What are THCa and CBDa Cannabinoids
Published on Apr 15, 2020
Today, cannabis is one of the most researched plants in existence, with researchers discovering new elements and effects of the plant every day. We currently know that cannabis contains over 400 chemical entities, with more than sixty of them being cannabinoid compounds. Two of the most widely consumed and sought after cannabinoids are Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In recent years, ongoing discussion has taken place regarding the benefits of THC vs CBD. Besides these popular cannabinoids, several others that are gaining attention and interest include: CBGa, CBCa, CBGVA, THCa and CBDa. What role do the latter cannabinoids play in consumers' lives and what benefits and effects can one expect after consuming any of them?
The Significance of Different Cannabinoids and Terpenes:
Although there are numerous advantages linked to cannabinoids, consumers can also benefit from terpenes. It's important to know that cannabinoids are categorized as either Phytocannabinoids, endogenous, purified or synthetic cannabinoids. However, there's much more to the cannabis plant than the relationships of THC, CBD and other cannabinoids. There are different terpenes, flavonoids, trichomes and a unique set of cannabinoid acids.
Recently, the therapeutic and medicinal benefits linked to terpenes have grabbed many consumers' interest. Terpenes are oil-based chemicals found in cannabis and hemp. Some of the most commonly consumed terpenes include limonene, linalool, pinene and myrcene. Terpenes are responsible for the presence of potent aromas and flavors found in various cannabis strains. Contrary to popular belief, terpenes are capable of more than providing pungent aromas and tantalizing flavors.
A few of terpene's well-known health benefits include its analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anxiolytic and antidepressant properties. Terpenes often act as a support to other cannabis elements, including THC molecules, in regards to the production of cerebral and physiological effects. This leads to the unique synergy between terpenes and cannabinoids. Different terpenes and cannabinoids are beneficial on their own, but when several of them are combined, a process called the "entourage effect" occurs.
The Entourage Effect: The Unique Synergy Between Cannabinoids & Terpenes
When several terpenes and cannabinoids are combined, the effects are enhanced compared to the effects from consuming individual cannabinoids or terpenes. The synergy between cannabinoids and terpenes is often referred to as the "entourage effect".
The cannabis plant possesses a unique diversity of terpenes and cannabinoids, and it can fit into the category of an "ensemble" or "entourage". In a musical ensemble, each instrument plays a pivotal role in contributing to the experience of that musical piece. This concept applies to the intermixing of terpenes and cannabinoids. Every compound, terpene and cannabis molecule contributes to the overall experience one has after consuming a combination of these molecules. As a result, heightened effects are typically felt after a combination of cannabinoids and terpenes are consumed.
What are THCa and CBDa Cannabinoids and What are Their Benefits?
The cannabis plant contains sixty cannabinoid compounds with many being non-psychoactive, including THCa. What is THCa, and what's the difference between THC and THCa? THCa is short for Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid and it's different from THC for several reasons. When comparing THCA vs THC, THCa is the most abundant non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis. THCa is the precursor to THC, including an extra carboxyl group. This extra piece in the molecule prevents the bodies Endocannabinoid system from absorbing it, which is why marijuana must first be decarboxylated' before its effects can be felt. Decarboxylation removes the extra carboxyl group, turning non-psychoactive THCa into its more potent form, THC.
Before THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids are pharmacologically active, they exist in their own specific acidic forms. This is why THCa is short for tetrahydrocannabinolic acid and CBDa is short for cannabidiolic acid. Research findings have revealed that THCa can help improve neuronal viability and decrease neurodegeneration in animal subjects diagnosed with Huntington's Disease. Other THCa benefits include its anti-inflammatory properties and neuroprotective benefits.
Next is CBDa, which tends to go under the radar. CBDa is short for cannabidiolic acid and it is a precursor to CBD. When CBDa is activated, it becomes CBD. Whether you're a regular or irregular cannabis user, chances are you know several benefits associated with CBD. But, what about the benefits of consuming CBDa--the precursor of CBD? For one, CBDa may be effective in treating depression. This is because CBDa can impact the same receptors CBD does. CBDa also acts as an antidepressant agent at doses of 10-100 times less than the doses required of CBD.
Furthermore, one study discovered that CBDa was substantially stronger in preventing nausea and vomiting in shrews and rats as compared to CBD. Amazingly, CBDa interacts with the same receptors as CBD, which is why CBDa can help combat nausea.
Benefits of THCa and CBDa Crystalline Concentrates:
Now, let's transition past the acidic forms of cannabinoids and into concentrated forms of cannabinoids like variations of THC and CBD crystalline. Put simply, THCa and CBDa are cannabinoid acids that exist in numerous concentrated cannabis products. When THCa and CBDa are extracted into an aesthetic crystal-like product, the end result is referred to as "crystalline". What advantages can one expect from consuming THCa or CBDa crystalline products?
By now, THCa has demonstrated its anti-nausea and anti-emetic properties in animal subjects. This indicates that THCa crystalline products can deliver similar results to humans since all mammals have an endocannabinoid system. Also, THCa has demonstrated neuro-protective benefits in the past, which suggests that THCa crystalline products can deliver this benefit to consumers.
CBDa has shown to be effective in treating mental health issues like depression. Thus, it's believed that CBDa crystalline products can also deliver anti-depressant effects. Because CBDa and THCa crystalline products are concentrated, their effects are much stronger than what many consumers are used to.
Additional Cannabinoids and Some of Their Advantages:
Besides CBDa, THCa and CBD, there are other beneficial cannabinoids that can serve an important purpose. The first is cannabigerolic acid (CBGa)--the precursor of all cannabinoids found in cannabis. Oftentimes, CBGa is referred to as a non-psychoactive mother cannabinoid. Without the existence of CBGa, no other cannabinoids would exist. Fortunately for consumers, CBGa contains numerous benefits including its anti-neuroinflammatory properties, antioxidant and neuroprotective effects; Brands are starting to pick up on this and even selling CBG products directly to consumers, like our friends at CBD Infusionz!
What researchers know so far is that CBGa seems to act as a low-affinity antagonist to the body's CB1 receptors. What's already clear is that when strains high in CBGa are heated, they convert to CBD thus providing a multitude of medicinal and therapeutic benefits. Since CBD contains analgesic properties, once CBGa is converted to CBD it plays a vital role in managing pain and other related symptoms.
Next is CBCa--Cannabichromenic acid, which is the acidic form of one of the four main cannabinoids found in the Cannabis Sativa plant. CBCa has been found to possess anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, it can help treat inflammation, pain and various infections.
Let's not forget about CBGVA, otherwise known as Cannabigerovarinic acid. As a cannabis plant grows and ages, the initial non-psychoactive CBGVA in the plant will react to form new cannabinoids. A process called biosynthesis occurs in which CBGVA produces these cannabinoids: THCVA, CBDVA, and CBCVA. Researchers believe that CBGVA possesses anti-inflammatory properties, which may serve a purpose in the lives of those struggling with arthritis and other inflammatory disorders.
When consuming cannabis products containing different cannabinoids, we may not connect the dots regarding how the cannabinoids were formed. Surprisingly, cannabis doesn't directly produce cannabinoids. Rather, the plant synthesizes a handful of cannabinoid acids. Various acids must be heated up via decarboxylationand then activated to produce CBD and THC.
The next time you purchase a cannabinoid-rich product such as THCa oil, you can now better understand the background of cannabinoids and some of their medicinal and therapeutic benefits millions of consumers know and love!
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