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As more and more consumers discover the beneficial effects of THC and CBD, some also discover unpleasant or unwanted side effects. With THC, it might be anxiety or hallucinations. With CBD, it might be drowsiness or even feeling high from a supposedly benign product. That’s why there is increased interest in their non‑psychoactive offshoots: THCA and CBDA.

These are the precursors to the two cannabinoids everyone is familiar with — the acidic versions of THC and CBD. They’re found in raw cannabis, before heat is applied to the plant to produce the more prevalent non-acidic versions. But for some people, THCA and CBDA can be the preferred way to access the therapeutic qualities of cannabinoids.

The THCA and CBDA molecules are larger than those of THC and CBD — so they do not fit into our brain’s cannabinoid receptors that generate psychoactive effects. While neither THCA nor CBDA will get you high, they do react with brain chemistry in their own way: impeding the COX-2 enzyme that promotes inflammation, and boosting production of serotonin that promotes feelings of well-being and happiness.

Unfortunately, there hasn’t been as much research on THCA and CBDA as on the main cannabinoids. This is changing, and manufacturers are releasing more products that allow consumers to try acidics for themselves. The most common way to consume acidic cannabinoids is with microdoses of oil — a few drops under the tongue. People who grow cannabis at home can also use the raw plant leaves in everyday meals to get THCA and CBDA into their systems.

Some of the promising areas where acidic cannabinoids are being therapeutically include Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and other neurodegenerative diseases … nausea caused by chemotherapy … inflammatory bowel disease … and the complications from diabetes. Research is also being done in the pediatric arena; THCA and CBDA can be preferred over medical cannabis for younger children with such conditions as epilepsy or autism. They can supplement or entirely replace cannabis to avoid the risk of impaired brain development when high dosage is necessary.

Because there are so few studies on the overall safety of acidic cannabinoids, one caution is in order: users should consult with their health professionals before turning to THCA or CBDA products. It’s clear there will be much more known about THCA and CBDA in the coming months, and the research team at KannaKnowledge will keep you informed of any noteworthy developments.

Graphic courtesy of CBDnerds