THCA vs Delta-9

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Table Of Contents

THCA and Delta-9 THC might just be the two most closely related cannabinoids contained in the cannabis plant. That said, many people might not know how they are so closely related.

You might know that Delta-9 THC is the substance that gets you high, but what about THCA? Both of these cannabinoids are integral parts of the cannabis plant, and in fact, the former turns into the latter.

If you're confused as to how THCA turns into Delta-9 THC, this is exactly what we are here to address today. We want to figure out what both of these cannabinoids are, how they are related, what makes them similar and different, and everything in between.

By the end of today, you should know all of the most important facts about both THCA and Delta-9 THC. Let's get this Delta-9 vs THCA comparison underway!

Key Takeaways

  • THCA is one of the most important cannabinoids contained in any cannabis plant, and you would not have regular Delta-9 THC without it.
  • THCA is considered to be non-intoxicating and non-psychoactive, but when decarboxylated, becomes Delta-9 THC, a highly intoxicating substance.
  • Although THCA itself might not get you high, there are several potential health benefits you may be able to reap from it.
  • Click here to take a look at some of the best high THCA hemp strains out there.

What Is THCA?

Before we can talk about THCA, we need to talk about CBGA. Both hemp and cannabis plants produce a cannabinoid known as cannabigerolic acid or CBGA. Different strains of cannabis and hemp contain different enzymes which then turn that CBGA into one of three main precursor cannabinoids, including THCA, CBDA, and CBCA. THCA is what we are interested in here.

Specifically, virtually all cannabis plants contain THCA. Raw cannabis does not really contain any Delta-9 THC at all. THCA is the acidic form or acidic precursor to THC, by which we mean Delta-9 THC. This means that THCA, through a process known as decarboxylation, which means that it is exposed to a certain amount of heat, converts into Delta-9 THC.

THCA itself is not psychoactive or intoxicating. It does not bind with your CB1 receptors and therefore does not get you high. Many people may therefore take THCA in an attempt to treat a variety of conditions which THCA has the potential to assist with.

However, if you want to get high, you cannot consume raw THCA and instead have to decarboxylate it so it turns into the psychoactive form, Delta-9 THC.

Decarboxylation happens through the application of heat, which is why smoking and vaping get you high because the act of combusting or heating the THCA actively turns it into Delta-9 THC. This is also why cannabis has to be baked when making edibles.

When you go to a dispensary to purchase cannabis, and the package says that it contains this much Delta-9 THC, because it's still raw cannabis flour, this is technically referring to THCA. Only once you grind, roll, and smoke it will the THCA turn into Delta-9 THC. THCA is however not to be confused with THCV.

What Is Delta-9

We then have Delta-9 THC, which is the number one most commonly occurring major cannabinoid found in cannabis plants. This, along with CBD, is considered to be a major cannabinoid, whereas the others are generally considered minor cannabinoids.

This is the main psychoactive and intoxicating compound that gets you high, and it's what most people look for when they buy cannabis.

Once again, raw cannabis plants generally do not contain a Delta-9 THC, but rather THCA, which has to be converted into Delta-9 THC through the process of decarboxylation. As you will see below, Delta-9 THC has a wide variety of potential health benefits, as well as effects that you will feel when consumed.

Do THCA And Delta-9 Get You High?

Due to its chemical structure, THCA does not get you high. Without getting too deep into the science of it, THCA has an acidic carbonyl contained in the molecule. Only through decarboxylation does this acidic carbonyl disappear and effectively turn into Delta-9 THC.

With the acidic carbonyl still in place, THCA cannot interact with your CB1 receptors and therefore does not result in a psychoactive or intoxicating effect. It may have potential therapeutic benefits, as we'll discuss further below, but it will not get you high.

Only once that THCA is decarboxylated and turned into Delta-9 THC, will it get you high. Once decarboxylated, Delta-9 THC has the ability to bind with both your CB1 and CB2 receptors. This means that Delta-9 is an active and intoxicating substance.

It’s the main cannabinoid that people look for when they purchase cannabis and want to get high. Depending on the dosage and the strain, Delta-9 THC can have extremely strong intoxicating effects, which we’ll also discuss further below.

