THC Vs. THCa: What is the Difference Between the Two?

December 12, 2022

THC Vs. THCa: What is the Difference Between the Two?

THC Vs THCA What is the Difference Between the Two

If you know about cannabis, chances are you know about THC. Officially known as Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, THC is the psychoactive component of cannabis that results in people feeling that their mind has been “enhanced,” altered, or that they’ve gotten “high.” THC and THCa may sound similar. After all, all that’s different is the addition of one letter, right? Wrong. These two share similar chemical compositions but their effects yield different results.

Understanding THC: Tetrahydrocannabinol

THC is typically the most important factor people consider when choosing certain cannabis strains and products. They evaluate the amount of THC content in a product and use that to help them decide how much of an effect they want to receive.

While there are lots of other cannabinoids in cannabis itself, THC is seen as king amongst those seeking its psychoactive properties. So what happens when you introduce another letter into the equation? You guessed it: we’re talking about THCa.

    Understanding THCa: Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid

    The “a” in THCA stands for acid but there’s more to understanding THCa than just that. While THCa and THC are both derivatives of the same cannabinoid, the slight alterations in their chemical makeups mean that they deliver different effects to the people consuming them.

    By definition, THCa is an inactive cannabinoid that can be found in the trichomes of freshly-harvested, live cannabis plants. This differs from THC, which cannot be found in fresh cannabis plants.

      THC vs. THCa: How the Two Differ

      Knowing that one comes from freshly-harvested cannabis and one does not is good information, but that doesn’t tell us everything we need to know about how THC and THCa are different. The two share similar chemical compositions except for the fact that THCa has an additional carboxyl group. This matters because of the way it impacts the endocannabinoid system.

      Whereas THC binds with the endocannabinoid system’s CB1 and CB2 receptors, THCa does not. THC is able to deliver the euphoric “high” that so many people seek because it  fits into a CB1 receptor but THCa does not. This is why THC will give you a certain psychoactive effect while THCa won’t.

      THC vs. THCa: When Two Become One

      The interesting thing about understanding the differences between THC vs. THCa really comes when you dive into converting one into the other. THCa is essentially the precursor to THC in its pre-decarboxylation stage. Decarbing THCa removes one carboxyl group (the extra carboxylic acid), which converts it to THC. This simple change in chemical structure is all that’s needed to go from low to “high.”

      If you’re not sure which one is right for you, the place to experiment is Black Tie CBD. Our products are all third-party tested and approved. We make all our lab analyses available to our customers so they can make educated decisions about their THC vs. THCa purchases. We offer a wide variety of THC and THCa products, including smokables, edibles, tinctures, and more. To get started with THCa, we recommend exploring:

      Shop for THC and THCa products at Black Tie CBD today!