Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) is a biosynthetic precursor of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active component of cannabis. When purified, it forms a crystal which is unstable in the presence of acids, heat, oxygen, and/or light.
THCA is found in variable quantities in fresh, undried cannabis, but is progressively decarboxylated to THC with drying, and especially under intense heating such as when cannabis is smoked or cooked into cannabis edibles.
In other words, THCA is a molecule extracted directly from the cannabis plant, which forms into a crystal at purities above 95%. Carboxylic acid is a component of the THCA molecule; this separates from the molecule when heat is applied, leaving behind THC.
THCA does not have any known psychoactive effects on humans. Consequently, it is an important component of less-psychoactive preparations of cannabis for medical use.
Known health benefits of THCA include:
Analgesic – Relieves pain.
Anti-Emetic – Reduces vomiting, nausea, and and appetite loss.
Anti-Inflammatory – Reduces inflammation; for treatment of arthritis and lupus.
Anti-Insomnia – Aids with sleep.
Anti-Proliferative – Inhibits cancer cell growth; noted in studies of prostate cancer.
Antispasmodic – Suppresses muscle spasms.
Modulates Immune System – THCA has been shown to both improve and potentially suppress the immune system functions.
Neuroprotective – Slows damage to the nervous system and brain; for treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.
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