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Understanding Cannabinoids: THCA vs THC and More

Introduction to Cannabinoids: The World Beyond Just THC

Cannabinoids – the active compounds found in the cannabis plant – have gained significant attention in recent years due to their potential health benefits, effects, and wide range of applications. 

What gives? What makes these plant building blocks so special? And how do they differ from each other? 

While THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is the most well-known and infamous cannabinoid, there is a whole world of other complex compounds to explore, such as THCA, THCV, and THCP – the list goes on and on. 

In this article, we will dive deep into the differences between THCA and THC, their effects, and more. Let’s dive into the root of this cannabis-based mystery. 

What Are THCA and THC?

Thanks to the passing of marijuana legislation across the country – in states like New York, California, Massachusetts, and 35 other states – cannabis-based products have flooded the market in a range of products, uses, and preferences. 

By now, you’ve probably heard of THC – the infamous, high-inducing cannabinoid that makes cannabis such a sought-after plant. THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid), on the other hand, is a lesser-known type of cannabinoid but is still essential to proper plant production. 

THCA and THC are two distinct cannabinoids found in cannabis – and just two of many at that. Did you know that there are over 100+ different cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant? And that number has continued to grow over the years. 

Not to get too scientific and confusing, but THCA is the acidic precursor to THC and is found in raw cannabis plants. Much like other hemp-based products (like CBD gummies), it is non-psychoactive, meaning it won't produce the "high" associated with THC. 

In layman's terms: without THCA there would be no THC! 

On the flip side, THC is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis, responsible for the intoxicating effects.

The process of decarboxylation, which occurs when cannabis is heated or aged, converts THCA into THC. This is why consuming raw cannabis won't produce the same psychoactive effects as smoking or vaping, which involve heat. 

THCA vs THC: Which Is Stronger?

When comparing the potency of THCA and THC, it's important to understand that THCA is non-psychoactive, while THC is psychoactive. THCA doesn't produce the "high" associated with cannabis use, whereas THC does. The conversion of THCA to THC through decarboxylation is crucial in determining the potency of the final product.

Saying which cannabinoid is stronger is not the right definition. Instead, THCA vs THC can be compared by the type of effects they provide. 

The Effects and Benefits of THCA

Although THCA is non-psychoactive, research suggests that it may have potential health benefits. Some studies indicate that THCA has anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and anti-emetic properties. It may also have some applicable intestinal and metabolic properties, helping stimulate appetite, block metabolic diseases, and reduce pain. 

However, like many newly discovered and developed wellness products, more research is needed to fully understand THCA's effects.

The Psychoactive Power of THC

THC is known for its psychoactive effects, which can include feelings of euphoria, relaxation, altered sensory perception, and increased appetite. These effects are caused by THC interacting with the body's endocannabinoid system (otherwise known as the ECS). THC has been used for both medical and recreational purposes, with potential benefits for managing pain, reducing nausea, and improving sleep.

Did you know that CBD oil for anxiety has been widely researched and resulted in a number of pros and cons? Much like THC, CBD oil has a wide range of holistic health properties that can be applied to any regular wellness routine!   


THCP (Tetrahydrocannabiphorol) is another cannabinoid that has recently gained attention. It is reported to be up to 33 times more potent than THC. While research on THCP is limited, initial studies suggest it may have similar effects to THC but with heightened intensity.


THCO (Tetrahydrocannabinol acetate) is a synthetic form of THC that is created by adding an acetate group to the THC molecule. This modification increases its potency, making it up to three times stronger than regular THC. However, the legality of THCO is a grey area, as it is derived from hemp but is psychoactive.


When comparing THCO and THCA, the main difference lies in their psychoactive properties. THCO is a highly potent, psychoactive compound, while THCA is non-psychoactive. The chemical structure of THCO also differs from THCA, as it has an added acetate group.

Best THC Gummies: A Product Recommendation

THC gummies have become a popular method of consuming cannabinoids due to their ease of use, discretion, and precise dosing. They offer a convenient way to experience the effects of THC without smoking or vaping.

Spotlight Product: Medical Mike's THC:CBD Gummies

Not to toot our own here, but Medical Mike's THC:CBD Gummies stand out among some of the best THC gummies available. These full-body CBD gummies offer a balanced ratio of THC and CBD, providing a comprehensive cannabinoid experience. 

The combination of THC and CBD works synergistically to produce enhanced effects, targeting both the mind and body. 

CBD may even help with erectile dysfunction. Check out our guide to the best CBD gummies

Choosing the Right Cannabinoid Product for You

When selecting a cannabinoid product, it's essential to consider your individual needs and preferences. Some factors that should be taken into consideration include:

  • Desired effects
  • Potency
  • Tolerance level
  • Method of consumption 

There are a number of questions to answer before selecting the product (or products) that are right for you. Should you look for an isolate or product spectrum cannabis product? Or is full spectrum the type of product your body needs? 

If you are considering using cannabinoid products for medical purposes, it's always best to consult with a healthcare professional first. They can provide personalized advice and guidance based on your specific condition and medical history. 

As always, it’s important to start with a lower dose to understand how your body reacts to different products and types of cannabinoids. Every brand and product is different, so be sure to do your research, read the labels, and try products with an open mind to determine what works best for you! 

It's also crucial to be aware of the legal status of cannabinoids in your area. Every state is different. Although the 2018 Farm Bill made hemp-derived products legal at the federal level, this does not extend to the state level and doesn’t relate to marijuana or cannabis-based cannabinoids. 

The Ever-Evolving Landscape of Cannabinoids

The world of cannabinoids is constantly evolving, with new compounds and research emerging regularly. Understanding the differences between cannabinoids like THCA and THC is crucial for making informed decisions about cannabis use.

As we continue to learn more about the potential benefits and effects of cannabinoids, it's essential to stay educated and up-to-date. By doing so, you can make the most of these fascinating compounds while prioritizing your health and well-being.

THCA vs THC: Frequently Asked Questions

Is THCA legal? 

The legality of THCA varies depending on the jurisdiction. In some areas, THCA may be legal if derived from hemp, while in others, it may be considered a controlled substance. Always check your local laws before purchasing or consuming THCA products.

Can THCA get you high? 

No, THCA is non-psychoactive and won't produce the "high" associated with THC. THCA must be converted to THC through decarboxylation to become psychoactive.

What are the medical benefits of THC? 

THC has been used to manage various medical conditions, including chronic pain, nausea, and multiple sclerosis. One study reviewed the benefits and properties of CBD and THC for epilepsy. It may also help with appetite stimulation and sleep disorders. However, always consult with a healthcare professional before using THC for medical purposes.

It’s also important to note that these results still require further research and data. Although there have been a lot of successful preliminary studies, more research needs to be conducted before we understand exactly how and what THC can do to benefit the body from a medical standpoint. 

How do I consume THCA? 

THCA can be consumed through raw cannabis products, such as fresh leaves or juices. It can also be found in tinctures, capsules, and other non-heated cannabis preparations.

What's the difference between THC and THCA? 

The main difference between THC and THCA is that THC is psychoactive, while THCA is not. THCA is the acidic precursor to THC and must be converted through decarboxylation to produce the intoxicating effects associated with THC.

Visiting or live in New York? The Top 10 Cannabis Dispensaries.

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