Author – Jon Russell
Edited by Noah Persin
Welcome back to the GreenSea “Understanding Cannabinoids” series. So far we’ve introduced you to the Endocannabinoid System and briefly touched on how the CB1 and CB2 receptors work in our bodies. Last week we spoke about CBG and the building block cannabinoid, CBGa. Let’s move on to THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis and the part that is responsible for that groovy “high” everyone digs. How does it work to get us stoned though? Let’s take a look.
Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid (THCa)
We all know that THC gets us high but where does it come from? As we learned last week, CBGa naturally converts to THCa during it’s lifecycle. THCa is not psychoactive in the traditional sense, it won’t get you high or “stoned”.
THCa is found most in the raw cannabis plant right after harvest. One reason there hasn’t been much research on THCa is that just the process of curing will convert the THCa to THC. The acids that make up the “a” in THCa are extremely unstable and begin to break down in a matter of days. After only a couple weeks there is very little THCa left in the cured cannabis flower.
Many people are now finding that juicing raw cannabis provides a large amount of medical benefits. Some of these benefits include anti-inflammatory properties, nausea prevention, and some studies have shown that it may have anti-cancer (curative and preventative) properties. THCa may also help stimulate the appetite like THC does. Considering the promise already speculated from the limited studies performed , much more research is warranted so as to fully understand and unlock the full potential of this cannabinoid.
New research is showing that THCa can be refined liked BHO into a pure form that can be dabbed. It doesn’t have the other cannabinoids to mitigate the potential anxiety effects so it may not be an effective way to medicate for patients or people who enjoy indicas as it has a heavy jittery, sativa effect.
Our wonderful little friend THC is what you get after you heat or cure your cannabis after harvest. As we all know, this is the little friend that gets you in that “happy” state of mind.
When you cure cannabis or add heat (a process known as “decarboxylation”), you enable the THC to be absorbed by the bloodstream. You “decarb” your cannabis instantly when you smoke or vaporize it, and if you’re making edibles that process happens slowly as you cook your product.
Not only will it get you high, THC also has several health benefits. It’s ability to bind to the CB1 receptor helps it relax the muscles in the body making it especially effective when treating cardiac arrest. It also helps relieve pain, induces sleep, appetite and much more.
On a side note: From my own experience, I personally had a heart attack in my 20s and my regular cannabis consumption helped prevent it from becoming a major attack (as I was informed by the attending EMTs’).
When it binds to the CB2 receptor it works as an anti-inflammatory agent and stimulates the immune system. THC is showing huge promise for preventing cancers and helping to treat disorders such as Crohn’s disease or IBS.
THC was the first cannabinoid found and the most time has been spent researching it. We now know that it helps treats cancer, pain, glaucoma, and a lot of research is finally being done on how it helps treat PTSD for veterans.
THCa is the next stop on the cannabinoid map and is a great addition to your daily vitamin intake regiment. Juicing raw cannabis is the best way to get your daily dose of non psychoactive THCa. Curing or adding heat converts it to THC and brings with it it’s own set of health benefits.
Join us next week for our next article in the “Understanding Cannabinoids” series. We’ll cover a CBDa and CBD, the cancer fighting cannabinoid. Stay connected for the next in our series by signing up for the newsletter below.