THCa vs THC: What's the Difference?
When purchasing hemp-derived products, you’ve likely seen THC listed as one of the cannabinoids in the product. THC is a psychoactive cannabinoid that gives people a high feeling that is often a desired ingredient chosen among cannabis users.
One ingredient that may not be as easily understood is THCa. It’s important to understand the different cannabinoids in cannabis, but it’s especially important to understand the difference between THC vs. THCa.
What Is THCa?
Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, or THCa, is a cannabinoid found in cannabis. It is the most abundant non-psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis. THCa is often called the precursor to THC because it is found in live cannabis plants, while THC is found in harvested cannabis plants.
What Is the Difference Between THCa and THC?
When looking at the chemical compound of THC and THCa, they are similar. The only difference between the two chemical compounds is an additional carboxyl group found in THCa. This chemical compound prevents the cannabinoid from correctly binding to the brain’s CB1 and CB2 receptors. These are the receptors that cause you to feel high when using hemp-derived THC.
THCa in and of itself is not intoxicating the way THC is. You can’t add THCa to an edible or a drink mix to produce a euphoric high feeling because of its additional carboxyl group. You have to change the carboxyl group in order for THCa to bind to your brain’s CB1 and CB2 receptors to get you high.
How Is THCa Converted Into THC?
When heated, the carboxyl group of THCa is removed through a process called decarboxylation. Removing this additional carboxyl group of THCa changes the chemical compound and turns THCa into delta-9 THC. This causes THCa to give you a high when it is heated.
The conversion of THCa into THC doesn’t add more THC to the product. You receive the same amount of THC when THCa is converted into THC after it is heated.
THCa is converted into THC through heat. This can be through direct sunlight, increased room temperatures, or direct heat exposure. A vape pen is a common method of converting THCa into THC.
Why Choose THCa Instead of THC?
If THCa doesn’t contain any psychoactive properties without being heated, why would you choose it?
The simple answer is that, when heated, THCa turns into THC and can produce stronger effects than delta-8 THC. We have a new vape pen coming soon that converts THCa into THC when heated. It will give users an intoxicating high that is more potent than a delta-8 vape pen. When choosing a THCa vape pen product, you will likely experience a delta-9 high that is more potent than other THC products.
How Is the THCa Percentage Determined?
Reading the label on a THCa product can be confusing because the cannabis industry has yet to choose a standard method for exhibiting the data to consumers.
Labs use two different methods of testing THCa potency, each producing a different potency reading. The liquid chromatography (LC) method doesn’t use heat, while the gas chromatography (GC) method does. This causes the potency of liquid chromatography THCa to be less than that of gas chromatography THCa.
The next time you consider purchasing a THC product, you should consider a THCa vape pen. When heated, the THCa turns into THC to give you an intoxicating experience. THCa only has psychoactive properties when heated.
Otherwise, it is an inactive cannabinoid that is the precursor to THC. If you want to get the most out of THC products, you will want to keep a look out for our new THCa vape pen that’s coming soon! Until then, take a look at our online store to see our current CBD and THC products.