THCA: The Hidden Gem of Cannabis Unveiled – Exploring its Benefits and Potential

When you think about cannabis and hemp, often you think of the two primary cannabinoids present, THC and CBD. However, there are over 100 other cannabinoids we should be discussing, including the acidic ones. THCA is a minor acidic cannabinoid that has the potential to be used in major ways. Let’s take a deep dive into this acidic cannabinoid and the many benefits it has to offer.

What is THCA?

THCA is an acidic cannabinoid that can be found in both the hemp and cannabis sativa plant. THCA serves as the precursor to Delta 9 THC. This means when THCA is decarboxylated, or exposed to heat, it converts to Delta 9 THC. This poses a problem when extracting the acidic cannabinoid, as the majority of extraction methods must utilize heat in the process for sufficient extraction. At Leaflettes, we remedied this problem by using water as the solvent when extracting cannabinoids. This eliminates the need for heat, allowing for the extraction of high-purity acidic cannabinoids at a mass scale.

What are the benefits of THCA?

THCA interacts with many of the same receptors as Delta 9 THC, suggesting it can deliver similar therapeutic benefits. However, THCA has demonstrated some advantages when compared to Delta 9 THC, including its heightened bioavailability. Additionally, THCA has been found to have a greater affinity to a variety of receptors, including PPARy, which plays a role in anti-inflammatory signaling pathways and the regulation of metabolic function. Let’s look at some of the many potential benefits of THCA:

Anti-Inflammatory Effects of THCA

THCA produces anti-inflammatory effects through its interaction with two main receptors that affect inflammation, the COX-2 enzyme, and PPARy. Research has found THCA inhibits the COX-2 enzyme, the same enzyme non-steroidal drugs, such as aspirin, also inhibit. THCA also has a binding affinity for PPARy, which plays a dominant role in anti-inflammatory signaling pathways. Through research, THCA demonstrated a greater binding affinity than all other minor cannabinoids, including CBDA and CBGA.

More research needs to be done to confirm these effects. However, the current research suggests THCA could be a potential therapeutic for inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis.

Antioxidant Effects of THCA

THCA has demonstrated itself as a powerful antioxidant. In fact, THCA has even greater antioxidant activity than that of Vitamin E. Antioxidants help to promote and maintain homeostasis in the body. Antioxidants are also ideal to soothe skin irritations and fight free radicals as the skin ages, making THCA a potential additive in an array of skincare products. As more research is concluded to confirm its antioxidant effects, it is only a matter of time before we see THCA added to moisturizers, toners, and more.

Anti-Nausea and Anti-Anxiety Effects of THCA

THCA reduces both nausea and anxiety by interacting with the 5-HT1A or serotonin receptor. Research has found THCA can reduce both at doses much lower than that of Delta 9 THC.

THCA for Metabolic Disorders

THCA has been studied for its therapeutic use for those with various metabolic disorders, including type 2 diabetes. When administered to rat and mouse models, THCA has improved glucose tolerance, and attenuated liver fibrosis. Furthermore, THCA reduced adiposity, and prevented metabolic disease caused by diet and obesity. With millions affected globally by metabolic disorders, it is prominent more clinical trials are being done to investigate these findings.

THCA for Seizure Disorders

Anecdotal research has discovered THCA may have anti-convulsant properties when combined with other cannabinoids and the terpene linalool. The research also suggest it has the potential to have greater therapeutic properties than that of CBD for this instance, which is already approved by the FDA for therapeutic use with Epidiolex.  

Will THCA get you high?

Research has found THCA is not psychotropic like THC, and therefore will not induce a “high” feeling. Consumers have reported feeling clear-headed, with reduced anxiety and stress levels, after taking THCA.

It is important to note, THCA can trigger a positive result on a drug test. If you need to test negative for THC, it is advised you abstain from using THCA.

What products have THCA?

THCA has been growing in popularity due to the therapeutic effects it delivers. Here are some of the products that can be formulate with THCA:

  • Beverages-Tea, Coffee, Juice, and Sport Drinks
  • Edibles-Gummies, Candy, Deserts, Mints, and Gum  
  • Topicals- Lotions, Patches, Skin Care

THCA, with its diverse array of potential therapeutic benefits, offers a unique advantage by delivering these effects without inducing uncomfortable euphoria. Whether infused alone or blended with other cannabinoids, the addition of THCA can be truly remarkable in enhancing the qualities of a product.