The Medical Benefits of Cannabis Compounds
Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, or THCa for short, is found in raw and live/fresh cannabis but is progressively decarboxylated to THC with drying and heating (like when smoked, vaporized, or cooked). THCa is the most abundant cannabinoid in the vast majority of freshly harvested, high-THC cannabis strains grown in the US. Because the conversion from THCa to THC begins immediately after harvest, there are fewer methods of application/ingestion. The popular methods include juicing raw, fresh cannabis and THCa transdermal patches.
Given that THCa is non-psychoactive, it can be metabolized in much larger doses than THC, making it an attractive option for medical users. Preliminary studies suggest THCa has strong anti-inflammatory properties and is especially helpful in managing the severe pain caused by inflammation in Lupus and arthritis patients. Other medical benefits of THCa include neuroprotective, antiemetic (anti-vomiting), and anti-proliferative properties.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is another non-psychoactive cannabinoid with a wide scope of medical applications. Of the 85 known cannabinoids, CBD and THC are usually present in the highest concentrations, and are therefore the most widely studied. The medicinal properties of CBD are strong even in small doses. The ratios of THC and CBD vary among strains and crops; as a general rule of thumb, cannabis plants grown for recreational purposes are grown for high levels of THC, whereas high-CBD plants are grown for medical benefits and retain CBD to THC ratios ranging from 1:1 to 25:1 (Valentine X strain – known as ‘patron saint of epilepsy’). The right ratio for you depends on the relief you seek and your specific endocannabinoid system. For reference, industrial hemp plants contain primarily CBD with very low THC percentages, typically under 0.3%.