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Published on February 11, 2024

The Journey of THC-A: From Ancient Medicine to Modern Source of Wellness 

THCA or tetrahydrocannabinolic acid is one of the many cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. One of our personal favorites, the THCA diamond is one of the most concentrated forms of THCA. A puff of this pure hemp goodness reminded me that until recently, cannabis has been illegal in the United States of America. Today, following the passage of the Farm Bill of 2018, it has evolved from a stigmatized and illicit substance to a burgeoning industry with diverse applications.

The legalization of medical and recreational cannabis in various regions has fueled the commercialization of THCA.  It has gone from being used mainly for recreation to gaining a reputation for its properties in all-around wellness, with companies exploring non-psychoactive compounds like THCA. In this article, we are going to explore the intricate tapestry of the commercial cannabis world, tracing its history, product varieties, and the benefits it presents.

Discovery and Early Research

Despite it changing over the last decades, Cannabis has been with us for the longest time. The earliest record of cannabis cultivation was in 4000 BC China, where it was cultivated as a food crop. It was recognized for its medicinal properties and used to treat many ailments. Furthermore, it was used by various civilizations such as the ancient Egyptians, the Greeks and the Romans, and traveling through continents. 

An Irish doctor, William O’Shaughnessy introduced the plant to Western medicine in 1839. He concluded that the plant had no negative medicinal effect, leading to a rapid growth in the plant’s use in the pharmaceutical context. However, in 1914, under the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act, cannabis was declared illegal in the US. 

The molecular structure of THC, an active component of cannabis, was discovered and synthesized by an Israeli chemist doctor Raphael Mechoulam in 1964. Unfortunately, cannabis hit another impasse in 1970 when it was categorized as a Schedule I drug in the US. This limited further research into the plant, as it was listed as having no medical use. This meant that the only available weed in the US was Mexican or Colombian. 

The 2010s ushered in a new era as countries began to legalize weed, with Uruguay leading the pack in 2014.

Commercialization of THCA

The commercialization of THCA is part of the broader cannabis industry evolution. It became mainstream after the passage of the Farm Bill, as companies now focus on extracting and isolating THCA for its potential health benefits and psychedelic properties. 

The delivery of THCA keeps changing too. Product innovation includes THCA-infused edibles, tinctures, and topicals, which seek to cater to consumers seeking therapeutic effects without the traditional cannabis high. As well as concentrates and flowers for users seeking out a high. THCA comes in various forms which include the following. 

Flowers

Flowers are some of the most popular and basic forms of THCA. They are the cannabis plant’s buds or flowers and contain high levels of THCA. Unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), THCA is the non-psychoactive precursor to THC. When the cannabis flower is heated through processes like smoking or vaporization, the THCA undergoes decarboxylation, converting it into THC and producing psychoactive effects.

Tinctures

These are liquid extracts of THCA, often suspended in a carrier oil. Users can then place a few drops under their tongue for sublingual absorption, providing a rapid onset of THCA effects.

Beverages

Some companies produce drinks infused with THCA, such as cold-pressed cannabis juice, providing an alternative to traditional edibles. These beverages can include anything from teas and sodas to energy drinks, offering diverse options for consumers.

Edibles

Companies also create a variety of edibles infused with THCA such as gummies, chocolates, or baked goods. Edibles offer a flavorful and discreet way to consume THCA. This method eliminates the need for smoking and masks the taste of hemp.

Capsules

Encapsulated THCA provides a precise and controlled dosage. This form is particularly appealing to cannabis enthusiasts who prefer a standardized intake and may not be interested in the taste associated with other products.

Topicals

THCA-infused creams, balms, or lotions are designed for localized application on the skin. Users seek these products to reduce localized pain, soothe skin problems and reduce inflammation without experiencing the typical effects associated with other consumption methods.

Concentrates

These are highly purified forms of THCA, often resembling crystals or a powdery substance. Concentrated forms like shatter, wax, or diamonds contain high levels of THCA. These products are favored by users seeking intense and immediate effects through methods such as dabbing or vaporization.

As the cannabis industry continues to advance, companies continually explore innovative new ways to deliver THCA. 

Future Research and Trends 

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Although hemp-infused products have not been accepted by medical practitioners, it is famous for its medicinal properties which many users have reported, including better sleep, as well as relief from joint pain and anti-inflammation. 

Thankfully there’s ongoing research into the medicinal potential of cannabis compounds. More knowledge of these properties may pave the way for new treatments and pharmaceuticals targeted at specific health conditions. 

Continued legalization efforts in the US and around the world may lead to more widespread acceptance and access to cannabis. As more countries explore cannabis legalization, the global cannabis market is expected to expand. This expansion is expected to present new opportunities for businesses and investors, fostering economic growth and job creation within the cannabis industry. 

The extension of the Farm Bill to 2024 leaves a lot of uncertainty in the industry for farmers, manufacturers and investors alike. Although the future is uncertain, one thing we know for sure is that companies will continue to introduce increasingly diverse and advanced hemp-infused products to meet the needs of new and existing customers. 

More research into the benefits of cannabis will ultimately result in more social acceptance of the product. The commercial growth of cannabis and THCA in particular, resonates with the shifting attitudes toward cannabis and the growing acceptance of its diverse compounds for health and wellness applications.

Conclusion

The 2018 Farm Bill is an undeniable milestone in the history of the commercialization of THCA. It created an avenue for cannabis companies to go from innovative products to scientific progression. This shows the dynamic intersection of business, healthcare, and ever-changing cultural perceptions in the cannabis industry. 

While the future is promising, challenges aren’t unexpected. Regulatory uncertainties, standardization of products and navigating public perception will likely shape the trajectory of the cannabis industry.


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