What Are The Side Effects Of THCA

Written by Robert Hammell

THCA, the precursor to THC, is almost the same as the most famous cannabinoid in the world. However, thanks to an additional carboxyl group, THCA is too large to bond to CB1 receptors and therefore does not interact with the endocannabinoid system within the human body in the same way.[1] This means that THCA is non-psychotropic, but it does not mean that it is free from side effects. There are many ways that THCA can still affect us, and while there are a lot of similarities between the two cannabinoids, there are some side effects that are unique to THCA.


Positive Side Effects of THCA

THCA provides many medical benefits common to other cannabinoids like THC or CBD. In terms of the physical body, THCA has been demonstrated to help prevent nausea and vomiting.[2][3] Additionally, THCA has the potential to relieve symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).[4] While the exact mechanics behind these reactions are unknown, it is clear that THCA has profound effects on the digestive system. This is not the only system within our bodies that THCA affects. This cannabinoid also stimulates changes within the nervous system. THCA is found to have neuroprotective qualities, and it may help to limit symptoms of neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.[5][6][7] Finally, THCA may be able to help treat cancer. According to one study, THCA has the potential to limit or possibly shrink multiple tumor types.[8]


Negative Side Effects of THCA

Though THCA has a lot of positive benefits, there are also several downsides that are associated with its use. These THCA side effects are less researched, but some evidence suggests the cannabinoid may contribute to anxiety, sleepiness, and increased appetite. Anxiety is certainly an unwanted consequence, however according to the evidence this occurred only following a large dose. Additionally, sleepiness and increased appetite may be negatives for certain people, but for others, these side effects may help provide relief to unwanted conditions in ways that other supplements can’t. Finally, the only other major negative side effect of THCA is that it may lead to a positive drug test.[9]


Reference List

  1. Shoyama, Y., Tamada, T., Kurihara, K., Takeuchi, A., Taura, F., Arai, S., Blaber, M., Shoyama, Y., Morimoto, S., & Kuroki, R. (2012). Structure and Function of ∆1-Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid (THCA) Synthase, the Enzyme Controlling the Psychoactivity of Cannabis sativa. Journal of Molecular Biology, 423(1), 96–105.

  2. Rock, E. M., Kopstick, R. L., Limebeer, C. L., & Parker, L. A. (2013b). Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid reduces nausea-induced conditioned gaping in rats and vomiting inSuncus murinus. British Journal of Pharmacology, 170(3), 641–648.

  3. Sharkey, K. A., Darmani, N. A., & Parker, L. A. (2014). Regulation of nausea and vomiting by cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system. European Journal of Pharmacology, 722, 134–146.

  4. Nallathambi, R., Mazuz, M., Ion, A., Selvaraj, G., Weininger, S., Fridlender, M., Nasser, A., Sagee, O., Kumari, P., Nemichenizer, D., Mendelovitz, M., Firstein, N., Hanin, O., Konikoff, F., Kapulnik, Y., Naftali, T., & Koltai, H. (2017). Anti-Inflammatory Activity in Colon Models Is Derived from Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid That Interacts with Additional Compounds in Cannabis Extracts. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, 2(1), 167–182.

  5. Nadal, X., del Río, C., Casano, S., Palomares, B., Ferreiro-Vera, C., Navarrete, C., Sánchez-Carnerero, C., Cantarero, I., Bellido, M. L., Meyer, S., Morello, G., Appendino, G., & Muñoz, E. (2017b). Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid is a potent PPARγ agonist with neuroprotective activity. British Journal of Pharmacology, 174(23), 4263–4276.

  6. Forés-Martos, J., Boullosa, C., Rodrigo-Domínguez, D., Sánchez-Valle, J., Suay-García, B., Climent, J., Falcó, A., Valencia, A., Puig-Butillé, J. A., Puig, S., & Tabarés-Seisdedos, R. (2021). Transcriptomic and Genetic Associations between Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and Cancer. Cancers, 13(12), 2990.

  7. Jones, A., & Vlachou, S. (2020). A Critical Review of the Role of the Cannabinoid Compounds Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) and their Combination in Multiple Sclerosis Treatment. Molecules, 25(21), 4930.

  8. Wang, J., S

  9. ong, Z., Ren, L., Zhang, B., Zhang, Y., Yang, X., Liu, T., Gu, Y., & Feng, C. (2022b). Pan‑cancer analysis supports MAPK12 as a potential prognostic and immunotherapeutic target in multiple tumor types, including in THCA. Oncology Letters, 24(6).

  10. Struempler, R. E., Nelson, G., & Urry, F. M. (1997). A Positive Cannabinoids Workplace Drug Test Following the Ingestion of Commercially Available Hemp Seed Oil. Journal of Analytical Toxicology, 21(4), 283–285.

About the author

Robert Hammell