THC-A is the hot ‘new’ cannabinoid making waves in the wellness world – and for good reason.
Obviously THCA it isn’t really new – it has long been overlooked next to its more popular, psychoactive sibling THC. It’s like the quiet child that once you get to know, is actually your favourite. That’s THCA for me, quiet and underappreciated, until now.
This lovely little cannabinoid is quickly gaining the attention it deserves. It’s a complex compound with multiple benefits and is a viable option for preventative health care. THCA is nutritionally considered to be a super-ingredient, and some argue that it has even more incredible anti inflammatory properties than its CBD and THC counterparts.
What is THCA? Tetrahyrdocannabinolic Acid
It sounds far more complicated than it is, and it’s worth knowing about either way as THCA is about to play a pivotal role in the advancement of cannabis as medicine.
THCA is a cannabinoid in its acidic (raw) form. It is found only in live, flowering cannabis plants — and found abundantly at that. In fact, THCA is the non-activated form of THC – the cannabinoid getting all the street credit for its psychotropic effects.
The reason I say non activated, is because in order to convert the THCA cannabinoid into THC, the plant must be first be harvested and heated in a process called decarboxylation (you can read all about the raw vs activated role of cannabinoids in The Flower & Freedom Beginners Guide to Cannabis for Fitness). It’s during this process, that THCA loses it’s acidic carboxyl group and through chemical reactions converts to the psychoactive compound we know as THC. Without this process of decarboxylation, there’s slim chance of getting ‘high’ my friends.
As cannabis plants mature, like all living things, they flower, and in order to isolate THCA in it’s crystalline form, the whole plant must be harvested at the height of its growth or its flowering stage. I like to think of it as the creme de la creme, the good stuff. Essentially all botanicals for medicinal purposes are harvested at the peak of their energetic life cycle. A natural wonder.
THC and THCA have overlapping benefits, for example they both have potent anti inflammatory properties, yet there is an additional benefit (although this may be a downside for some) to consuming THCA. While many enjoy the psychoactive component of the THC cannabinoid, for others it is an unwanted side effect. Of course there are many reasons someone may want to avoid the euphoria of cannabis and still reap the rewards of this nutrient dense plant.
Research back ups that THCA does in fact have myriad of health benefits, and enormous potential in the realm of therapeutic medicines. Dr. William Courtney, of Cannabis International, refers to THCA as “the most powerful next advancement in health”. That’s pretty amazing, and what we do know for sure is that THCA is one badass nutrient. So far, it is proven to be:
A Total Super Hero – Super Nutrient
It’s full of essential and key nutrients. It is an antioxidant powerhouse, helping to reverse cellular damage in the body, and to protect future distress. It is said to be more therapeutic than both Vitamin C and Vitamin E. Other key nutrients include:
- Terpenes: The essential oil of all plants, very therapeutic when combined with cannabinoids. Terpenes help THCA to cross the blood brain barrier, and can also help regulate how much THC is absorbed.
- Omega 3 & 6: Just like the essential fatty acids that you get from hemp seeds or hemp hearts. Omegas 3 & 6 are essential to a balanced diet as our body does not produce them. They are fats full of protein and are loaded with all the good things needed for optimal brain health.
- Essential Amino Acids: Necessary for cellular function in the body and organs. Also essential to ingest through diet, as our bodies don’t create them.
Balances the Endocannabinoid System
As a holistic practitioner, I firmly believe in the necessity of preventative health care, which generally speaking, is the practice of keeping our bodies balanced so that disease isn’t possible – easier said than done, I know.
In particular, THCA works within the body’s endocannabinoid system, which contributes to homeostasis (a perfectly balanced internal system). A disruption to this balance has been indicated in a number of severe diseases and health issues. Yikes.
Through its dense nutrient capacity that’s exactly what THCA helps to maintain. Now that’s not to say that it works in isolation. Naturally there must be a combined effort of mindful nutrition, physical activity, adequate sleep and an overall manageable lifestyle.
So many powerful Properties
- Anti Inflammatory: Aids in inflammatory conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s Disease, Fibromyalgia, Glaucoma, Auto Immune Conditions, Lupus and arthritis
- Anti Emetic: Helps to treat the loss of appetite
- Anti Ischmetic: Prevents the contraction of blood vessels in the body, increasing blow flood and decreasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Nueroprotective: Prevents the degeneration and oxidation of brain cells which is indicated in conditions like dementia and alzeihmers.
And that’s not all, research also indicates THCA as providing relief for insomnia, involuntary muscles spasms or contractions and pain management. Can you say, Yasssssss THCA!
With more than 400 unique compounds, the potential of THCA in alternative and preventative health care is truly endless and very, very exciting.
As far as getting all this goodness, it’s best to ingest the plant raw and soon after harvesting to get the most nutrients from it. By ingesting THCA raw the cannabinoids increase in bioavailability and absorb with far more potency. For example, the rate of absorption of decarboxylated cannabis cannabinoids is about 10mg at a time. In its raw form, say in a juice, the absorption skyrockets to between 1-2000mg. Just another reason for me to start juicing I guess!
If you’re looking to enhance your body’s healing capabilities and are cannabis curious but weary of the psychoactive element of other compounds, THCA could be a good place to start.
Here’s a little something I like to prepare at home myself! A nutrient dense, buzz free version of a Watermelon Mojito! Enjoy over ice and thank me later!
By Amber McKenna
Canna-fused Watermelon Mint-Jito
- 2 cucumbers
- 1 whole, small watermelon, cubed
- 1 handful of fresh mint leaves
- 2 limes
- 1 small bunch of raw cannabis leaves
- Juice until pulp free and enjoy! Juices should be ingested immediately to pack the biggest nutrient punch, but can be safely enjoyed for up to three days if kept in the refrigerator and tightly sealed.