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Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid (THCA) Cannabinoid Molecule Structure

To learn about other cannabinoids go to our Cannabis Hemp Dictionary page.

What is THCA?

THCA, or tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, is the cannabinoid precursor to THC, the main psychoactive component in cannabis, which can also be found in trace amounts in the hemp plant.

People have only just begun to study THCA, despite the fact that it’s non-psychoactive. Early results do seem to suggest that the cannabinoid offers a number of potential medical benefits.

The compound was first discovered nearly 60 years ago in 1965 by German researchers who were interested in the effects of hashish. However, just four years later, Israeli researchers discovered another form of the cannabinoid and named it THCA-B.

Chemical Makeup

THCA is what is known as a precursor acid, and it can be converted into THC through decarboxylation. Decarboxylation is a process that may occur when a chemical compound is exposed to heat.

In other words, it’s what happens when you smoke or vape pot. A lack of decarboxylation is why simply eating raw cannabis flower won’t produce any psychoactive effects. Conversion of THCA to THC occurs at around 420 degrees Fahrenheit, believe it or not, and only then does your flower become psychoactive.

Legality of THCA

Considering the fact that THCA can potentially be turned into THC, which is the part of the cannabis plant which is considered federally illegal, the legality of THCA itself may seem a bit ambiguous.

However, it is not actually considered illegal. Keep in mind, though, that any amount of THCA you may have is most likely going to have at least some THC in it.

THCA Effects

Research regarding THCA is ongoing, and initial findings are intriguing.

THCA is associated with a range of potential benefits. Some believe it may support a healthy inflammation response, contribute to brain health, and promote appetite. It’s important to note that these potential benefits are based on preliminary research and more studies are needed to confirm these findings.