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What is The Difference Between THCA and THC?

Medical Marijuana Doctors Online

Imagine you own a cannabis garden, and your first batch is ready for harvesting. You started the curing and drying process carefully. And finally, you have your favorite cannabis buds in your hands. What next? You will be looking forward to taste one of them at least. And guess what? You don’t feel the high at all.

How is that even possible? You start blaming your growing process or the seeds. Well, the reason is that your raw cannabis buds contain a compound that is slightly different from your famous THC. Experts refer to this compound as THCA. So, should you go for products with THCA after your cannabis card renewal? Let’s find out.

Everything About THCA

THCA is a cannabinoid that does not cause any euphoric effects. It’s a precursor to the intoxicating component of cannabis. But, why is there a difference between them. The reason lies within the chemical structure of THCA. It has a 3D shape that does not fit into the cannabinoid receptors. The concept is similar; one needs to fit in to produce the final effects. So, how does THCA convert into THC?

Decarboxylation Process

Only a few cannabinoids out of the hundreds of them present in medical marijuana are responsible for producing the euphoric effects. And the one who is the clear leader of all is THC. People usually assume that marijuana comes with THC right from the start. Unlike what you presume, THCA is the primary cannabinoid, and it gradually becomes THC through a process called decarboxylation.

Heat removes the carboxylic acid group present in THCA and converts into an entirely different molecule, THC. Thereby, becoming the best fit for cannabinoid receptors. Hence, eventually becoming part of an ECS that runs through CNS — thus producing the “high.” The non-intoxicating THCA is the reason why raw cannabis buds can be taken as superfood or as a part of a health regimen. Here are some of the most common ways to decarboxylate cannabis and experience the “high.”

Keep Your Buds Into Sunlight For Some Time

THCA easily converts into THC if you expose your raw product into the warm sun for some time. That’s a bit slow process to transform the cannabinoids into a one with intoxicating effects.

Varying Room Temperature

You can convert THCA into THC if you store it at room temperature for an extended time. If you keep your product in olive oil, you can easily carry out the conversion of approximately 22 % THCA within ten days at 77 degrees Fahrenheit. If you follow a similar condition, more than 60% will convert with an ethanol extraction. If you keep your buds at room temperature with little sun exposure, you will be able to convert more than 15% of THCA into THC.

Also, Read – Want to Boost Mental Health? Start Using Marijuana Today


When you light your joint, you apply a high degree of heat that rapidly converts THCA to THC. However, not every THCA turns into THC. But, you can enjoy the maximum benefits using this mode of consumption.


This is the best way to decarboxylate your nugs. You can subject the buds to heat at lower temperatures. So, cannabinoids convert and release via vaping. If you continue the heating process, you will be able to convert the maximum amount of THCA and boost your endocannabinoid system.

Concentrates/ Dabbing

You can convert THCA in a crystalline form and consume it in the form of dabs. You can perform the decarboxylation process quite rapidly using a dabbing method. It is an excellent method to re-introduce terpenes into the concentrate. It will help you improve the flavor by producing entourage effects that enhance cannabis concentrates’ health benefits.

By Heating The Nugs Using Oven

When you make edibles, you activate THCA or decarboxylate it before adding butter oil or any other medium. You need to evenly spread cannabis across a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake it at 110 degrees Celsius for half an hour or a bit more; it will slowly convert THCA into THC.

Should You go For THCA or THC?

For patients looking for medical cannabis card renewal, THC might not be something they will be aiming for as a medical aid. I am sure you understand that THC produces some intoxicating effects. On the contrary, if you go for THCA, you can save yourself from euphoric effects. And as an added benefit, it provides different therapeutic effects, including dietary or nutritional benefits. The following are the primary therapeutic properties that you can expect from THCA.

Anti-inflammatory Action

A 2011 study found that THCA has some incredible anti-inflammatory effects. So, you can use THCA dominant strains to fight away any condition with inflammation issues.

Anti-proliferative Action

A 2013 study analyzed THCA’s role as a protection agent in neurodegenerative diseases. Some studies also confirm its role in preventing the spread of cancer cells in prostate cancer.

Neuroprotection Action

A 2012 study revealed that THCA acts perfectly as a neuroprotectant. It could help slow down the progression of several neurodegenerative disorders.

Antiemetic Action

THCA helps to improve your appetite and is thought to be effective in reducing nausea and vomiting.


Cannabis plants contain mostly all the cannabinoids in their precursor forms, such as CBDA, CBGA, THCVA, THCA. It helps the plant to sustain for more extended periods. Otherwise, the plant will start losing its potential elements the moment you pluck it from the plant. So, if you are looking to purchase cannabis strains with a medical cannabis card renewal, make sure that you decarboxylate them before consuming. Otherwise, you won’t be able to feel the famous “high” at all.