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Home » THCA vs Weed [Similarities and Differences Examined]

thca vs weed

THCA vs Weed [Similarities and Differences Examined]

It seems as if the cannabis market is growing each day. It can be hard to keep up with all the products that are out there. Two products you may be aware of are THCA and weed. You may wonder, THCA vs weed, what’s the difference? THCA (Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid, THCa, THC-a, or THC-A) is a naturally occurring cannabinoid in cannabis plants. It is non-euphoric, but when heated, it turns into THC (Delta 9 THC, D9 THC, Delta 9, or D9), which produces euphoria (“psychoactive” effects).


Many people refer to THC as “weed.” Others use the term “weed” to describe all cannabis products. However, “weed” is a term that is specifically used to describe the marijuana plant. But that touches the surface. Keep reading as we clarify the difference between THCA and weed, so you know exactly what to expect from each product.



What is THCA Flower?

THCA flower is a cannabis flower cultivated to contain high concentrations of THCA. THCA flower can refer to either hemp or marijuana plant varieties. The majority of THCA flower you see in the market is hemp flower.


Raw THCA flower (unheated or uncooked) is non-euphoric. But if you smoke or vape THCA flower, the heat will convert THCA into THC, which has euphoric effects. However, if you consume the cannabis plant in cold edibles, oils, and other products that don’t require heating, the raw cannabis buds will provide therapeutic effects that are non-psychoactive.



thca flower in field



THCA’s Role in the Cannabis Plant

One key distinction in the THCA vs weed debate is the role of cannabinoids in the cannabis plants. Cannabis plants produce THCa instead of THC in their natural state. THCA is the acidic form and natural precursor to THC. THCA does not produce euphoria in its natural state. However, when heat is applied, THCA undergoes a chemical reaction via a process called decarboxylation. This natural process converts THCA into euphoric THC.


How is THCA Produced?

THCA is produced in cannabis plants via a multi-step biosynthetic pathway. It all starts with the precursor to THCA, Cannabigerolic Acid (CBGA).


This cannabinoid interacts with an enzyme called THCA synthase, which converts CBGA to THCA and accumulates in the trichomes of the cannabis plant. Trichomes are the resin-producing glands you see on cannabis buds. They are crystalline hair-like projections that give the buds a sticky surface.


THCA extraction can now take place using various methods. Producers use THCA to create diverse products to meet consumer demand. Cannabis enthusiasts favor THCA hemp flower and often purchase it in its raw form. People use raw THCA hemp flower as a raw food supplement for non-euphoric wellness benefits. Many, however, choose to smoke or vape it for THC uplift.


THCA Interaction With Your Endocannabinoid System

When THCA enters the body, it interacts with the endocannabinoid system or ECS. The ECS spans various organs and tissues and plays a pivotal role in regulating several important bodily functions, including mood, temperature, hunger, and alertness.


The ECS contains cannabinoid receptors that interact with the cannabinoids that enter our bodies. They are classified as CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors exist in the brain and are closely tied to how cannabinoids affect our mood. CB2 receptors are linked to the immune system.


Different cannabinoids interact with the ECS cannabinoid receptors to provide various results. Some bind more tightly with receptors than others, some are longer-lasting, and some are psychoactive while others are not.


THCA has a weak affinity to your ECS receptors, which is why it does not cause euphoric effects. However, once decarboxylated, THCA turns into THC, which has a strong binding affinity to ECS receptors, particularly the CB1 receptors in your brain. This is the reason behind THC’s euphoric effects.


THCA’s Effects on the Body

THCA and THC have similar therapeutic effects on the body. However, they are not the same on a psychoactive level. As we previously mentioned, THC is the psychoactive form of THCA. On its own, THCA does not produce psychoactive effects. The heat application will lead THC to create THC, which produces euphoria.

