With more research being into the health benefits of cannabis, a whole lot more people are now interested in using it. At the same time, a new type of cannabis-derived compound is becoming popular – THCA.

In this article, we’ll discuss what exactly is THCA and what are the differences between THCA and THC.

What is THCA?

The cannabis plant naturally synthesizes THC in the form of tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, which is known as THCA. THCA has recently gained popularity as people have started eating raw cannabis as THCA is only available in freshly-harvested, unprocessed hemp. 

In its raw, unprocessed form, hemp contains numerous plant compounds (including THCA) that many believe to have unique health benefits, says Dr. Jillian Kubal. That said, research into the therapeutic benefits of eating raw cannabis is still ongoing.

What is the Difference Between THC and THCa?

People are consuming THCA through raw cannabis because, unlike some cannabis-derived compounds, THCA does not have psychoactive properties. In other words, consumption of THCA does not lead to the feeling of high or euphoria.

This is the biggest difference between THCA and THC. That said, since THCA is the parent compound, it is possible to get THC from THCA by heating it, a process called decarboxylation. This is why smoking raw cannabis will still make you high. It is estimated that up to 95% of THCA is converted into THC during smoking.

Some of the THC is lost because the conversion from THCA to THC isn’t 100% efficient, The amount of THC lost in the conversion depends on the quality of the THCA. Here at Smoky Mountain CBD, we use different processes to distill pure, high-quality THC and Delta 8 from THCA.

What is a Good THCA Percentage?

Different strains of the cannabis (hemp) plant produce THCA at different levels. Depending on your goals, you may want cannabis with medium, high, or very high THCA content. 

Here at Smoky Mountain CBD, we have formulated THCA seeds as part of our in-house artisanal breeding program. These seeds are a THCA-dominant strain with a high THCA content. The average THC yield from these seeds is around 15% which is a good balance between potency and usability. 

THCA vs THC: Which is Better For Me?

Although research into the benefits and effects of THCA and THC is still ongoing, many sources state THCA is a good source of relief for inflammation and pain. THCA has also been used in the clinical treatment of epilepsy, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s. 

But since the biggest difference between THCA and THC is the mind-altering properties, the deciding factor for most people would be whether or not they want that feeling of euphoria or “high”. 

The method of consumption also plays a role. For instance, while THCA can be added to smoothies and drinks, it should not be used for cooking or dabbing as heating THCA releases THC which can then lead to the feeling of a “high”. That said, if you do want both the euphoric feeling as well as the health benefits of other hemp compounds, THCA is still a good option as even after smoking it, around 20% of the THCA remains uncovered to THC, depending on how long and how much you heat it.

Additionally, THCA can also be found in the form of tinctures (although not as readily available as raw cannabis or THCA-dominant seeds).


In a way, THC is just the “activated” extract of THCA that triggers the CB1 receptor in your brain (and thus makes you feel high). Many people are now eating THCA raw to still get the benefits of cannabis (such as pain relief) but without the mind-altering effects.

That said, regardless of what you choose, Smoky Mountain CBD is the best place to find your THCA and THC products. Explore our wide range of high-quality, US-grown hemp products