What are THCA and CBDA?

Written by BlackbirdGo November 29, 2018
The Plant

Today, we’re meeting two of the most critical acids that derive from CBGA: tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) and cannabidolic acid (CBDA).

Where do THCA and CBDA come from?
THCA and CBDA are cannabinoids found in the cannabis sativa plant. In a previous article, we discussed how olivetolic acid and geranyl pyrophosphate undergo a natural process using light and heat to transform into CBGA. Similar processes then change CBGA into either THCA or CBDA.

THCA and CBDA are the acid forms of THC and CBD. Through a process called decarboxylation, THCA and CBDA lose one of their carboxyl rings to become THC and CBD. This chemical change gives THC the shape that allows it to interact with our CB1 and CB2 receptors, resulting in an intoxicating effect; however, THCA before it is decarboxylated is not intoxicating. CBD and CBDA have different chemical structures than THC and do not interact with our endocannabinoid receptors in the same way. CBD and CBDA do not produce intoxicating effects.

Medical Benefits of THCA

Due to prohibition, there is not enough evidence to conclusively list the potential benefits of THCA. However, research suggests that THCA could be used in the following ways:

Medical Benefits of CBDA

Due to prohibition, there is not enough evidence to conclusively list the potential benefits of CBDA. However, research suggests that CBDA has shown promising results if used as:

Possible Risks of THCA and CBDA

There is not enough research at this time to accurately assess the potential risks associated with THCA or CBDA. As always, if you are concerned, you should seek advice from a trusted medical professional.

Where to Find THCA and CBDA

Because THCA and CBDA become THC and CBD through heat and exposure to oxygen, they can be difficult to isolate. They are also decarboxylated through combustion, meaning that you cannot consume THCA and CBDA by smoking it. The most effective ways to consume THCA and CBDA are through sublingual tincture, like the ones made by Rosette, or transdermal patches, like the ones made by Mary’s Wellness.

Additionally, you can consume THCA and CBDA by consuming raw cannabis. If you find a strain that is high in either THCA or CBDA, you can add it to your favorite breakfast smoothie. You don’t have to worry about getting stoned, as it will not be decarboxylated and therefore not intoxicating.

The Entourage Effect and Total Plant Medicine

Research suggests that the use of pure extracts of any cannabinoid or terpene is not as effective as when they are paired with other cannabinoids and terpenes. These compounds have a synergistic effect, working in tandem to interact with your body’s endocannabinoid system. Studies have shown that consistent use, as well as the use of a variety of cannabinoids at different potencies, shows better results in the treatment of various symptoms.

Think of it like taking a multivitamin—the increased and consistent levels of vitamins in your immune system promote the overall efficiency of your immune system and will show improvement over time. Similarly, research suggests that consistency of use of cannabinoids promotes the overall effectiveness of the endocannabinoid system.

Disclaimer: Keep out of reach of children. For use only by adults 21 years of age and older.