Cannabis has grown considerably in popularity over the past few decades. Unfortunately, it’s still listed as a controlled substance by the federal government. Several states have also criminalized it, making it harder for cannabis enthusiasts living in those areas to indulge in the herb.
But there’s a legal loophole around the ban: any cannabis product containing less than 0.3% THC is considered legal, and that includes cannabis flower whose THC hasn’t been activated. This means that you may be able to enjoy the psychoactive effects of cannabis whilst abiding by local and federal laws.
Read on to learn more about high THCa hemp flower, right from what it is to how it works.
THCa (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) is the non-psychoactive, acidic precursor of THC. As the cannabis plant grows and develops, it starts to develop the first building blocks of terpenes and cannabinoids. The first cannabinoid developed by the cannabis plant is CBGA (Cannabigerolic acid).
CBGA breaks down eventually into THCa and CBDa. Both these substances are not intoxicating and have relatively few effects since they cannot bind to the body’s endocannabinoid receptors due to an extra molecular carboxyl ring.
When heated, THCa and CBDa lose their extra carboxyl ring in a process called decarboxylation to form THC and CBD, respectively.
High THCa hemp flower refers to cannabis with high concentrations of THCa, which averages more than 15% in most strains. Users benefit from the high THCa concentrations by decarboxylating the flower to release high amounts of THC, which is responsible for the cannabis plant’s psychoactive effects.
THCa has a relatively larger molecular structure than THC. This limits its ability to bind to the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system. However, it still interacts with other parts of the body.
For instance, some studies suggest that THCa interacts with several enzymes to elicit different reactions in the body. For instance, it suppresses the enzymes tumor necrosis factor-alpha and cyclooxygenase, which are responsible for causing inflammation. This interaction may result in reduced inflammation.
Similarly, other studies suggest that THCa may have neuroprotective and nausea-reducing properties. However, the classification of cannabis as a controlled substance at the federal level has significantly limited the studies on the plant and its compounds. As such, scientists still don’t know much about THCa’s interaction with the body, and more studies are needed to understand it fully.
The most pronounced difference between THCa and THC flower is that THCa is non-intoxicating and does not produce the psychoactive effects associated with THC. However, THCa can be converted into THC by heating.
Users achieve this through various heat-intensive consumption methods, including smoking, vaping, and cooking in edibles.
This conversion, commonly known as decarboxylation, alters the molecular structure of THCa by removing a carboxyl ring, making it small enough to bind with the CB1 and CB2 receptors.
Here are some of the key differences and similarities between THCa and THC.
THCa is not potent, at least not in a conventional way. In its pure form, THCa has limited potential for interacting with your body. However, heating high THCa hemp flower converts the THCa in the flower into THC, thus becoming an effective way to consume THC in high doses.
There are many different ways to consume THC. You can smoke regular cannabis flower or purchase it in concentrated forms. Most THC consumption methods involve some form of heating.
But for THCa, you have to consume raw, freshly harvested THCa flower to get its beneficial effects. You can also purchase concentrated THCa products like oils and tinctures.
That said, your preferred consumption method of THCa flower comes down to your intended effects. If you want the therapeutic benefits without psychoactive effects, you should consume it raw without heating.
Conversely, users looking for psychoactive effects have to decarboxylate the THCa flower to activate THC.
The legality of high THCa hemp flower in the United States is a bit controversial. On the one hand, high THCa flower is generally classified as hemp since it contains less than 0.3% THC. On the other hand, it can easily turn into THC when heated.
THC is banned at the federal level. However, several states, cities, and municipalities have decriminalized it over the past decade, making it legal to buy, sell, and consume THC products.
This legal nuance between the two substances creates a sort of loophole, whereby users can purchase high THCa flower legally and heat it to enjoy the psychoactive effects of THC.
If you’re looking to try out high THCa hemp flower, here are some of the best strains on the market:
The Lemon Cherry Gelato THCA Flower is arguably one of the most potent high THCa strains available. It boasts a whopping 41% alkaloid content, of which 38% is pure THCa.
The strain is a balanced hybrid that provides the phenomenal sativa head high, accompanied by a relaxing indica full body buzz.
Despite the high concentration of THCa in the strain, it doesn’t produce an overwhelming high, at least not for experienced users. In fact, users report getting a boost in mental clarity and relaxation effects.
In terms of flavor and aroma, the strain has a citrus, skunky aroma accompanied by a spicy cherry flavor, thanks to a wide abundance of terpene caryophyllene.
Oreoz THCa Flower is an indica-dominant hybrid with a high THCa percentage of about 33.41%. As an indica strain, it offers more calming effects that will leave you in a blanket of calm and tranquility.
The buds are characterized by dark purple colors with thick trichomes that look much like vanilla icing. The strain also has a subtle chocolate flavor that will excite your taste buds as you enjoy its fast-acting effects.
As you may have already guessed, the strain is named after the legendary basketball player Scottie Pippen. And much like the player, it packs a pretty powerful punch. The strain has a THCa concentration of about 27.25%, which is enough to impress even the most experienced cannabis users.
As a Sativa-dominant hybrid, Scottie Pippin offers a vibrant buzz with fast-acting effects that peak in about 15 to 20 minutes. It has a pretty musky aroma with lemon peel, gas, and sweet cherry flavors.
THCa offers an excellent way to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of cannabis without getting intoxicated. However, it is crucial to keep in mind that high THCa flower strains typically have upwards of 15% THCa, which can be converted to THC through decarboxylation. This means that if you heat THCa flower, you’re definitely going to get intoxicated.
Although THCa isn’t psychoactive and doesn’t bind with your endocannabinoid system, it is still metabolized by your body. THCa is typically metabolized into THC-COOH, the same product of THC metabolism. Drug tests that test for cannabis use test for this compound and are not able to distinguish between THCa and THC.
However, most drug tests, including those used in most federal workplaces, don’t show a positive result for trace amounts of THC-COOH.
Technically yes, but you won’t be using THCa as a pure compound. As soon as you expose it to heat, THCa quickly converts into THC, which means you’ll get intoxicated.
Therefore, the most effective way to consume THCa without getting high is by eating raw flower or taking concentrates.
The best way to distinguish the two is by checking the product label. Regular cannabis flower typically has upwards of 10% THC concentration. On the other hand, THCa flower has between 0.8 and 0.3 THC, with the latter being classified as hemp.
The product label also contains the product’s THCa concentration and other information, including the product’s cannabinoid profile.
Yes, you can legally buy THCa flower online, provided you are in an area that complies with the 2018 Farm Bill’s regulations on THC content and that the product contains less than 0.3% THC.