There’s a new type of hemp flower you can buy online: THCA flower. People are saying THCA flower is exactly the same as the type of weed you can buy at dispensaries, but is that actually true? In this guide, we’ll dive into the complexities of THCA flower to find out if the differences between THCA and THC weed are relevant or not.
Overview: Weed vs. THCA flower
- THCA flower is cannabis that has been bred to be high in THCA and low in THC
- THCA is the chemical precursor to THC, meaning it naturally turns into THC
- THCA converts to THC at temperatures well below the heat applied when smoking or vaping
- So, THCA flower is essentially the same thing as THC weed if it is smoked - instead of eaten or used in another way that doesn’t involve the application of heat
What is THCA flower?
The term “THCA flower” refers to Cannabis sativa buds that have been bred to be high in THCA and low in THC. Usually, conventional THC weed contains around 15% THCA and only 5% THC. So, the main difference between THCA and THC weed is that THCA buds must contain less than 0.3% THC to be sold online.
What is “weed?”
The term “weed” usually refers to cannabis high in delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the types of products commonly sold in medical or adult-use dispensaries and on the black market. Due to federal and state restrictions, cannabis containing more than 0.3% THC cannot be sold in some areas, leading to the popularity of THCA weed.
What’s the difference between THCA and weed?
While they are almost exactly the same for the purposes of the user, there are a few subtle differences between THCA and THC weed that are important to untangle:
Cannabinoids have their own unique structural archetype, but THCA is a carboxylic acid, which means it contains a carboxyl group that considerably alters the biochemistry of the compound. THCA sheds this carboxyl group when heated, changing into THC.
If it is not heated, THCA lacks psychoactive effects. It may be useful for a variety of unique purposes for which THC is not desirable, but tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) will not get you high unless you heat it to around 232° F.
The most salient difference between THCA and THC is the way the law views each compound. In 2022, the DEA attempted to clarify that THCA products are usually illegal, but in doing so, they actually indicated the exact opposite, a situation explained in detail by Kight Law, the same premier legal firm that issued our own Secret Nature THCA explainer letter.
In essence, Kight explains how the DEA’s stated restrictions do not actually apply to THCA products due to the wording of the 2018 Farm Bill. So, the US Federal Government appears to have found itself in a self-contradictory position in which it has no choice but to allow THCA eCommerce to continue operating unimpeded.
How to select THCA products
Whether you’re new to weed or you’ve used conventional cannabis for decades, learning how to navigate the very recently developed THCA market can be overwhelming. Even though you now understand that THCA flower is, for all intents and purposes, the same thing as THC weed, how do you know which THCA products are right for you and which ones you should skip?
First, let’s cover some more basics of THCA that will help us contextualize the question:
- Remember that THCA does not convert into THC until heated. Use a method of ingestion that involves the application of heat if you want to experience the effects of THC, and use a method that doesn’t to experience the effects of THCA.
- It’s very important to check lab reports for THCA products. If the THC content in THC weed exceeds 0.3%, it becomes a federally illegal substance. Reputable THCA producers make their lab reports easy to find and commission them from well-known, independent labs.
- Generally speaking, companies that got their start in CBD flower make the best THCA products. They have the most experience in the industry and have already built up considerable capital to invest in new R&D projects.
So, only choose THCA gummies if you want to see what this cannabinoid is all about before it converts into THC. Instead of grabbing the cheapest products from the loudest brand, do some deep research into the company’s history, and make sure lab reports are both thorough and easy to find.
Most shoppers use THCA to experience the classic effects of THC, in which case vapes or flower are the best options. Compared to vapes, flower offers the same classic, natural experience as conventional weed — no spraying, no synthetic cannabinoids, just plain old tetrahydrocannabinol goodness.
What is the best THCA flower you can buy online?
Out of all the online THCA sellers that have recently popped into existence, Secret Nature has the best reputation and the most power to make the THCA experience rewarding and high-quality. Anyone who has smoked Secret Nature THCA knows that this is bonafide dank rivaling the best top-shelf weed you can buy at a dispensary.
