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THC-A: Everything You Need to Know

by in CBD News January 25, 2023

What Is THCA? Benefits, Uses, Risks, and More

THC-A is a very highly sought-after cannabinoid in both the hemp and cannabis industry, and it is important to understand what it is, how it works, and how you can expect to experience it.Β 

Before getting started, we must be absolutely clear.Β Do not take what you read in this article as medical advice, do not delay in seeking medical advice or attention because of something you read on this website. Please be responsible with your health!

What is THCA and what are the benefits of this cannabinoid?

THC-A, or tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, is a non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant. It is the precursor to THC, the compound responsible for the plant’s psychoactive effects.

  1. Anti-inflammatory effects: THC-A has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.

  2. Pain relief: THC-A may be effective in reducing pain and discomfort.

  3. Anti-tumor effects: Some pre-clinical research suggests that THC-A may have anti-tumor effects and may be useful in the treatment of certain types of cancer.Β 

  4. Neuroprotective effects: THC-A may have neuroprotective properties that may be beneficial to be used for various reasons.

  5. Appetite stimulation: THC-A may stimulate appetite, which can be beneficial for people experiencing appetite loss, or having a hard time eating. It may also be helpful with nausea.

Please note that most if not all of the research on the medical benefits of THC-A are pre-clinical and more studies are needed to confirm the potential benefits.

An attractive primary characteristics of THC-A is that it is not psychoactive, meaning it does not produce the “high” associated with THC. This can make THC-A an ideal option for those looking for the potential therapeutic benefits of cannabis without the mind-altering effects.

The conversion of THC-A to THC occurs when the compound is exposed to heat, a process called decarboxylation. This can happen through smoking, vaping, or cooking the cannabinoid or the flower. The resulting THC can then bind to the body’s endocannabinoid receptors, leading to the various effects associated with cannabis use.

Will THC-A hemp flower get you high?

Smoking THCa in hemp flower will not typically produce the “high” associated with THC because THCa is the non-psychoactive form of THC and it needs to be converted to THC by heating or processing. The process of decarboxylation, which is the process of converting THCa to THC, typically happens when smoking or vaporizing the flower, but the conversion rate is lower in hemp flower than in marijuana strains. So, it is unlikely that smoking THCa-rich hemp flower would produce a significant psychoactive effect.

What is the conversion rate of THC-A to Delta 9 THC?

The conversion rate of THCa (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) to delta-9-THC (the most psychoactive form of THC) can vary depending on various factors such as the method of heating or processing, the specific strain of cannabis, and the starting concentration of THCa. Generally speaking, the conversion rate of THCa to delta-9-THC is around 30-40% when using common methods of decarboxylation such as smoking or vaporizing.

It is also worth noting that the conversion rate of THCa to delta-9-THC can be affected by the duration and temperature of the decarboxylation process. A low and slow decarboxylation will typically yield a lower conversion rate compared to a higher and faster decarboxylation process.

How much THC-A is converted in hemp flower when smoked?

The conversion rate of THCa to THC in hemp flower is typically around 10-15% when using common methods of decarboxylation such as smoking or vaporizing. However, it is important to note that the concentration of THCa can vary greatly between different hemp strains and it also depends on how the hemp was grown, dried and cured.

Also, it’s important to note that under the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp is defined as cannabis plants that contain less than 0.3% THC by dry weight, meaning that even if the conversion rate of THCA to THC is higher, it should still be well within legal limits.

What is the difference between THC and THC-A?

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the psychoactive component of cannabis that produces the “high” associated with marijuana use. THCa (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) is the non-psychoactive component of cannabis that is converted to THC when exposed to heat or through the process of decarboxylation. In other words, THCa is the precursor to THC, and it does not produce any psychoactive effects until it is heated or processed.

The amount of THCa that is converted into THC when considering hemp flower can vary depending on various factors such as the specific strain of hemp, the method of heating or processing, and the starting concentration of THCa. Generally speaking, the conversion rate of THCa to THC in hemp flower is typically lower compared to marijuana strains because the concentration of THCa in hemp is lower than in marijuana.

How THC-A Works In The Body

THC-A works by binding to the body’s endocannabinoid receptors, specifically CB1 receptors located in the brain and CB2 receptors located throughout the body. When THC-A is heated, it loses a carboxyl group and becomes delta-9 THC, which is responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis. The conversion rate in hemp is typically lower than that of medical marijuana, and the psychoactive effects are not significant in THC-A rich hemp flower.

THCA, like other cannabinoids, is metabolized by the body’s cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes, which are a family of enzymes that are responsible for metabolizing various substances, including drugs and endogenous compounds.

Research has shown that THCA is primarily metabolized by the CYP enzymes CYP1A1, CYP1A2, and CYP2C9. These enzymes are primarily responsible for converting THCA into THC, which is the psychoactive compound found in cannabis that is responsible for the plant’s characteristic “high.”

It is important to note that the metabolism of THCA and other cannabinoids is a complex process that is influenced by various factors, such as genetics, diet, and drug interactions. Therefore, more research is needed to fully understand the metabolism of THCA and its interactions with the cytochrome P450 enzymes.

