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Does THCa Get You High Like Delta 9 THC?

Pretty much everyone is familiar with THC and its intoxicating, euphoric high. It is the most abundant and most popular cannabinoid in cannabis, after all.

But have you heard of THCa? The cannabinoids are practically identical, but contain a very significant difference. 

THCa is the precursor to THC. But THCa by itself isn’t psychoactive. It does convert to THC, however, which is why we get high when we smoke weed. 

So does THCa get you high like Delta 9 THC? Keep reading to learn more about getting high with THCa.

smoking thca

Key Takeaways

  • THCa will get you high only when its decarboxylated (you cannot eat it raw and get a buzz).
  • The buzz from this cannabinoid is identical to THC because it’s the precursor to D9-THC!
  • Hemp derived THCa is federally legal if the final product contains <0.3% D9-THC.

Does THCa Get You High?

No. In its raw form, THCa does not get you high. But it will get you stoned once it’s decarbed and converts into THC. 

THCa (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) is one of over 100 unique cannabinoids found in cannabis. It stems from CBGa and begins to develop as the cannabis plant matures and terpene and cannabinoids start to form. 

THCa is similar to THC, but contains an extra carboxyl ring. This means it has little binding affinity to CB1 receptors in the brain the same way THC does. This is why THCa alone won’t cause any intoxicating effects. 

Fun fact from a former dispensary manager (that’s me!): THC percentages listed on the label of cannabis flower is simply the assumed THC content that can be decarboxylated from the THCa content in the product.

You will often notice dispensary flower will list a high a THCa content and often this will near equal the total THC percentage listed on the packet.  This is because the THC in weed is mostly THCa until decarbed!

Related Read: D9 VS THCa

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What is a High THCa Percentage in Hemp Mean?

You’ll notice that some hemp products have a high percentage of THCa. What exactly does this mean, though? 

Hemp brands and retailers have discovered that some hemp flower contains higher levels of THCa. On the other hand, it’s possible some shady companies may also be simply spraying hemp with THCa Isolate

Both produce similar outcomes, but many cannabis strains naturally contain higher levels of THCa. When buds are sprayed with THC isolate to attain a high THCa percentage, the THCa is added after hemp has been harvested. 

Regardless of how and why the high THCa percentage is in the product, both are still considered legal under the 2018 Farm Bill. THCa is uncontrolled federally, which is why several brands have incorporated THCa flower into their arsenal of hemp-based products. 

Essentially, THCa is THC. It’s just THC in its raw form. You don’t eat weed and expect to get high. This is exactly why we smoke weed instead of eating it. Once it’s exposed to heat, THCa is converted into THC. This is when you get high. 

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This conversion happens through a process called decarboxylation. In this process, THCa is heated or exposed to UV light until it becomes THC. 

In order to get high you must decarb THCa through methods such as smoking, vaping, cooking, etc. Once THCa is decarbed, it becomes THC and will produce the psychoactive effects weed is famous for.

To determine the THC content of cannabis as an everyday cannabis consumer, you can simply add the THCa percentage to the Delta 9 THC percentage. This will give you the total decarbed THC percentage when you smoke it.

How Do You Decarb THCa? 

Want to decarb THCa for yourself? 

There are several ways THCa can be turned into THC. Each process involves some type of heat that converts the acidic cannabinoid into its psychoactive counterpart. 

Here are some of the most popular ways THCa is decarboxylated: 

  • Smoking: When you light up cannabis flower, the heat will quickly convert the THCa content to THC. It’s the most popular way to decarb THCa, but some cannabinoids are lost in the process. 
  • Vaping: When cannabis oil is vaped at 315° Fahrenheit (157° C), THCa becomes THC and will get you high. 
  • Dabbing: When the dab rig is heated enough to melt the concentrate, THCa content is transformed into THC.
  • Cooking / Baking: When you cook weed into edibles THCa converts into THC when heated to 220-240° Fahrenheit (104-115° C) for approximately 30 minutes.   
  • Sunlight: When THCa is exposed to natural sunlight for an extended period of time, it will eventually turn into THC. 

Whatever method is used to decarb THCa, the end result will turn the cannabinoid into THC, which will get you high.

does THCa get you stoned

How High Does THCa Get You?

Speaking of THCa getting you high, how high does it actually get you? 

It’s simple. 

THCa gets you as high as Delta 9 THC. Considering it’s the precursor to traditional Delta 9 THC, it’s going to get you just as high. 

So maybe the question to ask yourself would be: how high does THC get you? There you’ll find your answer. 

When THCa is decarboxylated, it automatically becomes Delta 9 THC. Once it’s heated to a certain temperature, it becomes THC. 

Research shows that it only takes THCa 10 minutes to convert to THC when heated at 320°F (160°C). When heated at temps over 392°F (200°C), THCa converts to THC in seconds. 

Once converted in D9 THC, THCa’s extra carboxyl ring is lost and you’ll experience the same mind-altering high you do when consuming THC.

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Is THCa Legal?

Yes, THCa is legal.

As we mentioned above, THCa is not a controlled substance because of the way hemp is defined in the 2018 Farm Bill. 

This legislation covers all hemp products and deems such as legal if they contain concentrations less than 0.3% of Delta 9 THC on a dry weight basis. 

But the bill also classifies “hemp” as any portion of the plant that does not exceed 0.3% of THC. 

Technically this means that THCa isn’t included in the definition of hemp, which ultimately makes THCa federally permitted…and therefore legal. 

But, THCa can easily turn into THC if exposed to the right conditions, which is a schedule 1 substance.

Wrapping Up: The THCa High

Even though THCa isn’t considered a psychoactive cannabinoid, it is what gets us high. After all, without THCa, THC wouldn’t exist. 

So while most people are unaware that this raw, acidic form of THC even exists, it’s the only reason anyone gets high in the first place. 

The reason we smoke, dab or vape weed is to convert THCa into THC so we can experience its euphoric, psychoactive effects. 

THCa has more potential than just getting us seriously stoned. While more research is definitely needed, THCa also contains some promising therapeutic potential.