At Prime Wellness of Pennsylvania, we are committed to sharing how our prime quality medical marijuana therapeutics can help patients living with one of the state’s 23 qualifying medical conditions find relief and improve their lives. Part of that is providing you with educational resources to better understand our products and the science behind them.

Every prime product features an extensive list of cannabinoids – compounds that contribute to the powerful effects produced by our expertly crafted medicine.

This month, we conclude our series exploring some of the common cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant with a closer look at THCA (Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid), a cannabinoid that is often confused with the well-known, psychoactive compound THC.

About THCA: Both THCA and THC stem from CBGA, an acid in the raw cannabis plant referred to as the “mother of all cannabinoids.” While their names are similar, THCA is actually the precursor to THC — the most abundant psychoactive cannabinoid.

Unlike THC, THCA will not produce a “high” or euphoric effect, but it will readily convert into THC if exposed to high heat (like when you vaporize it) or UV light, a chemical conversion process called decarboxylation.

Because of its thermal instability, THCA occurs in greater amounts in freshly harvested, raw cannabis or live extracts.

Research: Although this cannabinoid was discovered back in 1965, research surrounding how THCA interacts with the endocannabinoid system has been limited. Some studies have explored how THCA may have a neuroprotectant effect by activating receptors in the central nervous system that regulate cellular gene expression. This effect may possibly improve degenerative and inflammatory conditions like Huntington’s disease.

Potential Medical Benefits: Besides its potential as a neuroprotectant, THCA may also have anti-inflammatory properties, reduce nausea, and manage pain.

Product Spotlight: Several products within our prime line of live concentrates contain THCA, including our THCA sand. Be sure to check the label on your medical marijuana packaging to learn about the levels of cannabinoids and terpenes in each of our prime products.

Fun Fact: Studies have shown that THCA has greater stability in oil-based solvents, degrading more quickly in ethanol-based extracts