By Gooey Rabinski at Whaxy.com
THC-A, or tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, is one of the most valuable cannabinoids found in marijuana. THC-A is a precursor to THC, meaning that a slight modification to the THC-A molecule produces THC. Think of THC-A as the “larval form” of THC. Nearly all cannabinoids are present in the plant in acidic form.
It’s not until heat is applied via combustion or vaporization, a process called decarboxylation, that THC-A is converted to THC. In fact, it is estimated that 80-90 percent of the THC in raw cannabis is stored in the form of THC-A (minor decarboxylation also occurs during the drying phase of harvesting). When burned or vaped, about 95 percent of the THC-A in raw cannabis is converted to THC.
Until decarboxylation and the conversion of THC-A to THC occurs, cannabis delivers no euphoria. Thus, patients who juice with raw cannabis leaves derive no high from the experience. Likewise, those who eat raw cannabis in hopes of getting high will always be frustrated. However, despite providing no psychoactive effect, THC-A is highly therapeutic. Like its cousin THC, it provides ready relief for a variety of conditions and ailments.
The conditions for which THC-A provides relief include insomnia, muscle spasms and seizures, and nausea/vomiting, making it very effective for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. It also relieves pain, acts as an appetite stimulant (perfect for wasting syndromes), and—possibly of most value—is believed to slow or stop the growth of cancer cells. A 2013 study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology found that THC-A may be especially effective in fighting prostate cancer.
THC-A also provides neuroprotective benefits, meaning it may help sufferers of multiple sclerosis, dystonia, and epilepsy. A 2012 study revealed that THC-A provides neuroprotective properties for certain brain cells, giving it tremendous potential for diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. This precursor to THC can also modulate the immune system, meaning it has the ability to suppress or enhance to achieve the necessary effect and help the body reach homeostasis (balance).
In addition, THC-A effectively reduces inflammation, making it well suited to treat arthritis and lupus.