What's THCa Flower?

THCA cannabis flower resting on a wooden surface with leaves in the background

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Things can get pretty confusing when it comes to the different types of hemp and cannabis out there, particularly in terms of all of the different cannabinoids and cannabinoid precursors. You are likely familiar with THC, or technically speaking, Delta-9 THC, which is the regular form of THC that most people think of when it comes to getting high.

As you might know, according to the Federal government’s 2018 Farm Bill, any hemp-derived cannabinoid product that contains under 0.3% Delta-9 THC is legal, and any product that contains over 0.3% Delta-9 THC is considered illegal. Interestingly enough, THCa is the acidic precursor to Delta-9 THC. When heat is applied to THCa, a process known as decarboxylation occurs, which turns the THCa into Delta-9 THC.

This then raises the question of the legal status of THCa flower. If the definition of what is legal and what is not rests solely and specifically on the Delta-9 THC content, then is THCa flower legal, even though THCa converts into Delta-9 THC? There is a bit of a gray area here and we will do our best to determine what exactly THCa flower is, how it’s made, and whether or not it is legal.

Key Takeaways

    THCa flower is a special type of hemp flower that contains high levels of THCa. THCa is the precursor to Delta-9 THC. THCa on its own is not intoxicating, whereas Delta-9 THC is. Thanks to the legal definition of hemp, at this time, THCa flower is generally considered legal at the federal level. Click here to find out what some of the best high THCa hemp strains are.

Take a look at our own Botany Farms Delta-9 THC Blue Raspberry Gummies if you want something tasty with just a bit of Delta-9 THC.

What is THCa Flower?

THCa flower is cannabis that is marketed to the public as legal hemp flower. Technically speaking, these may be regular cannabis buds that contain high levels of THCa, but low levels of Delta-9 THC.

This is cannabis flower that contains THCa, the acidic precursor to Delta-9 THC, which when smoked, vaped, or baked, effectively turns into the psychoactive form, Delta-9 THC.

THCa on its own is not psychoactive. Due to its molecular structure, it has a weak affinity to bind with your CB1 receptors, and therefore generally does not produce any intoxicating or psychoactive effects.

However, when decarboxylation occurs, which is the application of heat through smoking, vaping, or baking, the non-psychoactive THCa becomes psychoactive Delta-9 THC, and this can get you high.

Because of the way that the 2018 Farm Bill defines what is legal and what is not, it would appear that THCa flower is legal as long as the harvested form does not contain more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC, regardless of the THCa content.

This is of course very interesting seeing as the application of heat takes what seems to be totally legal THCa and converts it into Delta-9 THC. This cannabinoid is considered illegal if present in dry weight concentrations over 0.3%. The legal status of THCa flower is something we will discuss further below.

Delta-9 THC has many potential benefits, but so does THCa, even without first being decarboxylated. Some of the potential benefits of THCa flower include but are not limited to, pain and inflammation relief, possible relief from gastrointestinal issues, a potential to relieve sleep issues, neuroprotective benefits, and more. Keep in mind that THCa and THCV are not the same things.

How is THCa Flower Made?

THCa flower does not have to be made but rather grown. This is generally a natural type of flower, one that can be grown from seed, just like any other hemp or cannabis plant.

THCa flower is made by choosing seeds or strains of cannabis that are known for having very high THCa levels, but also very low Delta-9 THC levels. This is to ensure that the final product should remain 100% legal according to the federal law.

The seeds are planted, they sprout, go through the vegetative and flowering stages, and the THCa flower is then harvested, dried, and allowed to cure. It’s really no different than any other hemp or cannabis plant.

Is THCa Flower Natural?

Generally speaking, THCa flower is natural, or in other words, it is grown. However, there are also ways to produce THCa flower without actually growing flower that is high in THCa. It is possible to grow hemp buds that contain neither much THCa or THC, and then infuse those with a THCa extract.

THCa, just like other cannabinoids, can be extracted from plant matter and then put to use for other purposes. It is possible to take some form of THCa concentrate and infuse it into regular hemp flower, thus effectively turning it into THCa flower.

Does THCa Flower Get You High?

The interesting part here is that regular THCa flower on its own, in its raw form, does not get you high. Once again, THCa is the acidic precursor to Delta-9 THC, and due to its chemical composition, should not get you high.

It just doesn’t really bind or interact with your CB1 receptors, thus producing this lack of intoxicating or psychoactive effect. This is why many people consume raw THCa because it is thought to have various potential health benefits, both for the mind and body, but won’t impair or intoxicate you.

However, it is possible for THCa flower to get you high given the right circumstances. THCa has to be converted into Delta-9 THC to become active, which is done through a process known as decarboxylation, the application of heat.

