What is THCA and What are its Benefits?

If you’re interested in cannabis and cannabinoids, you’ve likely heard about THC. This chemical compound is the one most responsible for the high that has made cannabis an essential part of cultures around the world for thousands of years, and it may also contribute to the therapeutic effects that cannabis is reported to offer. 

For these reasons, THC is easily the most widely recognizable of the over 100 cannabinoids currently known. 

However, with so many new cannabinoids appearing in recent years, it’s getting trickier to keep track of which variation of THC is which. For example, you can find products containing Delta-8 and Delta-10 THC, THC-O, and THCV. Additionally, an increasing number of dispensaries offer products featuring the star of this cannabinoid guide: THCA.

THCA is the precursor to the ever-popular THC, and it offers a variety of unique benefits to anyone looking for non-psychoactive therapeutic relief. If you’re curious about giving this amazing cannabinoid a try, take a look at this comprehensive THCA guide.

What is THCA?

THCA is the abbreviation for tetrahydrocannabinolic acid. It’s the acidic precursor to THC, and it can be found abundantly in raw cannabis flower. 

Almost every cannabinoid begins in the cannabis and hemp plants as a carboxylic acid. These acids can be converted to a nonacidic compound through the decarboxylation process, which occurs through exposure to light and heat.

This process explains why you can’t simply eat cannabis to get high; the decarboxylation process must take place to convert the THCA structure into THC. Once it does, marijuana enthusiasts can enjoy its psychoactive effects.

That’s right: Although THC is renowned for its psychoactive properties, this is not the case for THCA, meaning that this cannabinoid will not get you high. However, it is believed to offer a wide range of therapeutic benefits. 

What Does THCA Do?

While THCA may not be psychoactive until it is decarboxylated into THC, it still has potential benefits as a cannabinoid. In fact, THCA may have a lot to offer anyone looking for the advantages of cannabis but wants to avoid its intoxicating effects. That’s why you might see THCA bud and THCA edible products available in dispensaries and online shops. 

THCA effects are reported to include relief from discomfort, relief from sleep issues, appetite stimulation, and much more. And though research into the cannabinoid is still in a fairly early stage, some evidence suggests that it may have the potential to help treat a wide range of conditions and concerns. 

So, what is THCA capable of? Researchers haven’t reached a firm conclusion quite yet. But much like the over 100 other cannabinoids out there, it seems that the more is learned about THCA, the more promising it appears. 

THC vs. THCA: What’s the Difference?

Picture this: You’re doing some online dispensary shopping, and you come across a THCA weed that looks fantastic: bright green buds, deep orange hairs, shimmering trichomes. You’re ready to add it to your shopping cart when you notice a traditional THC flower right next to it that looks just as beautiful, and now you’re stuck picking between the two. How exactly do you choose?

One significant difference is that THCA is the precursor to THC, which means it becomes THC after processing. THCA is the most abundant cannabinoid in the cannabis plant when it’s freshly picked and has yet to be smoked. Once you apply some light and heat to that cannabis, however, the THCA will convert into THC through the decarboxylation process.

Additionally, THCA is nonpsychoactive. Before it goes through the decarboxylation process and becomes THC, THCA does not contain any psychoactive properties. This means you should not get high if you choose to purchase and smoke some high-quality THCA flower. However, you can still enjoy many of the potential therapeutic effects of THCA. That’s why more consumers are turning to nonpsychoactive options like THCA.

Finally, THCA has the edge over THC when it comes to legality. Proponents of THC have been fighting an uphill battle for legalization for decades, and although they have made a lot of headway in recent years, it remains federally illegal. Additionally, its legality varies widely by state, and each state’s laws about compounds derived from hemp or marijuana are constantly evolving. 

But what is THCA’s legal status? THCA enjoys wider legality than THC on both the state and federal levels. As long as it is derived from legal hemp and contains less than 0.3% THC, THCA products are considered federally legal. These products are also legal in more states than recreational weed. 

This broader legal status is thanks to the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill — a landmark piece of legislation that made it legal on the federal level for hemp to be cultivated in the United States. 

The federal government no longer designates hemp and hemp products as controlled substances thanks to the bill. Hemp-derived products containing cannabinoids such as Delta-8 and Delta-10 THC, HHC, and THCA are also federally legal.

Potential Benefits of THCA

You know that THCA is nonpsychoactive, and you also know that products like THCA weed, THCA edibles, and more are available in dispensaries and online stores. So then what is THCA good for if it can’t get you high? 

The cannabinoid is reported to offer a variety of therapeutic benefits. Keep in mind that research is still ongoing into not only THCA but also cannabinoids in general; however, current results and anecdotal evidence suggest that some people may enjoy the following from THCA products:

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Inflammation has been linked to a dizzying list of health conditions, such as arthritis and lupus. Reducing inflammation in your body can potentially be done in a multitude of ways, and one of those ways may include the use of THCA products.

While there have been studies into the anti-inflammatory properties of various cannabinoids, one study published in 2017 pointed to THCA as potentially helpful. 

The study looked at the effects of cannabis on cells taken from the colons of patients suffering from inflammatory bowel disease. Researchers found that “the anti-inflammatory activity of cannabis extracts on colon epithelial cells derives from … THCA.” Ultimately, the study suggested that when cannabis is used to treat inflammatory bowel disease, “THCA should be used rather than CBD.”

