As cannabis consumers become more aware of the legal standing of popular cannabinoids, they’re turning to other products that produce the same effects. THCa is the latest cannabis product to hit the mainstream and join the slew of new cannabinoids. Its popularity has continued to rise and, as expected, it has been received with excitement.
The nature of THCa makes it an excellent alternative for people looking for the benefits and effects of cannabinoids without the risks associated with taking Delta 9 THC. One of the best and most effective methods to enjoy THCa is by smoking or vaporizing it. This is a relatively new product, so we’re here to answer questions about approaching it.
- THCa is a mother cannabinoid which transforms into THC when ignited or exposed to heat and UV light
- THCa flower provides numerous wellness effects including calming benefits, stress relief, and natural mood boost
- You can consume THCa flower by smoking or vaping it to deliver the active compounds into your bloodstream
This guide answers most of the commonly asked questions about THCa flower and makes it easier to get a positive experience right from the beginning.
What is THCa?
First off, what is THCa?
The cannabis plant is home to hundreds of compounds that present consumers with different effects and experiences. These compounds include cannabinoids like THC and CBD.
THCa, or tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, is one of these cannabinoids. It is the acidic form of THC, one of the more popular cannabinoids found in the marijuana plant.
At first, cannabis plants produce CBGA when they start growing flowers. The CBGA then breaks down so that plants can produce other cannabinoids, including THCa.
The THCa molecule is the precursor for all THC molecules, including Delta 9 THC. In fact, Delta 9 THC is only minimally present in the plant at the time of harvest. The plant has to be exposed to heat to convert the THCa into THC.
Importance of THCa in the Cannabis Plants
THCa is a vital compound in the development of the cannabis plant. It plays a crucial role in the plant's defense mechanisms and growth.
THCa acts as a protective shield against pests, predators, and environmental stressors. It also supports a healthy immune response and serves as a precursor for other beneficial compounds in the plant, like CBDA.
By understanding the potential benefits and consumption methods of THCa flower, you can get new perspectives on utilizing the cannabis plant best to maximize its wellness benefits.
Conversion of THCa into THC
THCa is one of the cannabinoids classified as a precursor in the list of cannabis compounds. It is the precursor to THC, meaning that first, the plant produces THCa, then later on, through a process called decarboxylation, the THCa is converted into THC.
Decarboxylation happens naturally as the cannabis plant is exposed to heat and oxygen. These elements remove THCa’s carboxyl groups, transforming it into THC.
Initially, THC content in the cannabis plant is low. Decarboxylation is required to fully convert THCa into THC. This only happens when heat is applied to the plant. Full decarboxylation can occur when you smoke some cannabis products like flower or vape products.
Some of the ways THCa is converted into THC include:
- Sunlight Exposure: This is a convenient way to convert THCa into THC. You do not need to use any specialized equipment for the task. All you have to do is expose the raw cannabis plants to sunlight, and the sun will take care of the rest.
- Storing at Room Temperature: You can convert THCa into THC by storing your plants in a room at about 250C. If you wish to convert more THCa into THC, you can submerge your plants in olive oil or ethanol. However, these procedures should be only carried out in a controlled setting.
- Direct Heat: Using direct heat to convert THCa into THC can require days. It’s not ideal if you want to enjoy your THC immediately.
- Vaping: Vaping has the upper hand in the efficiency of converting THCa into THC, and the effects are more intense.
- Smoking Joints: Smoking joints is one of the ways to quickly convert THCa into THC. However, this method may not be as efficient as other methods like vaping.
- Dabbing: Another method you can use to convert THCa into THC is dabbing. With dabbing, you can convert THCa into THC using THCa crystals. However, with dabbing, you may experience the loss of the natural flavor and aroma of cannabis. Because the THCa crystals have little to no flavonoids or terpenes, which give the plant its unique flavor and aroma, you can add terpenes to your crystals to counter this downside.