Comparatively, most THCA flower on the internet contains around 10% total cannabinoids and was grown outdoors. As a more affordable option, we do offer discounted greenhouse THCA weed, but our indoor grown THCA strains take the cake as the best THCA weed you can buy online — or anywhere else, for that matter.
The bottom line: Are THCA flower and weed the same thing?
No, THCA flower and weed are not the same thing, but they might as well be. THCA converts into THC when heated, and most THCA cannabis strains sold online contain at least 15-20% of this easily altered cannabinoid.
Before it meets the flame, THCA flower is, indeed, a different thing from THC weed. All differences vanish, however, in the blaze of bursting trichomes and rushing wind blowing through your pipe, joint, or bong — THCA becomes THC in the end, something to note for both those who do and don’t want to experience the classic effects of weed’s most famous cannabinoid.
THCA vs. weed FAQs
There’s still more to learn about THCA weed. Find additional details regarding the differences between THC and THCA in the following FAQ section:
Does THCA produce a high?
THCA will not get you high when used with a method that does not involve the application of heat. If you heat THCA above around 232° F, however, it will transform into THC, one of the most intoxicating cannabinoids ever discovered in cannabis. Most common use methods, such as vaping and smoking, heat THCA well above its decarboxylation threshold, causing it to convert into intoxicating THC.
Does THCA cause euphoria?
The effects provided by THCA when unheated are generally not described as euphoric. If it is not converted into THC, THCA offers experienced effects that are roughly the same as those offered by CBD. So, it is quite relaxing and may offer a variety of impressive benefits, but THCA does not cause euphoria or a high unless heated or otherwise decarboxylated.
If THCA is converted into THC, it offers the exact same high as the equivalent THC product. Since the THC high is generally described as very euphoric, it would be safe to say that THCA provides the same euphoria as THC when heated above 232° F.
Is THCA flower legal in all 50 states?
The legal status of THCA flower is complex, so it wouldn’t be fair to just say outright that THCA flower is legal everywhere in the United States. Based on the content of the 2018 Farm Bill combined with statements issued by the DEA, however, it certainly appears that THCA-rich cannabis remains outside the Controlled Substances Act’s definition of “marijuana.”
If cannabis products are not marijuana, that usually means they’re industrial hemp. The only exceptions are for synthetic or altered cannabinoids, which are viewed differently. Since THCA flower is not altered in any way, it certainly appears to be industrial hemp based on studious scrutiny of all relevant laws and regulations.
What percentage of THCA is present in flower?
Most THC cannabis, even the kind you buy at a dispensary, contains mostly THCA, not THC. That’s because the THC in cannabis remains almost entirely in its THCA form at harvest and only converts into THC over time due to oxidative stress or all at once due to the application of heat.
Viewed overall, around 80% of the cannabinoid profile in THC weed actually consists of THCA with only the remaining 20% reserved for THC. On an average cannabis lab test, this ratio will usually render at around 15-18% of the chemical makeup of the sample consisting of THCA with only 3-6% consisting of THC. One practical result of this skewed ratio is a lack of psychoactive effects unless THCA is heated and converted into THC.
Is delta 9 stronger than THCA?
If THCA is left in its original form and not converted into THC, then it is certainly the case that delta 9 THC is stronger than THC — at least within the context of psychoactivity. There are some things THCA can do that THC cannot, however, making the case for (at least sometimes) keeping THCA in its carboxyl acid form.
As far as psychoactivity goes, THCA does not hold a candle to THC. THCA is not considered to be psychoactive at all while THC is the original intoxicating cannabinoid — and it’s still one of the most powerful.
What is considered a high THCA percentage?
Most high-THCA strains contain around 20% THCA, which is about the same THCA content present in the type of THC that’s sold in dispensaries nationwide. Remember that all this THCA converts into THC when heated, so that’s actually the same as saying that average THCA weed contains about 20% THC. Therefore, it can safely be said that there’s no salient difference between THCA and THC weed on the basis of total THCA levels.
Is THCA flower real weed?
Yes, THCA flower can be considered “real weed” because:
- It is unaltered
- It will get you high when smoked
- It contains almost the exact same chemical balance as THC weed
It’s true: THCA weed is the “real weed you can buy online” that you’ve been searching for all these years. The future is now: Buy some THCA weed online today.