Is THCA The Same As Delta-9?

As you can see, THCA and Delta-9 THC are not the same things, but through the application of heat, THCA turns into Delta-9 THC.

What Is The Difference Between THCA And Delta-9?

First and foremost, THCA is the acidic precursor to Delta-9 THC, and in terms of its chemical structure, this has to do with the fact that THCA still contains an acidic carbonyl, which is removed from the equation once decarboxylation occurs. Therefore, the two have slightly different chemical structures.

The next difference is of course that THCA is not intoxicating and should not get you high, whereas Delta-9 THC is one of the most intoxicated cannabinoids contained in the cannabis plant. That said, although both are not the same, they do share some great potential benefits.

Does THCA Turn Into Delta-9 THC?

To make things clear, THCA turns into Delta-9 THC through decarboxylation, which is the application of heat. Without decarboxylation, THCA would not turn into Delta-9 THC, and would therefore not produce a notable high.

Does THCA Turn Into Delta-9 THC When Smoked?

Yes, smoking cannabis flower that contains THCA actively turns it into Delta-9 THC as you smoke it. As mentioned above, it is the application of heat required for the decarboxylation process, which is exactly what happens when you apply an open flame to the cannabis flower.

What is the Best Way to Enjoy THCA and Delta-9?

What you need to understand here is that if you plan to enjoy the potential therapeutic benefits of THCA, then you cannot heat the raw cannabis flower. You cannot smoke it, you cannot vaporize it, and you cannot bake it. As soon as you heat it, the THCA turns into Delta-9 THC.

Not quite all of the THCA turns into THC, but most of it does. Therefore, to reap the biggest benefits from THCA, it is best to consume raw cannabis flower. There are also THCA extracts out there, such as THCA tinctures, that contain the inactive version of this cannabinoid. This will therefore allow you to reach potential benefits without getting high.

However, if getting high is your main goal, along with the potential benefits of Delta-9 THC, then you need to heat that raw cannabis flower. Most people would just recommend smoking the flower or vaporizing it in a dry herb vape.

Edibles, tinctures, and other such forms of cannabis have become very popular as well. Many people who don't want to risk their respiratory health choose to go with edibles. Edibles also tend to produce a much stronger and longer-lasting high, therefore generally being more cost-effective than smoking raw cannabis flour or vaporizing concentrates such as butane hash oil.

THCA vs Delta-9: Effects And Benefits

Let's first focus on the effects that these two cannabinoids may have on. First, to reiterate, THCA is not psychoactive or intoxicating and will therefore not change your state of mind or produce any sort of notable high.

Delta-9 THC on the other hand is very highly intoxicating and psychoactive. It will change your state of mind, impair your cognitive abilities, and likely impair your fine motor skills as well.

Delta-9 THC has the capability to produce both a head or cerebral high as well as a body high. The cerebral high is most often characterized by feelings of happiness, euphoria, elation, mental relaxation, and calmness. People may also experience feelings of creativity, and feel talkative, giggly, and social. Depending on the strain, some people also report feeling foggy.

As far as the body high is concerned, this is often characterized by general bodily relaxation, possible pain relief, feeling heavy, tingly, warm, and in some cases borderline numb. Exactly what you feel depends on the strain in question, particularly if you have an indica or a sativa, as indicas result in more of a body eye and sativas result in more of a head high.

As for the potential benefits, THCA has quite a few of them;

  • First, THCA has shown the potential to be both an anti-inflammatory and analgesic, which means that it may have the ability to reduce the perception of pain while also reducing inflammation.
  • Another study showed that THCA may be able to inhibit prostate carcinoma growth, which implies that it may have anti-cancer properties.
  • Yet another study shows that THCA may also have antispasmodic effects, which means that it may help control involuntary muscle spasms, which may in turn be beneficial for people who suffered from issues such as epilepsy.
  • Furthermore, another study showed that THCA may also be an antiemetic, which means that it may be able to help reduce nausea and vomiting.
  • THCA also has the potential to act as a neuroprotective agent, protecting your brain from a variety of neurodegenerative diseases.