It takes around 250 degrees Fahrenheit for roughly 30 minutes to convert THCa into Delta-9 THC. The application of heat changes the molecular structure, which results in Delta-9 THC having an affinity to bind with your CB1 and CB2 receptors, ultimately getting you high.

Therefore, yes, THCa flower gets you high, as long as you decarb it first. The decarboxylation process can happen through smoking or vaping. To answer the question of if smoking THCa flower gets you high, the answer is yes. If you want to see what Delta-9 THC feels like, take a look at our Botany Farms Mixed Flavor Delta-9 THC Gummies.

Is THCa Flower Good?

Yes, we would say that THCa flower is good. First of all, as mentioned above, THCa on its own may have a variety of potential health benefits. It could have the ability to relieve pain and inflammation, it may help you get a night of better sleep, it could beneficially affect appetite, it could work as a mood regulator, and it may help you get a good night's sleep.

Therefore, THCa is technically a good thing. Many people also prefer raw THCa without first decarboxylating it because it does not have any intoxicating effects. This means that you can reap all of the potential benefits from this precursor cannabinoid without impairing you or knocking you out for the rest of the day.

However, THCa is just as good if you do want to get high, and this is of course because, through decarboxylation, it turns into Delta-9 THC, which is psychoactive. If you want to get high and feel intoxicated, smoking, vaping, or consuming decarboxylated THCa, or in other words, Delta-9 THC, is the way to go.

On that note, Delta-9 THC is thought to have all of the same potential benefits as THCa, plus many more. Through decarboxylation, THCa flower can therefore provide you with a calming and relaxing psychoactive high, while also producing a variety of potential mind and body health benefits.

At this time, THCa flower is generally considered legal, at least as far as the federal government and the 2018 Farm Bill are concerned. This is why you can most likely find THCa flower for sale in your local dispensaries.

Remember that for harvested hemp, really the only legal parameter it has to meet is that it does not contain more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC. Seeing as when these flower samples are tested, the THCa is still in its raw form and has not been converted into D9 THC, the tests come back as saying that these products contain less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC, and are therefore legal.

It is of course really interesting that a completely legal precursor cannabinoid, THCa, through the simple application of some heat, turns into Delta-9 THC, which is generally considered illegal at the federal level. If you’d like to try some totally legal Delta-9 THC, check out our Botany Farms Delta-9 Nano Microdose Pink Lemonade Gummies.

Something you may know is that when hemp flower is tested, according to the guidelines created by the USDA, pre-harvest hemp is subject to a total THC test. This means that hemp before it is harvested, is tested for its total potential THC content. This means that these buds are tested not just for their current Delta-9 THC content, but also for their THCa content because THCa has the potential to turn into Delta-9 THC.

Thanks to this, one might think that flower with high THCa levels is therefore illegal, but this is not necessarily the case. This rule only applies to the cultivation or production of help before it has been harvested. However, the USDA no longer regulates hemp once it is harvested. If hemp that is still growing or live passes the total THC test, it is considered legal no matter what.

This is regardless of the THCa content after harvest. Once the material is harvested, how much THCa the bud contains is inconsequential. Therefore, if the hemp buds develop their THCa content after harvest, through curing, the USDA considers it legal. This also applies to hemp buds that are infused with THCa after harvest.

Interestingly enough, the DEA, or Drug Enforcement Agency, has a more relaxed view of this issue. When testing, the DEA relies on the Delta-9 THC content alone to decide whether or not the hemp flower in question is legal. As long as Delta-9 THC contents come back under 0.3%, the DEA is satisfied, and this is the case regardless of THCa content pre or post-harvest.

Final Thoughts – What’s THCa Flower?

The bottom line is that as it stands, THCa flower is federally legal. It’s a unique situation, especially because just a bit of heat turns THCa into something that would appear to be illegal in most cases. That said, right now you are at liberty to enjoy it, so we recommend giving it a try.

THCA: Frequently Asked Questions

Before we wrap things up, let’s take a quick look at some of the most commonly asked questions about THCa.

Is THCa Flower Just Weed?

Technically speaking, no, THCa flower is hemp flower with high THCa levels. Although, through the application of heat, it turns into what most people would likely define as weed.

How to Grow THCa Flower?

THCa flower is grown just like any other hemp or weed plant. Plant the seed, give it light, water, and nutrients, and make sure to keep temperature and humidity at appropriate levels.

How to Decarb THCa Flower?

To decarb THCa flower, just smoke or vape it. You can also break it up into small buds and put it in the oven for 30 minutes at 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

How to Make THCa Flower?

You can grow THCa flower, or use a THCa extract and infuse it into your existing hemp buds.

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