Posts Tagged ‘THCa’

Hey readers,


My apologies for my absence from posting here. I have been very busy writing for The Leaf Online, an online cannabis newspaper that used to be a print paper as well, but like many newspapers of the modern era went digital. The Leaf ran updated versions of all my cannabinoid profiles from this blog, which I highly recommend checking out.

Before getting into any of the details on cannabinoids themselves you should read about your CB receptors. The CB receptors are the main receptor sites that cannabinoids interact with in the human body, there currently are two identified types of CB receptors. CB1 is the receptor that THC and the endo-cannabinoid Anadamide interact with to produce feelings of euphoria; feeling high. While it has other functions as well, producing euphoria is the main function CB1 is known for. CB2 is presently seen as the receptor type where the majority of medicinal benefits come from. If you want to know more about the CB receptors you’ll need to see my post.


For more on the cannabinoids see my series of cannabinoid profiles on The Leaf Online.

1. CB1 and CB2

2. Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

3. Cannabidiol (CBD)

4. Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCv)

5. Cannabigerol (CBG)

6. Cannabichromene (CBC)

7. Tetrahydrocannabolic Acid (THCa)

8. Cannabinol (CBN)

9. Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDa)

10. Cannabigerolic Acid (CBGa)

11. Anandamide


See an updated version of this post on The Leaf Online, Cannabinoid Profile – CBGa!

Formula: C22H32O4
Molecular Mass: 360.48708 g/mol
Decarboxylation Point: ????

Boiling Point: ????

LD50 (Lethal Dose): Currently Unknown, likely similar to CBG, 300mg/kg for mice  (Compare to Nicotine: for mice – 3mg/kg for humans – 40–60 mg/kg),

Cannabigerolic acid (CBGa) is formed when geranyl pyrophosphate combines with olivetolic acid within the cannabis plant. It is thanks to CBGa that all other medicinal effects of cannabis are possible. Cannabigerolic acid (CBGa) can be thought of as the stem cell cannabinoid, which becomes THCa/THC, CBDa/CBD, CBCa/CBC, and CBG. It does this through different types of biosynthesis, where chemicals combine to form new compounds, examples being the  THC biosynthase and the CBD biosynthase. During these different chemical processes the acid grou Hemp species of cannabis have higher amounts of CBG due to a recessive trait, which may imply higher amounts of CBGa present in those strains as well.

Image Courtesy of Steephill/Halent Labs and Elemental Wellness

Image Courtesy of Steephill/Halent Labs and Elemental Wellness

Therapeutic Uses

Analgesic – Relieves pain.

Antibacterial – Slows bacterial growth.

Anti-inflammatory – Reduces inflammation systemically.

Anti-Proliferative – Inhibits cancer cell growth through apoptosis.


Halent 2011 - Cannabinoid and Terpenoid Chart



Currently Being Studied For

Cannabinoid Biosynthase: Nearly all current research on CBGa focuses solely on its role in the biosynthesis of other cannabinoids. Virtually no money is going to study its analgesic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-proliferative properties.

We learned in 2005 that the enzyme controlling the conversion of CBGa into THCa and further THC is held within the trichomes of the plant. This makes sense, as the trichomes have long been known to be the home of THC. Sirikantaramas did a follow up study on his 2005 research which showed they could grow THCa in a laboratory using a yeast culture as a host. If you want to know more about the THCa synthase, which is the first biosynthase to see any major study, you can look at this 2009 literature review profiling it. It wasn’t until 2014 that any of this research turned back to focus on CBGa again, when Alaoui et Al (2014) identified how and where CBGa binding happened, then explored how it was converted into THCa. Their research could be key to better understanding how THCa production happens and thus how much THCa will be resulting in the plant material.

Cancer: While there are no current studies being done on CBGa for it’s abilities to help with cancer it has been shown to be an anti-proliferative just like CBG, THC, and CBD. CBGa encourages apoptosis, which is programmed cell death. Defective apoptosis is believed to be a major reason for the formation and progression of cancer, one obvious solution to a person having depressed levels of apoptosis is to stimulate that bodily response. Cannabinoids appear to stimulate apoptosis in previously unknown ways posing a novel way to mitigate and potentially cure cancer. While this much is known about CBGa more research should be done.

