THCA is an effective neuroprotector, making it beneficial in treating conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. It may also help stimulate appetite in patients with cachexia and anorexia nervosa. THCA is particularly safe for consumption by most people because it has no side effects. It should be noted that most of the side effects reported by consuming THC, such as dizziness and paranoia, are due to the intoxicating properties of that cannabinoid.
The raw cannabis flower that will be used for its THCA content should be stored in a dark and cool place to prevent THCA from converting to THC. Consumers should also be careful not to ingest excessive amounts of THCA, as is the case with any other substance. THCA is not psychoactive, it does not activate CB1 cannabinoid receptors in the brain. To produce psychoactive THC from THCA, it must be heated.
This can be done by smoking or vaporizing raw flowers, baking edibles, or heating cannabis in a process known as decarboxylation. When cannabis is smoked, it is estimated that more than 95% of THCA is converted to THC. If so, a cannabis smoker could inhale the small amount of remaining THCA, which could also have a therapeutic effect. Sulak's article states that higher doses of THCA generally did not improve the response, and one patient worsened after increasing the dose of THCA.
There isn't enough research on THCA to definitely determine what it can treat and how effectively it can be, but preliminary research and anecdotal evidence suggest that THCA will play a critical role in cannabis medicine as the industry progresses. Unless you're looking for edible products, you want to have a high THCA content, not necessarily THC; that THCA represents all the potential potency of what you're about to smoke, rub or vape, as it will be converted to THC. Another study suggested that THCA was a much weaker antioxidant than THC or CBD and that THCA is only mildly neuroprotective at equally high doses. Heated THCA converts to THC, so people who smoke or cook THCA flowers will experience intoxicating effects.
The most significant difference between THCA and THC is that THCA does not cause intoxicating effects due to its distinctive molecular structure. The biggest difference between THCA and THC is that THCA does not produce the intoxicating effects that THC produces. The fact that doctors and patients report significant positive health effects of THCA at very low concentrations underlines that there is much more to be understood about THCA. The properties of THCA indicated by preclinical research may be relevant to cannabinoid medicine in the future, but they do not explain the remarkable results currently achieved by patients with low doses of THCA.
Two studies on inflammation revealed that THCA does not inhibit COX-2, an inflammatory enzyme blocked by ibuprofen and aspirin, and that high doses of THCA were needed to obtain an anti-inflammatory effect.