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What are THCA and CBDA?

Hempco LogoHempco Admin
4 Mins. Read

The vast majority of people around the world are familiar with THC and CBD, two of the most common cannabinoids. However, this article aims to explore two lesser-known cannabinoids; THCA and CBDA.

They're often overlooked due to the fact that they're destroyed by the world's most common method of consumption; smoking. This is why we love cold-pressing hemp leaf juice.

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What is THCA?

Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) is found in the cannabis plant. It is a precursor to THC; that is, THCA is converted to THC through decarboxylation. Since the most common method of consuming cannabis is smoking, the high heat destroys the delicate THCA.. 

Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA)

Therefore, the best way to consume THCA is by juicing a raw cannabis plant. A significant reason for rising interest in this compound is that it has no psychoactive effects on the human body. Additionally, it promises great health benefits.

How does THCA work in the body?

Research into THCA is new and more study is ongoing to bring to the light everything humanity needs to know about it. However, scientists believe that THCA interacts with 5-hydroxytryptamine receptors (5-HT), which produce serotonin. Additionally, it increases the concentration of endocannabinoid 2-AG. More so, it may inhibit COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes.

THCA molecules are bigger than THC. Therefore, THCA molecules have a weaker affinity for binding at the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid receptor. As a result, you will not experience the “high” after consuming it. In contrast, THC binds excellently well with CB1 receptors, therefore, producing a characteristic “high.”

What are the potential benefits?

There are some identified benefits of THCA. However, more study is required on the subject. Here is a few medical usefulness of THCA:  

  • Pain relief
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-oxidant
  • Neuroprotectant
  • Anti-emetic (suppress the vomiting centre)
  • Anti-proliferative (inhibits the growth of cancer cells)
  • Appetite stimulant

What is CBDA?

Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA)  can be obtained from raw cannabis. It is the cannabinoid precursor to CBD. CBDA is converted to CBD after cannabis is dehydrated or burned in a process called decarboxylation. Additionally, CBDA is a non-psychoactive substance.  

How does it work?

The mechanism of action of CBDA is similar to CBD. CBDA does not bind directly to the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the body's endocannabinoid system. Instead, it inhibits the production of COX-2 enzymes.

Potential benefits

The usefulness of CBDA is still under investigation. However, here are a few medical benefits of the compound:

  • Antioxidant
  • Analgesic
  • Anti-emetic
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Inhibits the spread of cancer cells
  • Anti-spasmodic
  • Anti-bacterial


A major similarity between THCA and CBDA is that they are naturally occurring acids. Also, they both do not produce a “high” when consumed. Similarly, CBD gotten from CBD is also a non-intoxicating compound. However, THC is the compound responsible for the “high” after consumption of cannabis.


THCA and CBDA are excellent anti-inflammatory compounds. They reduce inflammation by inhibiting the activity of COX-2 enzymes. As a result, the individual feels less pain after an inflammatory process has been triggered.

THCA and CBDA have great anti-emetic properties. However, CBDA works by activating the serotonin receptor (5-HT1A).

How to obtain THCA and CBDA?

CBDA and THCA are cannabinoids present in the cannabis plant. THCA and CBDA undergo a chemical reaction called decarboxylation to lose one of their carboxyl rings to produce THC and CBD.

CBDA and CBD do not bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system. After decarboxylation, the resulting structure (THC) can bind to CB1 and CB2, thereby producing a “high. 

How to consume THCA and CBDA?

THCA and CBDA easily get broken down to THC and CBD when exposed to oxygen and heat. As a result, getting a pure isolate may pose a challenge. Most medical marijuana is consumed by smoking. However, the same cannot be said for THCA and CBDA. They are easily converted to THC and CBD on combustion through decarboxylation. 

So, how can you consume THCA and CBDA? Sublingual tincture may be the best alternative to consuming these cannabinoids. These tinctures are made from fresh, raw cannabis flowers and leaves. The THCA and CBDA are then extracted via a cold press and diluted in oil. 

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An alternative is consuming the cannabis raw. Suppose you find a strain that has high THCA or CBDA content. You can use some fresh cannabis leaves (about 15) and a few buds (about 3). Add it to a blender with your fruits, vegetables, or anything of choice. The resulting product will not be broken into THC and CBD.  

Juicing cannabis for your smoothie is an easy way to promote high-level wellness. These compounds will not break down because they are not subjected to heat. As a result, you can get all the medical benefits without worrying about being “high.”

How effective are THCA and CBDA in the body?

According to research, the use of pure cannabinoid or terpenes extract is always less effective. However, their potency can be optimized when they are used in combination with other cannabinoids or terpenes. Therefore, cannabinoids and terpenes have a synergistic effect on the body's endocannabinoid system. 

Research also shows that using various cannabinoids of various strengths increases the chance of successfully suppressing symptoms. However, consistency plays a significant role in achieving a positive result.

Additionally, consistent use of cannabinoids optimizes the effectiveness of the endocannabinoid system. As a result, the individual’s general health improves and maintains a good condition. 


Cannabis remains an unrivaled plant, thanks to its uniqueness. They make excellent contributions to the environment and the health of humans. The controversy surrounding the use was mainly because of the “high” effect.

THCA and CBDA are two medically beneficial compounds that will not cause a high. However, they can quickly degenerate to their precursor compounds in the presence of heat. Therefore, simply blend fresh raw cannabis to get all the benefits to get the best. Enjoy!