What is THCA: Benefits and Facts you Need to Know

what is thca

When you purchased Cannabis that is lab-tested, you may find the abundant cannabinoid is THC or THCA. The possible amount is around 10% to 20%. Most marijuana lovers are familiar with THC as it is the compound that gives the high with euphoria.

So what is THCA? Does it also give the same effect as THC? As you can see, there’s only one letter difference. You will find out in this article. 

THCA Being in Marijuana

Heat is used for decarboxylation of weed, which can be done by smoking and vaping. It can also be processed by curing and drying. 

THCA is a type of acid that acts as a harbinger for THC. Both of them have similar chemical structure, but the differences can be found in only a few molecules. Thus, they create radical modifications on how each of them affects the brain.

THCA won’t deliver psychoactive effects. So you can eat some raw marijuana buds without getting high at all. It’s a hypothetical perspective. 

But it doesn’t mean that it only exists for nothing. It won’t make a person soar high, but it instead can load a human’s body with a lot of health benefits. 

THC fits into the CB1 receptors, so it brings out the high. While the 3D molecule of THCA is too big to fill the receptors, it is where the difference between the effects come in.

Beneficial Properties of THCA

Some studies have been conducted to dig deeper into what THCA can do to the human body. The result, in general, is positive, but more research is required to sort these things out. 

The study done by Moldzio, seen in Phytomedicine in June of 2012, stated that THCA could be a protector of neurodegenerative diseases. Another result of a study is published in the British Journal of Pharmacology that appeared in July 2013. THCA, like CBDA, comes out as effective as reducing nausea and vomiting. This result surpasses even the CBD and THC efficacy.

The beneficial properties of THCA can be released as it is a cannabinoid receptor of itself. Here are some of the beneficial properties of THCA.

1. Anti-Inflammatory

THCA can function as an anti-inflammatory substance, and it can be used for treating issues like arthritis and lupus. It can also be used to undermine muscle spasms, cramps, and even chronic pain.

2. Anti-proliferative

It means that it can forbid the cell growth of different health conditions. It took the spotlight in the study that shows TCHA can subdue cell viability, and it shows proof for clinical testing usage.

3. As a Neuroprotector

It is a magnificent neuroprotector that protects against the loss of neurons as well as defending their structure. It is necessary for health issues that may arise because of age. 

It also stimulates appetite, so it’s a big help for people who are on medication, and their interest in food dwindles. They will be able to return to healthy eating habits.

4. Treatment for Nausea

Nausea may be experienced by people who are under treatment. It’s great as THCA can stop this from happening. It has properties of anti-emetic so it can deal with appetite loss.

How to Use THCA?

You can whip up Cannabis buds and make it into smoothie or juice. You can also make tea out of it. It involves a steeping process that only uses heat at a low temperature, so it won’t be converted to THC. It would only turn to THC when it is exposed to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

You can use raw Cannabis buds by grounding them as a garnish. It can also be added to salads. 

Dr. William Courtney from Cannabis International Group found an interesting theory. He has a belief that raw marijuana buds are filled with cannabinoids 1,000 times more than the one that is smoked and vaporized.

What is the THCA Consumable Form?

Companies have made THCA as refined powder and crystalline. They remove the terpene found in the buds, and it will leave the THCA in the amount of 90% to 95%.

You can consume it raw to only get THCA from it. But when you dab, you will instead obtain THC.

Is It Possible to Smoke?

THCA is converted into THC by heat. The estimated temperature that can convert THCA to THC is 212 degrees Fahrenheit with the mainstay of four hours. Therefore, smoking and vaping marijuana will result in gaining THC.

THCA can be changed into THC by definite temperature. You should know that decarboxylation happens slowly when it is dried and cured. There are other ways to do this process. You must know the possibilities so you won’t have mistakes in the bud’s content.

1. By Room Temperature

The buds will contain THC when you place it in an open area long enough. For instance, a 22% conversion of THCA to THC can happen when you put them in oil within 77 degrees Fahrenheit.

The changes hike up to 67% when you associate the buds in ethanol extraction. Even minimal light exposure can activate 20% of THC in a long period. 

2. Sunlight

It’s the same thing as it depends on the overall temperature. You will surely have THC when you expose it to sunlight for a long period.

The Labeling of THCA Content

You may know now about the explanation on ‘What is THCA,’ so you may wonder when you see THCA on the label made by dispensaries instead of THC. It is even used in calculating a certain bud’s potency.

The popular way of checking the potency is called gas chromatography. Heat is applied in this process as it’s about decarbing THCA to THC. Percentage terms are used, which result in a tidy figure. 

The decarbing and heating process eliminates a substantial amount of buds’ weight. It is the time that THCA’s carbonyl groups are dissolved. The following formula is the basis:

THC = (% THCA) x (Final Mass/Initial Mass) + (%THC)

The formula can indicate the maximum THC level, but some THCA content can’t be converted to THC. You may think that if the buds have 30% THCA, it can be converted in the same number. But the reality is only 30% to 70% of THCA is changed to THC.


You know the answer to the question, ‘What is THCA?’ now. It remains in raw Cannabis buds, but when you use heat or the process called decarboxylation, THCA turns into THC. Then you will experience a euphoric high.

THCA can give you body health benefits even though there’s no psychoactive effect. Although there’s a need for more study and research, the ones that are completely done showed a positive outcome. So you can just integrate it with your smoothie, juice, and salad. 

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About The Author:

James Carico

James Carico

James is a passionate health and lifestyle blogger whose expertise is in the medical marijuana realm. His goal is to break the stigma towards marijuana and share knowledge and information about its brilliant characteristics that offer recreational benefits and boast medical benefits. He is an advocate of marijuana legalization worldwide as he believes everyone should have access to nature’s wonder herb. James enjoys a pot of Super Silver Haze marijuana in his free time as it not only brings him in a good mood but also relieves his body from pain and tension. He writes mainly on medical marijuana’s history, uses and benefits, and cultivation.