Since THCA is converted to THC, you may be wondering which compound should have a higher concentration to produce the desired euphoric effects. If you smoke, cook, drink or vape cannabis, you should look for products with a high amount of THCA. The main difference between THCA and THC is that THCA does not have the same psychoactive properties as THC. THCa or tetrahydrocannabinolic acid is the non-psychotropic cannabinoid found in raw and live cannabis.
THC or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol is the active psychotropic cannabinoid. They share a very similar chemical composition. The difference between the two cannabinoids is the addition of a carboxyl group to THCa. For more accurate THCA potency, it's best to rely on the results of liquid chromatography or LC tests.
This is because gas or GC involves high temperatures. As such, most THCA ends up being decarboxylated into THC. Since THCA is a precursor to THC, THCA is still an important cannabinoid to consider when calculating the potency of a cannabis strain, even though THCA itself is not intoxicating. For high THCA content, using or taking raw marijuana buds, leaves, and flowers may be your best bet.
Because THCA quickly converts to THC when exposed to heat, if you consume cannabis by smoking, vaping, or eating cooked foods that contain cannabis, there is likely to be relatively little THCA left in these products. THCa (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) is an inactive cannabinoid contained in the trichomes of live and freshly harvested cannabis. Research on this cannabinoid is still in its early stages, but the work done so far indicates that there may be several benefits of THCA that are worth exploring further. While THC is available in all methods of cannabis administration, THCA is available in topical products, tinctures, capsules, and raw cannabis juice.
Decarboxylating cannabis basically means exposing it to heat and allowing the process of converting THCA to THC to take place. So if they don't share the same psychoactive properties, does THCA get you high like THC? The answer is no. In addition to adding a single letter to their abbreviated names, THC and THCA are different in other important ways. It has been theorized that cannabis plants developed THCa as an evolutionary mechanism to defend themselves against predators and pests that could move away from the acidic substance.