The hemp world has been buzzing with THCA due to its accessibility and potency, but how does it compare to actual Delta-9 THC? While THCA is somewhat of the precursor of “regular” THC, both have very different ways of acting inside the body and the potential wellness effects each can produce.
Because of this, we made a small guide detailing how THCA and Delta-9 THC work, their effects and potential benefits, and the best way to take each of them. We also checked both cannabinoids side by side on the effects, legality uses, and which one works best for different people.
If you are interested in knowing which cannabinoid works best and for whom, you can explore more down below.
- THCA is a non-psychoactive compound that has several wellness benefits, including nausea, inflammation, and neuroprotective properties.
- While THCA can be used for potential wellness benefits as well, since it has less affinity to bind to the CB1 and CB2 receptors, it is considered to be less effective.
- Delta-9 THC is the “popular” THC version and the main psychoactive component in weed.
- D9 THC can be used for wellness objectives, like aiding with anxiety, supporting chemotherapy treatments, and helping with anxiety and stress.
- Both THCA and Delta-9 THC can both be useful, but the preference between one and another comes down to how accessible hemp and cannabis are in your state.
- 1 What is THCA?
- 2 How Is THCA Made?
- 3 What are the Effects of THCA?
- 4 What are the Benefits of THCA?
- 5 Potential Side Effects of THCA
- 6 Best Way to Take THCA
- 7 What is Delta-9?
- 8 How is Delta-9 Made?
- 9 What are the Effects Of Delta-9?
- 10 What Are The Benefits Of Delta-9
- 11 Potential Side Effects Of Delta-9
- 12 Best Way To Take Delta-9
- 13 THCA vs. Delta-9: Effects
- 14 THCA vs Delta-9: Potency
- 15 THCA vs Delta-9: Legality
- 16 THCA vs Delta-9: Cost
- 17 THCA vs. Delta-9: Which One Is Right For You?
- 18 Where To Buy THCA & Delta-9
What is THCA?
Let’s have a quick review of what THCA is and what exactly this kind of cannabinoid is. This cannabinoid is known as the precursor or parent of Delta-9 THC, as it turns into this compound when heat or light is applied.
Most cannabis and hemp plants contain THCA due to the natural processes that happen in the plant. However, this compound can only be found in really small quantities when compared to major cannabinoids like CBD or Delta-9 THC.
We’ll delve into this further in the article, but it is important you know that THCA is non-psychoactive. Due to the size of this compound’s molecule, it cannot bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors, and therefore, it won’t get you high unless it turns into Delta-9 THC.
How Is THCA Made?
THCA is not technically made, as it is more “extracted” directly from the cannabis plant. Since this cannabinoid is the inactive form of Delta-9 THC, producers simply grow cannabis and extract the THCA extracts either by using mechanical or chemical extraction.
Most THCA is concentrated in the resin and trichome crystals found in the outer layer of the plant, more specifically around the flower and buds. This is why smoking the buds directly gets you higher than smoking the actual leaves, as the flowers have a higher concentration.
What are the Effects of THCA?
Research on THCA is still scarce, but there are some general ideas on what can happen when THCA is consumed without being activated. Users have reported that it could be antiemetic, meaning that it could treat nausea and general stomach-related problems.
Similar to CBD, users have also used it for anti-inflammatory purposes. This is because THCa can prevent muscle spasms, relieve pain, and help, thanks to the production of neurochemicals that can ease pain and discomfort.
Generally, THCA has milder wellness effects when compared to Delta-9 THC. Think of it as biting raw cannabis versus smoking it. While some people might feel slightly relaxed and feel supported with their nausea, smoking THCA will turn it into Delta-9 THC.
Thanks to this transformation, it is very probable that it will have a much stronger effect than THCA on its own.
What are the Benefits of THCA?
THCA has several potential benefits, even before transforming into Delta-9 THC. Since this cannabinoid is an all-rounder, there are different benefits you can have even by having them inactive. Let’s take a look.