Neuroprotective Properties

One of the most interesting qualities that cannabinoids like THCA may potentially possess is the ability to protect the mind. There have been many studies into the potential neuroprotective qualities of various cannabinoids. While results are inconclusive, they have been encouraging, and THCA seems to stand tall among the rest. 

A study published in December 2017 looked at THCA’s potential to protect the mind. The researchers acknowledged in their abstract that decarboxylated cannabinoids have been extensively researched for these properties, and they were curious to see how they might fare in their acidic precursor forms. They concluded that THCA “shows potent neuroprotective activity.” 

Anti-Nausea Properties

One of the biggest reasons medicinal cannabis has been legalized in many states is its potential to help chemotherapy patients feel more comfortable as they battle cancer. Chemotherapy is notorious for the nausea it induces. This nausea can seriously impact a chemotherapy patient’s appetite and, subsequently, their body weight and nutrient levels.

Studies have found that THC has the potential to ease stomach discomfort and help those suffering from the side effects of chemotherapy to feel more comfortable. Subsequent research seems to show that THCA may be even more effective in that regard. 

A 2013 study looked at the effect THCA had on rats exhibiting symptoms of nausea. They found that THCA “potently reduced” these symptoms, ultimately concluding that “THCA may be a more potent alternative to THC” to ease stomach discomfort. 

Appetite Stimulant

The concept of the “munchies” is often used humorously when discussing the effects of cannabis, but there is scientific backing to this phenomenon. Many people purposely seek this appetite-stimulating effect from their cannabinoids due to genuine medical concerns.

Whether they are dealing with some form of eating disorder, undergoing a treatment like chemotherapy that reduces their appetite, or experiencing stomach discomfort that prevents them from getting the nutrition they need, there are many reasons someone might need appetite stimulation. 

Cannabinoids are believed to not only stimulate the parts of your brain responsible for appetite but also stimulate those parts of the brain that make you feel pleasure when enjoying a good meal. Both of these factors, combined with THCA’s potential to make your stomach feel at ease, can potentially help you regain your appetite. 

Pain Relief

Daily discomfort can quickly move from a strictly physical issue to both a physical and mental one that drastically reduces your quality of life. If your regular aches and pains keep you from living the life you want and doing the things you need to do, then you will undoubtedly struggle mentally and emotionally. You might also be tempted to turn to addictive and potentially deadly pharmaceuticals for relief. 

If you’re looking for a natural alternative to those medications, then THCA may potentially be the answer. Various studies have been conducted into the potential for cannabinoids to relieve patients who are feeling daily discomfort, and the results have been promising. 

THCA may offer that relief in a nonpsychoactive form, which can be crucial for those looking for strictly therapeutic properties in their cannabinoids. 


Muscle spasms negatively affect the daily lives of people all over the country every single day. Sometimes, the source of those spasms is something small and unconcerning. In other cases, they are the result of a serious health condition such as multiple sclerosis. 

Research into the potential for cannabinoids to help calm muscles and reduce symptoms like spasms has returned some promising results. If you’re looking for a non-psychoactive way to potentially enjoy these therapeutic effects, THCA may be the best option. 


Epilepsy can be a debilitating condition that keeps those suffering from it from doing things most people take for granted, such as working specific jobs or driving a car. 

Interestingly, the very first FDA-approved cannabinoid prescription medication, Epidiolex, is intended to treat epilepsy. But while Epidiolex is a CBD medicine, there is research-backed reason to believe that THCA and other cannabinoids may have similar properties.   

Improving Sleep

If you’re struggling to get the amount of sleep you need regularly, your body and mind will suffer. Lack of sleep is connected to various health conditions, including obesity, high blood pressure, depression, heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, and stroke. Unfortunately, a tremendous number of Americans are not getting the rest they need. 

If you’re looking for an alternative to prescription sleep medications, THCA may be able to help. A review published in 2022 found that over 70% of patients suffering from sleep disorders noted an improvement in their sleep when swapping out their prescription meds for cannabinoids. Nearly 40% were able to drop their meds altogether in favor of cannabis. 

Potential Treatment for Autoimmune Diseases

Autoimmune diseases manifest in diverse and sometimes erratic ways, profoundly impacting the lives of those affected. While the complexities of these conditions are not yet fully understood, it is clear that inflammation often plays a pivotal role in their progression. As research continues, it is our hope that a deeper understanding of these diseases will lead to more effective treatments.

Many researchers believe that since THCA may have anti-inflammatory properties, it may be able to provide some relief from the discomfort caused by autoimmune conditions. And while there are other ways to reduce inflammation, some of those medications come with serious side effects not found in THCA.

Explore the Advantages of THCA With Hemp XR

With a thorough understanding of THCA, you stand at the threshold of discovering its myriad potential benefits for yourself. THCA, as a unique cannabinoid, has piqued the interest of many, and now you have the opportunity to personally experience its effects. 

If you’re feeling adventurous and ready to embark on this new journey, Hemp XR is here to guide the way. We proudly present a specially curated selection of THCA flower and an array of related products, all available in our online store. Whether you’re a seasoned enthusiast or a curious newcomer, our collection is designed to cater to your needs. So, why wait? Step into the fascinating world of THCA and let your exploration begin!