Cannabis in molecules: Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCa)


In this episode we explore the properties of a lesser known cannabinoid & its therapeutic potethca the acid form of THC, THC acid.

In its raw form, Cannabis sativa’s main constituent is D9-THCa, the acid form of the (in)famous D9-THC (or THC, for short); these two brother molecules are the chemical correspondent of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, (where probably the latter is named Mr High): in fact, the acid form of THC has no psychotropic effect.

D9-THCa is a great anti-inflammatory as it also inhibits the cyclooxygenase 1 and 2 (COX-1) (COX-2). Pharmacological inhibition of COX is the way of action of common painkillers (such as ibuprofen and aspirin), causing relief from inflammation and pain.

In the video we summarise:

  • What is THCA?
  • What are the effects of THCA?
  • Who can benefit from THCA?

If you are interested to learn more about THCa and cannabis juicinig, we recommend to read our full guide “Raw cannabis juicing: a guide to the green elixir of life”

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Video references:

Moreno-Sanz, Guillermo. “Can You Pass the Acid Test? Critical Review and Novel Therapeutic Perspectives of Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid A.”Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research”.

De Petrocellis, Luciano, et al. “Effects of cannabinoids and cannabinoid‐enriched Cannabis extracts on TRP channels and endocannabinoid metabolic enzymes.” British journal of pharmacology 163.7 (2011): 1479-1494.

Cascio, Maria Grazia, and Roger G. Pertwee. “Known pharmacological actions of nine nonpsychotropic phytocannabinoids.” Handbook of Cannabis(2014): 137.

Pérez de Vega, M. Jesús, et al. “Transient Receptor Potential Melastatin 8 Channel (TRPM8) Modulation: Cool Entryway for Treating Pain and Cancer.”Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.

Izzo, Angelo A., et al. “Non-psychotropic plant cannabinoids: new therapeutic opportunities from an ancient herb.” Trends in pharmacological sciences30.10 (2009): 515-527.

Di Marzo, Vincenzo, Luciano De Petrocellis, and Aniello Schiano Moriello. “New use for cannabinoid-containing plant extracts.” U.S. Patent Application No. 12/596,500.

Russo, Ethan B. “Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid‐terpenoid entourage effects.” British journal of pharmacology 163.7 (2011): 1344-1364.

Viola Brugnatelli

Viola Brugnatelli is a Neuroscientist specialised in Cannabinoid circuitry & GPCRs signalling. Her academy and research training let her gain extensive experience on medical cannabis and terpenes both from preclinical as well as clinical perspective. In her vision, collective human knowledge behold the power for overall improvement of life, thus, it should be accessible and shareable. Viola is Founder of the science online magazine Nature Going Smart, and works as a consultant for companies & individual patients, as a speaker at seminars and workshops and as a lecturer in a CME course on Medical Cannabis in Italy, at the University of Padua.

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