Common benefits of both cannabinoids include:


  • Reduced Anxiousness. Cannabis compounds can put you in a calmer mental state.
  • Improved Sleep Quality. The relaxing effect of cannabis will help you sleep better at night.
  • Relief From Physical Discomfort. Cannabis promotes the production of feel-good chemicals like dopamine and serotonin to reduce physical discomfort.
  • Increased Focus. A non-psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis plants, such as THCA, typically has a Sativa effect that promotes focus and concentration.
  • Possible Neuroprotective Properties. Some studies suggest that THCA may have neuroprotective properties. It may be effective in preventing or reducing symptoms related to certain mental conditions.


However, THCA will have different effects once it is heated and converted into THC. If you consume THC, you may experience similar benefits. You will also experience euphoric effects.


Your THCA and THC experience will vary depending on your metabolism, biological factors, environment, tolerance, and other factors. As with any controlled substance, it is best to start slowly to see how it affects you. Increase your dose gradually as needed.



What is Weed?

Some people use the term weed to refer to all cannabis products. However, it technically applies to the marijuana plant. This cannabis plant contains high amounts of THC, which is the cannabinoid responsible for producing elevating euphoria. For many, this well-known psychoactive compound is iconic for its blissful sensations.


THC, or Delta 9, is the world’s most popular cannabinoid, and weed is the world’s most popular type of cannabis plant. There are various types of THC. Most notable are the Delta THCs. They vary according to their potency and chemical composition.



thca vs weed plants overhead shot



Weed’s Chemical Composition

Weed or marijuana primarily contains THC or Delta 9. This is the most common type of THC molecule present in weed. It is so-called because it features a double bond with the ninth group in its carbon chain.


Delta 8 and Delta 10 are other THC types that are present in extremely small amounts. Their double bonds are on the eighth and tenth atoms of their carbon chains, respectively. They are not as potent as Delta 9 THC.


How Is Weed Produced?

Weed is grown no differently than hemp. Farmers can grow marijuana indoors or outdoors. However, growers often choose indoor grow rooms as their primary cultivation option. These facilities allow for strict environmental controls for optimal growth. The freshly harvested cannabis crop contains high amounts of THCA, which, when heated, produces THC via decarboxylation.


THCA will decarboxylate into THC at temperatures ranging from 200 – 240 degrees Fahrenheit within 30 minutes. Applying more heat will provide more potent euphoric effects. However, if you apply too much heat, you risk reducing the weed’s terpene and compound profile. Delta 9 THC is the default result of THCA decarboxylation.


Weed’s Effects on the Body

Like THCA, THC also reacts with the ECS. It produces some similar results, while other effects will vary. Here are some of the potential therapeutic benefits of weed.


  • Relief From Physical Discomfort. Like THCA, THC can help ease muscle tension and joint stiffness, offering a natural means of assisting with discomfort relief.
  • Appetite Stimulation. THC may release the hormone ghrelin, which promotes hunger. Its appetite-stimulating properties can be useful for people who don’t feel hungry due to stressors or other issues.
  • Sleep Support. The cannabis compound has a relaxing effect and may promote better sleep.
  • Elevated Euphoria and Increased Creativity. Consumers may feel more creative when experiencing THC uplift. You may feel creative roadblocks diminish and creativity flourish.
  • Stress Relief and Mood Uplift. THC interacting with the cannabinoid receptors in your brain may help facilitate the increase of feel-good chemicals. This may help improve your mood.
  • Altered Perception of Time and Space. The altered sense of time and space can be fun for some cannabis consumers. This usually occurs when you consume high-potency THC. If it’s not for you, you may prefer to use THCA or another non-euphoric compound.


It is best to use weed in moderation. Determine how it will affect you before increasing your dose. Talk to a doctor if you are taking any prescription medications, which may or may not interact with THC. Whether you’re a newcomer or a seasoned enthusiast, THC has different effects on the body. Consumers may experience some or all of these benefits and then some.



What’s the Difference Between THCA and THC?

