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What Is THCA?

If you’re looking for a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, you’ll probably want to try tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA). THCA is not psychoactive in its raw form, but it can become psychoactive when it’s heated or aged. Since its effects vary based on how it’s used, it’s a very versatile cannabinoid and is becoming quite popular across the country. As you consider trying THCA, learn more about what it is and how it differs from THC.

What Is THCA?

THCA is the acidic precursor to THC and a cannabinoid naturally found in the cannabis plant. Compared to THC, THCA’s chemical composition is identical except for its additional molecular carboxyl ring. This carboxyl ring makes THCA a non-psychoactive inactive compound, as the ring stops the THCA from binding to receptors in your brain that would make you feel high.

THCA is found in raw, unheated cannabis, and this raw form can be used without any positive effects. However, once the THCA is heated, it converts to THC and will deliver psychoactive effects.

What Does THCA Do? How Does THCA Work?

During a cannabis plant’s growth, it will develop cannabinoids, with the first being CBGA. This cannabinoid will then break down and create cannabinoids like THCA. In its raw state, THCA won’t get you high, as its molecular carboxyl ring stops THCA from binding to your brain’s cannabinoid receptors. THCA is also the most stable form of cannabis, meaning you can store it for a long time without it deteriorating.

How Does THCA Become THC? Can THCA Cause a High?

Though THCA won’t get you high in its raw form, it changes into THC when it’s exposed to heat. For example, vaping, dabbing, smoking, or cooking THCA will remove the molecular carboxyl ring and convert the THCA into psychoactive THC. As a result, THCA is known as a precursor to THC and is commonly found in Delta 9 THC flower and other smokable products.

What Are the Potential Benefits and Effects of THCA?

Since THCA is relatively understudied, it’s hard to make definitive claims about its effects and benefits. Of course, if you smoke THCA, you will feel the effects of being high as you would with regular THC products. However, when THCA is still in its raw form, you can consume it without feeling intoxicated.

Though raw THCA doesn’t produce a high, THCA could have some positive effects that need to be researched more extensively. For example, some research suggests it could work as an anti-inflammatory, stimulate appetite, help users fall asleep, delay neurodegenerative illnesses, reduce vomiting and nausea from cancer chemotherapy, and treat seizure disorders. That being said, all of these benefits are based on minimal research, and much more research has to be done to verify these benefits.

How Should I Take THCA?

When you’re interested in giving THCA a try, it’s essential you know how to take it in a way that will give you your desired effects. Before you take THCA, review the following ways you can take THCA with or without getting high:

How Do I Take THCA Without Getting High?

Since THCA is non-psychoactive on its own, some people mistakenly believe they can smoke THCA hemp flower without feeling intoxicated. As stated above, THCA turns into THC once heated, but there are some THCA products you can use to receive some of the potential benefits of THCA without experiencing any psychoactive effects.

For example, you can eat THCA flower raw without worrying about psychoactive effects. Since eating raw THCA buds isn’t the most palatable for many people, many users blend THCA buds in a tasty smoothie. Some companies also put THCA in tinctures and topicals that you can use without the high. However, before you buy any THCA product, make sure the label says THCA and not THC.

How Can I Get High From THCA?

If you want to get high from THCA, you can simply smoke THCA flower in a bowl, bong, joint, or other device. Some users also like to dab THCA or inhale it with a vape. While you look for smokable THCA that will get you stoned, you may also want to look for high THCA hemp buds. Since THCA converts to THC once it’s heated, cannabis flower with high THCA concentrations will deliver a large amount of THC once you light the flower and inhale its smoke.

What THCA Products Are Non-Psychoactive?

If you’re looking for a non-psychoactive THCA product, you can find the main types of THCA products that shouldn’t get you high below:

  • THCA oils, tinctures, and concentrates
  • THCA topicals
  • THCA cold beverages

While the above types of THCA products usually aren’t psychoactive, you should check their labels before purchasing them to make sure they don’t contain any THC.

What THCA Products Are Psychoactive?

While all THCA products are initially non-psychoactive, many THCA products will become psychoactive once you heat them. The most popular psychoactive THCA products include prerolls, smokable THCA buds, and vapes. Once these products are heated in a joint, bowl, bong, or vaporizer, the THCA will convert to THC and make you high. Some THCA edibles may also be psychoactive, as the THCA will likely be heated during the baking process.

