THCa is the acidic form of THC. As the cannabis plant grows, its cannabinoids & terpenes develop over time. CBGa, the first of all cannabinoids to occur (also known as the mother of all cannabinoids) & this breaks down in order to produce other core cannabinoids such as THCa & CBDa.




THCa by itself is non psychoactive (meaning it is non-intoxicating when consumed. This is because it has what is known as an extra carboxyl ring which keeps the cannabinoid from attaching itself to the receptors in the brain that are responsible for making us feel high. Well then what’s the point… right? This changes when THCa is exposed to heat or light (such as smoking, vaping, or dabbing) which converts the non psychoactive cannabinoid that is THCa into our beloved THC. 


Difference between THC & THCa?


The most relevant note to make about the difference between THC & THCa would be the fact that one will induce a high while the other is non psychoactive. However that said, THCa has all the potential to become psychoactive through the removal of its carboxyl ring which alters the cannabinoids molecular structure allowing it to bind to the CB1 receptor. 


As far as effects go, THC & THCa can be near identical as they operate the same throughout most of the body. That said there are more promising results from THCa in remedying inflammation however since it’s not as intoxicating , users may feel THCa is less effective for sleep as opposed to activated THC. It’s also worth noting that while THC may not show much promise in addressing seizure disorders, THCa may be the alternative as it has shown to be a worthy alternative when addressing such conditions. 





Does THCa = delta 8 or delta 9? 


THCa is the acidic form of delta 9 THC (also known as the primary compound in cannabis). 

Whereas all the same atoms in delta 8 THC happen to be in delta 9 THC, however the difference is not all of their arrangements are the same which has in impact on the effects. In short, this is how companies have been able to produce & sell delta 8 from hemp plants (by law all delta 8 must contain less than 0.3% delta 9 THC). 


Oddly enough, delta 8 is also derived from THCa (delta 8 Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) but there is few studies to show how it compares to THCa alone. 


Finally, both cannabinoids delta 8 & delta 9 THC have some level of intoxicating effects to them. They are not in acidic form as THCa is however.   



How to activate THCa?


Guess what? This is actually easier than you may have guessed! 


Activating THCa is as simple as roll-up, light-up, & let her rip! Recreational users to medical patients alike activate their THCa every moment that they smoke cannabis, hit a disposable or vape cartridge, take a dab, & any other method of consumption that involves heat!


You can also use THCa to make edibles through the process known as decarboxylation! You’ll want to heat your cannabis flower in a convectional oven between 200-245 degrees F for 30-40 minutes, but use caution! Anything over 300 degrees F will burn off your cannabinoids!









Amelia Williams, “What is THCA and what are the benefits of this cannabinoid?”, June 24, 2022, Leafly