What is THCA Flower? A Guide to Its Effects and How It's Made

What is THCA Flower? A Guide to Its Effects and How It's Made

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THCA flower is exploding in popularity within the hemp scene. But what is THCA flower, what types of effects does this hemp product offer, and most importantly, is it even legal?

Read on to get the answers to all these questions and more as we dive deeply into this fairly new and upcoming cannabis product. 

Let's begin.

What is THCA?

THCA stands for "tetrahydrocannabinolic acid." It's the acidic precursor to Delta-9 THC, similar to how CBDA is the acidic precursor to CBD. Some have described it as the "raw form" of THC.

Like most other cannabinoids, the biosynthesis (fancy word for "making molecules within living cells") of THCA occurs within trichomes, the tiny crystalline structures found sprinkled on the leaves and buds of cannabis plants. 

When contained in the plant, THCA will eventually decarboxylate (remove a double bond consisting of one carbon atom, one carbon atom, and a group of oxygen and hydrogen) and convert to Delta-9 THC. In some instances, THCA may also convert into CBDA

THCA can convert into Delta-9 THC more rapidly through various methods such as being:
  • Baked into an edible at no more than 315°F
  • Ignited with a flame
  • Vaporized in a dry herb device
What should also be clear is that THCA isn't THC. The two cannabinoids aren't even isomers (molecules of the same "parts" but in a different arrangement). For instance, a THC molecule consists of 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and two oxygen atoms, while THCA consists of 22 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and four oxygen atoms. 

What is THCA Flower?

woman holding cannabis buds

To understand THCA flower, we must first talk about the differences between hemp and marijuana. In the U.S., the difference between hemp and marijuana is one not based on science but rather on law

Hemp is cannabis with a 0.3% or lower concentration of Delta-9 THC by dry weight. This same standard also applies to products containing hemp-derived cannabinoids. As of this writing, hemp products are legal under federal law (2018 Farm Bill) but can vary under state law (depending on where you live).

Marijuana, on the other hand, is cannabis with a Delta-9 concentration that is higher than 0.3% on a dry weight basis

Pretty simple, right? But things get pretty interesting when THCA flower comes into the mix. 

THCA vs. THC

As mentioned before, THCA is a separate cannabinoid from Delta-9 THC. Both molecules are related in that they both come from cannabis, and that THCA is a precursor to THC. But again, THCA is not THC. The only factor considered through the law is the concentration of Delta-9 THC. 

THCA Flower vs. Marijuana Flower

Side by side, THCA hemp flower and standard marijuana flower have many similarities. Both are very high in THCA and, when ignited, can deliver the psychoactive properties of Delta-9. 

The only difference between THCA hemp flower and marijuana is the amount of actual Delta-9 THC content within the flower. THCA flower has a 0.3% or lower concentration of Delta-9 THC, while marijuana could be as low as 0.31% by dry weight. 

Based on cannabinoids, THCA flower bears a lot of similarities to marijuana, except the dry weight concentration of Delta-9 THC never exceeds 0.3% of a bud's dry weight. Therefore, the law considers THCA flower to be hemp.  

How is THCA Flower Made?

"But how is THCA flower made? Is THCA flower 'sprayed?'"
 
You may have spotted products like HHC flower or Delta-8 flower. These products start as CBD flower with Delta-8 or other distillate applied externally. 

THCA flower, on the other hand, requires no external application. Instead, it's grown, harvested as is, and cured for a smoother smoking experience. 

Effects of Smoking THCA Flower

woman smoking cannabis at home

Now you know what THCA flower is, it's time to go over the fun part, the effects. Consuming raw THCA will not yield psychoactive effects, but as mentioned previously in this article, when you ignite (light) THCA, it will decarboxylate and turn into Delta-9.

Those who have consumed Delta-9 THC (the primary psychoactive component in both hemp and marijuana) are already familiar with the effects of smoking or vaping THCA flower. However, one should note that the Delta-9 converts into 11-hydroxy-delta-9 through an edible, which has a slower onset but more pronounced effects that last longer. 

When smoking THCA flower, you get pure Delta-9, meaning the effects will set in sooner but are less pronounced and last longer. 

Such effects can include: 
Whether you prefer eating or smoking hemp-derived Delta-9 THC is a matter of individual preference. Some may find smoking to be better for some contexts and edibles to be better for others. Then again, no "cannabis rulebook" states you can't mix them either. 