- Anti Nausea and Anti-vomiting Effects: There’s a 2013 animal study that showed how THCA could help reduce nausea and general nausea-induced behavior. Because of this, it showed great potential for future clinical trials in humans for future treatments.
- Neuroprotective Properties: The combination of both THCA and THC could help protect against neurotoxins and protect neurons against cell death, according to this research.
- Anti-cancer Properties: THCA has also shown promise thanks to its anti-proliferative (prostate cancer) effects. In this study, scientists showed that it could help with the progression of cancer cells.
- Anticonvulsant Effects: This animal study also holds promise for its anticonvulsant effects of Delta-9 THCA, which helped with a mixture of D9 THC to lower the seizure probability and help with refractory partial seizures.
These are some of the potential benefits of this compound, but much is still needed to understand how THCA works fully. Most scientific work on cannabinoids still uses animal studies as a reference, so to get a full take on the benefits, clinical trials are still needed.
Potential Side Effects of THCA
Sadly, THCA effects are still not well documented, at least not with scientific papers or research. Most users using either inactive THCA or THCA concentrate report feeling sedated, anxious or even get nausea when used as Delta-9 THC.
Some users also feel effects similar to Delta-9 THC, which can lead to feeling anxious, stressed, or get drowsy. These are all unwanted effects of D9 THC, but they can feel even stronger because of the concentration of THCA diamonds or crystals.
That said, THCA has not been studied, not even after turning with Delta-9. Later in the article, we’ll talk more about the potential side effects of Delta-9 THC, but for now, just keep in mind that the side effects are pretty similar.
Best Way to Take THCA
The best way to try this cannabinoid is definitely by buying THCA diamonds or inactive THCA. While technically, you can buy THCA extract, the effects and benefits are slightly limited when compared to when it is activated and transformed into Delta-9 THC (even with small doses).
THCA concentrate can look different in many ways, though. You can try crystals, diamonds, or sand. The three of them can be added to prerolls, joints, or dab rigs, and they are currently scarce to find.
The main difference between the three is basically that crystals are refined through the use of acetic acid and hexane. At the same time, diamonds are made by chemical extraction using butane or other solvents. Both take the sedimented crystals, but the solvents used are different. Sand, on the other hand, is THCA residue that’s been milled up.
The three forms of THCA can be smoked, although sand will usually evaporate a lot easier than crystals or diamonds and is usually used as a pre roll or weed coater (like kief).
That said, THCA extracts basically turn into Delta-9 THC after heat is applied. So while you could also have edibles with THCA concentrate, we strongly suggest you try THCA diamonds inside pre rolls or simply try weed if it is available in your state or try hemp-derived Delta-9 THC products.
What is Delta-9?
Let’s now go with a classic on the cannabinoid world: Delta-9 THC. Also known as Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, this compound is one of the major cannabinoids that are naturally found in both hemp and cannabis.
Known by users and the industry as THC, this cannabinoid is a psychoactive ingredient that can cause strong feelings of relaxation and feelings sometimes described as a “cerebral buzz.” But in simpler terms, these are the compounds in weed that make you feel high.
This compound is generally known as one of the most common psychoactive cannabinoids in the hemp scene, and it has a complicated legal status. While products with less than 0.3% of Delta-9 THC per dry weight are federally legal, this cannabinoid is still considered a drug and under the Controlled Substance Act as well.
Hemp producers have found a way to include this cannabinoid in edible form so it can still comply with federal law by using gummies and other types of products that can withhold smaller Delta-9 THC quantities, so wherever hemp is legal, you can try this type of product.
How is Delta-9 Made?
There are two common ways to make Delta-9 extract. The first is extracting the Delta-9 THC directly from the cannabis or hemp plant. This can be done through both mechanical and chemical processes, and it’s how manufacturers create extracts from all types of cannabinoids like CBD.
