Neha Patil (Editor)

Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
ATC code  none
PubChem CID  98523
Formula  C22H30O4
Molar mass  358.4733 g/mol
CAS Number  23978-85-0
ECHA InfoCard  100.216.805
3D model (Jmol)  Interactive image
ChemSpider ID  88974
Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu

What is thc a tetrahydrocannabinolic acid

Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA, Δ9-THCA, 2-COOH-THC; conjugate base tetrahydrocannabinolate) is a biosynthetic precursor of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active component of cannabis. When purified, it forms a crystal which is unstable in the presence of acids, heat, oxygen, and/or light.


THCA is found in variable quantities in fresh, undried cannabis, but is progressively decarboxylated to THC with drying, and especially under intense heating such as when cannabis is smoked or cooked into cannabis edibles.

Pharmacological effects

THCA does not have any known psychoactive effects on humans in its own right. It does have antiinflammatory, neuroprotective, antiemetic (anti-vomitting) and anti-prostate cancer effects. It inhibits COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes involved in inflammation in human colon cell cultures. It has also been shown to decrease the amount of oxidative stress caused by impairment of mitochondria which is a major mechanism in neural degeneration in mouse mesencephalic cell cultures.


Despite the ready decarboxylation by drying or heating ex vivo, conversion of THCA to THC in vivo appears to be very limited, giving it only very slight efficacy as a prodrug for THC. Consequently, it is believed to be important in less-psychoactive preparations of cannabis used for medical use, such as cannabis tea.

THCA is commonly used as a biomarker in drug testing along with THCV, to distinguish between prescribed synthetic Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, such as Marinol, and cannabis plant material which may also be used by patients.

Legal status

THCA is not scheduled by the United Nations' Convention on Psychotropic Substances.

United States

THCA is not scheduled at the federal level in the United States, but it is possible that THCA could legally be considered an analog of THC and sales or possession could potentially be prosecuted under the Federal Analogue Act.

There is also a practical legal issue of potential THC contamination of THCA which should be considered. As mentioned above, THCA decarboxylates to form THC, a Schedule I controlled substance. As such it is somewhat unlikely that any sample of THCA which may be analytically tested will not contain a quantifiable amount of THC, especially if the sampled product was retained at temperatures conducive to decarboxylation. This makes it possible that possession of THCA might lead to prosecution for possession of THC due to the presence of THC breakdown products in bulk THCA.


Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid Wikipedia

Similar Topics
Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid synthase
Before You Know It (film)
Tristan Bowen