Chemical Structure

THCA and THC differ in their chemical structure. THCA is a carboxylic acid, which means it contains a carboxylic acid group. It sheds the group when it is heated and takes on euphoric effects.


Once you convert THCA, it transforms into Delta 9 THC. This compound has a double bond on the ninth group in its carbon chain. The placing of the double bond provides potent psychoactive effects.



The biggest difference between THC and THCA is the psychoactive effects. Unlike THC, which produces euphoric effects, THCA is non-euphoric. It will not alter your sense of time and perception or cause you to be cerebrally stimulated.


THC, however, will produce elevating euphoria. It will alter your sense of time and perception if taken in high amounts. If you take more than you can handle, you may experience extreme euphoria, couchlock, sleepiness, or lethargy.


Although THCA and THC differ in their psychoactive characteristics, they have similar therapeutic properties and potential health benefits. Both cannabis products may produce a sense of relaxation and help ease stress. They can also benefit sleep and improve mood. They may also provide potential therapeutic benefits.



Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid and THC also have legal differences. The Farm Bill of 2018 legalized hemp and hemp products that contain 0.3% THC or less. As long as the THC and THCA products you are consuming fit this federally legal definition, you are in the clear. However, state laws may counter the government’s legal stance. So, if you’re wondering, “Is THC, THCA legal to use?” it’s best to check with your state’s laws.


The law gets more confusing when we start talking about weed. Let’s explore this more.



gavel on top of cannabis leaves



The Legality of THCA Flower vs Weed

The cannabis market is growing, and laws have yet to keep up. There’s a lot of confusion and gray areas when it comes to the THCA vs weed debate. Consumers can especially become confused when dealing with THCA and THC, which is, in some ways, the same product. This section will attempt to clear up the confusion.


The Farm Bill went into effect in 2018. It stated that hemp is federally legal if it and its derivative products contain a THC concentration of 0.3% or less. However, federal law is not the same as state law. Many states made their own cannabis rules. It’s always a good idea to check your state’s hemp laws, as they may differ from the federal government’s legal stance.


Weed, or marijuana use, is federally illegal. However, recent years have seen numerous states legalize marijuana use for recreational or medical purposes. In these states, cannabis is legal. Both THCA and THC are legal in these states regardless of their cannabis plant origin.


Still, other states do not have legal weed. They do not approve of the use of THCA, THC, or any other cannabis products. Cannabis laws can get confusing. Check out your local laws before you use or buy any cannabis products.


Keep in mind that laws also pertain to how much weed you can possess and grow on your property. Get familiar with the laws in your area to ensure you stay out of trouble.



Where to Buy the Best THCA Flower and Weed Products Online

The THCA vs weed debate continues as we examine the best places to buy these products online. The best place to find THCA flower and weed products online is with reputable brands. Buying weed online might pose some legal issues, depending on where you live. And since weed is still federally legal, you might run into issues with the law.


Consumers must be careful when purchasing weed. They must look for brands with good customer and expert reviews. The brands should use lab testing. They should use all-natural, organic materials in their product ingredients.


If you want to enjoy THCA and THC products, it’s best to stick with legal hemp products. A brand like Exhale Wellness is one that you can trust. All our products are Farm Bill-compliant and lab-tested. We provide discreet shipping and a 30-day money-back guarantee. Our customer and expert reviews speak for themselves.

Exhale Well carries various Delta 8, Delta 9, and THCA products, including the following.



Exhale Wellness Gummies are available in Delta 8, Delta 9, and THCA varieties. Some contain just one cannabinoid, while others contain various cannabinoids for a full-spectrum effect. Gummies are ideal because they are pre-dosed, discreet, and fun to consume. However, like all edibles, they take a long time to hit, and when they hit, they hit hard. Hold off on taking more until you know how they will affect you. At Exhale Wellness, our Gummies are made with all-natural ingredients you can feel good about putting in your body. They come in various delicious flavors.



exhale wellness delta 9 gummies




Exhale Wellness carries Delta 8 THC and THCA vapes that are discreet, portable, and convenient. The flavor covers up the scent of the cannabis. Since so many people vape, no one has to know you’re indulging. And unlike smoking, there is no combustion. What you’ll inhale is smooth, rich vapor without the harshness of smoke.