What Does a THCA High Feel Like?

Since THCA converts to Delta 9 THC after it’s consumed, you’ll likely experience a high identical to standard marijuana. If you prefer a more powerful high, THCA is a great choice compared to less powerful cannabinoids, such as Delta 8, Delta 10, or HHC.

Is THCA Legal in North Carolina?

Despite delivering psychoactive effects, THCA is currently legal in North Carolina as of January 2024. Like Delta 8 and Delta 10, THCA products are legal due to the 2018 Farm Bill, which states that hemp products can be sold as long as they have less than 0.3% Delta 9 THC on a dry-weight basis. While THCA is legal federally and in North Carolina, some states may have different restrictions on THCA, and we always recommend looking up North Carolina’s current state laws before purchasing a THCA product.

What’s the Difference Between THCA and Other Cannabinoids?

When you’re trying to decide what cannabinoid product is right for you, you should know how THCA compares to popular cannabinoids like Delta 9, Delta 8, THCO, and CBD. Below, you can learn more about the main differences between THCA and other cannabinoids:

THCA vs. Delta 9 THC: What Is The Difference Between THC and THCA?

The main difference between THCA and Delta 9 THC is that THC is psychoactive while THCA isn’t. On a molecular level, this difference is due to THCA containing a molecular carboxyl ring that THC doesn’t have. However, THCA will turn into THC once heated, so you shouldn’t smoke, vape, or dab THCA or other smokable THCA products if you don’t want to feel high.

THCA vs. Delta-8 THC: What Is the Difference Between Delta 8 and THCA?

Like THCA, Delta 8 THC is a cannabinoid naturally found in cannabis and hemp plants. While THCA has a similar chemical composition compared to Delta 8 THC, it has a few key differences. For one, Delta 8 doesn’t feature the molecular carboxyl ring that prevents THCA from getting people high. Additionally, Delta 8’s molecular chain has a double bond on its eighth carbon atom, which further separates it from THCA and Delta 9 THC.

In terms of effects, THCA will likely get you much higher than Delta 8 THC if you consume it after it’s been heated and turned into Delta 9 THC. Those looking for a less intense high will likely want to go with Delta 8 THC products instead of THCA smokeables. However, if you don’t want psychoactive effects at all, you’ll always want to go with THCA products that haven’t been heated or aged, as Delta 8 products will always be psychoactive.

THCA vs. THCO: What’s the Difference Between THCO and THCA?

In contrast to THCA, THCO is synthetically derived and not naturally found in cannabis plants. Some have claimed that THCO delivers longer-lasting and more intense highs compared to Delta 9 THC (which is what THCA turns into when smoked). Additionally, while THCA can be non-psychoactive, THCO is always psychoactive.

Unlike THCA, THCO likely falls under the definition of a Schedule 1 controlled substance, as it doesn’t occur naturally in hemp and is only synthetically derived. While the DEA hasn’t yet codified THCO’s illegality into law, many North Carolina distributors have stopped selling it after the DEA stated it doesn’t meet the legal definition of hemp.

THCA vs. CBD: What’s the Difference Between CBD and THCA?

CBD can be confused with THCA since some THCA products (like THCA topicals or tinctures) won’t make you high. However, CBD is a different cannabinoid, and a pure CBD product will never get you high. For example, you could smoke a CBD bud and not be intoxicated, but smoking a bud of THCA will produce a psychoactive effect.

Turn to Carolindica for High-Quality Hemp Products in North Carolina

At Carolindica, we’re proud to offer a wide assortment of THC and CBD products. Currently, you can enjoy THCA by trying our White Rhino Preroll, which contains both Delta 8 and THCA, making it a great option for those who want a relaxing high. Besides our White Rhino Preroll, you can find Delta 8, Delta 9, HHC, CBD, and CBG products on our site or in our brick-and-mortar stores. All of our products are crafted in small batches and contain only top-tier ingredients to ensure you receive an excellent product.

Review our lineup of hemp and cannabis products today. If you have any questions or want a recommendation on the right cannabinoid for you, please contact us.


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