THCA And The Endocannabinoid System

Music to Smoke a Blunt to

Though it was discovered a few decades ago, I’ve only started hearing about the endocannabinoid system within the last five years.  My science teachers definitely never mentioned it when we were learning about the other systems within the human body.  However, with recent legislation legitimizing cannabis as a tool that can be used both medically and recreationally, the language we use to describe its effects has changed.  Today, we’re familiar with multiple cannabinoids, and their effects within our body.  THCA is the latest cannabinoid to hit our store, but what exactly does it do?  Read on to learn all about THCA and its relationship with our endocannabinoid system.

In the meantime, if you’d like to discover how THCA interacts with your endocannabinoid system firsthand, shop our selection!  Choose from blunts or prerolls.  All of our products are lab tested so you can shop smart without sacrificing the high.

What is THCA?

If you’ve ever smoked weed, you’ve indulged in THCA.  It’s a naturally occurring, prominent cannabinoid found in hemp and cannabis.  The “A” stands for acid, as it’s actually the acidic form of the world-famous THC.  (No, not that kind of acid).  THCA is found in raw plants, along with CBDA, which is, you guessed it, the acidic form of CBD.  In its raw form, THCA will not get you high.  The story doesn’t stop there, though.  This is where our endocannabinoid system enters the chat.

ECS basics

Though the endocannabinoid system was discovered decades ago, it’s still not fully understood.  Essentially, it exists to regulate various functions within the human body.  These functions include learning, memory, mood, appetite, sleep, pain, and inflammatory response, just to name a few.

The ECS is made up of receptors located throughout the body, and endocannabinoids to stimulate these receptors.  Endocannabinoids bear a molecular resemblance to the cannabinoids found in hemp and cannabis (which were actually discovered first).  The endocannabinoid system also includes enzymes which serve both to form the endocannabinoids, and break them down when their job is completed.

The receptors

The receptors in the ECS can be split into two groups: CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors.  The CB1 receptors are primarily located in the brain and central nervous system; they also exist in peripheral organs and tissues.  These receptors influence mood, memory, motor skills, and pain.  Conversely, the CB2 receptors can be found in the peripheral nervous system, and exist largely in our immune cells.  These receptors help our body to manage inflammation and immune response.

When we ingest cannabinoids from hemp or cannabis, some of them are able to interact with these receptors due to their molecular shape.  An interaction with the CB1 receptors will produce a high, while an interaction with the CB2 receptors can reduce inflammation, or offer other potential medical benefits.

THCA & the ECS

So we know what THCA is, we know what the endocannabinoid system is, but how do they interact with one another?  As I mentioned above, THCA in its raw, original form, is not psychoactive.  This is due to its molecular structure.  THCA contains an extra carboxyl ring, which makes its shape incompatible with our CB1 receptors.  However, when you add heat, THCA loses the ring, and becomes THC which happens to attach to our CB1 receptors very securely.  Because of its ability to attach to our CB1 receptors, THC does get us high.

This process is actually not complicated at all.  It’s known as decarboxylation, and the heat that you need can come from a lighter, a vape, or the oven.  Yes, really, all you need to do is smoke THCA and it will be THC by the time the smoke hits your lungs, and you will get high.  If you’ve ever made edibles, you know that you have to decarb your flower in the oven first.  This process ensures that the THCA will convert to THC, and your edibles will actually hit.

The bottom line

Our endocannabinoid system exists to regulate various bodily functions.  When we consume cannabinoids found in hemp or cannabis, these cannabinoids can also interact with the receptors in our ECS.  The interaction that a cannabinoid has with these receptors is responsible for the effects we will feel after ingesting it.  THCA is unable to attach to the CB1 receptors due to its molecular shape.  However, once you smoke THCA, or expose it to heat in another way, its shape changes, and it converts to THC which securely attaches to the CB1 receptors in our endocannabinoid system.  This attachment produces a high.