What is THCA?
THCA, which stands for tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, is another cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant that is beginning to enjoy some share in the lime (green) light. THCA is actually the reason why you can enjoy health benefits from consuming raw cannabis.
Although THC is the most famous cannabinoid because it’s what gets you high – and also has significant health benefits, the actual cannabis flowers barely contain any THC. THC only converts to THC once you add heat, such as by smoking the plant, vaporizing your bud, or decarboxylating before you make your edibles.
THCA is abundant in fresh cannabis flowers. But even before you decide to decarboxylate, read up how you can benefit from THCA before it gets converted into THC.
Health benefits of THCA:
According to one study, THCA impacts the endocannabinoid system in a more diverse manner than either THC or CBD. This special cannabinoid seems to be promising with these health benefits:
- Analgesic: Studies show that THCA shows promise in interacting with the key cell receptor which is responsible for our ability to feel pain. By acting on the TRPA1 receptor, the human body can more effectively handle stimulants that cause us to feel pain, itching, and even temperature.
- Insect repellant: In the wild, the cannabinoids found in cannabis are actually there for evolutionary and biological purposes: they protect the plant by providing them with their very own natural defense system. For the same reason, THCA can act as a natural insect repellant. You can add raw cannabis oil to topicals and other skin creams to repel nasty insects and pests. This might also mean that THCA may have potential in the future for developing chemical-free pesticides and insecticides.
- Nausea: One of the most common reasons people use cannabis is for its ability to effectively prevent nausea and vomiting. Studies show that THCA may be a beneficial anti-emetic, which can help anyone who suffers from vomiting, appetite loss, and nausea. It’s especially helpful for patients who need these health benefits without resorting to getting high, just by consuming raw cannabis.
- Fights cancer: Studies show that THCA has the ability to induce necrosis in plant cells, which means that it can help the plant get rid of dying cells. In the human body, we have the same process which we refer to as programmed cell death (apoptosis and autophagy). In cancer, THCA can stimulate the death of cancerous cells, which aids in the treatment for cancer patients. Additionally, the function of programmed cell death also helps cancer cells from spreading throughout the body. In a 2013 study, researchers found that THCA was effective in preventing the spread of prostate cancer cells. Studies like this further prove the efficacy of cannabis in curing cancer – there are hundreds of studies to choose from! Even though most studies analyze the impact of THC and CBD in curing cancer, THCA still has its own cancer-killing abilities. Plus, ingesting raw cannabis can help you prevent cancer if you don’t enjoy the psychoactive effect.
- Neuroprotective properties: Even the US Federal Government acknowledges the fact that cannabinoids have neuroprotective properties. The entire cannabis plant has neuroprotective properties, and the same goes for raw THCA. Consuming raw cannabis won’t get you high, but it will help keep your brain young and prevent aging, as well as neurodegenerative diseases. Additionally, THCA has antioxidant properties that help neutralize free radicals which are harmful compounds that contribute to many illnesses and speed up the aging process. Studies show that THCA is effective in neutralizing the damage brought about by oxidative neurotoxins that are similar to Parkinson’s Disease. This shows the potential of THCA in treating as well as preventing neurodegenerative diseases that aging and oxidative stress causes.
More research is needed to help patients find the best way to obtain THCA in its raw form aside from consuming the plant in raw or juice form. However, it’s not uncommon for many patients to already consume the raw plant and benefit from its therapeutic properties.