Marijuana plants contain multiple chemical compounds that produce varying effects, with THC as the primary cannabinoid responsible for inducing euphoria in consumers. It’s a familiar term for many patients and consumers and a crucial consideration when purchasing marijuana products.
Identifying THCa and THC listed on marijuana products can be challenging. At FLUENT, we’re here to help you understand more about these cannabinoids. Continue reading as we discuss the differences between THCa and THC, how to read marijuana product labels, and how to calculate the final THC content in the products.
WHAT IS THCA?
Tetrahydrocannabinol acid (THCa) is one of the various cannabinoids in marijuana and doesn’t have psychoactive effects. THCa is the acidic form of THC, but it doesn’t make you feel euphoric. Both compounds have the same chemical structure, but they perform different functions. THCa develops as the marijuana plant matures and has an extra carboxyl ring that cannot bind to your brain’s receptors and make you feel high like THC.
HOW IS THCA CONVERTED TO THC?
When discussing THCa vs. THC, their primary difference is their effects. The plants must undergo decarboxylation to convert THCa to THC. Decarboxylation is heating raw marijuana to activate cannabinoids like THC. Decarboxylation can be initiated through the following:
- Direct sunlight
- The heat from dabbing cooking or vaping
- High room temperatures
THCa VS THC
These compounds interact differently with your body and are the main differences between THCa and THC.
THCa is considered less potent than THC because it’s inactive and doesn’t produce psychoactive effects. However, once heated, it’s transformed into a more powerful THC compound. Some suppliers offer THCa as crystals and concentrates. When heated, these crystals can be converted to THC, resulting in potent results.
The potential benefits of taking THCa may include the following:
- Easing discomfort
- Improved appetite
- Help you relax by enjoying it without getting high
The potential benefits of THC may include the following:
- Induces euphoria and happiness
- Energizer and makes you alert
- Helps with sleep
- Reduce stress
However, always consult medical professionals before you start using any marijuana product.
It is easy to take THC from marijuana extracts. You can dab, vape, or eat edibles to deliver THC to your body. In contrast, taking THCa may be a little complex because any decarboxylation process can turn it into THC. To take THCa, you can purchase THCa extracts. Most patients who prefer THCa blend the extracts or plant in juice to ensure they consume it without using heat.
The legal use of THCa is still a gray area because some states have not legalized marijuana use. However, THCa can be an analog of THC because it can easily turn to THC, and most patients use it to make THC. Always check your state laws when purchasing marijuana products to avoid legal issues.
THCa vs. THC: HOW TO READ A LAB RESULT
The primary challenge in determining THCa and THC amounts is that different lab techniques give different values. Depending on the lab, there are various methods to read the results; gas chromatography (GC) uses high temperatures for decarboxylation, while liquid chromatography (LC) uses room temperatures and gives separate values for THCa and THC.
For instance, you can get three primary THC potency readings from a lab result. Consider a hypothetical lab result of a product with 22.32% mass of THCa and 2.41% active THC that used the LC process. To get a real potency value, calculate the total THC with a correction factor before adding THC.
Total THC = (%THCa) x 0.877 + (%THC)
Multiply the percentage weight of THCa by 0.877 to account for the weight lost during decarboxylation. The correct value for the total THC for the product will be 21.98%.
SHOP THE BEST MARIJUANA PRODUCTS IN PENNSYLVANIA
Whether you’re looking for THCa products or THC products, FLUENT can help you. We have quality products and dedicated curators ready to help you. Contact us today and subscribe to get emails and texts about new products.
imaging credit: Brandon Crawford, shutterstock