If you’re familiar with cannabis and hemp, then you’re probably well versed in popular cannabinoids like THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). With more and more cannabinoids like Delta 8, Delta 10, and HHC gaining popularity, lesser known cannabinoids are joining in the spotlight. One of these compounds is THCa. The most common question we get about this compound is a simple one- “what is THCa”? In this post we’ll give you the full scoop. We’ll explore what THCa is, its effects, potential benefits, the differences between THCa vs THC, and more. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about this exciting cannabinoid.
1. What is THCa?
THCa, or tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, is a cannabinoid that occurs naturally in cannabis and hemp plants. We all know what THC is, it’s the beloved cannabinoid that produces psychoactive effects. Simply put, it’s what gets you high. Well, THCa is the acidic form of THC. When cannabis plants are growing, they produce various cannabinoids depending on the plant’s specific strain. Most of these cannabinoids, including THCa, begin as carboxylic acids then convert into non-acidic compounds through the process of decarboxylation or “decarbing.” The acidic version of each cannabinoid typically has different effects from its decarboxylated form which we’ll explore more in detail later on. Read more about THCa and other rare cannabinoids here.
2. Effects- Does THCa Get You High?
Have you ever wondered why eating raw cannabis flower doesn’t get you high? THCa is actually more readily available in raw cannabis plants than THC is. The interesting thing about THCa is that it doesn’t produce psychoactive effects when ingested. Meaning, you can’t get high from eating it. Chemically, it has an additional molecular carboxyl ring, which prevents it from binding to receptors in the brain responsible for feeling high. However when exposed to heat, THCa turns into THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid. It undergoes a chemical process that removes the acidic group, converting it into THC. That’s why you have to heat (or vaporize) cannabis to feel THC’s psychoactive effects.
3. Potential Benefits
While there isn’t enough research yet to definitively say what THCa can treat and how effectively, the available research shows promising potential.
- Studies show that THCa has anti-inflammatory properties for chronic pain.
- Studies have also shown that THCa has neuroprotective properties which could help protect against the progression of neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease.
- THCa has also been shown to reduce nausea and vomiting.
4. THCa vs THC (Delta 9)
While THCa and THC both exist in cannabis and hemp plants and are similar in chemical makeup, they interact with our bodies differently. Here are some main differences between the two cannabinoids.
The fact that THCa does not produce the same psychoactive effects as THC is the main distinction between the two substances. THCa must be heated to transform into THC and become psychoactive. One can accomplish this by smoking, vaping, dabbing, or preparing edibles through cooking. Exposing THCa to heat alters its molecular structure by removing a carboxyl ring. This also helps THC bind to CB1 receptors in our bodies.
THCa is generally regarded as having little psychoactive effects and a low level of potency. THC, on the other hand, is produced when THCa is heated through smoking, vaping, cooking, or any other method. These methods can produce quite potent effects. In fact, the concentration of THC produced through this process can be significantly higher than other methods of consuming THC, like smoking cannabis flower.
When it comes to their effects, THCa and THC are similar in some ways. For instance, both have the potential to treat nausea. In terms of their differences, THCa has demonstrated far greater promise in reducing inflammation. While THC isn’t recommended for seizure disorders, THCa may show some promise in addressing those conditions.
5. Does THCa Show Up on Drug Tests?
- Yes. THCa can cause you to fail a drug test. As we discussed earlier, you'd have to expose it to heat to turn into THC and become psychoactive. Smoking, vaping, or dabbing this compound can cause your body to produce similar metabolites as THC. This applies to THCa edibles too. Since most drug tests check for THC metabolites, consuming it in these manners can cause you to fail a drug test.
Related Article: “HHC vs CBN, which will make you fail a drug test?”
6. Is THCa Legal?
THCa is federally legal. However we encourage you to check the laws in your states. As more states are updating their legal stances on alternative cannabinoids like Delta 8, it’s especially important to do your research. To see if Delta 8 is legal in your state, check out our state-by-state Delta 8 legality guide here.
7. Where To Find Trusted Delta 8 Near You
THCa is a fascinating cannabinoid that is found in cannabis plants and is often overlooked due to its non-psychoactive nature. While the compound itself is not known for its potent effects, it can be converted into THC through various heating methods, unlocking its full potential. With ongoing research into its medicinal properties, this cannabinoid is gaining attention for its potential anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and antiemetic effects. This exciting cannabinoid offers unique possibilities for cannabis and hemp consumers and holds promise as a subject of further research in the cannabis science field. We’re also excited to announce that we’ve released 4ML disposable vapes in 4 blends you know and love. Enjoy Introvert, Dream, Euphoria, and Charged in our best-selling strains. What do you think about this cannabinoid? Let us know in the comments. Stay safe, and stay mellow.
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