Everyone knows THC, but there’s a new kid on the block and that’s THC with a little a, or THCa. Let’s just say it’s the new term that every cannabis connoisseur should know. It’s a unique cannabinoid that when isolated looks different and smells different than most concentrates while still providing therapeutic cannabis effects. So, as THCa gains a reputation in the weed world let’s get to know the lesser-known cannabinoid better, with our in-depth guide to THCa.
What is THCa?
To put it simply, THCa is a cannabinoid found in marijuana plants just like THC. More technically, or scientifically known, THCa is tetrahydrocannabinolic acid. It’s an inactive compound that is produced naturally by cannabis and found in the trichomes. As a refresher, the trichomes are the crystal coating that covers buds.
But, what does ‘inactive’ mean? That alone, THCa does not provide a high. THCa is the precursor to THC and the psychoactive effects felt from a good buzz. Since THC and THCa are unique compounds they also have their own individual shapes. The three-dimensional shape of the THCa molecule doesn’t fit with our body’s endocannabinoid receptors. The alignment of cannabinoids with internal receptors is key for experiencing cannabis’ elevating or medicating effects.
With heat or light, however, THCa converts to THC. Upon reaching certain temperatures, the acid or ‘a’ is burned off. Removing the acid group of atoms causes a change in the molecule’s structure and successfully converts from THCa to THC. The elusive cannabinoid has increasingly become more popular as extractors have begun to isolate THCa from plant material as one of the purest forms of concentrates. THCa is versatile for extraction purposes as its final consistency can range from diamonds, crystalline, or powder.
Adding to its prestigious top-shelf status is the potent nature of THCa products. Special refining processes isolate the compound from plant material reaching potencies of 95%+. What makes THCa isolates even more unique is the lack of other compounds from raw plant material. THCa products are able to achieve a white or nearly clear coloring, due to removing terpenes, flavonoids, and fats. Which also means THCa products have little to no taste. Luckily, THCa is packed with therapeutic and natural health benefits to make-up for it. So, that leads us to the next stage in getting to know THCa...what are its benefits? Let’s discuss.
The benefits of THCa
Just like CBD, THC, or CBN and CBG...each cannabinoid found in marijuana plants has its own set of effects. THCa is no different. By itself here are some of the most prominent THCa side effects that add to its benefits.
- Neuroprotective - Researchers in 2012 found that THCa dosages were a protectant against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
- Anti-inflammatory - Along with other cannabinoids, THCa is highly anti-inflammatory in properties.
- Antiemetic - Nausea is a common side effect of many conditions and medications. THCa is proving to be antiemetic in nature with a 2013 study showing to reduce nausea and vomiting in animal models.
- Anti-proliferative - A 2013 study showed success for THCa dosages preventing the spread of prostate cancer cells.
Tapping into the potencies of THCa converting to THC, maybe the biggest benefit of them all, though. By consuming THCa through standard heat methods like vaporizing or dabbing, you’re able to experience elevation in its most refined, and potent form. Because THCa isolate has been extracted from all plant matter, its quite literally the purest form you can find. Not to mention, it means you can expect hits to be smoother than normal, too. With that said, let’s cover all the ways you can use THCa isolate, so you’re prepared to harness the cannabinoids full potential.
How can I use THCa isolate?
THCa is different in the fact that it can be ingested and used beneficially without psychoactive effects...or, lit up to achieve a high as you normally would. THCa isolate comes in a powder form that is highly versatile in use. In fact, it’s often referred to as the ‘crack’ or ‘cocaine’ of the cannabis world because of its final consistency and appearance, and of course due to its potency. Far from illicit, THCa is highly effective at addressing the medical and recreational needs of cannabis consumers with its purity. So, how exactly can you consume THCa? Here are the top ways to ingest THCa dosages for the benefits it can provide.
- Adding to flower - The fine powder of THCa isolate can be sprinkled on top of any bowl, joint, or blunt. The addition of the pure cannabinoid will amplify the effects that would normally be felt with the power of THCa converting to THC.
- Dabbing - Like any concentrate, THCa isolate can also be dabbed using a dab rig, or dab pen. But you’ll want to monitor your temperatures when lighting the refined isolate form. Low temp dabs around 315° is the recommended temperature for THCa to convert to THC. You will experience a highly euphoric effect from this method of consumption. You can also top other types of concentrates with THCa isolate to boost the effects felt, too.
- Orally - If you’re interested in reaping the benefits of THCa without the psychoactive effects felt from the conversion of THC, then ingesting the isolate orally may be for you. The powder can be swallowed as is, with water or any liquid drink.
What you should also be aware of when consuming THCa isolate is it is ‘isolated’ from other cannabinoids and terpenes from the cannabis plant. Meaning that the normal ‘entourage effect’ you’ll feel from the combination of plant compounds, won’t be felt when consuming THCa alone. That doesn’t mean your high will be any less potent, as you’ll be inhaling THCa at purity levels of 95%+. It just means, it may feel different without the presence of whole plant matter and the synergistic relationship of cannabinoids and terps.
All about THCa
Now that you’re more comfortable with THCa, you can better explore the use of the cannabinoid in your recreational or medical cannabis routines. THCa isolate’s pure and refined nature might provide a highly relaxing body buzz, while uplifting the mind and spirit cerebrally, too. No matter the way you consume THCa products, they’re sure to add amplification to the desired effects you crave from cannabis.