Is THCa Safe?
Is THCa safe to use? The simple and short answer is yes, THCa is safe to use. But there's a little more to it.
While most people will have heard of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the compound that gives you a delightful buzz in cannabis, not many will have heard of THCa (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid), which comes right before THC.
So what is it, and is THCa safe?
What Is THCa?
THCa is the non-psychoactive compound in cannabis, and it's the precursor to THC. When you set THCa on fire (as many people do with cannabis), you get THC. The two are closely linked yet deliver such different effects.
Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, or THCa, is what you get when cannabis is in its raw form. You get THC by heating or "decarbing" cannabis. Once it goes through decarboxylation, it's no longer in its raw form, and the acidic compound (THCa) undergoes chemical changes to become THC. It is this transition that brings about the euphoric effects of cannabis, should you happen to inhale or ingest the resulting compound (THC).
Is THCa Safe to Use?
Since THCa contains antioxidant, neuroprotective, and anti-inflammatory properties, research shows that it can offer the following therapeutic benefits:
- It can help reduce inflammation. This can be beneficial for those who experience severe discomfort brought about by inflammation in different parts of their bodies.
- THCa has been known to be a bit more effective than THC in reducing nausea and vomiting.
- Even though further studies are necessary in this field, there's research showing that THCa has the potential to slow the proliferation of various cancerous cells, especially when dealing with the prostate. The same studies show that it can help fight tumors.
- Some studies also show that THCa can help stop the accumulation of fat cells, which, in turn, can prevent obesity and metabolic disease.
- Thanks to its neuroprotective properties, THCa could be used as a remedy for several degenerative conditions.
- THCa also has the potential to help people who have seizure disorders.
While THCa and THC are different compounds, THCa has some of the same benefits as THC, but you would have to take it through the process of decarboxylation (introducing heat) first to turn it into THC.
The secondary compound does offer a great deal of benefits, especially for people who struggle with their appetite, sleep, and chronic discomfort.
Does THCa Have Any Side Effects?
There are arguments that, unlike THC, THCa has very few side effects. These arguments, however, are often contravened by others who say that since THCa is the precursor to THC, both can have similar side effects. Therefore, if you have any kind of sensitivity to THC, you should assume that THCa would produce the same kind of reaction in you.
Here are the most common side effects that are often experienced when using THCa:
- Red eyes
- Increased heart rate
However, since THCa is the non-psychoactive precursor of THC, there's a high likelihood that the side effects listed here will be much milder, if at all. It should also be noted that the generally positive side effects of THC, such as feeling mellow, having a buzz, or some kind of euphoria, won't come from THCa.
That being said, THCa can show up on drug tests. Furthermore, it can interact with prescription medication, so be sure to talk to your doctor about it if you are on any kind of medication.
How Is THCa Used?
There are several ways you can use THCa. One of the most common ways is to actually eat it without necessarily setting it on fire, which will give you THC.
When it comes to consuming it, raw cannabis can be incorporated into a number of food options, but the most popular option is juicing it to improve the taste. You can also buy THCa tinctures or topicals, which can be consumed directly.
Another excellent option is to use transdermal patches, which are technically THCa topicals. If you are going to go this route, be sure that the product is listed as THCa and not THC. Using THCa in this way will not give you a buzz unless it's listed as THC.
Simply put, the best way to take THCa is one that works for you. As long as you do not introduce heat, you will experience the benefits that come with THCa as opposed to THC.
Is THCa Legal?
Yes, THCa is legal in many states, but as with almost everything else related to this topic, there's a bit more to it than meets the eye.
One of the main reasons THCa is legal in many states is because America revised the Farm Bill in 2018. This revision created a legal distinction between cannabis and hemp plants. Within this revision, hemp was defined as cannabis plants that have no more than 0.3% THC when considering dried weight.
As a result, hemp plants were generally removed from the federal list of controlled substances. However, cannabis and other high delta-9 THC concentrations remained on that list.
Note: Whenever you are buying any THCa products, be sure to check the sources, as cannabis remains illegal in many states.
The Controlled Substances Act, therefore, doesn't list isomers of THC or THCa as banned. As a result, many CBD brands use this loophole to produce THCa and THC products from legally approved hemp crops.
Simply put, THCa is safe to use just be sure to buy your products from a reputable source and use them responsibly and as directed.