Friday, January 15, 2021

What is the Difference between THCA and CBD?

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CBD versus THCA

There are over 480 different compounds naturally found in plants and 66 of them are considered cannabinoids in Cannabis plants. Among the 66, the cannabinoids are differentiated into different groups based on the level of psychoactive properties.

Cannabidiol or CBD is one of the few cannabinoids that are highly abundant in cannabis plants. CBD does not have psychoactive properties but rather anti-anxiety effects, mainly used in medicinal therapy.  

So, you have heard of CBD as a non-psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis plants, but what is THCa? Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid or THCA is an “inactive” cannabinoid found in trichomes of cannabis plants.

I emphasize the term “inactive” because this form, although a precursor of THC, does not have psychoactive properties.

THCA is converted into THC when you apply heat and/or smoke or vape the weed. This process is called decarboxylation in which a carboxylic acid group is removed from the inactive THCA compound following the application of heat.

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This change in the chemical structure of the newly made compound called THC can then easily activate the CB1 receptors in our endocannabinoid system (ECS) and produce that high experience. 

thca vs cbd
Photo credit: analyticalcannabis.com

Benefits of THCa and CBD

Strong evidence has shown CBD’s effect in alleviating epilepsy symptoms. Even for diseases such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), which are impossible to treat. 

Various studies have supported CBD’s effectiveness in seizures and recently, the Epidiolex – which contains CBD, has been the first-ever FDA approved cannabis drug to date.

Alongside treating epilepsies, CBD has also been shown to treat anxiety, help with insomnia and some say it even helped them with chronic pain. 

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Similar to CBD effects mentioned above, THCA have also been known (anecdotally) to have various medicinal benefits. To name a few, but not limited to: 

  1. Anti-inflammatory: THCA was shown to reduce pain and contribute to fever and swelling.
  2. Neuroprotective: THCA has been shown to have positive effects on treating neurodegenerative disorders such as Huntington’s disease and epilepsy. 
  3. Antiemetic: They claimed that THCA from the unheated cannabis treated their chronic and severe digestive problems.
  4. Anti-anxiety: CBD holds the title for the best cannabinoid in reducing anxiety. But, THCA is not too far behind in anti-anxiety properties. It has been shown to reduce the symptoms of Tourette syndrome. 

THCA and CBD Crystalline

The crystalline structures of THCA and CBD are very similar. What is interesting about this is, although THCA can form a crystalline structure, CBDA (precursor of CBD) cannot.  The crystallines of THCA and CBD are the purest concentrate you can get with potency level as high as 99.9%. 

What does it mean when a concentrate is pure? Well simply, this form does not possess any traces of terpenes, flavonoids, fats, and/or lipids. With that being said, if you are now wondering about the flavor, color, and aroma of the concentrate – well the answer is, it doesn’t have any! With the lack of terpenes you get no flavor and with no flavonoids the crystalline is colorless and lacks aroma. 

Another cannabinoid becoming popular in 2020 is THCv.  Learn more about the chemical compounds of marijuana and their effects on the human body at leafipedia.net.

RELATED:  What Conditions Can CBD Help?

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