Differences Between THCa and THC
THC and THCa share several similarities in the effects and benefits they produce. However, they are two entirely different cannabinoids.
Both cannabinoids have some similar calming benefits. To get the same uplifting effects from THCa as you would THC, you must decarb it by applying heat to it in the form of smoking or vaping, for instance. Once decarbed, the resulting THC can bind to the receptors in the endocannabinoid system in your body.
THCa is often considered a better option for managing healthy immune support, while THC is ideal if you want to experience peace, relaxation, and restful sleep.
Common Effects and Benefits of THCa
THCa has only been in the mainstream for a few years. It hasn't received the same attention its fellow cannabinoids like THC and CBD have gotten from the science community, but it has started picking some steam.
Since people started taking THCa as an isolated cannabinoid, they've reported various positive effects and benefits.
Like THC and other cannabinoids, THCa interacts differently with every individual. The nature of the effects and benefits produced depends on the various factors, including the amount of THCa you take plus other physiological factors. Because of the tailored approach of interaction, the effects can be considered the following:
- Healthy Immune Support: Consumer reports and preliminary research suggests that THCa may support a healthy immune response. THCa might also help encourage balance in the body, support better functioning, encourage natural wellness, and promote overall well-being.
- Discomfort Alleviation: It’s also possible that THCa might have body soothing effects that might help with various types and forms of discomfort. While these effects haven't yet been verified by scientific studies, it’s been reported that THCa might help with recovery and reduce the effects of fatigue. Numerous consumers have reported positive results after taking THCa for discomfort support. THCa can also ease tightness and soreness, help you physically feel better, support faster recovery, encourage body relaxation, and quiet down tension issues.
- Positively Influences Appetite Behaviors: THCa has shown promise as a supporter of healthier appetite habits. It is reported to aid in making eating more enjoyable. These properties can benefit individuals who are seeking help with positively influencing appetite behaviors. Experts believe THCa exerts these properties by targeting specific receptors in the brain and the gastrointestinal system. It’s also possible that THCa might offer relief and improve the quality of life of those experiencing these symptoms.
Possible Side Effects of THCa
Not as much is known about THCa, especially in comparison with THC and CBD. But, people sensitive to THC should proceed cautiously when using THCa because both are believed to have the same side effects. But for instance, if you're not sensitive to THC, you shouldn't have any problem with THCa.
The effects are mild and temporary, often reported by new consumers who might have taken too much THCa too soon.
You can avoid a similar fate by taking it slow when you first start taking THCa. In the beginning, only take small quantities, observe the effects, and give your body enough time to adjust to the new compound before adjusting your intake.
What is THCa Flower?
Among the factors that have kept the cannabis market interesting and captivating to many fans, is the number of products and methods of consumption available nowadays. Cannabis consumers have an endless list of products they can choose from to enjoy their experience. These products are innovative and strategically designed to suit the personal interests of many people, seeking a variety of different effects and benefits. The diversity of the market helps fans keep their experiences adventurous by never having to rely too much on a single product.
For instance, THCa has only been on the market for a few years. But in that short time, cannabis brands have already developed various products and ways that their fans can enjoy it. One of those products is the THCa flower.
Another example is hemp flower. Hemp flower is not a new concept in the cannabis market, and many cannabinoids have their own version of the hemp flower.
HCa flower is similar to those cannabinoids that have come before it. The only difference is that the active compound in the flower is THCa, containing less than 0.3% Delta 9 THC. The THCa flower is a non-activated or semi-activated cannabis product that’s available in raw form. Or in other words it’s available in a freshly picked, dried, and cured form that's ready for smoking, vaping, or cooking.
Raw THCa flower has a small percentage of THC and is abundant in THCa. It's closer to a CBD flower than it is to a marijuana flower. The dried and cured form of the THCa flower is semi-activated with higher levels of THC than raw flowers. This is because of the slow conversion of some of the THCa into THC during exposure to light and oxygen.
