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What is THCA

Molecular formula of tetrahydrocannabinolic acid.


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This article looks at what is THCA? How THC is different from THCA? In addition, we go through a little about the properties of THCA, the side effects, and how THCA works.

THCA or tetrahydrocannabinolic acid


THCA, or tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, is one of the many cannabinoids found in hemp ( Cannabis sativa ). THCA is generated from CBGA, or cannabigeric acid, by biosynthesis (1). CBGA is the stem cell of all cannabinoids. Read more about what is CBG .

How are THCA and THC different?


THC is known as an intoxicating ingredient in cannabis and is the most studied ingredient in hemp alongside CBD. However, very many do not know what THCA is and how it differs from THC.

In short, THCA is the acid precursor of THC, i.e. tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, which is synthesized from tetrahydrocannabinol . when exposed to heat. As it warms up and over time, the structure of THCA changes and it so-called decarboxylates to intoxicating THC (2).


Does THCA have side effects?

No significant side effects have been reported with THCA to date. THCA does not cause intoxication at all.


Studies on THCA


THCA has been studied significantly less than other common cannabinoids such as CBD and THC. Based on existing studies, THCA may have anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects.

According to a 2012 study published by Phytomedicine, THC and THCA can both protect dopaminergic neurons and THCA can significantly increase cell numbers (3).

According to a study published in 2013 ( The British Journal of Pharmacology), THCA has been found to alleviate androgen receptors in prostate cancer (4).



  1. L. Anderson et al. 2021. Sciende Daily. The mother of all cannabinoids’: Anti-seizure compounds discovered in cannabis. University of Sydney.
  2. Yoshinari Shoyama etc. 2005. Acta Crystallogr Sect F Struct Biol Cryst Commun. Crystallization of Δ1-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) synthase from Cannabis sativa ..
  3. Rudolf Moldzio et al. 2012. Phytomedicine. Effects of cannabinoids Δ (9) -tetrahydrocannabinol, Δ (9) -tetrahydrocannabinolic acid and cannabidiol in MPP + affected murine mesencephalic cultures.
  4. Luciano De Petrocellis etc. 2013. Br J Pharmaco . Non-THC cannabinoids inhibit prostate carcinoma growth in vitro and in vivo: pro-apoptotic effects and underlying mechanisms.

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