An Overview of the Compound
Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) is one of the non-psychoactive compounds of the cannabis family. The cannabis (hemp) family is known to have a wide range of therapeutic benefits, and THCA is no exception. What makes it tick is that it doesn’t cause the user to get high. THCA acts as a precursor to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The implication is that it is just a chemical reaction away from THC. The intensity of this reaction increases when heat is raised or when the hemp is cooked or smoked. Therefore, THCA can only be obtained from fresh, wet cannabis.
THCA is present in two forms – THCA-A and THCA-B.
It should be noted that THCA is the major constituent in raw cannabis. When vaporized, or exposed to heat for a prolonged period of time, it gets converted to THC. The compound THCA serves as an agonist for the cannabinoid receptor. By so doing, it carries out its neuroprotective function.
Studies have shown that THCA has anti-inflammatory effects. Clinically, it plays a key role in medical cannabis production. Cannabis products used for medical purposes include cannabis tea. Also, THCA has been effectively used as a biomarker with THCV in drug testing and in distinguishing between cannabis varieties that have been processed and approved for therapeutic purposes, and other products from cannabis plant that are within the reach of patients.
Also, THCA is endowed with anti-proliferative properties that play an essential role in inhibiting the growth and spread of cancer cells. It also has antispasmodic abilities that combat spasms of the muscle. It would, therefore, be of great benefit to epileptic patients.
Studies have shown that THCA is of more use to the endocannabinoid system than THC or CBD – this it does while minimizing pain caused by inflammation. THC and CBD help to improve mood in response to physical pain. However, not much is done by these two compounds to deal with the root causes of the pain or systemic disease when compared to THCA. Compared to THC or CBD, THCA is more preferred due to its prolonged synergistic benefits that restore wellness and health which influences the mood.
THCA does not have any impact on CB1 receptors. Instead, it influences the human endocannabinoid system. Four functions of the endocannabinoid system are affected by THCA and they include:
- COX-1 release
- Inhibition of COX-2
- Interleukin-10 secretion
- Inhibition of tumor necrosis factor – alpha.
The effects of THCA on the endocannabinoid system is different compared to THC and CBD. This is because while THCA is acidic, THC and CBD have a neutral PH (i.e. they are neither acidic nor basic).
Modulation of the autonomic nervous system is also handled by THCA. The same applies to the microcirculation and the autoimmune system. Studies show that THCA also has anti-proliferative and immune supportive function. However, there is not much clinical data to prove this claim.
There is evidence to support the claim that THCA may help treat lupus. Relief of symptoms takes a few days after administration. Patients who wish to treat the accompanying nausea can make cannabis juice complete with THCA for quick relief with no psycho-activity.
It has been established that THCA has neuroprotective properties. It prevents cell death in dopaminergic neurons. Parkinson’s disease arises as a result of the death of dopamine-producing neurons.
Summary of Therapeutic Effects
- Reduction of appetite loss and vomiting caused by nausea
- Protective capacities for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s
- Anti-inflammatory properties.
Muscle spasms, insomnia, and pain are other therapeutic avenues supported by testimonies from patients.
Despite all the benefits listed above, there is still need for further research to verify these facts before we can fully comprehend what THCA means for the future of cannabinoid-based medicines.
Medical Acids Cannabinoids, United States Patent Number US, 7,807,710 B2.
Lectures of William Courtney, MD. He has made major contributions in the field of THCA application in the form of raw juiced cannabis for the treatment of diseases.
Publications and lectures of Professor Raphael Mechoulam PhD. His major contributions are in the field of the constituents of cannabis and the endogenous cannabinoids found in the brain and the periphery.