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THCA vs. THC: What's the Difference

When you think of cannabinoids in marijuana, you probably think of THC and CBD. However, the plant contains many more important cannabinoids, each with their own properties. One of the most interesting is THCA.

THCA stands for Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid. This is a cannabinoid found in cannabis that eventually converts to the psychoactive THC as the plant dries. However, THCA on its own can actually give you a range of medical benefits without the psychoactive properties- similar to CBD.

So what’s the difference when comparing THCA vs. THC? Here’s an in-depth look at the differences between these two cannabinoids.

THCA vs. THC: What’s the Difference?

Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid is an acidic chemical compound found in cannabis. THCA converts into THC by process of decarboxylation, which involves heating the compound to enhance its ability to interact with the body.

THCA on its own doesn’t impact the cannabinoid receptors in the brain. Therefore, you won’t feel the mind-altering effects you’d get from THC. However, THCA still has its uses. It’s been found to have many of the medical benefits of THC without making you high, making it interesting as an option for therapeutic use.

When cannabis is dried up and heated, you get Tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is the cannabinoid responsible for interacting with the brain and ultimately making you high. When you use THC, you’ll experience effects such as euphoria, mental stimulation, and an intense, relaxing body high. In contrast, you won’t get these effects from THCA.

Both THCA and THC have medical benefits- but THC gives you them without altering your mind. This makes it useful for medical purposes.

What Are The Benefits of THCA?

While THCA won’t get you high, it does have various medical uses. Much like THC and CBD, it can be used in the treatment of various medical conditions. While not many studies focus purely on THCA, many health benefits of the cannabinoid have been identified in scientific studies.

THCA has anti-inflammatory properties according to research. This makes it useful for treating all kinds of conditions associated with pain and inflammation. Like with other cannabinoids, it can help relieve pain and treat strains and aches.

Another study found that cannabinoids such as THCA can inhibit tumor cell growth. This makes it a promising treatment for cancer. The study also found THCA has antiemetic effects, making it useful for preventing nausea and vomiting.

THCA can also help your brain. Studies have found that THCA has powerful neuroprotective qualities. This makes it a promising treatment for Huntington's disease, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, and other neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory diseases.

It has also been found to have antiproliferative and antidiabetic properties. THCA isn’t just useful for treating illnesses. Many people also use THCA to prevent a number of health problems and improve their health in general. It gives you a range of benefits without any psychoactive properties or harmful side effects, making it very safe and healthy to use.

How to Use THCA

There are a few different ways people use THCA.

You can find THCA in some topical and tincture products, although these are less common than THC and CBD products. You can also buy THCA isolate in crystalline form which can be vaporized

Many people use THCA by juicing raw cannabis. If you grow your own marijuana, you can grind down fresh plants into juices and smoothies. Simply drink up and you’ll get all of THCA’s medical benefits. Just make sure you don’t heat your cannabis up, as this can lead to THCA’s transformation into THC.

Of course, there are alternatives. You may prefer THC products if you don’t mind some mind-altering effects. You can also use CBD or CBN for purely medical effects.

THCA vs. THC: Which Should I Use?

While you may be interested in using THCA, that doesn’t rule THC out. THC will still give you many of the same medical benefits you’d get from THCA. It’s also much easier to use THC thanks to the wide variety of products containing it.

THC is preferable if you want to get the psychoactive effects of cannabis in addition to the medical benefits. THC can help in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, insomnia, nausea, chronic pain, and a lot more.

Of course, the most common method of using THC is to buy cannabis flower and smoke it in a joint, bong or pipe. You can also use THC oil in vapor cartridges or buy marijuana edibles containing THC.

THCA is the better choice if you want purely medical effects with no head or body buzz. However, if that’s your goal, you may also want to consider simply using CBD.

THCA vs. CBD: Which Is Better?

CBD is another cannabinoid known for giving you various medical benefits without getting you high. Tons of research has shown CBD to be a safe and effective treatment for various medical conditions and health issues. It boosts both your mental and physical health without any harmful side effects.

Like THCA, CBD products also have various medical benefits. CBD has been shown to help with pain relief, anxiety, cancer, seizures, insomnia, diabetes, and more. It’s becoming increasingly popular as a safe and effective treatment for various conditions.

CBD’s main benefit over THCA is in the products available and convenience of use. It’s easy to buy CBD products online, including vape oil, tinctures, topicals, and edibles.

Both THCA and CBD are great for medical use, but CBD is more widely available and convenient to use than THCA.


In short, THCA is a cannabinoid which converts to THC when dried and heated. THCA won’t give you psychoactive effects like THC will, but it does have all kinds of medical benefits. It can be used in many forms for its anti-inflammatory, anti-emetic, and neuroprotective properties. While you won’t find THCA products too often, you can get it by grinding fresh cannabis into juices and smoothies.

In most cases, users will prefer to use THC or CBD. Both have medical properties and are widely available on the market today. However, THCA is definitely an interesting alternative for those looking for new ways to get the medical benefits of cannabis.


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