Dried THCa flower is a mix of THCa and THC and might produce uplifting effects depending on how much of the conversion has occurred. The flower is also rich in CBDa, CBCa, and CBGa, but THCa remains the main active cannabinoid. When activated, these compounds will become active compounds like CBD, CBC, THC, and CBG.
The Legality of THCa Flower
Because THCa is hemp-derived flower, it is considered lawful under federal U.S. law according to the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill. However, there are some important considerations that you must be aware of should you decide that THCa flower is the way you want to go.
Under this bill, most hemp-derived cannabinoids are considered legal as long as they contain less than 0.3% Delta 9 THC by dry weight. With THCa flower, that balance is achieved because the THCa is slowly converted to THC when exposed to sunlight and oxygen. Also, as you vape or smoke the THCa, some of it is also converted to THC. This is all covered in the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill, which separated hemp from the marijuana plant, making hemp-derived products federally legal.
However, it is important to determine the legal standing of THCa at the state level because different states have written their hemp laws differently. Therefore, before purchasing THCa in your locality, you should familiarize yourself with the local laws governing hemp products. This way, you can potentially avoid getting in trouble with law enforcement.
Finally, THCa is a new cannabinoid, and THCa flower looks similar to THC flower. Therefore, even if THCa flower is legal in your state, it’s not uncommon to be pulled over by law enforcement and state regulators and questioned about the legality of your THCa flower. It’s possible that some law enforcement officers or even regulators might not be updated on their knowledge on cannabinoids and how to identify them.
Therefore, it is important to always carry your cannabis products in their original and sealed packaging when traveling. Additionally, we recommend carrying along any supporting documentation like Certification of Analysis (also known as CoA) that might help law enforcement understand the product and its legality. Also, maintaining a calm and cooperative attitude can go a long way in de-escalating any potential situation and give you ample time to explain your products to the officers.
Another thing to consider is THCa drug testing methods. Sometimes the drug testing methods used during evidence collection and prosecution involve heating the compound. Depending on where you live and your line of work, a drug test may also be a part of your employment or athletic career requirements. If the compound is heated during the drug testing processing, this will increase the concentration of Delta 9 because of the decarboxylation process. So while we might meet the requirement for producing and selling THCa products, the result may still be high enough to prevent someone from passing a drug test.
For legal reasons, Koi cannot make any guarantees or claims on the outcome of a drug screening, and any reputable cannabinoid company should tell you the same thing. If you are subject to drug screening, we recommend not using any CBD or hemp cannabinoid products.
Why You Should Add THCa Flower in Your Daily Routine
You might wonder why you should add THCa flower to your routine, especially if you take other cannabis supplements already. After all, you can get comparable effects from multiple cannabinoids.
But here’s what makes THCa unique: it offers uplifting benefits and is considered a legal way to enjoy the wellness properties of cannabinoids. Additionally, raw THCa flowers retain various nutrients. Raw THCa flower is considered a powerhouse superfood and one of the most nutrient-dense food sources on the planet. This makes THCa a powerful source of various nutrients, including:
- Omega fatty acids
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin C
- Vitamins B1 and B2
- Cannabinoids CBDa, CBCa, and CBGa
The collection of nutrients make THCa an excellent addition for natural supplement lovers looking for a powerful supplement to add to their routine. Another reason to add THCa to your daily supplements is that it allows you to enjoy the positive effects without affecting your performance or concentration. Evidently, like other cannabinoids, THCa stands out with its unique effects and benefits. Even if you’re taking other cannabinoids, adding THCa might intensify the effects or widen the scope of your experience.
Some of the Popular THCa Flower Strains
THCa flower strains are available in three distinct varieties. The effects delivered by each can vary. Understanding the different effects produced by each strain can ensure you get the best possible experience by choosing the best THCa flower for you.
