For millennia, people have ingested the cannabis plant by burning it. In Ancient China, people would heat rocks and place them into bowls of cannabis, and the resulting fumes caused a pleasant high. Later on, consumption became more advanced. Cultures would infuse cannabis into drinks, eat cannabis, and smoke cannabis from pipes. Today, there are countless ways to consume cannabis. From bongs to edibles to tinctures, almost any way one dreams up to consume cannabis is possible. However, some cannabis products, such as THCa, are only sold as cannabis flower, meaning you cannot ingest THCa edibles or gummies from stores. Why is this the case?
If you shop for cannabis in a store or online, you will likely find all sorts of products sold in various mediums. You can buy cannabis flower, Delta 8 edibles, CBD tinctures, and Delta 9 drinks, but there are also some noticeable absences. No purely grown Delta 8 flower, THCa edibles, or THCa distillates exist. The reason why is due to how cannabis is regulated and the science behind cannabis products.
One of the most popular new cannabis products is THCa. However, companies only sell THCa flower, which is the cannabis nuggets that are harvested directly from plants. For those who prefer edibles or tinctures, this can be a roadblock to enjoying THCa. Thankfully, one can overcome this roadblock with some elbow grease and creativity. You can use THCa flower to make edibles, tinctures, and distillates. Before we go over how you can make some of these cannabis products, we will let you know why you cannot buy these in a store. Once you finish reading, you will know what makes THCa flower so special and how you can ingest THCa.
THCa and Other Cannabis Products
As we already stated, with few rare exceptions, THCa flower is the only commercially available THCa product. One reason why THCa is only available as flower is because it is regulated differently than other products.
In some parts of the United States, cannabis is recreationally legal. Those states have in-person stores and online retailers that sell marijuana flower, drinks, edibles, tinctures, pills, and much more. As long as companies follow the proper regulatory channels, they can produce any legal marijuana product they want. For the rest of the country, it is not so simple.
In a greater number of states, alternative cannabinoids are legal. Some alternative cannabinoids are Delta 8, HHC, and THC-O. These products exist in an assortment of mediums. These products commonly come as edibles, tinctures, and vapes.
In the case of THCa, it only comes as flower. The reason is that the government requires that alternative cannabinoid products have less than 0.3% THC by volume, per the 2018 Farm Bill. In flower form, THCa meets this legal requirement. However, when one puts it into other products, like edibles, it does not. So how do Delta 8 products meet legal requirements but THCa does not? The answer lies in the science of cannabis.
THCa and Cannabis Science
The science behind cannabis can be complex, but here is a quick breakdown of how to parse through cannabis science. Cannabis produces many natural chemical compounds; these compounds are cannabinoids. You likely know several famous cannabinoids like THC, CBD, and Delta 8, but there are well over 200 cannabinoids in cannabis. So, Ingesting THCa will feel different than ingesting Delta 8. Some cannabinoids like THC create a euphoric high, while CBD does not have psychoactive properties. THCa is one of these many cannabinoids and is nearly identical to THC. In order to change THCa into THC, all one has to do is burn cannabis flower. Therefore, once heat is added to THCa, it becomes THC.
Transitioning to other cannabinoids, alternative cannabinoids like Delta 8 come from the cannabis plant but only from a specific variant called hemp. Cannabis and hemp are identical; the only thing separating them is legal regulation. The US government says hemp must contain less than 0.3% THC, whereas cannabis can contain any amount of THC. This is also true of cannabis products, so Delta 8 gummies must have less than 0.3% THC by volume.
These alternative cannabinoids, like Delta 8, are extracted from hemp as oil, which is mixed into products. The oil is typically created by a process that requires heat. Therefore, if THCa is heated into an oil, it ceases to be THCa and violates the 0.3% THC requirement. Therefore, THCa hemp can old be sold as flower and not heated into oil and mixed into other products. However, once you purchase THCa flower, you can ingest THCa in a variety of mediums.
One popular way to consume THCa is to eat it. There is evidence that THCa has unique health benefits, and many people wish to take advantage of its unactivated, non-psychoactive state. One of the best ways to consume raw THCa flower is to mix it into a shake. Take your favorite mix, protein powder, or recipe and add some THCa flower. Although it may be a little chunky, it is a small price to pay to enjoy THCa’s possible benefits.
Another way to consume THCa is to create cannabutter, an oily substance you can put in all sorts of recipes. Before you do this, check that THC oil is legal in your state. If THC oil is legal, you are good to go. First, you need to cook THCa. If you have a vaporizer, you can vape the bud and use the activated THCa to make cannabutter. Otherwise, you can cook the nuggets in an oven. Once the THCa has been cooked, also known as “activated,” you can make it into a delicious THC oil.
Take the cooked THCa, and grind it up if you have not already done so. Then, place it into a simmering pot filled with your favorite cooking oil, coconut oil is my favorite. Then, simmer the combination for several hours. The THCa will become THC and will separate into the oil. Then, strain the oil to take out the THCa particles. Once you’ve strained it, you will have THC oil that you can infuse into all sorts of recipes. Personally, my favorites are mixing it in with brownies or putting some in coffee.
Also, if you want, you can skip all the hassle and roll some into a joint. Either way, you will definitely enjoy ingesting THCa.