What is THCA?
THCA is the acidic form of THC, full name: tetrahydrocannabinolic acid. As a cannabis plant matures and its buds grow, its terpene and cannabinoid content begin to develop. The first cannabinoid the plant will develop is CBGA, also called the “mother of all cannabinoids” because it will eventually break down and produce primary cannabinoids, like THCA and CBDA.
THCA is not intoxicating if ingested. Chemically, it has an additional molecular carboxyl ring, which prevents it from binding to receptors in the brain responsible for feeling high.
You may be thinking, ‘what’s the point if it doesn’t get me stoned?’ But without THCA, we wouldn’t have THC or the numerous health benefits attributed to it.
What are THCA’s effects and benefits?
Raw cannabis does not produce a high if consumed without decarbing first. However, consuming raw cannabis for its THCA content, through juicing, for example, or taking a THCA-based tincture or edible, provides some of the same benefits as activated THC without intoxication.
Some anecdotal accounts believe THCA produces some effect, but THCA’s molecular structure prevents it from binding with CB receptors in our bodies’ endocannabinoid systems.