Delta-9 THC Also Has Various Potential Benefits Worth Noting

  • Delta-9 THC has the potential to act as a very strong painkiller or an analgesic agent. It has the ability to block pain signals from reaching your brain, therefore reducing the amount of pain you feel.
  • There are studies that show that THC also has the potential to act as an anti-inflammatory. It may be able to decrease proinflammatory markers in the body, therefore reducing the amount of inflammation you suffer from, which may also relieve pain in the process.
  • Furthermore, there are studies that show that THC should also act as a strong antiemetic agent, which means that it can help reduce or prevent nausea and vomiting from occurring.
  • Studies also show that THC increases the amount of ghrelin levels in the human body, which is the hunger hormone. It therefore can help people increase their appetite who are otherwise having trouble eating, such as people on certain medications or undergoing certain treatments.
  • By affecting various neurotransmitters in your brain, according to research, THC may be able to help reduce levels of stress, depression, and anxiety. THC may act as a mood regulator that puts you in a better mental state.
  • Due to how Delta-9 THC interacts with the cannabinoid receptors, it may also function as a sedative, therefore helping you get a better night's sleep.

What Are The Potential THCA Side Effects?

Up until this time, there have been no notable side effects observed when consuming THCA. If THCA is consumed in the form of an oil or alcohol-based tincture, it may cause some gastrointestinal upset, although this most likely has more to do with the tincture itself than the cannabinoid.

Are THCA And Delta-9 Safe?

At this time, no studies are showing that either THCA or Delta-9 THC, when taken in moderate quantities, are in any way toxic, unsafe, or life-threatening. That said, cannabinoids may interact with various prescription medications, so it's always a good idea to consult a healthcare practitioner before you start mixing things.

Furthermore, Delta-9 THC, when consumed in high quantities, may also result in feelings of paranoia and anxiety, so it's best to start slow. However, there is also no evidence that it is possible to lethally overdose on either of these cannabinoids.

This is where things get really interesting. First and foremost, let's reference the 2018 Farm Bill. This states that in the USA, cannabinoid products are only legal as long as they are derived from the hemp plant, and as long as they do not contain more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC by weight. So, there are a few things that need to be unpacked here.

First, if we are talking about Delta-9 THC, whether or not it is legal depends on where it comes from. If the Delta-9 THC comes from the hemp plant and is not present in quantities over 0.3% in dry weight concentration, then it should be legal.

However, if that same Delta-9 THC comes from the cannabis plant as opposed to the hemp plant, then it is not considered legal. Regular cannabis flower and any extracts taken from cannabis are not legal,

On that note, as long as the THCA product you have also comes from the hemp plant, and also does not contain more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC, it should also be totally legal. This is of course very interesting seeing as THCA turns into Delta-9 THC.

This is why it is possible to purchase hemp flower that is very high in THCA in a legal manner, even though that THCA, when decarboxylated, turns into Delta-9 THC. This is quite an interesting loophole that remains open at this time.

Final Thoughts

Although one of these cannabinoids is intoxicating and the other is not, THCA and Delta-9 THC share a very interesting relationship. With just a little bit of heat, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid becomes one of the most popular and intoxicating cannabinoids of all.

We hope that this Delta-9 THC vs THCA comparison has provided you with all of the info you need to move forward. Let's take a quick look at where you can buy some great Delta-9 THC products.

Where to Buy Delta-9 Products Online

If you’re looking for some Delta-9 THC, right here at Botany Farms is the place to be. Note, all of our products are third-party tested to ensure that they contain legally acceptable levels of Delta-9 THC. Two of our most popular products include these Delta-9 Nano THC Gummies and these Mixed Variety Delta-9 Microdose THC Gummies.

THCA: Frequently Asked Questions

Let's quickly answer some of your most frequently asked questions about THCA.

What is THCA vs THC?

THCA is the non-psychoactive acidic precursor to the psychoactive Delta-9 THC cannabinoid.

Does THCA Have THC in it?

THCA does not have THC in it, but it does convert to THC.

Is THCA Psychoactive?

THCA should not be psychoactive or intoxicating.

Is THCA Flower Sprayed?

Nothing additional needs to be done to THCA flower.

Does THCA Show On a Drug Test?

Due to the way in which the body metabolizes THCA, it is likely that it will show up on a drug test.

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