The research regarding THCA, how THCA impacts the body, and popular cultivars loaded with THCA.
Plants live incredibly complex lives. Though they often appear sedentary, the truth is that plants move a lot. They’re constantly reshaping their bodies, opening and closing flowers, stretching for sunlight, and fighting underground battles with their roots. They feel vibrations, chemically speak with one another, and even respond to their environments by changing their chemistry. Plants are fascinating for many reasons.
One of the most fascinating things about the plant world is how it’s able to blend with the human system. Plants have created fruits that are good for our bodies and tasty to our tongues. They’ve seemed to master an arrange of flavors and textures; they’ve arranged themselves to control our eating behavior, in a sense. That’s why it’s so fascinating that Cannabis plants have chemically decorated themselves with healthy and mood-altering compounds.
It seems as though cannabis has designed itself so that humans should consume it. Its molecular properties resemble those of our endocannabinoid system and they’re brilliantly paired with the right terpenes and flavonoids to maximize our enjoyment.
In some ways, cannabis seems highly intentional. That’s why the compounds that cannabis generates are of such great interest. In recent years, cannabis lingo has been going more mainstream. People know what you’re talking about when you say THC and CBD. They know those are compounds derived from cannabis plants.
But there are far more cannabinoids in cannabis plants and some of them may be more important than THC or CBD. For example, the parent compound to THC, THCA.
It’s the carboxylated precursor to the compound that is widely associated with the high induced through cannabis consumption. THCA becomes THC in a few ways, all involve oxidation. The first is by getting older. Freshly picked cannabis tends to have a lot of THCA and little THC. As it gets older, the THCA breaks down into THC over time.
The second way is through intense heat. By either vaporizing or combusting the cannabis flower, THCA rapidly decarboxylates into THC, ready for consumption marijuana education.
The next is by slowly baking cannabis until it’s decarboxylated and ready for an extraction process.
In any case, here’s what THCA does and doesn’t do and where you can find it.
What is THCA and What Can It Do?
The most commonly studied cannabinoids are CBD and THC. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t some studies out there showing what the other cannabinoids are capable of. For example, the research into the effects of THCA is rather astounding.
To begin with, a study published in 2008 in Plant Signaling & Behavior showed that cannabis utilizes THCA to induce cell death into its own leaves. In cases of microbial invasion, somatic embryogenesis, and leaf senescence, it’s better for the cannabis plants to hedge off their leaves. To induce apoptosis, they utilize their own THCA to upset mitochondrial functioning to the point of cell death.
This is an important finding that suggests that THCA may one day be used to induce apoptosis in cancerous cells, though that has yet to be investigated.
A few years after that study, another study appeared in the British Journal of Pharmacology that showed more unique properties of THCA. The 2013 study demonstrated that THCA has the potential to reduce both nausea and vomiting in rats and shrews, which are often used in human models. The evidence for how well THCA works in those species was overwhelming. The authors even said that their “data suggest that THCA may be a more potent alternative to THC in the treatment of nausea and vomiting.”
Not long ago, a study appeared in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research that suggested THCA also contains anti-inflammatory properties. The 2017 study noted that THCA may be a useful treatment in a range of diseases from IBD to Crohn’s Disease to ulcerative colitis. The authors suggested that THCA may be a more suitable alternative to treat some of these diseases as compared to CBD. Since CBD is widely-known as a potent medicine, that could mean big things for the future of THCA research.
Lastly, another 2017 study showed perhaps the most interesting research of all. Again, in the British Journal of Pharmacology, the researchers showed that THCA may have neuroprotective properties. Specifically, the researchers noted that THCA was better than THC at preventing striatal degeneration of neurons. They noted that it also attenuates microgliosis, which is the process of coating neurons with protective glue.
What Can THCA Not Do?
THCA does not deliver that high that is associated with cannabis use, of course. But that doesn’t mean you don’t want a lot of it in your cannabis. High THCA cultivars are primed for consumption. As soon as the THCA is heated up, you’ll receive maximum THC delivery.
Cannabis should be cured, but you still want it fresh. When it’s properly cured, it’s dry enough to consume but still loaded with the fresh THCA. If you’re looking for some of the best cultivars to get the most THCA, consider the following:
- Amnesia Haze
- Blue Cheese
- Sour Diesel
Any of those varieties carry high amounts of THCA. To consume it, you’ll have to juice your cannabis or consume it raw. Remember, heating it up with decarboxylate the THCA and turn it into THC.
Let us know how you get your dose of THCA in the comments!