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// June 14, 2024 //

is THCa psychoactive? unpacking the facts









Some people use hemp plants to get high. Then, others simply appreciate the medicinal benefits it can provide and don’t want the psychoactive effects.

The good news is that there are options that cater to both wants and needs. THCa is not the same as THC. Just because it’s from the cannabis plant doesn’t automatically mean it makes you high. 

Is THCa psychoactive? Well, it can be. However, in its raw form it’s not going to make anyone high. Now that we got that out of the way, let’s unpack the facts about this product and learn more about the effects it produces or how those effects can be altered. Keep reading! 

 Cannabis in tincture form on a table.

the first step is understanding THCa

Let’s focus for just a moment on what THCa is. The scientific name is tetrahydrocannabinolic acid. Ya, we don’t know how to say it either. This is different from THC, which is tetrahydrocannabinol. THCa is an acid and it’s called the precursor to THC. 

THCa is a natural cannabinoid. It is found in live hemp plants and can be extracted and preserved like any other cannabinoids from the cannabis plant. The acidic nature is slightly different from some elements, but it’s part of what makes it THCa

When THCa is used in its raw form or even in an extracted form, it is well-known for its potent medicinal benefits. But the kicker is that in this form it has no psychoactive compound. In other words, it’s not going to get you high. Naturally speaking, THCa is not psychoactive. 

But the answer doesn’t stop there so let’s continue. 

THCa conversion to THC

Here is where things get a little bit dicey. You see, THCa is not psychoactive, but THC is and they are very close friends. Once THCa crosses a line, it officially becomes THC and then it will be psychoactive. 

There is this process called decarboxylation. To be honest, decarboxylation is commonly used to turn THCa into THC because it creates a very potent version of THC. During extraction and decarboxylation processes, the process is very specific and there are multiple elements involved. 

That being said, all it really takes is some heat to decarb weed and then it becomes potent in THC. What does that even mean? It simply means that when raw THCa is exposed to heat or taken through a decarboxylation process, then that product converts into THC. 

Do you see where we are going with this? THCa is not psychoactive, but when it is heated, it becomes THC, which IS psychoactive. On that note, even vaping or smoking THCa can expose enough heat to the product to convert THCa into THC and cause those psychoactive effects. Some professionals feel as though they are milder from vaping, but it still happens. 

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It’s kind of like this: 

THCa in raw form is a nonpsychoactive cannabinoid

Heat is applied in some way and provokes decarboxylation

A chemical reaction happens from the heat and it becomes THC

Then, the psychoactive effects interact with the brain receptors

Heat application can include lighting for smoking, baking in the oven, vaporizing, and specialty processes too. 

THCa vs. THC

It can be confusing when these things seem like they are probably the exact same, right? But that little “a” is there for a reason and it differentiates the two significantly. First of all, we already know that the “a” stands for acid in the name. But it also gives this cannabinoid a completely different name, right? 

Alright, so let’s talk about some of these differences

Chemical structure



Yep, more on each of these below! 

chemical structure 

THCa is an acid, but what sets it apart in terms of chemical structure is the carboxyl component that is part of the makeup of this cannabinoid. It is specifically the carboxylic acid that makes THCa not be psychoactive. In comparison, THC doesn’t have that. And, if you recognize the word carboxyl from decarboxylation, there is a reason. Decarboxylation removes the carboxylic acid compound and then it becomes THC since it no longer has that. 


Technically speaking, THCa has no psychoactive effects. There are absolutely zero for THCa. But what can happen is THCa can be converted to THC and that is where the psychoactive effects occur. The thing is, there is a fine line between those two things. 

To turn THCa into something with psychoactivity, all you have to do is vaporize the cannabis concentrate or light up a joint. Listen, even baking THCa products will cause that to happen. So, even though THCa isn’t psychoactive, it’s very easy to experience psychoactive effects when heat is used. 

THC is psychoactive and when THCa is converted into THC from heat application, it becomes so. When using any product that contains THC, it’s going to produce the high or psychoactive effects in some form.


Finally, let’s talk about consumption. The truth is that these can each be consumed in various ways. They can also be consumed in the same ways. But what you need to remember is that if you want to avoid psychoactive effects from using THCa, then you need to use it in raw cannabis plants without any heat application. 

You can inject it into a gummy or edible, you can juice the cannabis product for raw acidic form, or you can create concentrates, oils, and tinctures. Just don’t use heat. Of course, if you want to vape it or smoke it, that’s fine. But remember what it does. 

And then with THC, you can literally consume it just about any way you please. It’s going to have psychoactive effects no matter what. 

Two cannabis joints and herbs on a blue surface.

there are potential health benefits to THCa

THCa has a federal legal status since in pure form it is not psychoactive. That also creates a legal loophole. It is a go-to option for potential health benefits and therapeutic potential effects for medical marijuana plant needs. There are several different potential benefits that it is known for. 



Pain relief

Neuroprotective properties

Alright, let’s look just a moment at these details. 


Antiemetic means that THCa can help to reduce vomiting and nausea. You can use it for the stomach flu, but it’s typically used more for disorders or treatments that cause a lot of nausea and vomiting. One of the most popular uses is when someone is going through chemotherapy and experiencing intense nausea. It simply helps to settle or reduce that nausea. 


We all suffer from various forms of inflammation and it typically makes us quite uncomfortable. From chronic disorders to diagnoses like arthritis, inflammation wreaks havoc on our lives. However, THCa has been shown in many studies to help reduce inflammation, which provides a lot of benefits for people who suffer from its side effects. Talk about relief. As a by-product of that, pain relief may also be experienced.

pain relief 

THCa is not specifically known for pain relief like Delta 9 THC is, but it can still provide those benefits. The pain relief comes from analgesic properties that simply help to calm the cannabinoid receptors of pain and will take the edge off, especially when someone deals with chronic pain. 

neuroprotective properties

Finally, the neuroprotective details are a protection against neurodegenerative issues. This includes oxidative stress, anxiety relief, and protection against the effects of terrible diseases like Alzheimer’s. That’s not the only one either. Consider the possibility to slow or reduce the effects of things like these that really have no cure. 

using THCa safely and effectively

Now, we’ve unpacked a lot of details about THCa here. It is in fact not psychoactive, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be used in a way that activates intoxicating effects so keep that in mind. There are some things that every cannabis user should consider when using THCa or any other cannabis flower products. 

Always purchase high-quality products from reputable suppliers. Look for lab testing to confirm purity and potency details. 

Start with low dosages and adjust slowly as needed. A low dose may be great for you but try not to overdo it. 

For medicinal uses, it’s a great idea to speak to a healthcare professional.

Learn how to store your THCa products properly for safety and preservation. 

Being aware is probably the biggest thing to take away from this guide. Since THCa can easily be converted into THC, you need to be mindful if you are trying to avoid psychoactive properties. Just understand the difference and what causes the conversion.

THCa is often appealing because it doesn’t have psychoactive properties, but knowledge is power in this scenario! 

A cannabis dab on a spoon.


Is THCa psychoactive? The short answer is no, but the longer answer requires far more detail. Truthfully, THCa can be psychoactive when it is decarboxylated. And that means if you vape it or smoke it, then the state is altered even if it is not substantially. Raw THCa without any type of heat activation is the only way to ensure it is not THC and therefore not psychoactive. 

Whether you’re looking for medicinal uses or simply want to try something different, it’s important to know these things. You walk a fine line that could easily be crossed. While some people want to convert it into THC, we just don’t want anyone to do it by mistake and then be disappointed. 

Check out our wide selection of vaping products today! Every product is made with exceptional quality.

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