We’ve talked about delta 8, HHC, THCP, and HHCP, but I’m here to draw your attention to yet another cannabinoid: THCA.  THCA is another component of cannabis and hemp plants that should absolutely be on your radar.  In order to best explain what it is and how it works, I will compare it to the most famous cannabinoid: delta 9 THC.  Read on to learn all there is to know about THCA vs THC.  Stay tuned, and you just might be able to try this cannabinoid for yourself from our shop very soon!  In the meantime, be sure to check out our selection of vapes, prerolls, blunts, and gummies featuring delta 8, HHC, and even newcomers HHCP and THCP.

What is THCA?

THCA, or tetrahydrocannbinolic acid, is best described as a precursor to THC.  As a hemp or cannabis plant grows, it produces more and more THCA.  It can be found in the plant’s trichomes.  In order to consume THCA in its true form, you would have to consume raw cannabis.  This is because when heat is added via lighter, or decarbing to make edibles, THCA converts to THC.  


Unlike THC, THCA does not interact with our CB1 receptors.  CB1 receptors are the part of our endocannabinoid system that produces a high when they interact with psychoactive cannabinoids.  So, when you get high from THC, delta 8, HHC, HHCP, or THCP, it is because these cannabinoids are interacting with your CB1 receptors.  The reason that THCA doesn’t interact with these receptors is because its molecules are too big to fit into the receptors.  This is due to the carboxyl ring present in its structure.

This is a scientific way of explaining that unlike THC, THCA is not psychoactive.  In order to “activate” THCA, you need that heating element, which technically converts the cannabinoid to THC.  The process of heat removes that pesky carboxyl ring that prevents interaction with the CB1 receptors.  As it transforms into THC through heat, this is what will produce the traditional high that comes from smoking weed.   

In terms of THCA, if you’re looking to experience a high, add heat.  If you’re simply looking for other therapeutic benefits without the high, you need to either grind up some raw cannabis into your smoothie, or consume an edible that was made with flower that has not been decarbed.  You may be wondering what the point of “raw” THCA is if not a high.  Like other non psychoactive cannabinoids, such as CBD, THCA has a lot of potential medically.  More research is definitely needed, but for people who want to reap the benefits and still keep their feet planted firmly on the ground, this is an exciting option.


THCA vs THC in terms of legality is a somewhat gray area.  As we know, THC is legal either medicinally or recreationally in the majority of the US.  If you’re a cannabis enthusiast, you definitely know what the laws are in your state.  The rest of the country has seen a glimmer of hope in recent years thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill which legalized hemp on a federal level.  Because THCA can be derived from hemp, it’s technically legal on a federal level.  

Since the passing of the Farm Bill, however, individual states have been cracking down on cannabinoids derived from hemp.  Some states simply seek to regulate the industry, while others have decided to implement total bans.  Though THCA is not psychoactive, as we know, it does have the potential to become psychoactive with the addition of heat.  It has not yet become as famous as delta 8, so while it may not be banned by name specifically, it does fall into an illegal category in certain states due to the umbrella verbiage of their laws.  Before consuming, definitely be sure to check out what the specifics are in terms of your local legislation.

The bottom line:

THCA vs THC all comes down to a matter of chemistry.  THCA without heat is a nonpsychoactive cannabinoid that may provide the therapeutic effects of hemp and cannabis without the high.  Once heat is added via lighter, vape, or decarbing, THCA converts into THC, the classic cannabinoid that we all know and love.  Be sure to keep an eye out for THCA products dropping soon in our store. In the meantime, stay lit with our current selection of psychoactive cannabinoid products.