Does THCA Become THC When Heated?

A hand is holding a cannabis joint and a lighter in the other hand, with a backdrop of trees and woods behind

One of the common questions we encounter in the world of new cannabinoids is: Does THCA convert into THC when subjected to heat?

Since these two cannabinoids — THCA and THC — are forever linked, it is no surprise that consumers and enthusiasts always come up with several questions and debates. Not to worry, we’ll help you find the answers you need.

Keep reading as we demystify the science behind THCA’s metamorphosis into THC and help you understand the role of heat in this transformation. You will also find out if THCA becomes THC when heated.

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Key Takeaways

  • THCA becomes THC when heated due to a decarboxylation process triggered in the presence of heat and light.
  • Decarboxylation removes the extra carboxyl group in the non-psychoactive THCA and converts it to the psychoactive THC.
  • Some of the popular ways to convert THCA to THC include smoking, dabbing, baking or cooking, and vaping.


What is THC?

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is a cannabinoid that is found in cannabis plants and is primarily responsible for the psychoactive effects that you get from weed. It is important to note that THC is not the only cannabinoid found in cannabis plants. However, it is perhaps the most popular one. Other cannabinoids that may be found in cannabis plants include CBD and CBN.

You should also note that when we say THC, we refer to delta 9 THC and not other forms of THC like delta 8 and delta 10.

All in all, THC is the cannabinoid in cannabis plants responsible for the “high” you get from weed.


What is THC vs. THCA?

We have already defined THC, so we’ll go ahead to define THCA before we draw similarities and differences between them.

THCA is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that is present in cannabis plants. However, the more interesting thing to note about this cannabinoid is that it is the acidic precursor to THC. You see, as cannabis plants grow, they first produce cannabinoids as carboxylic acids, and then these acids are converted into non-acidic compounds through decarbing or decarboxylation.

However, despite some obvious similarities, THCA and delta 9 THC are not the same, as both cannabinoids have very distinct differences.

In this case, THCA is the acidic form of THC, and it converts into THC when it is decarbed through the introduction of heat. Interestingly, THCA is non-psychoactive and will not get you high when you consume it as it is.


Does THCA Turn into THC When Heated?

Yes, THCA converts into delta 9 THC when it is exposed to heat. This process is referred to as decarboxylation.

Here are some of the ways you can induce decarboxylation:

  • Vaping: Cannabis oil contains THCA. Therefore when it is exposed to heat via vaping, it converts into THC.
  • Baking/cooking: When you make cannabis edibles, the THCA content of your weed turns to THC as a result of heat.
  • Smoking: Smoking THCA quickly converts to THC when you light it up due to the intense heat from the fire.
  • Oven heating: You can heat your oven to about 220ºF and heat your weed for about 30 minutes. When using an oven, ensure you look out not to overheat your weed.
  • Dabbing: Consuming THCA dabs with a dab rig also converts it into THC, which will get you high.


What Temperature Does THCA Turn into THC?

This question is important because cannabis plants typically contain multiple cannabinoids and terpenes that add to a plant’s overall quality and uniqueness. Now, all these cannabinoids react differently to different temperatures of heat. Some are altered at certain degrees, and others are destroyed at other degrees.

Therefore, it is essential that when you decarb, you do it at just the temperature that preserves the other nutrients in your cannabis plants.

According to most experts and anecdotal evidence, the best temperature to decarb THCA is between 200-245ºF. At this temperature, THCA should convert to THC without harming other cannabinoids and terpenes.


Does THCA Turn into Delta 9 When Smoked?

The answer is yes. When THCA is heated during smoking, it turns into a real delta 9 THC. However, there are some things you should note when smoking THCA.

First off, some factors affect how effective that decarboxylation process will be. For instance, the duration of time the fire is on may affect how much THCA is converted to THC, depending on the strain.

The other thing to note is that the average temperature for decarboxylation is between 200-245ºF. To give you some perspective, the temperature at the tip of a joint may be as high as 1000°F. The implication is that you may end up destroying some of your THCA. However, this amount is usually negligible as you’ll still get your high.

Nevertheless, the bottom line is smoking THCA is not the most effective way to decarb it.


What’s the Difference Between THC and THCA?

The primary difference between THC and THCA is that THC is psychoactive, while THCA is not. Also, you should note that THCA does not have any addictive potential, unlike THC.

But, does THCA have THC in it? Technically, the answer is no. THCA is a separate cannabinoid from THC in its chemical structure. Therefore it is not THC. However, decarboxylation will convert THCA to THC.


Is THCA the Same as Delta 9?

This question is similar to “Is THCA real THC?” However, the answer to both questions is no.

THCA is different from delta 9. THCA is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid acidic precursor to THC. On the other hand, THC is a psychoactive cannabinoid naturally occurring in cannabis plants.


Where to Buy Delta 9 Products and Other Cannabinoids Online

If you are looking to buy quality and safe Delta 9 products online, then you should check out Delta Munchies. We boast an exciting catalog of hemp-derived products, including full spectrum delta 9 gummies, that have been lab-tested for quality and safety.

We also have a line of THCA products that features THCA diamond-infused pre rolls and THCA diamond sauce dabs. These offer potent flavorful highs that allow you to feel the full effects of high quality THCA.


Final Thoughts

THCA becomes THC when heated due to the process of decarboxylation, which is triggered when the THCA is exposed to heat. Therefore, depending on how you consume your THCA, there is the possibility that you may get high. Some popular ways to heat your THCA include smoking, dabbing, vaping, and cooking.



Is THCA Psychoactive?

No, it is not. THCA has an extra carboxyl group that prevents it from bonding with the brain’s CB1 receptors. As a result, it has no psychoactive effects on the body.

Does THCA Get You High?

No, THCA will not get you high on its own. However, if you heat it, it converts to THC and gets you high.

Is THCA Stronger Than Delta 9?

If you mean psychoactive strength, the answer is no because it is not psychoactive. Furthermore, when decarbed, it converts precisely into delta 9. Therefore, it is as strong as delta 9.

What is a Good THCA Percentage?

A good THCA percentage falls between 15% and 25%.

Is THCA Illegal?

At the federal level, it is not illegal. At the state level, your state’s disposition to THC may affect its legality.

Does THCA Show on Drug Test?

The answer is yes; THCA will show on a drug test even though it is not psychoactive. Therefore, if you have a test coming up, avoid THCA.