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THC Vs. THCA: What You Need to Know

Have you ever wondered what's the difference between THC Vs. THCA? The cannabis plant produces over 200 phytocannabinoids, each with unique properties. Recently, THCA, THC, and delta-8 THC have been making headlines. So, in this article, we'll discuss everything you'll need to know about each of these amazing phytocannabinoids.

Thc Vs. Thca: What is Thca?

The fantastic thing about the cannabis plant is its abundance in a vast range of phytocannabinoids, particularly THC and CBD. Within each cannabis plant, many chemical reactions occur, resulting in the formation of THC and CBD.  

THCA, aka Tetrahydrocannabinol acid, is a precursor molecule for THC, synthesized from another common precursor found in cannabis called cannibigerolic acid (CBGA). 

So, what is THCA? And, how does it form?

The biochemical reactions forming CBGA are in themselves a very complex subject. As well, the process of converting CBGA to THCA is just as perplexing. So, for this article on THCA vs. THC, I'll just focus on how THCA becomes THC.

To get THC (delta-9 THC), THCA must undergo a chemical reaction called decarboxylation. Now, decarboxylation is a fundamental concept to understand, particularly if you're interested in making some yummy edibles yourself. Decarboxylation is the process where a carboxyl group from the molecule will be released as CO2 upon adding heat to the chemical reaction. 

Difference Between Thc and Thca 

Is Thca a THC?

Now that we know a bit more about how THC is formed from THCA, I'll briefly discuss the difference between THC and THCA. First, THC is a psychoactive compound. Therefore, using any THC form (delta-9 or delta 8 THC) will result in a high. In contrast, THCA is a non-psychoactive compound which means it won't make you high. 

Difference between THCA and Delta-8 THC?

Recently, delta-8 products have been making headlines for their incredible effects and soothing nature. Often nicknamed 'legal weed,' delta-8 THC is a psychoactive compound derived from CBD (CBD from hemp flowers, that is!). Now, there's a big difference between THCA and delta-8 THC that everyone needs to be aware of.

Firstly, delta-8 THC is a psychoactive compound, so it will make you high. However, it's not as potent as regular THC (delta-9), and this is simply because its chemical structure differs from delta-9. Delta-8 THC seems to have a lot more benefits than THCA. For example, it can aid in anxiety relief, pain, inflammation, alleviate nausea, and stimulate appetite. THCA, on the other hand only seems to have some anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects.

How Does THCA Even Work?

Based on our current understanding THCA seems to play a role in modulating the autonomic nervous system. It's believed to work in 4 different ways:

  1. It releases COX-1: COX-1 enzymes play a crucial role in maintaining homeostatic functions. 
  2. THCA can inhibit COX-2: These enzymes play an essential role in mediating pain and inflammation. Inhibiting COX-2 enzymes will thus reduce pain and inflammation. 
  3. THCA will inhibit TNF-alpha: TNF-alpha is a protein in your body responsible for inflammation. Inhibiting TNF-alpha will thus reduce inflammation. 
  4. It can also release interleukin-10: Interleukin-10 is an anti-inflammatory cytokine that helps the immune system respond to pathogens like bacteria. 

So, What Are the Benefits of THCA?

Just like delta-8 and delta-9 THC, there are indeed some potential therapeutic benefits of THCA. THCA could have anti-inflammatory effects: One study demonstrated that THCA proved to be a better candidate than CBD when used for its anti-inflammatory properties.

THCA is neuroprotective! THCA acts on PPARγ (a type of receptor) and transcriptional activity associated with mitochondrial biogenesis. The study also mentions that THCA may prevent the progression of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.  

Common Questions about THC Vs. THCA?

Got a question about THC, THCA, or Delta-8? Well, here are some answers to some of the most common questions we get on THCA. 

Can you fail a drug test for THCA?  

Although it is a non-psychoactive compound, THCA can still show up on a marijuana drug test. In particular, blood and urine tests. It's important to remember that all THC forms (delta-8 THC and delta-9) will result in a positive drug test.

Is Delta-8 THC better than THCA?

It depends on what you're after! Many benefits come with delta-8 THC—relief from anxiety, insomnia, and even relief from pain. Most cannabis lovers choose delta-8 THC products for their euphoric and energizing effects. 


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We cannot ship THCA products to: AK, CA, CT, DE, DC, FL, GA, HI, ID, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MA, MI, MN, MS, MT, NE, NJ, NM, NY, ND, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, UT, VA, WA, or WI due to local laws in those region
***We do not ship any products to the following states:  California, Idaho, Iowa, or Utah due to local laws in those regions