Like CBD? You’ll want to try this other cannabinoid
If you’re reading this, you probably have a vague understanding of CBD. You know it’s “trendy,” you know it doesn’t get you high, that it’s seemingly in every store, pharmacy and gas station. If you’re new here and are asking yourself “WTF is CBD?” we have a cheat sheet for you here and a buying guide here.
CBD is popular for many reasons. The research is promising for common ailments like inflammation and anxiety, one CBD drug is approved by the FDA, and when it’s found in hemp it’s (vaguely) legal. While CBD’s legality has been in a very grey area, last Wednesday Congress passed The Farm Bill and we are very close to full hemp legalization. All the bill needs is Trump’s signature. Lord help me if he fucks this up. PSA: the bill had a clause added by Mitch McConnell barring those convicted of drug crimes from participating in the industry so, that guy is still a ghoul and we still have a lot of work to do.
With all the hype around CBD (great guy, but lots of cannabinoids in the sea), what are some overlooked compounds found in weed?
Out of the hundred-plus cannabinoids, today we’re looking at THCA. THCA is what THC is before you heat it up. Unlike THC, it doesn’t get you high. For example; if you ate a nug of raw weed you wouldn’t get high. The reason? You need to heat it (decarboxylation) to convert THCA to THC. This is the same for CBD, before it’s decarboxylated it’s CBDA.
We spoke with Dr. Caroline Hartridge (NYS Medical Cannabis Prescriber and the creator of one of our favorite CBD topicals) about how THCA works, what some of the promising research is, and if it helps with a hangover. Call it preemptive New Years Eve research.
"THCA is a chemical found in the Cannabis Sativa plant, short for Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), in two isomers THCA-A and THCA-B, the difference being the location of the carboxyl group." source
"THCA is appealing because in both animal and patient studies there are fewer psychoactive effects while still offering anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea and anti-epilepsy clinical benefits. Furthermore, introducing THCA with THC may create scenarios where we need overall lower dosing for therapeutic effects."
"I work closely with a chemist and farmer in Colorado. Understanding the biochemistry and the biodynamics of my products for my patients is essential to my practice."
"NYS [New York State] medical cannabis products are limited to concentrates available to patients via dispensaries. I offer phone consultations for patients across the country; my recommendations are always consistent with the legal status of the patient's residing state and my expertise. Patients facing autoimmune disease, cancer, seizures, nausea and sleep issues can all benefit from examining their endocannabinoid system and the various ways they can interact with the cannabis plant. THCA is becoming one more way to start the conversation."
THCA readily converts to THC, so it’s difficult to stabilize in products and is best preserved in its natural form (aka, bud). While it’s difficult to test pure THCA, what researchers have found is there’s animal evidence for Huntington’s treatment, movement disorders, and epilepsy. You can find more research and study reviews on THCA here.
"ABSOLUTELY. The hangover is ALL about inflammation and we know alcohol to be damaging to the nervous system. I see room for market and clinical research surrounding the neuroprotective elements of THCA and it's application to the hangover market."
Now, for the question everyone is asking themselves right now; where do I buy THCA? For those in legal states it’s easy, go to a dispensary. Some dispensaries sell live cannabis plants where you can juice stalks, leaves, and bud (yes I’m telling you to cold press your weed). You can also infuse oil at low temperatures skipping the step of decarboxylation (i.e. skip the step of converting THCA to THC). If you live in a state where cannabis is still illegal, call your senator, governor, and local legislators to tell them illegal weed is stupid.