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THCA vs THC? What’s The Difference?

June 26, 2024

THCA vs THC? What’s The Difference?

What Is THCA?

THCa stands for tetrahydrocannabinolic acid and is found in raw cannabis flower.

Essentially, THCa is the raw form of THC, serving as its chemical precursor.

When THCa is exposed to heat, it converts into the THC we all know and love. This means THCa has the potential to become psychoactive and get you high.

What Is THC?

Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the psychoactive compound in marijuana that gives you a high feeling.

Unlike THCa, THC isn’t found in fresh cannabis flowers—instead, THC forms when THCa molecules on the cannabis flower are exposed to heat.

Think of it like baking cookies: THCA is the raw cookie dough, and THC is the perfectly baked cookie you pull out of the oven. With some heat, the cookie dough transforms into a delicious cookie, just like how THCA turns into THC, giving you that euphoric high!

What Is The Difference Between THCA & THC?

Chemical Structure and Effects Of THC and THCa

  • THCA: Contains an extra carboxyl group, making it non-psychoactive in its raw form.

  • THC: Lacks this carboxyl group, making it psychoactive and able to bind to CB1 receptors in the brain.

Chemically speaking, THCA and THC are nearly indistinguishable except for an added carboxyl group in THCA. This extra group changes how it interacts with our bodies’ endocannabinoid system.

Psychoactive Effects

  • THCA: It doesn’t get you high because it cannot bind to CB1 receptors without heat.

  • THC: THC products get you high since it binds directly to cannabinoid receptors, resulting in a euphoric feeling.

Conversion Process

  • Decarboxylation: THCA needs to be heated (through smoking or cooking) to convert into THC and produce psychoactive effects.


  • THCA: Generally THCa is legal as long as the THC content is below 0.3% under the farm bill.

  • THC: Mostly illegal at the federal level, though some states may allow cannabis plant possession, cultivation, and purchases of THC. All States have different laws, so always check local regulations.

How Is THCa Converted Into THC?

Have you ever wondered why we smoke or cook cannabis? This is because to get high, we have to undergo a process known as decarboxylation.

Why We Use Heat: Raw cannabis won’t get you high because it mainly contains THCA, which isn’t psychoactive. To unlock the psychoactive effects, THCA needs to be converted into THC, which happens through heat.

How It Works: When you smoke a joint, bake cannabis brownies, or use a vaporizer, you’re applying heat. This heat causes a chemical reaction in THCA, removing its extra carboxyl group and turning it into THC.

That’s why decarboxylation (removing the carboxyl group) is essential.


  • Smoking: Lighting a joint, smoking a bowl, and hitting your one hitter -instantly converts THCA to THC.

  • Baking: Making cannabis-infused brownies in the oven transforms THCA into THC.

How Do You Use THCa Flower Vs. THC Flower?

To enjoy both THCa Flower and THC Flower, you can essentially use them the same. Here are some consumption methods:

Bongs and Joints: Enjoy the classic method of smoking. Heat instantly converts THCA in THC flowers to THC, providing a quick high. Try Bay Smokes THCa pre-rolls for convenience.

Vaping: For a smoother experience, try vaping. Dry herb vaporizers release cannabis compounds without burning, delivering a milder smoke. This method is perfect for beginner-moderate smokers.

Edibles and Gummies for Long-Lasting Effects: Cooking with cannabis turns the THCA into THC, offering a long-lasting effect perfect for edibles and gummies. You can make your own edibles or buy some gummies online!

Concentrates For Potency and Flavor: Diamonds, Tinctures, Live Resin, Rosin -The cannabis industry offers many types of concentrates made from both THCa and THC flower and have higher THC levels. These products are great for more experienced users trying to dab their THCa.

THCa Carts & Vapes for Convenience: Vape cartridges provide quick, convenient use for on-the-go needs. Provide an excellent high for cannabis consumers of all levels!

When it comes to enjoying THCA, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. It’s about finding what suits you best!

If you’re interested in more therapeutic effects and benefits of THCA without the high, consider consuming raw cannabis in smoothies, juices, or salads. Look for products that preserve THCA by avoiding heat!

Does THCA Get You High?

Yes, THCa can get you high! Although THCa itself is non-psychoactive, it converts into THC when exposed to heat through the decarboxylation process, as we mentioned before!