Using this method extracts directly from the plant using either a physical process by milling the plant and then extracting by changing temperatures and removing the trichomes directly or by separating the biomass by using solvents.
The second process involves isomerization, which is a little more complicated. To make it a little simpler, chemists take CBD from hemp-derived sources and transform it into Delta-9 THC. This type of product is kind of complicated and can be a little risky due to the process involving modifying cannabinoids.
What are the Effects Of Delta-9?
Now, let’s look at the “original” cannabinoid: Delta-9 THC. Some users have experienced feelings like euphoria and strong relaxation, while others feel an increased appetite and a general sense of relief.
This is due to how Delta-9 THC interacts with our endocannabinoid system (ECS), which runs through our nervous network. By binding to the CB1 and CB2 receptors, it can make the system regulate the production of neurotransmitters to prevent inflammation, pain, or generally feel relaxed.
Thanks to this interaction, Delta-9 THC can make you feel relaxed and even drowsy since the ECS can increase things like appetite or regulate nausea, or generally make you feel more sleepy. Because of this, it is recommended you try Delta-9 THC in small doses at first.
What Are The Benefits Of Delta-9
Like many cannabinoids you can find in hemp, Delta-9 can provide several potential benefits. As we mentioned above, the interaction of ECS plays a big role in how it can help your system. Here is a quick look at some of the benefits we found.
- Can Lessen Pain: This study found that it can help with certain types of chronic pain.
- Increases Appetite: Thanks to the ECS interaction, it can help with increasing appetite. Users have used this for wellness purposes to help with low appetite.
- Potential as a Sleeping Aid: Thanks to its relaxing effect, it can help as a sleeping aid. Due to its interaction with the ECS system and general relaxation feelings, it can help ease some nervousness and stress symptoms and tense muscles to help you sleep better.
These are some of the benefits of Delta-9 THC, which are all attributed to how the molecule interacts with the CB1 and CB2 receptors. Delta-9 can also help with the regulation of our own endocannabinoid system, even helping with the production of our neurochemicals.
Potential Side Effects Of Delta-9
Delta-9 THC has a few side effects that are common for people with sensitivity to this cannabinoid or whenever you are taking large doses. Some of these effects include feeling anxiety, stress, getting a headache, stomach pain, feeling sick, and even feeling slightly drowsy.
While none of these side effects are actually lethal, it is important you monitor how you feel and get plenty of liquids if you consume Delta-9. Staying hydrated is key, especially if you’ve been smoking for a while.
Because of the potential side effects of Delta-9 THC, it is important you always start by microdosing. This method uses small dosages that you slowly build after each time you take the cannabinoid, adjusting as you try the effects and general feelings.
Best Way To Take Delta-9
There are several ways to take Delta-9 THC, including smoking it, vaping it, eating it, or using it as a tincture. Now, the most common way is to try herbs, either by using a pipe or bong or trying a pre roll or joint.
You can also vape Delta-9 THC through concentrate. This can be done through disposable products like vaping pens or cartridges, which are basically ready to use and only need a heating device. Concentrates can also be dabbed through a dab rig or electronic device.
For a smokeless option, you can also try Delta-9 THC-infused edibles, like gummies, drinks, or brownies. These are generally easier to get, thanks to the legal status of Delta-9 THC and the gray zone of hemp-derived products. These usually hit stronger but are way more discreet than concentrates or herbs.
Lastly, you can also try tinctures, which use a carrier oil (usually MCT) and Delta-9 THC extract. These products are usually used in drinks, tea, or sublingually and are stronger and longer lasting than regular herbs but not as strong as edibles.
THCA vs. Delta-9: Effects
THCA and Delta-9 THC share some effects, like being anti-emetic, helping with inflammation, or feeling relaxed. Delta-9 THC is generally attributed to the strongest effects among the big six cannabinoids due to the size of the molecule when compared to THCA.
