What is THCA: What does it do and how to use it?

Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the most well-known cannabinoid in cannabis because it makes people feel high. However, THC wouldn’t exist without its precursor, THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid). Even though there is a lot of THCA in fresh cannabis, it is not psychoactive because it has a different chemical structure than THC. In this blog, we will read about what THCA is, what it does, and how to use it.

What is THCA?

THCA stands for tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, is a cannabinoid found in fresh cannabis, and is the precursor to THC. Most cannabinoids start off in their acidic form and are converted into non-acidic compounds through a process called decarboxylation. Even though there is a lot of THCA in fresh cannabis, it is unstable when stored in a controlled environment and easily turns into THC when exposed to light and heat. This THC contamination, even among pure extracts, makes it difficult to determine lab results based only on THCA.

What Does THCA Do?

Because it doesn’t bind to CB1 receptors, which are what give you a high from THC, THCA isn’t considered to be psychoactive. Research has shown that it does not seem to bind much to either of the two major cannabinoid receptors. But it has been shown to reduce inflammation and protect nerve cells. It can also make you feel less sick and make you throw up less.


How to Take THCA?

When you smoke cannabis, you are decarboxylating it and converting THCA into THC. This means that you have to find a fresh extract of THCA or eat raw cannabis in order to absorb it. Grinding fresh bud into something edible and adding it to a smoothie or juicing fresh palm leaves and sugar leaves right after harvest are both ways to consume it without decarboxylating it. Some concentrates for dabbing are said to be high in THCA, but if they are exposed to light and heat at room temperature, they will change over time into THC.

Differences between THC and THCA

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol)THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid)
Psychoactive (produces a “high”)Non-psychoactive
Binds to CB1 receptors in the brainDoes not bind to CB1 receptors
Produced through decarboxylation of THCAPrecursor to THC, decarboxylates into THC when exposed to heat or light
Can be smoked, vaped, ingestedGenerally not consumed directly, but can be consumed through raw cannabis or certain extracts
Has varying effects on different peopleLimited research on its effects, but some studies suggest anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties, as well as potential benefits for nausea and vomiting

Is THCA the same as delta-8 or delta-9?

No, THCA is not the same as delta-8 or delta-9. THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis, is made from an acid called THCA. It is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that is found in raw, unprocessed cannabis.

Delta-8 THC and delta-9 THC, on the other hand, are two of the most well-known and researched cannabinoids found in cannabis. Delta-9 is the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis and is responsible for the “high” associated with marijuana use. Delta-8 is a less well-known psychoactive compound, but it has been gaining attention recently for its potential medicinal benefits.

While THCA does not have the same psychoactive effects as delta-8 or delta-9, it has been found to have a variety of potential health benefits, including anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and antiemetic properties.

Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, or THCA, is the acidic precursor to THC, the compound in cannabis that makes you feel high. Unlike THC, THCA is non-psychoactive, meaning it does not produce a “high” when consumed. However, research suggests that THCA may have a number of potential health benefits.

Potential effects and benefits of THCA

Potential effects and benefits

  1. Anti-inflammatory properties: It has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects.[5]
  2. Neuroprotective properties: It has been found to have neuroprotective effects.[5]
  3. Antiemetic (anti-nausea) properties: It may help reduce nausea and vomiting.[4]

It is worth noting that while some studies have shown promising results, the research on THCA is still in its early stages, and more research is needed to fully understand its potential benefits. Overall, THCA may offer a range of potential health benefits, and could be a valuable area of study for researchers in the future.

Frequently Asked Questions

THCA is not listed as a controlled substance in many places, so it is not always clear what the law says about it. However, it is important to note that it can readily convert into THC, which is a controlled substance in many places.

Can I get high from consuming THCA?

No, THCA does not make you feel happy or change your perception, mood, or ability to think. It must be converted into THC through decarboxylation in order to produce psychoactive effects.

How can I consume THCA?

Since THCA doesn’t make you feel high, people tend to be less interested in using it on its own. Some people do, however, eat raw cannabis to get the possible health benefits of THCA. Some cannabis concentrates and extracts also have it, but these may eventually turn into THC over time.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5627671/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5767492/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31559334/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3792001/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28853159/
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