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How to Relax with THCA

Published May 08, 2024
How to Relax with THCA - Secret Nature

People have used cannabis to relax as long as history tells. THCA may be slightly different from the ancestral cannabis of old, but the differences between THCA and normal weed are more semantic than substantive. Find out what we mean by that as we delve into the best ways to relax with THCA — and the best THCA products to use for relaxation.

What is THCA?

Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) is a cannabinoid naturally found in Cannabis sativa. While unknown to many cannabis aficionados, THCA is — in fact — the primary cannabinoid found across all subspecies or “phenotypes” of cannabis. The dominance of THCA in cannabis is, actually, the reason we’re told to heat cannabis before eating it.

You see, THCA converts into THC when it is heated or otherwise “decarboxylated:” parted from its carboxyl atomic group. When decarboxylation occurs (which can be triggered by heat, light, or even age), THCA becomes its highly psychoactive counterpart, THC. Prior to decarboxylation, however, THCA remains only lightly mind-altering.

Importantly, THCA is viewed as a different cannabinoid from THC for legal and regulatory purposes. As long as the converted THC content in THCA flower remains under 0.3%, it is generally considered industrial hemp — regardless of its potential THC content post-decarboxylation.

What does THCA do to your brain?

THCA can act on your brain in two very different ways depending on what form it’s in when the cannabinoid interacts with your neurochemistry. In its original acidic form, THCA is usually described as non-intoxicating. It has effects that are similar to those offered by CBD, but it appears to act on the CB1 and CB2 receptors.

When THCA converts to THC, however, it has the classic effects associated with this popular cannabinoid. By acting strongly on the CB1 neuroreceptors in the brain, converted THCA promotes the release of endorphins and causes a potent sensation of relaxing intoxication. The exact effects THCA has on your brain chemistry are modulated somewhat by the impact of minor cannabinoids, terpenes, and other natural compounds found in the cannabis entourage.

Does THCA reduce anxiety?

For many users, THCA and THC cause considerable reductions in anxiety. The body’s natural system for processing cannabinoids, however, is quite complex. Called the endocannabinoid system, this series of neurotransmitters is highly susceptible to the influence of cannabinoids in the THC family, leading to experiences that can sometimes feel subjectively overwhelming — especially at high doses of THC or THCA.

Once users have passed this initial threshold and discovered a sustainable THCA dose frequency, it’s common to rely on THCA or THC for help with anxiety. Some frequent THC (THCA) users even indicate that this cannabinoid is more effective for managing chronic anxiety symptoms than benzodiazepines and other commonly prescribed pharmaceutical medications.

How to use THCA to reduce anxiety

Using THCA for effective anxiety reduction is all about proper dosing and phenotype sourcing. Also known as its “strain,” the phenotype or cultivar of a cannabis plant has a considerable impact on its chemical makeup. Some strains of THCA-rich cannabis contain terpenes and flavonoids that are beneficial against anxiety, for instance, while others may offer less-than-ideal effects.

Any THCA product that is referred to as full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or “live resin” will contain terpenes and flavonoids specific to a particular cannabis strain. You can learn more about the terpene and flavonoid makeup of a cannabis strain by examining its COA or certificate of analysis.

As you do so, keep an eye out for the presence of terpenes like linalool and limonene, both of which are believed to help with anxiety. There’s a deep rabbit hole when it comes to terpene and cannabinoid synergies, so the topic is worth researching in some detail.

What is the best way to use THCA for anxiety?

No matter how many generalizations we make about mental illness, every anxiety patient suffers from slightly different symptoms. So, your “best” way of using THCA for anxiety may be different from another person’s, but we can still make overall comments about the different methods of using this cannabinoid and their effects.

Inhaling THCA by smoking or vaping, for instance, will provide immediate effects that some users might find particularly helpful right at the onset of anxiety symptoms. Edible THCA products, though, like gummies and tinctures provide long-lasting effects that may be particularly useful against generalized chronic anxiety.

What are the best THCA products for anxiety?

If you plan to use THCA to combat anxiety or relax more effectively, it’s best to stick as close to the source as possible and use products that still retain the majority of the additional components that boost the effectiveness of THCA in cannabis flower. THCA-rich flower is certainly one option in that case, alongside live resin THCA vapes, which offer even higher cannabinoid and terpene concentrations.

Let’s learn a bit more about the various options that are available when it comes to THCA flower and vapes for relaxation:

THCA flower for anxiety

THCA flower offers the simplest and most natural approach to using THC to relax. Grown naturally and (ideally) unaltered in any way, THCA-rich cannabis flower contains somewhat less THCA than vapes, but you can smoke it, cook it, or do basically anything you want with it. Some users prefer to get their THCA relaxation in the form of flower simply because it’s the analog and old-fashioned approach.

THCA vapes for anxiety

THCA vapes are higher-tech and higher-potency. Some would also say that vapes are harsher than flower, but those people have probably never tried true live-resin THCA vapes. It’s a fact that THCA vapes can be harsh, but the types of live resin THCA vapes that are available from Secret Nature hit smoothly but without pulling any punches when it comes to potency.  

THCA pre-rolls for anxiety

THCA flower pre-rolls take some of the work off your hands by offering THCA buds in a ready-to-smoke format. The only time you wouldn’t prefer THCA pre-rolls is if you’re planning to do something with your bonds rather than smoke them in joints. For users who prefer joints above all other methods of smoking, however. THCA pre-rolls are the obvious choice for convenient and potency relaxation.

Final thoughts: Using THCA for anxiety relief

THCA is a complex chemical that only becomes more arcane when combined with the cornucopia of minor cannabinoids, terpenes, and other substances that are present in the best and most natural THCA products. For some, anything related to THC might be a one-way ticket to a state of  anxiety so heightened it resembles full-blown paranoia.

More often than not, though, this type of reaction is something that occurs in your brain when you aren’t used to THCA or THC. As you and your relation to the cannabinoid mature, you’ll likely find that a responsible and consistent dose of THCA can do wonders against the general worries and concerns that so commonly plague our contemporary age.

Relaxing with THCA: FAQ

Learn more about the art of relaxing with THCA in the FAQ section below:

Does THCA release dopamine?

If THC releases dopamine, THCA will as well — as long as it is converted first. However, the relationship between cannabinoids like THCA and endorphins like dopamine is complex. It’s not clear whether exogenous substances actually “release” dopamine at all or whether this commonly cited but poorly understood neurotransmitter might operate via more subtle pathways in the human brain. 

What effect does THCA have on sleep?

Most users report that THCA helps them sleep. Instances of THCA negatively impacting sleep or causing insomnia are rare-to-nonexistent.

Can THCA cause anxiety?

Yes, THCA can sometimes cause anxiety, but usually in relatively new users. For users with endocannabinoid systems that have adapted to THCA, the standard reaction is a reduction in anxiety, not an increase.

What other cannabinoids can I try for anxiety?

If THCA persists in causing you anxiety even after your endocannabinoid system has attenuated, try CBG first since it has uplifting effects despite being non-intoxicating. Then, try CBD since it has been cited as being effective against anxiety in many leading journals.

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