What is THCA? Top 5 Questions Answered

As interest in hemp products and their therapeutic properties continues to increase, additional cannabinoids have begun sharing the spotlight with CBD and THC, the two most well-known cannabinoids.

One emerging cannabinoid that has exploded in popularity recently is tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, or THCA. THCA is one of over 100 known cannabinoids produced by the cannabis plant, and it is naturally produced within the trichomes of hemp and cannabis flower buds.

In this article we’ll take a closer look at THCA, explaining what it is and how it compares to other well-known cannabinoids like THC and CBD.

  • What is THCA?
  • Does THCA make you feel high?
  • THCa vs. Delta 9 THC – how are they different?
  • What’s the difference between THCA and CBD?
  • What is THCA flower and where can you find it?

What is THCA?

THCA, short for tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, is the acidic form of THC. THCA can be found in abundance in raw cannabis and hemp plants, and it has been researched for its potential therapeutic properties, including anti-inflammatory1 and neuroprotective effects.

Within the cannabis plant, THCA acts as the plant’s immune system – it helps to keep the plant healthy by inducing the process of necrosis, which eliminates dead, damaged or dying cells.

THCA is also the precursor to delta-9 THC, the most well-known psychotropic cannabis compound. Almost all cannabinoids start off in their acidic form, and THC is no different – so without THCA, we wouldn’t have THC or the numerous health benefits attributed to it.

Does THCA make you feel high?

No, in its raw state THCA is not intoxicating. Because it does not bind to the CB1 receptors like delta 9 THC does, it does not give users the “high” feeling.

However, when THCA is exposed to heat (such as smoking, vaping or cooking) it does transform into delta-9 THC and that, in turn, will make a person feel “high” (if the THCA percentage is high enough). So, for example, eating a raw cannabis bud containing a high level of THCA will not make the user feel high, but smoking that same bud would.

THCA vs. Delta 9 THC – How Are They Different?

Delta 9 THC is the primary psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant. It is responsible for the “high” that users typically associate with cannabis.

Although delta 9 THC and THCA share a similar chemical composition, THCA has one additional carboxyl group. This prevents it from binding to CB1 receptors in the brain that are responsible for feeling high.

This leads us to the biggest difference between the two cannabinoids: THCA, in its raw form, does not produce the intoxicating “high” that delta 9 THC does. However, when THCA is heated – by smoking, vaping, dabbing, or cooking – it converts into delta 9 THC, producing the well-known elevated effects.

Effects-wise, THCA and THC do overlap in some areas. Research into THCA is still limited, but initial studies have shown that both cannabinoids have potential to treat nausea, while THCA is more promising for addressing inflammation1. And while many people find both delta 8 and delta 9 THC helpful for sleep, THCA may be less effective as a sleep aid in its raw state, since it is not intoxicating.

What’s The Difference Between THCA and CBD?

Besides having different chemical structures, research suggests that THCA in its raw state has a lot in common with CBD. Although the way each compound interacts with the body is different, they seem to have similar therapeutic effects, such as anti-inflammatory1, neuroprotective and nausea-reducing2 properties. Both cannabinoids are thought to work by affecting the release of neurotransmitters that are responsible for helping our bodies achieve homeostasis.

What is THCA flower and where can you find it?

THCA flower, or THCA hemp flower , refers to cannabis buds with high levels of THCA – usually around 20% or more. When those buds are heated and the THCA converts to delta 9 THC, users get a strong buzz similar to that of regular cannabis. This flower is sought after in the medical cannabis world for its potential to relieve pain, reduce inflammation and induce a sense of well-being.

Because THCA hemp flower contains a low concentration of delta 9 THC (less than 0.3%) it is compliant with the 2018 Farm Bill, making the product legal to sell and consume in most states – but be sure to check the laws in your local area before purchasing.

THCA flower is sold at many online stores as well as in dedicated CBD dispensaries. As with any hemp product, we recommend doing your research to find a quality source for THCA flower. The Farmacy Botanical Shoppe offers high-quality, lab-tested THCA flower as well as other products containing delta-9 THC in San Antonio. Browse our website for current strain availability and order online for same-day delivery. You can also visit the “bud bar” at our retail store to see and smell each strain in-person.

To Sum Up:

  • THCA is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid naturally found in cannabis (both hemp and marijuana) plants
  • Delta 9 THC is a psychoactive cannabinoid also found in marijuana and hemp plants – it is well-known for producing the “high” feeling commonly associated with marijuana
  • When heated (via smoking, vaping, dabbing), THCA transforms into delta-9 THC


  1. Anti-Inflammatory Activity in Colon Models Is Derived from Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid That Interacts with Additional Compounds in Cannabis Extracts: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5627671/
  2. Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid reduces nausea-induced conditioned gaping in rats and vomiting in Suncus murinus: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3792001/
Free same-day delivery on orders $40+ ** Free nationwide shipping on orders $50+

Learn more about Subscribe & Save

Create an account to manage your subscription settings

Register an account by going to our registration page

Once logged in, click on “Subscriptions” to keep track of all your subscribed orders. 

Cancel anytime, hassle free.

You may cancel your subscribed orders on your account page by clicking on “Subscriptions” then “Cancel”.