Thanks to THCA’s molecule size (due to the acid group), it cannot bind to the CB1 and CB2 receptors. However, since Delta-9 THC can bind easily to the CB1 and CB2 receptors of our endocannabinoid system, the effects produced by this cannabinoid are much stronger.
Now that said, Delta-9 can have stronger side effects than THCA. Since it binds more strongly, it can cause adverse effects on the regulation of certain effects. So while this cannabinoid can help with certain symptoms better, people with sensitivity to D9 THC can feel nausea, stress, or other side effects more easily as well.
THCA vs Delta-9: Potency
Before we talk about the potency, THCA does not get you high while inactive, so Delta-9 THC is generally considered stronger. Now, THCA has less affinity to the CB1 and CB2 receptors, which means the general wellness effects of Delta-9 THC are stronger just by how it can bind to our neuronal network.
D9 THC generally has a strong potency, with even 10mg of this cannabinoid can make users feel pretty high, especially with edibles. So if you want a product that can be fairly strong without having to consume a lot of it, D9 might just be it.
THCA vs Delta-9: Legality
This is somewhat complicated, so we’ll try to put it as simply as possible. THCA is currently in a gray zone, as it can be considered as a hemp-derived cannabinoid due to its origin. Some states, however, still count THC derivatives and isomers as versions of this drug. So, generally speaking, it is legal at the federal level as long as it’s inactive. However, we strongly suggest doing some research on this, depending on your state. The gray zone theory isn’t applicable across the US.
As far as D9 is concerned, if a product has less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC per dry weight, it is considered hemp and legal at a federal level. However, unlike THCA, some states actually have bans on D9 THC regardless of its origin. On the other hand, other states like California or Nevada have legal cannabis without needing a Medicinal Marijuana ID card.
THCA vs Delta-9: Cost
Now, THCA is generally more expensive to get than Delta-9 THC. Since D9 THC can be easily extracted or converted from CBD or through chemical processes, it is less expensive to get when compared to THCA.
THCA also requires sedimentation and fewer cannabinoids can be extracted, the price for diamonds and crystals tends to spike up, even against medicinal cannabis prices. So unless you don’t get access to legal Delta-9 THC products, original THC is preferred to THCA price-wise.
THCA vs. Delta-9: Which One Is Right For You?
Now, let’s take a last review to check which of the two cannabinoids can be more helpful to you. THCA might be better for users that cannot access legal Delta-9 THC, whose state has access to hemp products, and who want to try the effects of converted THCA.
However, since Delta-9 is cheaper in some states, you might prefer to go for this compound instead. States with medicinal cannabis or legal recreational cannabis might be better if you don’t want to overspend or try other strains instead of concentrates.
The third option is using hemp-derived Delta-9 THC, which has lower doses when compared to recreational or medicinal cannabis. However, it is far more accessible since hemp is legal at a federal level, and Delta-9 is easier to microdose or build up the dosage.
Where To Buy THCA & Delta-9
Getting THCA can be pretty expensive, so our recommendation is always to get hemp-derived Delta-9 THC to ensure the best quality products. If you want to try tasty edibles that have top-notch quality, you’ll love the Delta-9 THC gummies from LIT Farms.
The gummies come in a 10-count resealable pouch, with each of the gummies having 10mg of CBD and 10mg of hemp-derived and federal-compliant Delta-9 THC. These are perfect for relaxing and unwinding, with CBD helping to lessen the possible side effects of D9 THC. This results in 200mg of total cannabinoids per bag.
These are available in two of our favorite strain-inspired flavors with strain specific-terpenes: Blueberry Lemonade and Cherry Pineapple. The first one has delicious tart and sweet berry notes, while the second has a tropical vibe with some delicious cherry notes.
With a soft, relaxed feeling, users love these cannabinoid-infused gummies because of their buildable dosage, the CBD and THC combo, and how easy it is to zip your bag and take your favorite edibles on the go.