What Is THCA?

Reading time - 7 minutes - June 10, 2021

In the last few years, marijuana has become a fashionable trend; more than ever before. What once was a few people enjoying a joint, has now become the same people enjoying a CBD banana smoothie or some THC edibles. The cannabis plant and all its juices have been extracted, analysed, and utilised for all their benefits. The research into weed has never been so strong. But what about THCA? We know what you’re thinking: ‘THCA? well that’s just THC with an A in front of it’. Well, technically you’re right. But actually it’s much much more and everyone’s talking about it. Today we’re going to be delving into the subject of THCA and marijuana in general, to help discover what it is and why people are talking about its benefits. Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of all of these new findings, but we do our best. As always, strap yourselves in. Let’s go. 

What is Marijuana?

Before we look at THCA, let’s first take a step back. In this case, let’s take a look at the marijuana plant as a whole. What is it? Lots of people might enjoy the recreational or medicinal benefits of weed without even understanding what it actually is. That’s fine, of course. It’s within your rights. But sometimes it’s nice to look a little deeper. 

The cannabis plant is the plant in its entirety, before it’s extracted from. This could be before the buds are taken, or before other parts are taken to create cannabis concentrates. If you want to learn more about cannabis concentrates then check out: the best cannabis concentrates guide. They’re potent but beautiful creatures. But anyway, let’s move forward. The cannabis plant grows like any other plant; it enjoys sunlight, nice temperature and frequent rain. Not too hot, not too cold. Originally cannabis grew in Central Asia, which then found its way into Africa, Europe and the Americas. Initially it was used for hemp, which was great for making fibres and materials. 

What is a Cannabinoid?

The cannabis plant contains over 400 cannabinoids. But what are they? Well, cannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds within the cannabis plant. These are what give marijuana their special identity. The two most commonly known cannabinoids are THC and CBD. These are the two that people speak about because they both give special effects to the user. THCA will also get a mention. But first let’s take a look at THC and CBD.

What is THC?

THC is a psychoactive substance, which means it is intoxicating and alters the state of the mind. For reference, alcohol and coffee are also psychoactive substances. THC is well-known because it is responsible for the usual high feeling one gets when taking weed. A usual percentage of THC within bud is around 15-20%. In Amsterdam this would be a common amount when purchased at a coffee shop. However, not surprisingly, any product that contains more than 0.2% THC is illegal in the UK. As a general rule, recreational usage of weed is basically illegal in the UK. Recreational means for fun. Why would the UK want anyone having fun?

THC can give feelings of:

What is CBD?

CBD is like THC’s distant, well-mannered cousin. CBD is not a psychoactive substance, which means it isn’t intoxicating or mind-altering. Nonetheless, that’s not to say that CBD doesn’t have any effects. There’s a reason why CBD is so utilised now. The medicinal benefits that derive from this cannabinoid are becoming more widely known now, which is why CBD is now legal in the UK. Since 2018, medicinal cannabis has been legal. Products such as cbd edibles, hemp pain relief cream and oils are all available to purchase on your local high street. CBD has been known to help with:

If you want to find out more CBD and its benefits, check out: does cannabis help with mental health?

What is THCA?

So, now we have a better idea of what THC and CBD are, we can look into THCA. Although the elements of marijuana can sometimes feel like a science lesson, today is about simplifying the whole thing. THCA is, in its simplest form, THC before it is heated. Therefore, a cannabis bud has THCA to begin with, but when it is smoked in a joint, cooked in an edible or vaped in a dry herb vaporizer it becomes the well-known intoxicant THC. Thus, THCA becomes THC when it is heated up. This process is called decarboxylation, which is a word that sounds far more scientific than it needs to. When THCA is heated, it loses quite a lot of mass. In fact, about 30-70% of THCA is lost in the process, which means that the amount of THC is far less than the amount of original THCA. 

Interestingly, THCA is not psychoactive or intoxicating. Ever wondered why eating a bud without heating it up doesn’t get you high? Well, that is why. It’s because you’re just digesting THCA. So, what does this mean? Well, the truth is, THCA has certain qualities that THC loses in the heating process. And it’s these qualities that people are currently investigating, as there are early signs that THCA has medicinal benefits. THCA, like CBD, could find its way into our health diets soon enough. 

What are the Benefits of THCA? 

Whilst the positive benefit findings of THCA are still in their embryonic stage, there are positive signs already. In a country that has not yet legalized THC, you can imagine that not a lot of effort has been made to research the benefits of THCA. However, that’s not to say that no one has. Otherwise, why would anyone be speaking about it? THCA has become popular for a reason. 

Early signs suggest that THCA could help with…

There is also potential to believe that THCA could be utilised to help with insomnia, muscle spasms, and pain. However, it will take more research until these can be 100% confirmed. In the meantime, you can make up your own mind. 

How is THCA Taken?

So, the last step on this THCA introduction path is to ask the question: how is it taken? As you already know, if you want to take THCA it can’t be heated. If it’s heated it becomes THC, which although sounds similar, is an intoxicant, psychoactive substance. As we’ve discovered, THC is not the same as THCA. It has different properties. So, do we just eat bud raw like a 13 year old who doesn’t understand how weed works? Well as nostalgic as that would be, probably not. 


One of the most common ways of taking THCA is through raw cannabis juicing. Unless you’ve been living under a hipster-proof rock the last few years, then you’ll know that practically everything has found itself in a juice bar smoothie at some point. Well, THCA is no different. To make THCA cannabis juice is very easy. All you have to do is place it in with whatever else you want and blend the heck out of it. So, to be honest, it isn’t too dissimilar from that 13 year old just mindlessly eating raw bud. The only issue with DIY THCA smoothies is that you don’t always know how much THCA there is. This can make it less beneficial. 

Tinctures & Edibles 

There are pre-made THCA edibles and tinctures which know the exact percentage of THCA in the product. Not only that, they give helpful dosing advice, as well as telling you what other cannabinoids are inside. Perhaps start with this if you’re new to THCA dosing. 

The Future of THCA 

So, there you have it. Now you have all of the current information you need on THCA. The truth is that THCA is not technically illegal in the UK, it’s only illegal once it’s burned to become THC. However, often authorities will make the assumption that possession of marijuana has the intent to smoke or vape it. But nevertheless, the more people research and get to know THCA, the same way they did with CBD, the more likely it is to become mainstream. Therefore, if you’re interested, why not try some yourself. See if it has any benefits for you. Nectar have a range of CBD products to try too, including hemp gummies.

We hope you found this article enjoyable and, most importantly, educational. 

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