questions

How To Use THC-A

THC-A can be used in a few different ways including smoking pre rolled joints or vape pens and edible products. Edible products with just THC-A in them will not produce a psychoactive high, but can provide you with benefits like anti-inflammation, neuroprotection, and nausea suppression. 

If you were to expose the THC-A to heat it would convert to THC and produce a high. This occurs when smoking cannabis flower with high THC-A content. The heat from the smoke will convert the THC-A into THC as you use it. So, if you see cannabis with high levels of THC-A, but low levels of THC, do not fret, it will still give you a psychoactive high.

Where To Find High THCa Products

When searching for high THC-A products that you can trust, be sure to look for up-to-date lab results that outline the levels of THC-A as well as the levels of Delta-9 THC. To comply with federal hemp laws, THC-A products must contain less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC. If you have any specific questions, a company representative should be able to provide you with an informed answer.

Is THC-A Legal

Many people wondering “what is THCa?” also ask about its legality. THC-A can be found in both marijuana and hemp. Both of these are considered cannabis, but only one is federally legal. When derived from hemp, THC-A is federally legal. Hemp products restrict levels of Delta-9 THC, not THC-A. Marijuana is not federally legal, but some states have legalized it medically and recreationally. If you are in a legal marijuana state, then THC-A from both hemp and marijuana is legal for you. 

Will I Fail a Drug Test After Using THC-A

THC-A will metabolize like other forms of THC in your body. This means that using THC-A will produce a positive marijuana drug test. If you have to pass a marijuana drug test, do not use THC-A products. 

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