Is THCA Legal?

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Table Of Contents

THCA is perhaps one of the most interesting cannabinoids out there. This is in part due to its very precarious legal status, which would appear to keep this cannabinoid legal for the time being, albeit in a very gray area. The really interesting part about this cannabinoid is that, in its raw form, it's not psychoactive at all, yet it has a variety of potential benefits.

However, as soon as some heat is applied to it, it turns into Delta-9 THC, which is of course psychoactive and intoxicating. This is the regular type of THC that people look for when they buy cannabis. Delta-9 THC at a federal level, particularly if it is present in quantities over 0.3% and if it is not empty, is illegal.

Therefore, having a cannabinoid such as THCA be legal at the federal level, even though something as simple as a lighter or a match can turn it into Delta-9 THC, appears to be quite the legal loophole (to say the least). Let's take a closer look at THCA and Delta-9 THC to figure out what they both are and whether or not they're actually legal. 

Key Takeaways

  • Although THCA turns into Delta-9 THC through the process of decarboxylation, they are technically two different things.
  • Due to the current definition of what is legal and what is not, even though THCA turns into Delta-9 THC, the former is currently considered legal at a federal level, whereas the latter is not.
  • Is THCA Flower Legal? Yes, it is (for the most part)!
  • Why is THCA Flower Legal? – Because it technically doesn’t contain Delta-9 THC. 

Is Delta-9 THC the Same as THCA?

First and foremost, Delta-9 THC and THCA are not the same thing, although they are very closely related. THCA is also not the same as THCV

When a cannabis plant first starts growing, it creates what is known as CBGA. This is the so-called mother cannabinoid, which then makes three other precursor cannabinoids, or, in other words, the acidic precursors to the main cannabinoids that we know.

These three precursors include CBDA, CBCA, and THCA. As the plant matures, various enzymes cause the CBGA to turn into one of those three acidic precursors. We are interested in THCA.

THCA, in its raw form, is generally not psychoactive or intoxicating. Due to its chemical structure, it is unable to bind with your CB1 receptors and therefore does not produce any kind of psychoactive effect.

If you consume it, you shouldn't get high, although there are potential benefits that you can reap from it. That said, through a process known as decarboxylation, which means that a certain amount of heat is applied to it, THCA turns into Delta-9 THC, which is psychoactive and intoxicating. 

It's interesting how something as simple as fire can turn a completely legal and non-psychoactive substance into an intoxicating substance that would appear to be illegal at the federal level.

Does THCA Get You High?

No, THCA should not get you high. As mentioned above, it cannot bind with your CB1 receptors due to its chemical structure. It should therefore not produce any intoxicating or psychoactive effects. It should not alter your state of mind, and it should not impair your cognitive abilities or your motor skills.

At this time, THCA does appear to be federally legal. According to the 2018 Farm Bill, any cannabinoid or cannabinoid product derived from the hemp plant or made from CBD that is derived from the hemp plant, as long as it does not contain a dry weight concentration of Delta-9 THC over 0.3%, should be completely legal.

Therefore, because THCA can be extracted from hemp plants or made from CBD, and because it technically does not yet contain any notable levels of THC, it is therefore legal at the federal level. Where it gets interesting is through decarboxylation, which means that by applying either fire or general heat, such as in an oven, THCA quickly turns into Delta-9 THC.

This would therefore mean that hemp flower that has been infused with THCA, once you light it up, would then contain notable amounts of Delta-9 THC, which would technically make it illegal under the Farm Bill. However, because raw hemp flower and other products, such as tinctures, do not contain activated Delta-9 THC but rather just inactive THCA, it is technically legal to sell and possess.

First, technically speaking, individual states have the power to make their own laws separately from the federal government. This can create a lot of conflict. Many states in the USA fall in line with the 2018 Farm Bill.

The reason why THCA would appear to be legal in so many states seems to be the result of nothing more than a legal loophole. The way that the Farm Bill defines hemp and cannabis means that technically speaking, only Delta-9 THC is considered an illegal substance here, particularly if it is derived from the cannabis plant.

However, other cannabinoids that are not Delta-9 THC, especially if they come from the hemp plant, are generally legal. Therefore, even though THCA turns into Delta-9 THC, as it stands, the THCA itself is considered legal because it is technically not yet Delta-9 THC. We realize that this is nothing more than splitting hairs, but the fact remains the same.

What is THCA’s Legality by State?

Instead of telling you which states THCA is legal, it's much easier to tell you in which states it is not. At this time, the states of Rhode Island, Oregon, Minnesota, Hawaii, and Arkansas have made THCA illegal.

Will THCA Make Me Fail a Drug Test?

Yes, THCA will, in all likelihood, make you fail a drug test. It would appear that the human body metabolizes THCA in the same way as many other cannabinoids, including Delta-9 THC. Drug testing kits scan for THC-COOH, and this is what THCA turns into. Although THCA is legal for the most part, a drug test cannot distinguish between it and the illegal Delta-9 THC.

Final Thoughts on THCA’s Legality

As you can see, the legal status of THCA is very tentative and precarious. It would appear to be legal only due to a loophole, or more realistically, a failure to properly define a variety of different cannabinoids in the 2018 Farm Bill, as well as related state legislation. However, the bottom line is that THCA is at this time federally legal and legal in most states. Click here to find some high THCA hemp strains.

Where to Buy Delta-9 Online

If you’re looking for some Delta-9 THC, right here at Botany Farms is always the place to be. We have some awesome products for you to look at, such as these Delta-9 Mixed Flavor THC Gummies, these Mixed Flavor Delta-9 Microdose Gummies, and our own Botany Farms Dekta-9 Blue Raspberry Microdose Gummies. All of our products are made with highly natural and high-quality extracts that have been third-party tested for safety, purity, and legality.

THCA: Frequently Asked Questions

Before we call it a day, let's quickly answer some of your most frequently asked questions about this cannabinoid.

What’s the Difference Between THC and THCA?

Besides the molecular structure, the two most significant differences here are that THC is psychoactive and generally illegal, whereas THCA is non-psychoactive and generally legal.

Does THCA turn into Delta-9 when Smoked?

Yes, smoking applies enough heat to cause the THCA to decarboxylate into Delta-9 THC.

What is a High THCA Percentage?

Most people would consider anything over 15% to be a relatively high THCA percentage.

What are THCA Diamonds?

THCA diamonds are a very special type of cannabis or extract where the THCA is extracted from the plant matter using a solvent-based method, with the solvent then being purged, leaving behind the THCA, and through a special process, small crystal or diamond-like structures are formed.

Is THCA Flower Legal?

At this time, yes, THCA flower is legal at a federal level and in most states.

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