How to Smoke THCA Flower

cannabis grinder, buds, and rolled blunts on a table

Smoking THCA flower is as easy as smoking any other type of hemp flower. Just light it up and inhale (unlike a particular 90s president).

But first and foremost, you must break down your flower with a dry herb grinder. A dry herb grinder essentially shreds the hemp flower into a fluffy mulch for a smoother, even-burning experience.

Not all dry herb grinders are made equal. On the cheaper end, you'll find grinders made of plastic. However, these devices are not durable, and their teeth will eventually wear away with time. Essentially, you will get what you pay for and purchase another grinder. 

Then you have metal grinders. These tend to last longer, but some of them do come with finishes that, although they may be pleasing to the eye, this finish may wear off and get into your flower. 

That's why we recommend our Stainless Steel Herb Grinder. It is built of corrosive-resistant medical-grade stainless steel and features razor-sharp teeth that shred flowers in just a few twists. Although a bit pricier than other options, it will last you a lifetime and save you money in the long run since you won't need to purchase cheaply built grinders repeatedly. 

But as far as smoking goes, you have plenty of options:
  • Glass pipes - best for beginners 
  • Water pipes - beginner-friendly, less harsh on the lungs
  • Joints - a slight learning curve, but great for going out
  • Blunts - advanced, lots of prestige, but also contain tobacco/nicotine 
Also, if you're not too keen on smoking, you can always go with a dry herb vaporizer for THCA flower. They do take some tinkering to get the hang of, and there are too many models out there to give a definitive "how to" for the sake of this article. However, they offer versatility, especially for indoor or non-smoking apartment complexes.

Where to Buy THCA Flower

thca flower buds next to a stainless steel herb grinder

While you may be able to find THCA at a local dispensary, you can more conveniently purchase THCA flower online. And yes- it's legal (more on its legality below).

What online store sells quality THCA flower, you may ask? For a limited time, Hometown Hero is offering connoisseur-grade THCA flower for sale through preorder. This online-exclusive product is only available in a limited batch to ensure freshness and potency.

About Our THCA Flower


Our 1/8 oz THCA flower comes in a variety of strains, including Indica-forward Donny Burger, Sativa-dominant Mimosa Haze, and hybrid Mule Fuel. Of course, if you like to bundle and save, you can try all three aromatic and potent strains by purchasing our THCA Flower Strain Trio Pack.

However, if vaping and disposables are your thing, you should also know that we offer several blended vapes featuring THCA liquid diamonds

Indicas
Sativas

Is THCA Flower Safe?

In terms of safety, THCA flower is no different from other hemp-derived THC products. Just make sure that no matter where you purchase your THCA flower, the vendor has full-panel, third-party lab tests available that display potency tests along with tests for contaminants

Also, you should not consume THCA flower if you:
  • Are pregnant
  • Trying to become pregnant
  • Breastfeeding
  • Driving or operating heavy machinery 
"But is THCA flower safe to smoke?"

Well, here's the deal. Because of decades of cannabis prohibition, there is not enough research available on the long-term effects of smoking cannabis or whether it offers any potential therapeutic benefits.

Nonetheless, keep in mind that smoking anything is associated with various effects on health. And again, if you're not into smoking, you can try a dry herb vaporizer, go with Delta-9 edibles, or even disposables with THC-A liquid diamonds for similar effects. 

Is THCA Flower Legal?

Yes, THCA flower is legal on a federal level because it's cannabis with a 0.3% or lower concentration of Delta-9 THC by dry weight. Federal legality means that THCA flower can be purchased with a card online, and shipping the flower across state lines is legal

However, it's best to keep in mind that since the widespread legalization of hemp and hemp-derived cannabinoids, several state legislators, under the pressure of various special interests, have banned THCA flower, similarly to how they may have banned Delta-8 and other hemp products. 

Final Thoughts

THCA products have gained much attention in the hemp industry in recent years. Essentially, these hemp-derived products are legal because it's cannabis with a 0.3% or lower concentration of Delta-9 THC. THCA and THC are related; when ignited, THCA converts to THC. THCA flower is easy to enjoy with your favorite smoking medium or dry herb vaporizer device. And don't forget that you can get THCA liquid diamonds as disposables. 

We hope this article helped answer the question of "What is THCA flower?" for you, and until next time, happy exploring and Mind Your Mind. 

FDA Disclaimer:
 The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. Please consult your healthcare professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires this notice.

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