Cannabis contains a range of chemical compounds known as cannabinoids. Most users will be familiar with two of these- THC and CBD, known for their use in various easy-to-use products on the market. However, there are many other cannabinoids you might not be aware of, including the raw version of THC- THCA.
Interestingly, THC is made by exposing THCA to high heat, a process also known as decarboxylation. Decarboxylation is required to activate THC and without it, cannabis plants merely contain THCA among other cannabinoids. However, while both of these chemical compounds are closely related, they differ significantly in their effects and uses. So what is the difference between THCA and THC? Here’s a guide.
What Is THCA?
Simply put, THCA (short for Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid) is the raw equivalent of THC. Some users may not realize that cannabis plants are initially made up of THCA rather than THC. It’s only through a process called decarboxylation that THCA is converted into THC, the psychoactive chemical known for making users high.
While THC is well known for its psychoactive effects, THCA is non-psychoactive and won’t produce any high when consumed. However, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its uses. In a similar fashion to CBD, the non-psychoactive THCA can be used for its potential therapeutic benefits.
Research suggests that THCA has anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, antiproliferative, and antidiabetic properties. Using THCA is quite different from using THC- since it’s only found in fresh cannabis, it’s usually used by blending cannabis flowers into drinks. There are also some THCA products such as THCA Oils and Topicals, although these are much less common than THC and CBD products.
What Is THC?
THC is short for Tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is the chemical consumed when you smoke marijuana or use other marijuana-based products such as THC Oils, Edibles, and Concentrates. It’s known for its psychoactive properties- THC produces a euphoric high which can have a bevy of interesting effects on the body and mind.
Cannabis initially contains high levels of THCA. However, THCA is converted into THC by drying and heating cannabis. Usually, users get the effects of THC by burning or vaporizing cannabis. However, THC can also be activated via a process known as decarboxylation, which involves exposing cannabis to high heat over a long period.
Many users consume THC for its psychoactive effects. It produces a fun recreational high which can heighten your senses, stimulate your mind, and relax your body. THC has also become popular for medical use. Its ability to relax the body can help with issues such as pain, nausea, and migraines whereas its mental effects can help with various mood disorders.
Why Use THCA?
THCA is much less commonly used than THC due to its non-psychoactive nature. Unlike THC, it won’t make you high and you likely won’t feel anything at all from consuming THCA. However, some research suggests that THCA can help with a range of medical symptoms.
A study found that THCA has anti-inflammatory properties. As such, it can be used for conditions associated with chronic pain and inflammation such as Arthritis, neuropathic pain, injuries, migraines, and fibromyalgia.
THCA may also help patients with cancer. In addition to inhibiting the growth of tumors, its antiemetic and anti-inflammatory effects can also help patients struggling with the side effects of cancer and chemotherapy.
Research also suggests that THCA has neuroprotective qualities. By helping prevent brain damage and promote brain health, it can help with a range of neurological conditions such as Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, and various others.
THCA is free from harmful side effects and can also be used as a general health supplement. However, with the wide availability of THC and CBD products, many users prefer to use these alternatives over THCA.
Why Use THC?
THC is commonly used for its psychoactive effects. It can be consumed in various ways to get a happy and euphoric high that lasts for a few hours. However, in addition to its recreational effects, research also shows that THC can have a range of medical benefits.
Many patients use marijuana for pain relief. The relieving body high THC induces acts as a great natural analgesic. It can also help alleviate inflammation, nausea, migraines, and general physical tension such as aches and strains.
It’s also used for mental benefits. For instance, a study found that using cannabis can rapidly reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression. High doses of THC may exacerbate anxiety and paranoia in some users, but many users find that using it in moderation helps alleviate their symptoms.
One study even found that the THC in cannabis helps reverse the aging process in the brain. The study administered a low dose of THC to animals for two months. After two months, the study found that THC significantly enhanced their cognitive functions. Research also shows that THC has neuroprotective properties that can help prevent neurological issues.
Cannabis and THC are often used in the treatment of cancer. Research suggests that THC can help fight against cancer growth, as well as boosting appetite, reducing nausea, and improving the mental state of patients.
Various other promising benefits of THC have also been identified. Many users use THC to improve sleep, improve their mood, and reduce the risk of various illnesses.
THCA is the raw form of THC and requires decarboxylation to be converted into THC. The main difference between these two chemicals is that THC produces psychoactive effects whereas THCA doesn’t. THCA can be used by blending fresh cannabis flower into drinks or by using THCA-infused products such as oils and topicals. However, these products are less commonly found and many users prefer to use THC or non-psychoactive CBD products.
THC can be used in many different ways. It’s commonly consumed by smoking or vaping cannabis flower or cannabis concentrates. However, there are also various other easy-to-use THC products. Some users may prefer THC Edibles, Tinctures or even Topicals. All of these products are legally available to buy online in Canada and you can find all kinds of THC products at West Coast Cannabis.