If you have had some experience with cannabis, then you would have probably heard about THC and maybe CBD since they are the most common cannabinoids in the plant. However, cannabis offers hundreds of active compounds, including cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. These compounds affect the human body in different ways, but it is still pretty easy to mix them up, especially when they have similar names.
A popular example is THCA hemp flower and THC. While most cannabis enthusiasts are more familiar with THC, many do not know the exact differences between THC and the THCA flower. This article breaks down the basics and explains the distinct differences between them.
What is THCA Flower?
THCA flower refers to raw, unprocessed cannabis flower containing high tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) levels. THCA is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant.
Cannabis plants produce a wide range of cannabinoids as it grows, and almost all these cannabinoids fall in the carboxylic acid group. Examples are tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), cannabidiolic (CBDA), cannabigerolic (CBGA), and tetrahydrocannabivarin acid (THCVA). These acids eventually undergo decarboxylation and lose their carboxyl molecule to become Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), Cannabidiol (CBD), Cannabigerol (CBG), and Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV).
In simpler terms, THCA eventually loses the carboxyl molecule to become THC; This makes it the precursor to THC.
The Effect of THCA Flower on the Human Body
Contrary to popular opinion, you wouldn’t feel intoxicated when ingesting raw cannabis flowers.THCA is a non-psychotropic cannabinoid that will not provide any “high”. The non-psychotropic nature can be attributed to the shape of the THCA molecule; the extra carboxyl molecule prevents it from binding to the CB1 and the CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system.
However, while it will not make you high, it has medicinal properties such as inflammatory, neuroprotective, antiemetic, and pain-relieving benefits. This makes it an excellent option for treating conditions such as arthritis, Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s.
The effectiveness of THCA flower for health conditions has been tested and documented during several scientific studies. For instance, a 2021 study on the effect of THCA on fatty liver disease demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties. It revealed that THCA shows excellent potential for people with inflammatory conditions. Another 2017 study on mice revealed that THCA offers health benefits for people with neurodegenerative diseases.
What is THC?
THC, short for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is a psychoactive cannabinoid. It is the resulting cannabinoid that forms after THCA flowers undergo decarboxylation by exposure to light or heat. Heat removes the carboxylic acid group from THCA and alters the chemical structure so that the shape can fit with the endocannabinoid system’s receptors.
Effect of THC on the Human Body
Unlike the THCA flower, THCA is psychoactive. This means that when you smoke, vape, or cook with cannabis, you will experience some psychoactive experience due to the THC molecule binding with the CB1 receptor.
Just like the THCA flower, THC can be beneficial for different medical benefits for a wide range of medical conditions, including arthritis, inflammation, neurological and mental disorders, amnesia, and diabetes. However, it is essential to note that THC can have side effects, especially when you take them in high doses; it can cause anxiety, paranoia, and increased heart rate, which may be inconvenient to the user. This is why it is crucial to consume it responsibly and under the supervision of your doctor if you want to use it for health purposes.
THC vs THCA Flower: Which is Right for You?
So what are the differences between THC and the THCA flower? Which one is right for you? Ideally, it depends on your desired effects. If you want the medical benefits without a psychoactive experience, you should go for the THCA flower. On the other hand, if you prefer a trippy experience, THC is your ideal choice.
It is also crucial to consume the method of delivery. You can consume THC by smoking, vaping, dabbing, or baking edibles. However, THCA flower is a little complex because even a little exposure to heat or sunlight can transform it into THC. Even storing it in a warm room can gradually change it to THC. This is why THCA users ingest the flower, blend it into juice smoothies, or use any other method that doesn’t require heat.
Lastly, if you plan to use THC or THCA flower for a health condition, we recommend you consult a health professional to know how to incorporate it into your treatment plan with minimal side effects.