The Conversion of THCA to THC


You’ve no doubt heard of THC, the component of cannabis that has psychoactive properties and effectively gets cannabis users “high.” So, then, what is THCA? THCA is the short form name for tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, which actually has vastly different properties than its relative, THC. You see, THCA is actually found in raw cannabis and over time, as the marijuana plant dries out, THCA converts into THC.

What is decarboxylation?

Because when the marijuana plant is live it contains Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, consuming raw cannabis will not actually get you high. That doesn’t happen until the cannabis has been through the process of decarboxylation, allowing the acid to convert into THC. To put it simply, you can’t have THC without THCA. THCA is shaped into a three-dimensional molecule that does not actually fit into human cannabinoid receptors. Its shape must be changed for it to have an effect (ie, making users high) on the body.

Heat and light allow the process of decarboxylation to occur. During this process, heat takes away a carboxylic acid group of atoms within THCA, changing it into a molecule that then fits into the human endocannabinoid system.

How to decarboxylate Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid

There are a number of different methods that one can use in order to decarboxylate cannabis, allowing the conversion to take place. 

  • At Room Temperature. When Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid sits at room temperature for a significant period of time, it will be converted to THC without further intervention. With very little exposure to light and a temperature of around 77 degrees Fahrenheit, twenty percent of THCA will convert into THC.
  • In sunlight. If you let your cannabis plant bask in the sun for an extended chunk of time, THC will naturally emerge from the plant’s THCA molecules.
  • Smoking. Perhaps the most obvious and popular way to decarboxylate the Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid in a cannabis plant is by smoking it. By applying a high level of heat over a short period of time to the cannabis plant, it’s rapidly converted into THC.
  • Vaporizing. Some might be surprised to learn that vaporizing cannabis is the most efficient way to convert THCA into THC. Because vaping heats the cannabis at a low temperature that gradually increases, an ideal amount of the plant’s TCHA gets converted into THC.
  • Concentrates. When THCA gets isolated before decarboxylation, it can be consumed via dabbing, allowing the THCA to be broken down into THC in its active form.
  • Baking. Cannabis users can easily utilize their own conventional ovens to decarboxylate THCA into THC in edibles. Before adding the cannabis into the edibles, raw cannabis should be baked on its own and then added into the batter of tasty treats, ensuring that the THCA has first been converted into THC.

Benefits of Raw THCA

Though it is pretty clear why most cannabis users choose to decarboxylate their Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid to enjoy the effects of THC, there is also a good reason to consume THCA in its raw form. Fresh cannabis has come to be known as a superfood in its own right, providing those who consume it raw with health benefits. In fact, THCA has become a regularly used dietary supplement because of the many jobs that anecdotal evidence from research suggests it has the potential perform within the body, including:

  1. Antiemetic properties, to treat loss of appetite or nausea.
  2. Anti-inflammatory properties, to treat issues like lupus or arthritis.
  3. Neuroprotective properties, to help those suffering from neurodegenerative diseases.

(Note that the above-mentioned properties are all anecdotal and are not to be interpreted as tried and true medical claims of efficacy.)

Medical marijuana users who have consumed Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid in its raw form have also noted that it has assisted them with other health issues like pain management, insomnia, and muscle spasms. More research on the health benefits of THCA continues to be done, ensuring that potential future discoveries of more of THCA’s benefits are on the horizon.

Procuring THCA

As mentioned, every live and raw cannabis plant actually contains THCA, meaning that it is not difficult to find at all. More and more people interested in consuming this cannabinoid have started incorporating raw cannabis into their smoothies, or to juice them to incorporate their benefits quite easily (and tastily) at home.

In addition, there is a growing demand in the marketplace for products that are high in THCA but nontraditional methods of consumption, such as patches that are placed on the skin. These are designed to effectively deliver the health benefits of Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid without any risk of receiving THC’s psychoactive effects. Those who do plan to grow their own cannabis plants in order to receive the THCA simply straight from the source can quickly and easily source cannabis that is high in THCA via Grower’s Choice Seeds.

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