THC-A, or tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, is a cannabis compound that is beginning to demonstrate immense therapeutic potential despite the infancy of its research. You’ve heard of THC, and while they may sound similar, THC-A actually has very different properties. Unlike THC, THC-A is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in raw and live cannabis. As the plant dries, THC-A slowly converts to THC. Heat expedites this conversion in a process known as decarboxylation, a fancy word that describes what happens when you smoke or vaporize flower.
There isn’t enough research on THC-A to definitively state what it can treat and with what degree of efficacy, but preliminary research and anecdotal evidence suggest that THC-A will play a pivotal role in cannabis medicine as the industry propels forward. Here are some of the potential benefits studies have started to unveil:
Anti-inflammatory properties for treatment of arthritis and lupus
Neuroprotective properties for treatment of neurodegenerative diseases
Anti-emetic properties for treatment of nausea and appetite loss
Anti-proliferative properties noted in studies of prostate cancer
Other possible medicinal avenues supported by patient stories include insomnia, muscle spasms, and pain. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait for more studies to substantiate all of the above benefits before we can fully understand what THC-A means for the future of cannabinoid-based medicines.