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What is THCA?

19 / Oct / 2023

What is THCA?

In this post we will discuss THCA - what it is and why this chemical has taken the hemp industry by storm.

It seems like every month there is a "new" cannabinoid that gains hype in the hemp industry, and few of those cannabinoids have gained as much interest as Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, or THCA for short. Before we dive into what makes THCA special, let's talk briefly about cannabis chemotypes.

Chemotype describes the subspecies of a plant that have the same morphological characteristics (i.e., the plants look the same), but produce different quantities of chemicals. There are three primary chemotypes of cannabis:

  1. Type I chemotypes produce more THCA than any other chemical
  2. Type II chemotypes produce about the same amount of THCA and CBDA, and
  3. Type III chemotypes produce more CBDA than any other chemical

CBD, a chemical we all know and love, is the best recognized chemical when talking about hemp, and THC is the best recognized chemical when talking about medical or recreational cannabis. However, CBD and THC are both accessible in the various cannabis markets (medical, recreational, and hemp). There is only one primary difference between hemp and marijuana. Hemp and marijuana are terms defined by the government to differentiate cannabis plants and products: It is hemp if the delta9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (D9-THC) concentration is no more than 0.3% by dry weight, and it is marijuana if the concentration of D9-THC is greater than 0.3% by dry weight.

Not all Type I cannabis plants are marijuana, and not all Type III cannabis plants are hemp. If you are interested in higher amounts of THCA then you will be interested in Type I hemp, medical, or recreational flower - back to why so many people are looking for Type I or THCA flower - This can be broken down into two camps:

  1. Camp 1 are the folks that enjoy the psychoactive effects that THC is known for, and 
  2. Camp 2 are the people that looking for health benefits associated with THCA

THCA is not psychoactive - it does not create a "high"; however, something magical happens to THCA when heated to about 200℉ (or higher). The chemical reaction caused by heating the THCA rich flower is called decarboxylation. In short, smoking or cooking THCA flower will convert THCA to the psychoactive chemical THC. This is why our "Camp 1" customers are so excited about high THCA hemp - there is not a perceptible difference between THCA hemp and medical or recreational cannabis. THCA hemp, as well as medical and recreational cannabis, are all Type I cannabis, and all deliver the same effects. 

A note of caution for our Camp 1 friends - THCA hemp flower should be treated like alcohol. You wouldn't open a bottle of whiskey in your car or consume whiskey in a public area, bars excluded. The same caution and restraint should be applied to THCA flower. We recommend leaving your THCA hemp flower in it's original sealed packaging if you are transporting it. Leave it sealed until you are home, and leave your THCA flower at home once the seal is broken.

As for our Camp 2 customers - there are some promising studies on the potential health benefits of THCA in its raw, non-psychoactive, state. Some of those potential benefits include supporting healthy inflammation and promoting relaxation. If you are after potential health benefits of THCA, then you do not want to smoke it or cook with it. As we discussed, smoking or cooking with THCA will convert the THCA to THC and you will find yourself experiencing the effects our Camp 1 people are after.

One of the best ways to ingest THCA is to grind up some THCA flower and add that to a smoothie. This will keep the THCA intact and consuming in this way will not get you "high". Throw in some hemp seed to add healthy protein, antioxidants, omega-3s, fatty acids, and fiber! Cannabis truly is a superfood!

Note that there may be trace amounts of D9-THC in your THCA flower, and due to this you could still test positive on a drug test.

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The statements regarding these types of products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. No products sold by Imperium Roots are intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Results from products may vary. 

Always check with a physician before trying any new dietary supplement or medicinal herb.