Whether you’ve been on the cannabis scene for a while or you’ve only recently begun testing the waters (or flowers), we’re willing to bet THC is not new to you. After all, THC is arguably the most popular cannabinoid in hemp and cannabis plants.
However, the narrative chances when it comes to THCA.
Unlike its far more famous sibling, most people do not know about THCA and the role it plays in these plants. Even few people know that without THCA, there will not be THC that we’ve all come to love and enjoy.
Not to worry, we’ll help you bridge this information gap.
In this article, we carry out a comprehensive comparison of THC and THCA, sharing insight into the difference between both cannabinoids, their effects, legality, and more.
Want to experience these cannabinoids for yourself? Check out our selection of THC and THCA products!
- Key Takeaways
- What is THCA in Flower?
- Do THC and THCA Flower Get You High?
- How are THC and THCA Flowers Different?
- How is THCA Flower Made?
- Can You Grow THCA Flower?
- Is Growing THCA Hemp Flower Similar to Growing THC Flower?
- What is a High THCA Hemp Flower Percentage?
- THC vs. THCA Flower Legal Status
- Conclusion — THC vs. THCA in Flower
- Where to Buy THCA Diamond Infused Pre Rolls Online
- Both THCA and THC occur naturally in hemp and cannabis plants but are distinctively different.
- THCA is the precursor to THC and converts to THC in the presence of heat or light.
- While THC is a psychoactive cannabinoid and will get you high, THCA is non-psychoactive.
What is THC in Flower?
Tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC) is a psychoactive compound that occurs naturally in hemp and cannabis plants and usually exists in every part of the plant, including the flower (also known as bud). THC is the primary psychoactive ingredient in cannabis and is responsible for producing the “high” or euphoric effects that people feel after consuming cannabis products.
Depending on the specific strain, region, and growing conditions, the THC content in cannabis flowers may vary with some having higher or lower THC levels. As a result, some cannabis flowers may yield more intense psychoactive effects than others.
If you’re new to hemp-derived products that contain THC, it is usually best to start with smaller amounts or products with lower THC levels. This way, you get a milder experience.
Most manufacturers include information about THC content on the labels of their product packaging. So, make sure to go through these details before consuming THC.
What is THCA in Flower?
THCA stands for tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, which is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in raw or fresh cannabis plants. More interestingly, THCA is the acidic precursor to THC, the more famous psychoactive component in cannabis that induces the “high.”
In other words, there is no THC without THCA!
You should note that THCA itself is not psychoactive and will not get you high. This is because its chemical structure contains an extra carboxyl group that increases its size compared to THC and prevents it from binding with the CB1 and CB2 in the body’s endocannabinoid system.
When raw cannabis is harvested and dried, it contains high levels of THCA and very low levels of THC. However, THCA converts to THC through a process known as decarboxylation, which is triggered when THCA is exposed to light or heat, such as through smoking or cooking.
This is why you generally have to heat THCA products, like THCA diamonds and flowers to experience its psychoactive effects.
Decarboxylation converts THCA to THC by removing the carboxyl group, thereby allowing it to bond with the endocannabinoid receptors in the body.
Do THC and THCA Flower Get You High?
While THCA and THC are both found in the cannabis plant, they have distinctly different effects on users. While THC is a psychoactive compound, THCA is not.
In other words, consuming THC will likely get you high depending on how much you consume. However, no amount of THCA in its original form will get you high. This means that if you consume raw cannabis, you won’t experience the same psychoactive effects as you would with cannabis that has been heated or processed.
However, you should note that the effects of THCA largely depend on the potency of the strain and the method of consumption.
Generally, smoking or vaporizing cannabis tends to produce a quicker onset of effects and a stronger high, while consuming edibles will produce a slower onset of effects but longer-lasting and more intense high.
Also, various forms of THCA, such as THCA diamonds vs live resin, can influence how much psychoactive effects you feel.
How are THC and THCA Flowers Different?
We’ve established that delta 9 THC and THCA have distinctly different effects on the body. But that’s not all the difference between both cannabinoids.
Another distinction is their chemical structures and properties. Here is a quick list of the primary differences between THC and THCA.
THCA and THC have different chemical structures. THCA is the acidic precursor to THC, meaning that it contains a carboxylic acid group (COOH) attached to its molecular structure. When THCA is heated, such as through smoking or vaporization, the carboxylic acid group is removed, and it is converted into THC.
