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Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is marijuana’s most intoxicating and famous cannabinoid. However, a tetrahydrocannabinol acid (THCA) is an inactive compound found in the living cannabis plants trichomes.

And though THC certainly does get one high and THCA does not, there is a relation: THCA is the sign to psychoactive THC effects.

The reason why THC get one high and THCA does not is due to the THCA three-dimensional shape molecule. It is large in size molecule that does not fit into our CB           1 cannabinoid receptors. To get an intoxicating effect, a cannabinoid must fit into a CB1 receptor body.

It’s frequently assumed that as we grow a marijuana plant, the THC levels believe to be increasing until ripe for the harvesting. But actually, the THCA is the primary cannabinoid being produced. 

How does THCA become THC?

Through light and heat — or the so-called decarboxylation process. Carboxylic acid group of atoms is removed through heat, it will then be converted to a molecule and alter the chemical structure of THC, thus forming the ideal shape to fit into our endocannabinoid system (ECS) and the receptor of CB1 that runs through the central nervous system, creating that classic elevated experience.

THCA is said to offer a variety of medicinal benefits and is normally used as a dietary enhancement and nutritional supplement for its:

• Anti-inflammatory properties – A 2011 study shows that THCA proved to have its anti-inflammatory properties. 

• Anti-proliferative properties – From a 2013 study established that THCA prevents prostate cancer cells spreading.

• Neuroprotective properties – In a 2012 preclinical study found that THCA exhibited the ability to assist in protecting against neurodegenerative diseases.  

• Antiemetic properties (decreasing nausea and increasing appetite) – A  2013 study concluded that both CBDA and  THCA were effective in reducing vomiting and nausea in rat models, even more than CBD and THC, respectively.

THC vs. THCA: decarboxylation process

Here are the best common ways to decarboxylate weed:

• Sunlight conversion: Through exposure to light and heat, THCA is converted to THC in varying degrees. 

• Room temperature conversion: Another way to convert THCA to THC is by storing at room temperature with a longer duration. 

• Smoking: Rapid conversion of THCA to THC takes place when a high degree of heat is applied to smoke-dried, cured bud but in a short period. 

• Vaporizing: This is the most efficient mode of decarboxylating. Cannabinoids are released and converted when placed at a low-temperature heat. Continues heat will ensure that the principal amount of THCA is transformed into THC and binds to CB1 receptors.

• Vape pens: preloaded vape pens are more efficient than vaporizing flowers. This is an efficient and good method of taking intoxicating cannabis. 

• Cannabis concentrates: THCA crystalline can be consumed and extracted in dabs. The same with vaporization, decarboxylation emerges rapidly when dabbing method is used. 

• Conventional oven: When weed gets crushed up, evenly spread across a parchment paper or baking sheet, and is baked at 110 degrees Celsius or 230 degrees Fahrenheit, for 30-90 minutes, THCA is slowly converted to THC. 

Whether cannabis is juiced raw, eaten, or vaped, understanding the properties of the plant and why and how they interact with one’s body is the key indicator in achieving the desired effect.

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