The cannabis plant contains hundreds of naturally occurring compounds. THCa is the most predominant compound out of all. You may have been hearing a lot about THCa lately, though you’ve likely been using it for a while. In this article we’ll take a look at the cannabinoid, it’s effects and why it’s creating a buzz in the cannabis community.
Yup, THC-a is an acronym for a word that may look quite familiar. If you’re a regular marijuana user, you’ve already heard of Tetrahydrocannabinol or Delta 9 THC. THC is the predominant psychoactive component found in cannabis. THCa is the acidic precursor to THC.
While a cannabis plant’s buds mature, its terpene and cannabinoid compounds blossom. The miracle molecule CBGA is birthed first – also known as the ‘mother of all cannabinoids’ because it breaks down to form primary compounds like THCA and CBDA. After being ingested, don’t expect any psychoactive effects from these acidic molecules; they won’t bind with receptors in your brain that cause you to feel high due their extra carboxyl rings!
Does THCa Get You High?
So if THCa doesn’t get you high, what is all the buzz about? As we’ve just discussed tetrahydrocannabinolic acid is the precursor to THC. When you heat THCa, the applied heat will remove the additional carboxyl ring or decarboxylate.
Once THCa is decarboxylated it converts to Delta 9 THC and will bond with cannabinoid receptors in your body. Decarboxylation will happen naturally when you smoke your THCa in a bowl, joint or vape. The heating process now make your THCa psychoactive with the same effects of THC.
There’s more talk about the cannabinoid in the cannabis community lately because of the legalities of THCa. In it’s raw state THCa will not make a person intoxicated. Therefore it can be purchased legally if the THCa product doesn’t exceed .3% THC content.
High THCa hemp flower containing less than .3% of Delta 9 THC but high THCa percentages is becoming increasingly popular in states without recreational marijuana programs. Federal regulations set forth in the 2018 Farm Bill have made it easier for residents of these states to gain access to legal cannabis.
THCa powder isolate is also a popular format for consumption. Though THCa powder loses most of it’s terpene profile during extraction, it doesn’t lack in potency. THCa powder isolate purity ranges from 93% – 99% making it one of the strongest concentrates available.
THCa Diamonds are another form of concentrate more similar to shatter. Diamonds undergo a different extraction method than powder and as a result it retains more flavor. If you’ve seen diamonds in sauce, the “sauce” is actually terpenes left over from dissipated solvents used during extraction. Very tasty!