If you live in the so-called peach state, you might not know exactly which cannabinoids are legal and which ones are not. After all, the federal government and state governments often have conflicting rules and regulations surrounding the legality of various cannabis products.
One of the most confusing cannabinoids on this front is THCa, a cannabinoid that is closely related to Delta-9 THC.
As you might know, at a federal level, any product containing over 0.3% Delta-9 THC is still considered illegal. However, even though THCa is closely related, its legal status is a little more relaxed. Let's find out whether or not THCa is legal in the state of Georgia.
What is THCa?
THCa, otherwise known as tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, is the acidic version of THC, or more specifically, Delta-9 THC. It is the acidic precursor to regular Delta-9 THC, which means that through a process of chemical conversion, THCa turns into Delta-9 THC.
All hemp and cannabis plants start with one major cannabinoid, known as the mother of all cannabinoids, CBGa. Then, through various enzymatic processes, CBGa is converted into either THCa, CBDa, or CBCa, depending on the plant in question.
Next, through the process of decarboxylation, THCa is converted into Delta-9 THC. The process of decarboxylation occurs when heat is applied to the THCa, causing a chemical change to occur, which removes an extra carboxyl chain from the THCa molecule’s chemical structure.
The removal of this extra carboxyl chain effectively turns THCa into Delta-9 THC. The main takeaway here is that on its own, THCa is not intoxicating or psychoactive. If you just eat raw THCa flower or extract, it will not get you high or have any mind-altering effects.
Due to the chemical structure of THCa, which involves that extra carboxyl chain, it has a weak affinity to bind with your CB1 receptors, which is generally believed to be the reason why it does not get you high.
Once that extra carboxyl chain has been removed through the process of decarboxylation, the Delta-9 THC is then much better able to bind with your CB1 receptors, thus producing a psychoactive effect. To clear up any confusion, THCa is not the same as THCv or CBD. They are all somewhat similar, but there are also some major differences between them.
THCa and Federal Law
Although there is a gray area involved here, the federal law is quite clear on this front. According to the 2018 Farm Bill, any cannabinoid product that comes from the hemp plant should be considered legal as long as the plant in question does not contain more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC.
According to the federal government, industrial hemp is considered legal, and any product made with extracts that come from industrial hemp should also be legal.
The defining feature here is that to be defined as industrial hemp, the plant in question is not allowed to contain more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC. This means that technically speaking, THCa should be totally legal at a federal level.
When it is tested, THCa does not register as being Delta-9 THC, even though through the process of decarboxylation, THCa turns into Delta-9 THC.
Just because THCa has the potential to turn into Delta-9 THC through the application of heat, does not mean that THCa itself equates to Delta-9 THC. As you can tell, this does appear to be a bit of a legal loophole or gray area, but at this time, it is what keeps THC legal at the federal level.
Georgia State THCa Laws
Georgia State laws fall in line with the federal 2018 Farm Bill. Once again, this means that any cannabinoid product that is derived from the hemp plant is considered legal so long as that hemp plant does not contain more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC.
This means that just like on a federal level, at the Georgia State level, THCa should also be considered legal.
What qualifies as an acceptable level of THC in hemp can be found in the Georgia Hemp Farming Act, § 2-23-1 et seq., Rule 40-32-1-.02(1), Definitions. It states the following:
"Acceptable hemp THC level" - when a laboratory tests a sample, it must report the total delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol content concentration level on a dry weight basis and the measurement of uncertainty. The acceptable hemp THC level is when the application of the measurement of uncertainty to the reported total delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol content concentration level on a dry weight basis produces a distribution or range that includes 0.3% or less.”
Is THCa a Controlled Substance in Georgia?
As long as the THCa product falls within the rules and regulations set out by both the Georgia legislature and the federal government, it is not considered a controlled substance.
As long as the THCa product is derived from a hemp plant that does not contain more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC, it is not considered a controlled substance. Industrial hemp has been removed from the Controlled Substances Act.
However, if the product in question contains more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC, it is considered a controlled substance. Remember that cannabis and Delta-9 THC itself, particularly if it is present in quantities over 0.3%, is a controlled substance in the state of Georgia and at a federal level.
THCa Possession Limits in Georgia
As long as the THCa product falls within the limits set out above, there are no possession limits.
This means that as long as the THCa product is considered to be hemp if it does not contain more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC, you can possess as much as you want of it.
However, the story is not the same for any products containing more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC, or for actual cannabis itself, and the possession of such products will result in legal penalties.
Is THCa Safe?
Besides some extremely minor and rare side effects, such as tiredness, red eyes, dry mouth, and related side effects, there is no reason to believe that THCa is dangerous, particularly when consumed in moderate quantities. At this time, there are no recorded instances of very severe or life-threatening side effects.
Where to Buy THCa in Georgia
If you want to buy some THCa in Georgia, right here at Botany Farms is the place to be, as we have some upcoming THCa products that everyone is going to love.
For the time being, however, we’d like to recommend some legally compliant Delta-9 THC products, such as our own best-selling Botany Farms Delta-9 THC Sample Pack of Gummies and this Nano Delta-9 Microdose Sample Pack of Gummies.If you’re interested in doing some further reading on THCa, check out this list of the highest THCa hemp strains out there.