There are more than 100 cannabinoids present in hemp plants. Amongst them, there are a few that contain psychoactive properties. These include Delta 8, Delta 9, and THCp. THCp is the most potent cannabinoid discovered up till now.
Another cannabinoid that has recently gained interest is THCA. What is THCA? Is it stronger than Delta 9? This article explains in detail what THCA is.
What Is THCA?
The full form of THCA is tetrahydrocannabinolic acid. Live and raw hemp plants contain this cannabinoid. Both THCA and Delta 9 share a similar chemical composition. The only difference in their chemical structure is that THCA has an extra carboxyl group.
How Does THCA Convert To Delta 9?
When THCA undergoes decarboxylation in the presence of heat and light, Delta 9 forms. The decarboxylation process removes the extra carboxyl group. This happens by heating raw hemp plants, bringing such chemical changes.
Hemp plants in dried form contain higher concentrations of Delta 9. This is because THCA converts into THC.
Difference Between THCA And Delta 9
Though THCA and Delta 9 are cannabinoids, they inherit different characteristics. This is due to their chemical structure.
- THCA Is Not Psychoactive
The shape of THCA causes it to have no psychoactive properties. The cannabinoid is a large molecule. This makes its ability to bind with cannabinoid receptors, especially CB1 weaker.
As THCA doesn’t stimulate the CB1 receptors, it doesn’t cause intoxication.
Whereas, THC when consumed causes intoxication. This is because THC has a strong bonding capability with the cannabinoid receptors.
- THCA Is An Essential Raw Material For THC
As mentioned before, THC comes from THCA, which is an organic acid. After decarboxylation, THCA converts to THC.
How Does THCA Function?
THCA induces its effects on the body by acting on other regions and receptors of the body. It suppresses the activity of 2 enzymes, cyclooxygenase (COX-1 & COX-2) and cytokine interleukin 10 (IL-10).
What Is The Role Of THC?
When compared with THCA, THC can bind with the CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system. CB1 receptors are found in the central nervous system. The CB2 receptors are mainly found in the peripheral nervous system and immune cells.
How To Consume THCA?
THCA can be consumed in three ways. These include vaping, smoking, and juicing. Vaping and smoking involve applying heat to the cannabinoid compound.
Through vaping, THCA converts to THC, a potent psychoactive cannabinoid. This can cause you to experience mild to intense intoxicating effects, depending on the potency of THCA in your product. If you require immediate and strong euphoric effects of both THC and THCA, then you can consume THCA concentrates through dab pens. This is recommended only for users of Delta 9.
Similar to vaping, smoking causes conversion of THCA to THC, resulting in psychoactive effects. However, smoking THCA flowers is less potent as compared to vaping THCA concentrates. THCA concentrates contain up to 90% THCA, whereas flowers contain only more than 20% of THCA.
- Mix THCA With Fruit Juice
Another method of consuming THCA is by adding it to fruit juices, which you can buy or you can make at home. Use around 15 fresh hemp leaves and 2-3 THCA flowers, and blend them together with your favorite fruits to make a THCA-rich cocktail. This will not induce a high as compared to vaping and smoking.
5 Frequently Asked Questions
- What Is The Onset Time For THCA?
The time for THCA to kick in depends on the type of THCA product consumed. If you’re using THCA flowers through vaping or inhalation, the effects may kick in within 5-15 minutes.
Consuming THCA diamonds, oils, or tinctures can take at least 2 hours for the effects to appear because it takes time for THCA to enter the bloodstream.
This cannabinoid also comes in the form of transdermal patches. By applying them, the onset time for THCA is after 25-30 minutes.
- Will THCA Show Up On A Drug Test?
THCA can cause you to have a positive result on a drug test. Most cannabinoids take at least a month to be expelled from the body’s system. Thus, it’s recommended not to consume THCA for at least a month before taking a drug test.
- Is THCA Legal?
THCA has not been mentioned as a controlled substance in federal law. However, decarboxylating raw hemp converts THCA into THC, which is banned by federal law. Moreover, laws on bringing hemp-derived cannabinoids vary from state to state in the US.
Check out your local state laws to ensure that cannabinoid usage is allowed at your location.
- Does THCA Cause A High?
Unlike Delta 9, THCA doesn’t induce intoxicating effects. This is because it has much weaker capabilities of bonding with cannabinoid receptors of the body as compared to Delta 9.
- Which Hemp Strains Have High Concentrations Of THCA?
Hemp plant strains with high concentrations of THC are the best sources of THCA. These strains prior to decarboxylation will contain high levels of THCA.
The hemp plant variants mentioned below contain high concentrations of THC after decarboxylation. When buying hemp strains, make sure they have not undergone decarboxylation.
- Gorilla Glue
- Death Star
- Bruce Banner
- Silver Haze
- Laughing Buddha
- Lemon Kush
Takeaway – Are THCA and Delta 9 Similar?
THCA is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid whereas Delta 9 is a potent mood-altering compound. Delta 9 can induce an intense high when consumed but THCA does not. They also bind with the receptors of the brain differently, which causes different effects.