The vapes we carry at Exhale Wellness do not contain PG, VG, MCT, or PEG oil. Our THC and THCA Disposable Pens are draw-activated and made with all-natural ingredients. Our Vape Cartridges are also top-of-the-line.



Exhale Wellness carries various strains of premium THCA flower. It can easily be added to a bong, joint, or pipe. We also offer THCA Pre-Rolls for added convenience. All Exhale Wellness THCA flower is naturally grown and lab-tested for purity and potency.







Exhale Wellness THCA Dabs offer a highly concentrated form of raw, concentrated THCA. They are available in various strains and flavors. Our concentrates are free of additives and preservatives. They are completely hemp-derived and federally legal.



You can purchase THC oils such as Delta 8 and Delta 9 oils on our website. The dropper administration offers dosing convenience. You can carry the bottle in your purse or pocket and take a dose as needed. The oils are made with a clean CO2 extraction process. They contain all-natural ingredients and are free of additives, preservatives, and artificial colors and flavors.



FAQs About THCA vs Weed

Is THCA the Same as Weed?

No, THCA is not the same as weed. THCA is a cannabinoid. Weed is a term that is used to reference marijuana, a cannabis plant with high concentrations of THC.


Can THCA Cause a High?

THCA cannot cause a high in its natural form. However, when you heat it, it will convert into THC, which is a psychoactive compound.


Can THCA Fail a Drug Test?

Yes, THCA can fail a drug test. This is because THCa molecules resemble THC molecules. Most drug tests check for the presence of THC, and since THCA has a similar chemical composition to THC, it will most likely trigger a false positive. We recommend you cease all THCA and THC products before drug testing to increase your chances of passing.


Can You Vape THCA Flower?

Yes, you can vape THCA flower. You must use an appropriate vaping device, such as a flower vape, for proper results. However, once you heat it, THCA will convert into THC, which will get you lifted. If you prefer to enjoy THCA without euphoria, choose a consumption method that does not involve heat. You may prefer to consume it in a gummy, oil, or capsule form.


Does THCA Release Dopamine?

Yes, THCA, when heated to produce THC, along with other cannabinoids, can release dopamine into the system. The feel-good chemical helps improve mood and reduces physical discomfort. It may also relieve anxiousness and depression.


What Is the Best THCA Flower?

The best THCA flower contains high THCA concentrations, which lead to high THC levels upon heating. THCA flower should be naturally grown and lab-tested to ensure purity and potency. Purchase THCA flower from a brand you can trust to ensure you get the best possible products. Exhale Wellness is recommended. We carry products that are third-party tested and contain all-natural ingredients. Our customer reviews speak for themselves.



Final Thoughts – THCA vs Weed [Similarities and Differences Examined]

THCA and THC are similar cannabinoids with very different chemical structures and effects. THCA is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that converts into Delta 9 THC when heated. Once the conversion occurs, the resulting THC produces euphoria along with a host of other benefits. Another difference between THCA and weed is legality. You might be wondering, “Is THCA legal?” The answer is yes, just as long as products that contain it are hemp-derived and contain 0.3% THC or less. Weed, however, is federally illegal. But it may be legal depending on the state you reside it.


Both products have potential therapeutic effects, but THC may alter your perception, while THCA will not. Regardless of which you choose, it’s essential to purchase it from a reputable brand such as Exhale Wellness. Research to determine the brands that offer the best cannabis products on the market. Fortunately, you don’t need to look far. At Exhale Wellness, we offer the best THC products and THCA products online. Give them a try and see which cannabinoid is best suited for your health and wellness needs!

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