- Indica-dominant strains: THCa strains that are largely indica-dominant have a reputation for delivering calming effects. These varieties are suitable for evening use and might help you unwind and take the edge off after a stressful and busy day. They're also perfect when looking for some quiet alone time at home. Indica strains are also preferred among people seeking anxiety support and more restful sleep, because they’re known to have better sedating properties. Whether you're looking to improve your sleep quality, relax, or just enjoy some quiet time, THCa indica strains are a great way to calm down fast.
- Sativa-dominant strains: Generally, THCa strains that are sativa-dominant are known for their mood elevation and energizing properties. These varieties might bring a sense of focus and creativity that helps many users complete draining daily tasks with more vigor than before. These strains might be helpful for people by providing effects that help them combat symptoms like fatigue. Sativa strains might also be the perfect choice for people looking for something to keep them productive and focused during daytime hours. THCa sativa strains are wakeful and have been praised by consumers as the best strains to take during the day. Additionally, THCa sativa strain flowers provide long-lasting stimulation when you need it the most. This strain delivers exceptional motivational benefits in every situation.
- Hybrid strains: What if you’re looking for a mix of both relaxing and stimulating effects? Well, that’s where the hybrid strains come in. Hybrid strains are a mix of both indica and sativa strains, designed to deliver a mix of both spectrums of effects. With hybrid strains, you can enjoy a combination of calming and energizing effects. They contain a balanced range of effects and can have varied ratios to suit the unique needs of each consumer. With just one product, you can take hybrid blends to overcome stress relief and enhance creativity simultaneously. Whether you have relaxation, stimulation, or creativity, hybrid blends will fully cover you.
The Potency of THCa Flower: What to Expect
Now that you have all the basic information about THCa flower, you're ready to get started on this new experience. But just before you do, it's important to have an idea of how strong the THCa is and what you should expect to feel once you take your THCa.
Most reputable hemp brands will deliver high-quality THCa flower, properly packaged, and lab-tested. The product contains more THCa than your regular CBD-rich hemp flower.
Typically, the THCa flower will have minimal levels of CBD and a high concentration of THCa. Depending on the strain of cannabis you get your THCa flower from, the range of effects can vary. You can experience energizing and mood-elevating effects or experience relaxing and calming effects. It all depends on the strain of hemp that your THCa flower comes from.
For those taking THCa for its wellness benefits, you might experience relief and other desired effects after taking your THCa. Most of the effects of THCa are not intense, especially when enjoyed in the recommended amounts. If it’s your first time taking THCa, even if you’ve tried other cannabinoids, you should start with a low serving size to monitor how your body responds before upping your intake.
Taking THCa flower at night
If you're using THCa flower at night, you're probably looking for its relaxing, calming, and sleep-boosting properties. The good thing is you don't need to get different types of THCa flowers for the day and night. Just one is enough. The difference is in how you consume it.
In many cases, when taking THCa flower at night, you want to activate the THC and unlock its properties to exert the effects you want.
Some of the ways you can enjoy THCa flowers in the evening or at night after a long day at work include:
- Smoking: Smoking is one of the most traditional ways to enjoy cannabis products. The heat exposure from smoking transforms 70% of THCa into THC. It’s important to note that some of the active compounds are lost to the direct heat that burns the cannabinoids, and therefore, some of the THCa doesn’t convert into THC. When you smoke THCa flower, the smoke you inhale is rich in THC, THCa, and other cannabinoids. Smoking dried THC is one of the best consumption methods if you're looking for fast-acting effects. Alternatively, when you smoke THCa flower, the active compounds enter your bloodstream in a matter of seconds through the lungs. The effects can last anywhere from 2 to 3 hours, and you can start to experience the effects about 10 to 15 minutes after the first inhale. There are different ways you can smoke THCa flower. The most common is rolling joints, but you can also smoke THCa flower using pipes and bongs.
- Dry herb vaporizing: Vaporizing THCa flower is similar to smoking but it requires the possession of a vaporizer. Because this method doesn’t subject the THCa flower to direct heat, it reduces the amount of cannabinoids destroyed by the heat, and therefore you don't have to worry about the by-products of combustion. The key to getting the best vaping experience is buying your THCa flower from a reputable brand like Koi CBD. It will save you from inhaling toxins and other harmful ingredients. Vaping is often considered safer than smoking because it produces no combustion by-products.