What is the Half-Life of THC-A?

The half-life of THCA (Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) is not well studied, but it is thought to be similar to THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), which has a half-life of approximately 24-48 hours. However, it is important to note that half-life refers to the time it takes for half of a substance to be eliminated from the body and can vary depending on various factors such as dosage, method of administration, and individual differences in metabolism.

What is the difference between Delta 8 THC and THC-A?

Delta 8 THC and THC-A are both forms of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the primary psychoactive compound found in cannabis. While they have similar properties, there are some key differences between the two that are important to understand.

Delta 8 THC is a minor cannabinoid that is found in small quantities in the cannabis plant. It is similar to delta-9 THC, the most well-known form of THC, but it is less psychoactive. This means that it produces a milder “high” and has less potential for anxiety or paranoia. It is also less likely to show up on a drug test than delta-9 THC. Delta 8 THC is legal in some states but not in others.

THC-A, on the other hand, is the acidic precursor to delta-9 THC. It is found in high concentrations in raw and live cannabis, but it is not psychoactive until it is heated, a process called decarboxylation. When THC-A is heated, it loses a carboxyl group and becomes delta-9 THC. When consumed, THC-A has anti-inflammatory properties and can be used as a pain reliever and anti-inflammatory.

Is THC-A Hemp Flower the next big thing in hemp?

THCa flower, also known as raw flower, is a non-psychoactive form of hemp that contains high levels of THCa (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid), the precursor to THC. It is considered the next big thing in hemp because it offers several potential benefits over traditional hemp products, such as:

  1. Non-psychoactive: THCa flower does not produce the “high” associated with THC, making it a suitable option for those who want to experience the potential benefits of hemp without the psychoactive effects.

  2. Potential medicinal benefits: THCa is believed to have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, as well as potential benefits for treating conditions such as seizures and muscle spasms.

  3. Versatility: THCa flower can be consumed in a variety of ways, such as by smoking, vaporizing, or consuming it as a tincture.

  4. Sustainability: THCa flower can be consumed as raw flower, which is the most natural form of hemp, and does not require any chemical extraction or other processing, making it more sustainable than other hemp products.

  5. Legal: As hemp-derived products with less than 0.3% THC are legal under the 2018 Farm Bill, THCa flower is legal for consumption and sale in the U.S.

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What is the legality of THC-A?

With regard to the currently active 2018 Farm Bill, the presence of THC is defined by the presence of Delta-9 THC, where other isomers are not included, however, each state has their own laws and definitions.

It’s important to note that the legality of marijuana and its derivatives, including THCA, is changing rapidly in the United States, and different states have different laws and regulations regarding its use. It’s always good to check with your state legislation for the most current information.

States That Define Total THC and use Delta-9 THC plus THCA

  • Arkansas – The Arkansas Industrial Hemp Program recognizes delta-9 THC as being THC + 0.877*THCA.
  • Minnesota – The final regulatory determination will be based on the total potential THC post-decarboxylation, which is equal to delta-9 THC + (THCA x 0.877) if the sample is analyzed via HPLC methodology.
  • Oregon – the molar sum of THC and THCA [tetrahydrocannabinolic acid].
  • Rhode Island – β€œHemp” means the plant of the genus cannabis and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration that does not exceed three tenths percent (0.3%) on a dry weight basis of any part of the plant cannabis, or per volume or weight of marijuana product or the combined percent of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid in any part of the plant cannabis regardless of the moisture content.

States Where Any THC is Illegal

  • Idaho – The Idaho Attorney General considers hemp extracts with cannabidiol (CBD) to be a controlled substance unless it is derived from excluded parts of the hemp plant AND contains no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
  • New Hampshire – Not Legal. Legislation Pending.
  • South Dakota – Law failed to pass the state senate 5-4

What are the potential risks associated with THC-A?

THC-A, or tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, is the non-psychoactive form of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) found in raw and live cannabis. While some research suggests potential benefits of THC-A, there may also be risks associated with its use.

  1. Interaction with medications: THC-A may interact with certain medications, such as blood thinners and antidepressants, which may increase the risk of side effects or reduce the effectiveness of the medications.

  2. Impairment: While THC-A is non-psychoactive, it may still impair cognitive and motor function. This could be potentially dangerous for activities such as driving or operating heavy machinery.

  3. Allergic reactions: Some people may have an allergic reaction to cannabis or its components, such as THC-A, which may lead to symptoms such as hives, itching, and difficulty breathing.

  4. Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is limited information available about the safety of THC-A during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It is not recommended to consume THC-A during these times without consulting with a healthcare provider.

  5. Potential for addiction: Long-term use of THC-A or other cannabis products may lead to addiction or dependence.

It is important to keep in mind that most of the research on the risks of THC-A is pre-clinical and more studies are needed to confirm the potential risks. And it is not FDA-approved yet. It is essential to consult with a healthcare professional before using THC-A or any other cannabis products.

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