THCa Vs. THC On a Drug Test 

Worried about a drug test? Here’s the deal with THCa and THC:

Things To Always Remember: THCA Becomes THC

Drug tests can identify THC in your System, and if you smoked THCa products, keep in mind since it turns into THC through heat, it will show up on the drug test.

Even consuming raw THCA can still potentially lead to a failed drug test, as it may convert into THC in the body. The acidic conditions within the stomach, combined with the body’s natural warmth, can convert THCa to THC.

Hence, if you’re anticipating a drug test soon, it might be wise to steer clear of consuming THCa in any form, including edibles.

Detection Windows:

  • Urine Tests: Can detect THC metabolites up to 30 days after last use.

  • Saliva Tests: THC can be detected up to 72 hours post-use.

  • Hair Follicle Tests: These can trace THC usage up to 90 days, and sometimes, it takes even longer in some cases.

Benefits Of THCa Flower

What are the benefits of THCa flower?

Here are some things you can expect when you smoke THCa or enjoy THCa-infused products:

1. Relaxation

2. Euphoria

3. Creativity

4. Appetite Stimulation

5. Sleep Aid

6. Relief From Nausea

7. Socialization & Laughter

Remember, these effects can vary from person to person, and different strains may have different effects—some might make you more giggly. In contrast, others might induce a relaxed vibe.

Moderation is key when using any marijuana product, including THCa, to manage potential side effects like dry mouth and red eyes.

Where To Buy The Best THCa Flower

Looking for top-notch THCa flowers that pack a punch? Look no further than Bay Smokes!

At Bay Smokes, we pride ourselves on offering high-quality THCa flower sourced from local farmers. Each batch undergoes rigorous testing to ensure safety and potency, with detailed lab results provided for transparency.

Why Choose Bay Smokes?

  • Variety: Explore a wide range of top-shelf THCa flowers, from relaxing Indicas to uplifting Sativas to balanced hybrids—we have it all!

  • Quality Assurance: Our flower is free from pesticides, herbicides, and harmful chemicals.

  • Best Prices: We offer the best prices for all our Bay Smokes products!

  • Sizes Available: Whether you need smalls, 3.5 grams or an ounce (28 grams), we cater to all needs, including bulk buyers!

  • Beyond Flowers: Bay Smokes offers THCa concentrates such as diamonds, live resin, and carts for those seeking concentrated potency. We also carry edibles, thcv, delta 8, and delta 10!

  • Fast Shipping: Bay Smokes has fast shipping for all orders, big or small!

For potent, safe, and diverse THCa products, check out Bay Smokes. We’re the online go-to THCa Cannabis Dispensary!

THCA Vs. THC Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs): 

What Does THCa Stand For?

THCa stands for tetrahydrocannabinolic acid.

Is THCa As Potent As THC?

Yes, when THCa flower is heated, it converts to THC, offering the same intoxicating effects.

Will THCa Make Me Fail a Drug Test? 

Yes, consuming THCA can lead to a failed drug test due to its conversion to THC when heated, which is detectable in drug screenings.

What States Is THCa Illegal?

THCa remains illegal or controlled in states like Hawaii, Idaho, Minnesota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, and Vermont. Laws change occasionally, so check the legal status in your area to see if THCA is legal before indulging.

What Are The Psychoactive Effects Of THCA Compared To THC?

The psychoactive properties of THCa are the same as THC.

Does THCA Have Health Benefits?

Yes, THCA has Health Benefits. Early research suggests that THCA may have potential therapeutic benefits, including relaxation, sleep aid, and more!

Is delta 8 THC The Same As THCA?

No, delta-8 THC and THCA are different compounds. Delta 8 THC is a less common form of THC that is mildly psychoactive, while THCA is the acidic form of THC, a non-psychoactive precursor to THC.

Is THCA As Good As THC?

Yes, it is as good as THC since they are the same!


Legal Disclaimer: Bay Smokes products are not approved by the FDA to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any illnesses. All products are compliant with the US Farm Bill and under 0.3% THC. Bay Smokes products and website are intended for ADULT use only. Full disclaimer in Terms of Service. Delta8 or other Hemp-Derived THCs will not be shipped to states where the product has been expressly banned. Product availability varies from state to state per each product’s regulation.

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