THCa VS Delta 8 THC: Effects, Risks and Differences

Hands down, THC is the world’s most popular cannabinoid. 

You’re probably familiar with Delta 9 THC. It’s what most people are referring to when they talk about THC. But what about Delta 8 THC? Basically, it’s another form of THC. But how is it different from THCa? 

THCa is where all forms of THC begin. Including Delta 8. 

With a growing number of both Delta 8 and THCa products on the market, it’s vital to know the difference between THCa vs Delta 8. 

How else are you supposed to know which product will most benefit your own unique needs?  

Let’s take a deeper look.

d8 thc vs thca

Delta 8 THC Is Psychotropic

What is Delta 8, exactly? More importantly, will it get you high?

Delta 8 is a cannabinoid similar to Delta 9 THC, with a slightly different chemical structure. This isn’t the only difference, though.

It’s the effects of D8 that make it shine compared to Delta 9 THC. 

Yes, Delta 8 will get you high. But in a much more subtle way than regular D9 THC. These mellow effects make it an excellent option for those new to cannabis. 

So it’s definitely psychotropic, but what makes it different from THCa?

Read on to discover the differences between THCa vs Delta 8.

Related Read: D9 VS THCa, THCa VS THC

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THCa Is The D8 Precursor

THCa and Delta 8 are both types of cannabinoids, but without THCa there would be no (non-synthetic) Delta 8.

THCa could be considered the parent cannabinoid of THC. It’s what’s known as a cannabinoid acid and the precursor to THC. 

THCa ultimately transforms to THC after a particular chemical process known as decarboxylation. The decarbing process involves heating THCa until it loses a few carbon atoms known as carboxyls. It then turns into THC.

THCa VS Delta 8: Compared

When comparing THCa vs Delta 8, you’ll find they don’t share much in common aside from both being cannabinoids. 

Check it out. 

Natural vs. Semi-Synthetic

THCa is natural, while Delta 8 is typically semi-synthetic. 

All cannabis plants naturally produce THCa as a byproduct of their growth.

Delta 8, on the other hand, is only found naturally in cannabis in small quantities. This is why it’s mainly produced in labs through a process called Isomerization. 

Most Delta 8 products are derived from CBD that is combined with particular acids and solvents and then heated.

Chemical structure

As we mentioned, THCa contains a group of extra carbon atoms. 

This makes it a larger, more complex molecule, as each atom has to create new bonds with the others.

After it’s decarbed, Delta 8 no longer contains the extra carboxyls. Ultimately, this makes the cannabinoid lighter with less complexity.

This difference in chemical structure of THCa vs Delta 8 is also the reason one gets you high and the other doesn’t. 

D8 effects vs thca


You’re aware by now that THCa isn’t psychoactive. 

Those extra atoms make it impossible for THCa to fit into CB1 receptors that THC interacts with to produce its euphoric effects. 

This is crucial, as studies have found a small degree of binding, but not near enough to get you high.

Delta 8 is different.

Much like normal Delta 9 THC, even tiny doses of D8 should have noticeable effects (although much milder than D9).

A study that compared Delta 8 and Delta 9 found that the main reported effects are a great deal of relaxation (71% of cases), euphoria (68%), and pain relief (55%).

However, most of these people did not experience anxiety or paranoia, which are THC’s most commonly reported side effects.


Delta 8 is less popular than Delta 9 THC, but it’s marketed in much the same way. You can find Delta 8 gummies, tinctures, prerolls, vapes, and other cannabis products. 

THCa, however, is generally sold in vapes and concentrates. This is because it first needs to be decarboxylated before it can get you high. 

Still, we shouldn’t forget that THCa is found naturally in all cannabis plants, meaning you can essentially grow it yourself. You’ll also find a few fire THCa flower products on the market.

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Wrapping Up THCa And Delta 8 THC

Delta 8 is a variant of Delta9 THC, with a few key differences. 

For one, D8 is considerably weaker than its more famous counterpart, making it perfect for newbies or people who don’t want to get blasted every time they get high.

THCa is a different compound, which turns into THC when smoked.

THCa is naturally present in cannabis, while Delta 8 is generally distilled in labs. 

And while THCa on its own won’t get you high, Delta 8 definitely will.