As interest and money converge in the realm of cannabis as medicine, more studies are being done. As more studies are done, the chemical compounds of the plant are being further explored and validated. Currently, THC and CBD are at center stage. But terpenes are coming up fast in levels of interest and information.

In the wings? THCA – the raw, fresh, uncured and unheated  form of THC. THCA is starting to show up in the marketplace and on cannabis users shopping lists. Why? Partially because it has no intoxicating effects, while still proving to be a boost to health and wellbeing.

Why is THCA non-impairing? As the precursor to the heated or treated (decarboxylated) psychoactive THC, THCA has a larger molecule than THC, and therefore cannot cross the blood/brain barrier to fit into the brain’s cannabinoid receptors.

THCA benefits:

In general, endocannabinoid deficiencies https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18404144 are thought to be at the root of conditions like IBS and fibromyalgia. Rebalancing of the endocannabinoid system with cannabinoids produced by the cannabis plant  (‘phyto’cannabinoids), may be achieved through consistent properly titrated use. In doing so, these conditions’ symptoms may be partially, if not fully, alleviated.

The aim is to prevent chronic diseases that are caused by inflammation. (Any condition ending with ‘itis’, like arthritis, is inflammation based). THCA has anti inflammatory properties. It also has neuroprotective qualities, helping to ward off aging of the brain and all that brings. THCA has also been reported to help with loss of appetite and nausea (antiemetic), making it useful in combating morning sickness and chemo induced nausea for those who prefer not to use THC.

Health seekers know that the adage ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ is key. Incorporating selectively chosen cannabinoids at ‘minimum effective amount’ levels  acts as that prevention. One possibility for daily ingestion of THCA is to juice or blend it. Juicing or blending for health and to avoid chronic problems is a wise and cost and time effective way to keep your systems in balance. The health food movement is incorporating more THCA into their diet through habits like blended drinks, and they are treating raw cannabis (THCA) as a ‘superfood’ to be added to other healthy ingredients like avocado, kale, cucumber, celery, coconut water, lime, fresh ginger and the like, and blended into a smoothie.

In most of Canada, it is now permissible to gift four cannabis plants and/or to grow four plants at home. We see dozens of new applications to obtain a license to grow more than those four plants weekly at NHS. More and more patients are lovingly creating their own medicine. If you are using the raw plant, you’ll want to note effects in your journal as all plant chemical compounds and concentrations vary. Typically you’ll add a combination of fresh fan leaves, fresh small sugar leaves and/or fresh buds. If you are using the freshly cut plant, you’ll want to avoid sunlight or even room temperature once harvested, as both can slowly convert the ‘acid form’ of the plant’s THCA into THC.

Recipes for these smoothies are available online through sites like Leafly!

If you aren’t a grower, and/or you don’t have access to raw cannabis plants, you can still take advantage of the healthful properties of THCA through Licensed Producers such as Cannimed and Emerald Health who both produce a THCA oil.  

As studies are funded and efficacies are proven,THCA will undoubtedly be as touted as CBD, for a non-impairing go-to choice.

Yours, in health!

 

— Kait Shane, Community Outreach Educator Natural Health Services. Follow Natural Health Services on Twitter @NatHealthserve.

For further insight into all things cannabis, don’t forget to check out The Cannabis Show (new episodes every Wednesday) and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The Cannabis Show is also available as an audio podcast, subscribe on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, TuneIn, and Overcast.

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