THCA VS THC: What’s the Difference?
Have you ever gazed at the trichomes on the cannabis plant and thought about taking a bite off the bud — just a little nibble. Or maybe chop it up and mix it in a salad? It may seem like a good idea — heck, some even consider raw cannabis a superfood. But could you actually get high from it? Unfortunately the answer is no, you can’t. That’s because there is almost no delta-9 THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) AKA the famous intoxicating cannabinoid in freshly harvested cannabis. Yep, you read that correctly: delta-9 THC isn’t abundantly present in raw cannabis flowers which is why eating those little nuggets won’t get you high. What is present on the trichomes of live plant buds is a non-psychoactive compound called THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid). So how does cannabis go from non-psychoactive THCA to psychoactive THC? Why does delta-9 THC get you high but THCA doesn’t? We clearly have a lot to unpack here. But don’t worry, we’ve done our research. Let’s dive in.
What Is THCA?
THCA is a cannabinoid that is present on fresh cannabis flowers. It is basically the raw form of delta-9 THC. THCA is a “precursor” to delta-9, meaning that it converts to delta-9. In short, when cannabis is heated (smoked or vaporized), the THCA molecule starts to break down and convert into delta-9 THC. Woah, wait. How does that happen? We thought you’d never ask!
How Does THCA Become THC?
When cannabis flowers are heated through vaping or smoking (or making cannabis butter), the THCA turns into THC through a process called decarboxylation. Simply put, it involves heating the cannabis flower to a specific temperature for a certain amount of time. The cannabis plant material must be subjected to heat or some other driving force that can cause thermal decarboxylation – the process by which THCA loses its acidic carboxyl group and becomes THC. This process activates the THC and other cannabinoids. It must be completed, one way or another, for cannabis to become abundant in delta-9 THC and produce the high we all love.
Why Doesn’t THCA Get You High? Or Does THCA Get You High?
THCA doesn’t get you high because it isn’t compatible with the cannabinoid receptors in your body’s Endocannabinoid System (ECS). Only when THCA is heated and turns into THC, does it become the perfect shape to bind with the cannabinoid receptors and produce a feeling of euphoria. If you are looking to get high then you might be disappointed but hey, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any therapeutic benefits to ingesting THCA. Because it doesn’t bind to the cannabinoid receptors, THCA has been shown to provide health benefits to those who aren’t looking to experience a high.
What are some of the benefits of THCA?
THCA doesn’t bind to the cannabinoid receptors, but it does interact with them to provide therapeutic benefits. Interestingly, THCA has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and neuro-protective effects, making it an attractive target for further research. Some reports show that pure high-potency THCA extract provides relief from nausea, inflammation, pain management and even has anti-cancer properties. These reported health benefits are currently being researched for their full potential and effectiveness. This could be great news for those who are looking for the medical benefits of cannabis without any potential “side effects” associated with THC.
We are still learning about THCA and research is still very much in its early stages. So far it seems like, in specific applications, THCA could have some promising medical properties that exceed the efficiency of other cannabinoids, including THC. According to a study published in 2020, THCA may be more effective than THC in decreasing nausea and vomiting. Studies have also shown that THCA could help correct insulin resistance and glucose intolerance, which are critical factors in obesity-related diabetes.
Well, that is great for the medical cannabis community. However, what does it mean for recreational users? Unfortunately, not much because, just like delta-9 THC, they may have trouble accessing it due to legalities.
Is THCA Illegal?
Although THCA is an analog of THC, it is not classified as a prohibited substance at the federal level. However, depending on where you reside, possessing THCA might result in prosecution under the Federal Analogue Act which prohibits making or selling an analog of a controlled substance. It is also important to acknowledge that THC is present in THCA and no sample of THCA is absolutely free of THC. But don’t worry, the cannabis world is expanding. New and, arguably more importantly, legal cannabinoids are being discovered as you are reading this article.
Legal Alternatives: Cannabinoids You Can Order Online Today
Let’s get real. If you live in a place where THCs like THCA and delta-9 are regulated, it’s hard to get your hands on them to enjoy their benefits. Thankfully, there are legal options you can order online today — both psychoactive and non-psychoactive. All packed with therapeutic benefits. Here are just a few:
HHC is a great legal alternative to THC. It has similar psychoactive and therapeutic effects plus users report the high lasts longer. Want to try it out for yourself? Buy HHC online today!
Delta-8 THC is another legal form of THC. Though it’s not quite as psychoactive as its cousin delta-9 THC, it still offers many benefits. Users report a more stimulatory high with less cerebral effects. Accompanied by its own set of therapeutic benefits. Buy Delta-8 THC online today!
THCO (tetrahydrocannabinol oxide)
THCO is yet another legal alternative to THC. It provides unique therapeutic benefits, particularly with pain, with a tranquil body effect and a talkative cerebral euphoria. This cannabinoid is perfect for the end of the day to relax and unwind.
CBN is the base to all of the previously mentioned cannabinoids. It is minimally psychoactive, excellent for relaxing and as a sleep aid. CBN also has anti-inflammatory and pain relieving qualities.
Unlike THC, CBD does not have any psychoactive effects. It’s often used to treat conditions like epilepsy, chronic pain, and multiple sclerosis and anxiety. CBD is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
CBG doesn’t have any psychoactive properties at all. However, it may have some anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety effects when taken as a daily
CBC is another non-psychoactive cannabinoid that offers a range of benefits. Studies suggest it could be effective in treating depression and anxiety disorders. CBC is also known for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
What’s Better THC or THCA?
If you are lucky and can get a hold of delta-9 THC and THCA then you may wonder: which is better? Whether THCA is better than THC or vice versa highly depends on what you are looking for. The two cannabinoids are not the same, and they have distinct advantages and shortcomings. For starters, THC will give you the “high” feeling that many are looking for. On the other hand, for medical patients looking for a cannabinoid that will not affect their mental clarity or alter their minds, THCA comes in as a handy solution. Then again if you are affected by the legal restriction placed on THCA and THC, this doesn’t matter much to you and you are better off exploring the legal alternatives listed above. Thankfully, there are plenty available and you can order them right to your door today– explore Hummingbird Extracts.