What is THCa?
THCA is the acidic form of THC, full name: tetrahydrocannabinolic acid. As a cannabis plant matures and its buds grow, its terpene and cannabinoid content begin to develop. THCA is not intoxicating if ingested. Chemically, it has an additional molecular carboxyl ring, which prevents it from binding to receptors in the brain responsible for feeling high. When THCA is exposed to heat, such as when smoking, vaping, dabbing, or cooking, it will convert into the intoxicating, beloved cannabinoid THC.
What are THCa’s effects and benefits?
Raw cannabis does not produce a high if consumed without decarbing first. However, consuming raw cannabis for its THCA content, through juicing, for example, or taking a THCA-based tincture or edible, provides some of the same benefits as activated THC without intoxication.
How to use THCa
Many patients use THCA converted into THC everyday, by smoking, dabbing, vaping, and ingesting a form of weed in order to get high or address their symptoms. In these cases, THCA is more of a conduit to reap the benefits of THC. But more and more brands are taking note of THCA’s benefits for use on its own.
One popular and accessible way to use THCA is to consume raw cannabis. You can literally just eat it, but many prefer incorporating it into a juicing routine for better efficacy and taste. Many companies also produce THCA tinctures and topicals to be taken as a regimen, like vitamins or a massage product after vigorous activity.
Does THCa show up on a drug test?
Yes, both THC and THCA will show up as positive on a drug test. It is impossible to fully decarboxylate the full THCA content of the weed you smoke or dabs you take into THC, so you likely are absorbing THCA as well; the same goes for some types of rosin- and/or hash-based gummies due to the lack of cannabinoid isolation, though due to required lab testing, it’s less likely.