THCA is not psychoactive, meaning that it does not produce the “high” typically associated with marijuana use. In contrast, THC is psychoactive and is responsible for the euphoric and mind-altering effects of cannabis.
Since THCA is non-psychoactive, it is typically consumed in higher quantities than THC. For example, someone using cannabis for its potential wellness benefits may take a larger dose of THCA than someone consuming the products to get high.
THCA is typically found in raw or unheated cannabis plant material, such as fresh leaves and flowers. THC, on the other hand, is produced when THCA is heated, such as through smoking or vaporization. THC is the primary psychoactive compound found in dried and cured cannabis flowers, as well as in cannabis concentrates and edibles.
How is THCA Flower Made?
Of course, THCA is usually more plentiful in raw and fresh cannabis plants as the drying process can often trigger the conversion of THCA to THC through decarboxylation.
Can You Grow THCA Flower?
The answer is yes.
Since THCA is a naturally-occurring compound in hemp plants, any hemp or cannabis plant that produces THC will also produce THCA. Therefore, it is possible to grow THCA flowers by cultivating cannabis plants that contain high levels of THCA.
However, you should note that the levels of THCA in a cannabis plant can vary depending on several factors, including the growing conditions and harvesting techniques.
In addition, some strains of cannabis are known to have higher THCA content than others, so choosing the right strain is crucial for growing THCA-rich flowers. Besides, factors like lighting, temperature, humidity, and nutrient levels can also affect the levels of THCA in the plant.\
Techniques like low-stress training (LST) and high-stress training (HST) can potentially increase the number of flower sites on a plant, which may result in a larger yield of THCA-rich flowers.
Is Growing THCA Hemp Flower Similar to Growing THC Flower?
Growing THCA hemp flower is generally similar to cultivating THC-rich cannabis flower, as both cannabinoids occur in the same plant species — Cannabis sativa. However, the primary difference between the growth process for THCA and THC is the objective for the cultivation.
The primary difference between the two is the genetic makeup of the plant and the environmental conditions under which they are grown.
On one hand, THCA-hemp is often grown for its high levels of THCA while the post-harvest processes are what matters when THC is the goal.
Either way, both compounds typically require the same growing methods, such as indoor or outdoor cultivation, hydroponic or soil-based growing methods, and regular maintenance practices such as pruning and pest control.
What is a High THCA Hemp Flower Percentage?
The THC percentage in hemp flowers is regulated by law and must not exceed 0.3% on a dry weight basis in the United States. This is in accordance with the Farm Bill that was passed in 2018.
Here’s how the bill defines hemp:
“the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”
As a result, a high THCA hemp flower percentage is 0.3%.
However, THCA is a precursor to THC and can convert to THC through decarboxylation, which occurs when the plant material is heated or exposed to UV light.
So while a high THCA percentage in hemp flowers doesn’t necessarily indicate high levels of THC, it can still be an indication of high-quality flowers with potentially beneficial effects. In addition, some hemp strains may contain higher levels of THCA, which may provide a more potent effect when consumed.
THC vs. THCA Flower Legal Status
Another distinction between THC and THCA is their legality.
In the US, THC is considered a Schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act, which means it is illegal to possess, use, or distribute.
However, depending on the specific state you’re in, you may be able to possess or consume THC without issue. This is because several states in the US have legalized THC for medical and/or recreational use while others have decriminalized its possession in small amounts.
On the other hand, there are no specific laws regarding the possession or use of THCA in the US. But, since THCA falls under the category of hemp-derived products, it is technically legal according to the Farm Bill, especially since it does not contain THC, is non-psychoactive and non-addictive.
Nevertheless, you should note that hemp laws are generally still evolving. Therefore, it is generally best to research the laws in your area or consult a legal practitioner in your region before using or possessing THCA or any other hemp-derived product.
Conclusion — THC vs. THCA in Flower
While THC and THCA are both compounds found in the cannabis plant, they differ in their chemical structures and effects on the body.
THC is the primary psychoactive compound responsible for the euphoric “high” associated with marijuana use, while THCA is non-psychoactive and must be converted to THC through decarboxylation before it can produce a psychoactive effect.
Where to Buy THCA Diamond Infused Pre Rolls Online
As THCA flower continues to grow in popularity, many brands and manufacturers now offer a variety of THCA-infused products. However, when shopping for THCA, it is important to ensure that you are purchasing it from a reputable source.
Also, look out for brands that are transparent about their growing and processing methods, and have third-party lab testing available for their products.
Thankfully, Delta Munchies checks all these books.