If you are familiar with cannabis, there are chances you might have heard about Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC also is known as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol is the compound in the cannabis plant that is responsible for its psychoactive effect.

The abundance of the compound depends on the strain of cannabis grown. Certain strains are cultivated solely to get higher levels of THC, this makes the plant even more potent. 

Here is an amusing thing: you don’t get high off just eating a raw cannabis plant, no matter how potent the plant is. This is because there is no THC in a raw cannabis plant. So what is in the raw cannabis plant? Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid (THCA) is present. Do not confuse the two of them because they are not the same. 

THCA is a cannabinoid that has always been confused with THC.

THCA-A was first identified in 1965 by Professor Friedhelm Korte at the Univerity of Bonn. 4 years later, in 1969, a second THC acid was discovered by Raphael Mechoulam from the University of Jerusalem. The second THC acid called isomer 4-carboxy-THC was later named delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid B (THCA-B). 

THCA-B is only present in hashish samples that have little or no THCA. The weight of overall THCA-B concentration is said to be lower than 0.5%. 

Research has made it known that THCA-A is first synthesized by the cannabis plant. As a matter of fact, the isomer is the major reason for many of the pharmacological studies. THCA-B on the other hand has better stability, and it crystallizes more readily than THCA-A. This attribute makes THCA-B a compound worthy of study. 


There is little or no knowledge on how THCA-B works, but one can assume that being a precursor to THC, it shares the same mechanism.

Due to the extra acid group of THCA, the molecule does not attach to CB1 cannabinoid receptors, as THC does.

This is why THCA doesn’t give a psychoactive effect. THCA, however, attaches to the TRPM8 receptor (the one that makes us experience a sensation of cold when we taste mint) and activates the TRPA1 receptor (which makes us feel the spiciness when we eat things like mustard or cinnamon).

The therapeutic effect of THCA may be caused by its blocking MAGL enzymes. This type of enzyme is responsible for breaking down the cannabinoids produced by the body, which binds to CB1- and CB2 receptors. Unfortunately, not a lot of research has been done, making it unclear how exactly THCA works.


There is an insufficient study on the medicinal properties of THCA-B. But for the closest compound, THCA it is believed to offer various minor medicinal benefits.


  • THCA-B has better stability, and it crystallizes more readily than THCA-A

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Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid reduces nausea-induced conditioned gaping in rats and vomiting in Suncus murinus, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bph.12316/full

Non-psychotropic plant cannabinoids: new therapeutic opportunities from an ancient herb, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S016561470900128

Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid is a potent PPARγ agonist with neuroprotective activity. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28853159

Non-THC cannabinoids inhibit prostate carcinoma growth in vitro and in vivo: pro-apoptotic effects and underlying mechanisms. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3570006