THCa vs. Delta 9: Differences and Similarities
16th Feb 2023
THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) and Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-9 THC) are two of the most common cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. While both compounds are similar in chemical structure, they have distinct properties and effects on the human body. Join us as we take a deeper dive into the THCa vs Delta 9 THC debate and explore their similarities and differences.
THCA vs. Delta 9: How Do They Differ?
In simple terms, THC-acid is the unactivated form of THC, specifically Delta 9 THC. While THCa is a non-psychotropic cannabinoid that is found in live or raw cannabis flower, it is converted to THC through heat and combustion. In other words, eating raw cannabis flower will result in no psychoactive effects but if it's heated or decarboxylated, that will then activate the psychoactive effects.
The molecular composition of THCa is the reason it does not fit into the cannabinoid receptors in our brain that responsible for the intoxicating effects. THCa is the precursor molecule and can be converted to THC through a process called decarboxylation. This process alters the chemical structure of the THC molecule and can be achieved through exposure to sunlight, room temperature, or heat exposure through smoking, vaping, or oven decarboxylation. Thus, the THCa compound becomes Delta 9 THC when heated which is why eating raw cannabis cannot get you high.
THCA vs. Delta 9: Health Effects
THCa has therapeutic potential for anti-inflammatory, antiemetic, and immune system benefits, as well as promising potential for treating epilepsy. Delta 9 THC on the other hand has potential to provide relief for arthritis, improve sleep, relieve pain, prevent muscle spasms, stimulate appetite, alleviate anxiety, among other benefits.
Compared to THCa, Delta 9 THC can have negative physical and psychological effects on consumers, such as disordered thinking, panic attacks, and delusions that can distort time perception. It can also have a significant impact on spatial and psychomotor abilities, as well as affect vigilance and memory for mental tasks. That being said, Delta 9 can also induce euphoria, resulting in heightened sensory experience and increased appetite. On the other hand, THCa has shown to have neuroprotective properties. Both THCa and Delta 9 can be used to alleviate and even treat a range of medical conditions.