*Note: Decarboyxlation – A chemical reaction that removes a carboxyl group and releases  CO2, often triggered by heat.

See an updated version of this post on The Leaf Online,Cannabinoid Profile – THCa!

Formula: C22H30O4
Molecular Mass: 358.4733 g/mol
Decarboxylation Point: ???

Boiling Point: 105 °C (220 °F)

LD50 (Lethal Dose): 5628mg/kg for rats (Compare to Nicotine: for mice – 3mg/kg for humans – 40–60 mg/kg)


Found in the trichomes, Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCa) is the acidic precursor to THC, which actually exists in only minute quantities in the living plant. In living cannabis, THCa is the most abundant cannabinoid and terpenoid, potentially reaching over 30% of the dry weigh of the cannabis. Once the plant is harvested it begins a clock where, over time, the THCa begins to be converted into THC, a process quickened by exposure to heat and sunlight. One main reason cannabis is cured is to convert the THCa into THC, as well as drying it out to make it easier to burn, thus releasing the remaining THCa as THC. Knowing about decarboxylating cannabis is crucial in making edibles, where one pre-cooks the bud  before making it into butter to raise the potency by converting THCa into THC.

Like all cannabinoids that exist in the living cannabis plant, THCa is non-psychoactive, though it still stimulates the appetite like THC. It also is a powerful anti-inflammatory, helps fight cancer and other tumors, aids with sleep, and more. Also like THC, an oral test has already been developed to detect THCa. While some sources show THCa to be a stable compound, Aphios research chemicals claims that it is very unstable and will breakdown into THC within weeks. It may have to do with the preparation of synthesized THCa used in their laboratory versus an active live-plant based THCa, but without further research the stability of THCa and how quickly it converts to THC is unknown.


Therapeutic Uses

Analgesic – Relieves pain.

Anti-Emetic – Reduces vomiting and nausea.

Anti-Inflammatory – Reduces inflammation.

Anti-Insomnia – Aids with sleep.

Anti-Proliferative – Inhibits cancer cell growth.

Antispasmodic –  Suppresses muscle spasms.

Modulates Immune System – THCa has been shown to both improve and potentially suppress the immune system functions.

Neuroprotective – Slows damage to the nervous system and brain.



Halent 2011 - Cannabinoid and Terpenoid Chart

Currently Being Studied For

Anti-Emetic: THC has long been recognized as a valuable tool in combating nausea, but research done in 2013 found that THCa may be even more effective at preventing nausea and vomiting than THC. This means that patients suffering from nausea who do not want the psychoactive effects of THC should consider THCa.

Cancer: Many sources online claim that THCa helps fight cancer, but few studies have been done examining the cancer-fighting properties of this non-psychoactive cannabinoid. This 2011 study hints at the anti-tumor properties of THCa but its main focus was on the interaction of various cannabinoids and the TRP protein receptor channel. A 2013 study looking at prostate cancer also found THCa to be effective but did not elaborate on the mechanisms used or recommend further study.

Lupus: While no formalized studies are being done on THCa and Lupus, Dr. William Courtney and his wife Kristen have anecdotally demonstrated that fresh juiced cannabis high in THCa can control Lupus. As Kristen is still alive and managing her Lupus this study is ongoing, and still a success.

Neuroprotective: A 2012 study done on cell cultures shows that THCa may be a mild neuroprotective compounds for certain classes of brain cells, preventing unwanted cell death. These effects do not seem as notable as the neuroprotective qualities of THC and CBD but they are certainly worth more research.

The THCa/CBGa Process: Cannabigerolic acid (CBGa), CBG, THCa, THC, CBD, and CBC are all related compounds formed from the same chemical processes. CBGa and THCa are the originator compounds that appear to morph into the others. This linkage was explored in this 2012 study but needs further research to fully understand the mechanisms it works through.

*Note: Decarboyxlation – A chemical reaction that removes a carboxyl group and releases  CO2, often triggered by heat or exposure to sunlight.