Most cannabis consumers think of THC as a singular compound when the reality is far from it. There are four major types of THC used for their medicinal and psychoactive effects and many other lesser-known forms that show up in products. The BIG 4 are Delta 8 THC, Delta 9 THC, THC-A, and THC-P. Today we will learn about THC-A specifically: 

  • How is if different from what is sold at a typical dispensary 
  • Why it is becoming many longtime smokers go to flower 
  • Why some consider it “fake” weed 
  • How it is legal 

So, kick back in the cut, fire one up, and let’s learn about some weed stuff. 

What is THC-A 

THC-A or Tetrahydrocannabinol Acid if you want to be fancy is the primary form of THC produced by the cannabis plant. When heated it converts to Delta-9 THC. Delta-9 THC is often the form people are thinking of when they ask about “real” THC and in edibles and most vapes they’d be correct but when it comes to bud, they are missing the picture. THC-A makes up on average 98.5% of the total THC count in cannabis. THC-A is what gets you high when smoking flower so, when purchasing from a hemp shop or dispensary always look at the THC- A count. 

How is THC-A Hemp Different Than What is Sold at A Typical Dispensary? 

The easy answer is that it is not taxed at a ridiculous rate. For cannabis to qualify as THC-A hemp it only requires that it is has a dry weight of less than 0.3% Delta 9 THC. By that standard the vast majority of raw cannabis flower sold qualifies as THC-A hemp. To ensure they could get plants to stay around that 0.3% Delta 9 standard, growers crossed it with plants with a high CBG count. CBG might be the most beneficial compound for your health in cannabis (we can dig into that in another blog, another time). Now, we have THC-A hemp that tests as good or better than most flower found at typical dispensaries, but wait, we bumped the CBG count up significantly. Next time you buy from a typical dispensary, look at the Delta 9 THC count. If it is less than 0.3% (it probably will be) or says THC-A on the label, know you could have bought your flower cheaper elsewhere. 

photos of THCA Flower from RiverBluff Collective

Why Many Smokers Go to THC-A Flower 

I’ll keep this short and just give you a list of reasons. 

  1. It isn’t taxed nearly as heavy 
  2. It gets you just as high
  3. The extra CBG in theory should make it slightly better health wise.
  4. Most Hemp shops have less wait time, and their staff must be educated on the products they sell because many first-time customers will come in with the assumption it is all “fake”. 

Why Some People Call It “Fake” Weed 

The reason THC-A hemp is called “fake” weed is due to ignorance caused by lack of topic education brought on by the government’s futile war to demonize the plant. Little research existed on cannabis until the last 40 years when interest picked back up for its medicinal use to curb opiate addiction. Now, we live in the information age. You have a supercomputer in your pocket and hopefully an educated budtender in front of you. If people fail to listen to the budtender, fail to research what they are explaining, and choose to call THC-A hemp “fake” weed then there is nothing I could write today that would change their mind. The only thing that could change their mind is failing a drug test for THC (Which they most definitely will) after smoking “fake” weed and no one wants that. 

How is This Legal? 

The 2018 Farm Bill set the definition of hemp-based products as those having less than 0.3% Delta 9 THC by dry weight. This unknowingly made most cannabis grown in the county to now be classified as hemp, but it took a few years for the public to catch on as many were happy their states were now recreational. First, they realized they could still make high powered edibles and qualify them as hemp making them legal to see in most states. It wasn’t until the last 4 years that the THC-A hemp flower explosion happened as more and more people started to notice the weed that bought at their local dispensary should qualify as hemp and set out to prove that point.  

Don’t Knock It Until You Try it 

After reading this article, if you’ve never visited a hemp shop that sells THC-A flower, I implore you to do so. If you are still skeptical when you arrive, I dare you to ask for their best. What do you have to lose? It is cheaper and more convenient than most typical dispensaries. Find a hemp shop that educates and strives to carry quality products, there are many who do and twice as many who don’t but if you find the right one it will blow your local dispensary out of the water. THC-A hemp is not “fake” weed. It is just weed or maybe even weed that is better for you. 

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