WHAT IS DELTA-8-TETRAHYDROCANNABINOLIC ACID (D8-THCA)?
Cannabinoids, or simply ‘plant chemicals’ make up the cannabis plant. One of such cannabinoids is known as Delta 8 Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA). The more popularly known Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a product of Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), when heated.
THC and CBD have been the most commonly known classification of cannabinoids. Beyond these two, there are other cannabinoids that are also end products of the cannabis plant. These other cannabinoids are extracted through various process such as decarboxylation, oxidation, pyrolysis and other means.
Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ8-THC) and Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) are most times classified as products of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Δ-8-tetrahydrocannabinol normally comes in two forms: Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ8-THC) and Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinolic (Δ8-THCA) which is simply an acidic form of delta 8 THC.
Describing the class of Tetrahydrocannabinol, Shoyama, argues that this group has only two compounds, namely (-)-D8-transtetrahydrocannabinol and (+)-D8-trans-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid A. They have the same absolute configuration as their D9 counterparts, i.e. trans-(6aR,10aR). Although no optical rotation data is available for D8-THCA-C5 A, synthetic D8-trans-(6aR,10aR)-THCVA-C3 A has a reported value of [a]D 268-(chloroform) (Shoyama et al., 1977), indicating that the C5-homolog should also have a negative optical rotation.
Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (Δ8-THCA) can be found in Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica, although the levels will come at varying degrees.
The total volume of it shrinks as a result of trying to decarboxylate it, making the amount available in an extract to be minimal. However, it can occur at higher degrees in concentrated products such as resins, hashish and dabs.
HOW Delta 8 THCA WORKS
One may not be able to emphatically state how Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (Δ8-THCA) works within our bodies as a result of its low concentration in the Cannabis plant.
However, a provision has been made for a synthesized analog of which it is called Anabasum. Rather than explain the working process of Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, explaining the process of its’ synthesized analog will give a better idea of how it works.
Anabasum is being studied due to its potential to serve as a potent anti-inflammatory agent (Motwani MP., et al, 2018). It has shown an ability to lower pain and inflammation in the eyes (Thapa, D., et al, 2020). Anabasum, also known as ajulemic acid, is currently in human trials as a possible treatment for systemic sclerosis (SSc), cystic fibrosis, and dermatomyositis (DM) (Burstein, SH. 2018). Δ -8-THC appears to act as an antagonist to Δ -9-THC.
It reduces the actions of Δ -9-THC (Pertwee, RG., et al, 2007).
POSSIBLE THERAPEUTIC BENEFITS
According to Cresco Labs, “THCA is an effective neuroprotectant, so it is beneficial in the treatment of such conditions as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. It can also help to stimulate the appetite in patients suffering from cachexia and anorexia nervosa. Most impressively, research shows that THC-A helps to slow the proliferation of cancerous cells.”
The two compounds are similar but their effects are different. Over time, Delta-8’s has exhibited phenomenal anti-nausea properties and lesser psychotropic / intoxicating mental effects.
Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid has, to its’ credit, the ability to protect the nervous system and it is a less psychoactive agent as compared to Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol.
Motwani MP., et al, Potent Anti-Inflammatory and Pro-Resolving Effects of Anabasum in a Human Model of Self-Resolving Acute Inflammation. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2018 Oct;104(4):675-686. doi: 10.1002/cpt.980. Epub 2018 Jan 30.
Thapa, D., et al, Allosteric Cannabinoid Receptor 1 (CB1) Ligands Reduce Ocular Pain and Inflammation. Molecules. 2020 Jan 20;25(2). pii: E417. doi: 10.3390/molecules25020417.
Burstein, SH., Ajulemic acid: potential treatment for chronic inflammation. Pharmacol Res Perspect. 2018 Apr;6(2):e00394. doi: 10.1002/prp2.394.
Pertwee, RG., et al, The psychoactive plant cannabinoid, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is antagonized by delta-8- and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabivarin in mice in vivo. Br J Pharmacol. 2007 Mar;150(5):586-94. Epub 2007 Jan 22.
Shoyama, Y., Hirano, H., Makino, H., Umekita, N., Nishioka, I., 1977. Cannabis. X. The isolation and structures of four new propyl cannabinoid acids, tetrahydrocannabivarinic acid, cannabidivarinic acid, cannabichromevarinic acid and cannabigerovarinic acid, from Thai cannabis. Chemical and Pharmaceutical Bulletin 25 (9), 2306–2311.