Over the past several years we have been using more and more THC-Acid (THC-A.)  Many of you may be familiar with the differences between THC and THC-A.  For those that aren’t, below are the chemical structures of both the THC-A and THC molecules. 


Simply put, THC-A is the precursor to THC, before it’s been decarboxylated (heated.)  When heated, the O and OH group in the THC-A molecule breaks off as carbon dioxide and becomes THC.  (See curved arrow in illustration on left.)


Although THC is the most psychoactive molecule found in Whole Plant Cannabis, it has many medical benefits, including treatment for pain, cancer, nausea, neuropathy and much more.  By contrast, until a few years ago, very little was done with THC-A.  As there was not much data on it, I must admit that I was somewhat dismissive of THC-A.  The reason for the lack of data was because it was very difficult to make a synthetic version in the lab.  However, since THC-A is obviously “made” quite easily in nature, more recently we have been able to witness just how patients benefit that have a variety of disorders, including those with cancer, seizures, Myasthenia Gravis, and other neurological disorders and myopathies. 


This leads us to mitochondria.  Known as the “powerhouses of the cell,” they are the parts of cells that turn sugars, fats and proteins that we eat, into forms of chemical energy that the body can use to carry on living.  They are primarily responsible for creating energy for the cell and for the body.  Mitochondria exist in every cell in the body other than red blood cells. 


There are many diseases referred to as “mito” diseases, for example: Alzheimer’s disease, muscular dystrophy, Lou Gehrig’s disease, diabetes and cancer. Muscle weakness, as well as other serious symptoms, occur as a result of these conditions.


I have every reason to believe that THC-A helps promote mitochondrial energy formation, thereby potentially being very effective and a great benefit to anyone with a mitochondrial disease.  Please refer to the links below for further detailed information.

Allan Frankel, MD

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