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What is the Difference between THCa and THC?

Posted on December 14 2019

The primary differences between THCa and THC are in both chemical structure and how they interact with the human body. Although THCa and THC sound similar, they are very different. Both THCa and THC are chemical compounds naturally found in cannabis plants. These are commonly referred to as cannabinoids. And actually there are 113 different cannabinoids have been identified in the cannabis plant to date.

Read on to discover more about what makes THCa stand apart from health risks and benefits of THC and other cannabinoids.

What is THCa?

THCa stands for tetrahydrocannabinolic acid. THCa is one of many cannabis compounds. Unlike THC, THCa is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in raw and live cannabis plants. As the cannabis plant dries out, THCa gradually changes to THC. This conversion process is called decarboxylation.

The process is vastly expedited when THCa is exposed to light or heat. If a cannabis plant sits in the sun for an extended period of time, its THCa compounds will gradually convert to THC. Smoking and vaporizing THCa can also speed up the decarboxylation process.

THCa Benefits

Like most cannabinoids, there isn’t a great deal of scientific evidence to show that THCa can help health conditions or related symptoms. However, there is some early research and anecdotal evidence that suggests THCa, much like THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids, can support certain health functions.

It’s‌ ‌already‌ ‌well-documented‌ ‌that‌ ‌cannabinoids ‌may‌ ‌affect‌ ‌appetite‌ ‌in‌ ‌a‌ ‌variety‌ ‌of‌ ‌ways.‌ ‌The‌ ‌term,‌ ‌“the‌ ‌munchies”‌ ‌is‌ ‌commonly‌ ‌used‌ ‌to‌ ‌describe‌ ‌the‌ ‌feeling‌ ‌of‌ ‌increased‌ ‌appetite‌ ‌that is derived from THC.‌ Scientific‌ ‌research‌ ‌has‌ ‌recently‌ ‌been‌ ‌conducted‌ ‌to‌ ‌help‌ ‌us‌ ‌understand‌ ‌why‌ ‌cannabis‌ ‌may‌ ‌cause‌ ‌this‌ ‌effect.‌ Along that same vein, THCa shows potential in helping with occasional nausea and the appetite loss that comes with it.

We know that cannabinoids like THCa and THC bind to certain receptors within the body that can produce a variety of other biochemical responses. Much like CBD, THCa has shown signs of helping inflammation within the body. Learn more about how CBD may help with inflammation - especially when it’s associated with exercise.

THCa Side Effects

Because scientific research is so limited when it comes to cannabinoids, there haven’t been any notable side effects observed with the consumption of THCa. Some studies show signs that THCa may go through the decarboxylation process within the human body and cause intoxicating effects. However, the amount of THC produced and its effect would most likely be negligible.

If you’re thinking about adding THCa (or any cannabinoids) to your daily routine, it is always smart to consult your doctor first. This is especially true if you’re already taking prescription drugs.

Does THCa Get You High?

No, THCa will typically not get you high. THCa is the neutral chemical compound that is found in the raw plant. THCa converts to THC when heat is applied through the decarboxylation process. THC is the active chemical compound that produces a high.

Is THCa Legal?

Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, the Federal Drug Administration removed CBD and all hemp products from the controlled substances list. However, there are still legal limitations on THC and THCa. The 2018 Farm Bill defines ‘hemp’ as products containing less than 0.3% THC. This is where lines become blurred. Some consider Total THC to refer to just THC, while others consider it a combination of THC and THCa levels. Before adding THCa to your routine, be sure to check your local regulations.

While THCa and THC products may be limited on a state by state basis, CBD products are clearly defined as having less than 0.3% THC, and therefore are considered legal thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill.

If you are looking for comfort from the use of cannabinoids, shop Elixinol’s Body Comfort Capsules. These full-spectrum capsules combine CBD oil with Boswellia, an herbal extract that has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, by reducing inflammatory chemicals produced by the body. These capsules work to help support healthy joints and a normal range of motion.