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What Is THCA (Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid)?

Exploring THCA (Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid)

THCA, or Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, is a raw cannabinoid that can be found in the Cannabis sativa species. This acidic, non-psychotropic compound is a precursor to the well-known psychoactive cannabinoid THC. In this article, we will delve into THCA’s attributes, side effects, supporting research, and legal status.

Understanding THCA

THCA is the precursor to THC, the compound most commonly associated with marijuana. When THCA is exposed to heat, it loses a carboxyl group and is converted into THC. In its raw form, THCA is non-psychotropic and does not have any notable side effects. However, over time, THCA naturally decarboxylates into THC, which is psychoactive.

Supporting Research on THCA

Research into the benefits of THCA is limited, but early studies have indicated that it may have anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties. An animal study published in Phytomedicine in 2012 found that THCA, along with THC and CBD, protected dopaminergic neurons, with THCA significantly increasing cell counts. Another study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology in 2013 revealed that THCA inhibited androgen receptor cells involved in prostate cancer.

Legal Status of THCA

While THCA is not currently scheduled under the UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, local regulations regarding its use may vary due to its chemical similarity to THC. It is important to be aware of the legal status of THCA in your region before using products containing this compound.


[1] Ruhaak, L. R., Felth, J., Karlsson, P. C., Rafter, J. J., Verpoorte, R., & Bohlin, L. (2011). Evaluation of the Cyclooxygenase Inhibiting Effects of Six Major Cannabinoids Isolated from Cannabis sativa. Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 34(5), 774–778. [Source]

[2] Moldzio, R., Pacher, T., Krewenka, C., Kranner, B., Novak, J., Duvigneau, J. C., & Rausch, W. D. (2012). Effects of cannabinoids Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol, Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid and cannabidiol in MPP+ affected murine mesencephalic cultures. Phytomedicine, 19(8–9), 819–824. [Source]

[3] de Petrocellis, L., Ligresti, A., Schiano Moriello, A., Iappelli, M., Verde, R., Stott, C. G., Cristino, L., Orlando, P., & di Marzo, V. (2012). Non-THC cannabinoids inhibit prostate carcinoma growthin vitroandin vivo: pro-apoptotic effects and underlying mechanisms. British Journal of Pharmacology, 168(1), 79–102. [Source]