- Edibles: Another way to enjoy THCa flower is to make edibles using it. However, you must know that decarboxylation will occur because you must expose the THCa to heat. Even then, the edibles are left with a substantial amount of THCa, which will impact some effects. However, because of the high concentration of THC from the decarboxylation process, this consumption method might also yield some uplifting effecting and soothing properties. When making edibles using THCa flowers, here are a few tips you can use to maximize the decarboxylation process:
- Preheat the oven to 200 – 2450F
- Inspect the THCa flower for white patches (mold) and seeds. If all is well, use a grinder to grind the flower to a coarse consistency.
- Place the ground flower in a pan lined with parchment paper
- Heat it for 30 -40 minutes or until you notice a slight color change and a pungent terpene smell
- Take it out of the oven and let it cool
- Once cool, add olive oil and place the mixture in the fridge for a longer infusion.
Avoid decarbing your THCa at more than 3000F because you'll burn off the cannabinoids, terpenes, and other useful compounds rendering the flower less useful.
Once the infusion is over, you can store the oil in a tight container or glass bottle and keep it in a cool, dark spot. You can use the oil in salads, dressing, and recipes that don't require heating.
How to Choose Quality THCa Flower: Factors to Consider
Your experience with THCa flower depends on your ability to get a high-quality product rich in THCa. Because the hemp industry is not regulated, the market is flooded with substandard products that are not just ineffective but can also be unsafe.
Understanding the quality indicators
When buying THCa, you must understand the quality indicators: color, aroma, and trichome density. When raw, the flower should have vibrant colors like deep greens and purples. These signify a well-grown and healthy plant.
You should also check the aroma of the plant. It should be pleasant with earthy, citrusy, or floral notes. It can indicate the presence of desirable terpenes.
Finally, check the trichomes. They should be visible as sparkling crystals, indicating cannabinoid content and potency.
After focusing on the quality considerations, you should now focus on the safety of your THCa flower. For safe consumption, we recommend you consider the following factors:
- The legal status of TCHa flower: While TCHa flower is considered federally legal in accordance with the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill, the legality of THCa hemp-derived flower may vary by jurisdiction. Some states might permit the sale and consumption of THCa-rich cannabis products, while others might not. You should determine the legal standing of THCa flower in your location before making the purchase. If the product is legal, you should check if there are any thresholds or restrictions. Ensure the THCa flower products you purchase meet these requirements before purchasing to avoid landing any potential trouble with law enforcement.
- Certificate of Analysis: You should only purchase THCa flower from a brand that provides you with a Certificate of Analysis. This document is provided by a certified third-party lab after testing the products for composition, purity, and potency. It's a crucial certification because it highlights the ingredients in the product, the concentration of THCa and other cannabinoids, and, most importantly, screens the product for common contaminants like heavy metals and pesticides. Please be advised that heavy metals and pesticides are sometimes used by unscrupulous cultivators and might have negative side effects on the consumer.
- Medical considerations: As mentioned earlier, THCa hasn't received the same attention that CBD and THC have received regarding research and studies. Therefore, it's not certain whether or not THCa interacts with prescription medication or it might aggravate some existing conditions. As such, you should consult your healthcare provider if you're currently on any medication or suffer from any long-term illnesses before you start taking THCa flower.
- Proper storage: Now that you've purchased the right THCa flower from a reputable brand like Koi CBD, you need to know how to store it properly so you can get the most out of it. To maintain freshness, you should store it in an airtight container, preferably made of glass. You should also try to control humidity levels using humidity packs to prevent the flower from drying out or becoming overly moist. Lastly, store the flower in a cool, dry, and dark place away from direct light to prevent degradation and preserve the beneficial properties.