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The Ultimate THCA Brand Guide For Smoke Shops

The cannabis market has seen extraordinary growth in recent years. It is now estimated that the global market will reach an eye-watering $60.79 billion in 2024, reaching as high as $102.90 billion by 2028. More and more U.S. states and other countries are legalizing marijuana, where people use these products for a range of medicinal and recreational purposes. This post will take a close look at THC-A products, which are surging in popularity right now. Interested? Keep reading for all you need to know about THC-A.

What is Cannabis?

First, it is important to define cannabis. Cannabis, often called marijuana or hemp, depending on the chemical makeup, is a popular plant around the world known for its psychoactive properties that can be used for recreational and medicinal benefits.

A few of the reported medicinal benefits of cannabis include:

  • Pain relief
  • Anxiety and stress reduction
  • Sleep aid
  • Appetite stimulation
  • Anti-inflammatory effects
  • Epilepsy treatment

Reported recreational benefits include:

  • Relaxation
  • Euphoria
  • Mood enhancement
  • Creativity enhancement
  • Enhanced social experiences
  • Introspection
  • Altered perception
  • Alternative to alcohol

In the U.S., classification of cannabis depends on the concentration of Delta-9 THC. Anything with less than 0.3 Delta-9 THC by volume is classified as hemp, and anything higher is classified as marijuana.

What is THC-A?

What is THCA Flower

So, what exactly is THC-A? THC-A is a naturally occurring compound found in the cannabis plant. It stands for tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, and it is the non-psychoactive precursor to Delta-9 THC – this means that it does not produce the effects of feeling high when ingested raw. THC-A becomes Delta-9 THC through a process called decarboxylation, which is further explained later in this article.

Legality

THC-A and other hemp-derived products are legal at a federal level as a result of the 2018 Farm Bill, provided they adhere to the 0.3% Delta-9 THC threshold. This means that THC-A products are now legal in most areas in the U.S. However, be sure to check your local city, county, and state laws prior to purchasing, as local laws vary.

Other hemp-derived products that are also federally legal include non-psychoactive cannabinoids such as the following:

  • CBC
  • CBD
  • CBG
  • CBN

Legal psychoactive cannabinoids, include the following, among others:

  • Delta-6 THC (D6)
  • Delta-8 THC (D8)
  • Delta-9 THC (D9)
  • Delta-10 THC (D10)
  • Delta-11 THC (D11)
  • THC-A (THCa)
  • THC-B
  • THC-H
  • THC-P
  • THC-JD

In 2023, the DEA banned THC-O Acetate, also known as THC-O, which is a completely different chemical than THC-A. THC-O is the only current cannabinoid with a total ban in the United States. Products with THC-O may no longer be sold in the United States.

If you live in or visit an area that has banned Delta-8 THC (D8), then it is likely that THC-A is not legal. This would mean that products such as disposable THC-A vapes and THCA-A vape cartridges containing THC-A are not legal in those areas. However, many states with medical and/or recreational cannabis may allow possession and consumption of hemp products with small, naturally occurring concentrations of D9, THC-A, D8, etc. For example, if you live in a state with legal and/or recreational cannabis, then you can most likely grow cannabis with Delta-9 THC concentrations higher than 0.3%. Those plants you grew would have dozens of naturally-occurring cannabinoids in them, but the vast majority of those cannabinoids would be detected in microscopic concentrations or not be there at all, with the exceptions of D9, CBD, and a few others that naturally occur in cannabis in higher amounts.

Why is THC-A Popular?

THC-A is rising in popularity for a few reasons. It synergizes well with other cannabinoids, such as CBD, Delta-8 THC, and Delta-9 THC, elevating the overall cannabis experience. Many find it helpful to imagine THC-A as an ingredient in a cake – many ingredients taste delicious on their own, but when they are combined and baked (decarboxylation), they become something far greater, and the true potential is realized. THC-A is a key part of the cannabis experience, much like the flour or egg are important parts of a cake.

The process of decarboxylation – also known as decarbing – changes the chemical composition of THC-A into Delta-9 THC.

How do you Decarb THC-A?

The most common decarboxylation method is heating. There are a few ways to turn THC-A into THC through heating:

  • Smoking flower in a hand pipe or waterpipe
  • Smoking flower in a pre-roll, joint, or blunt
  • Vaporizing flower in a vape
  • Vaporizing concentrate in a disposable vape or vape cartridge with an attached vaporizer battery
  • Baking/cooking

It is also possible to decarb with pressure. You can place cannabis flower in a dark vacuum-sealed container over months or years without the need for heat or chemicals.

Another way to decarb cannabis flower is with a combination of citric acid and water. The resulting mixture would be a non-alcoholic tincture full of cannabinoids and terpenes. Alternatively, the mixture may be spread on a sheet for a few days until it is dry. The result would be a powdered version.

 

How Do You Use THC-A Without Decarbing?

How to use THCA Mint

There is more research that needs to be done, but studies suggest numerous benefits to consuming THC-A in its raw form. Preliminary reports show potential for THC-A to have additional effects consumed in its raw form that include the following:

  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Neuroprotective effects
  • Anti-emetic properties
  • Antioxidant properties

Many customers purchase edibles containing THC-A isolate, such as gummies or cookies. This means that the THC-A is not decarbed and will not produce an altered mental state. However, the edible may contain other legal cannabinoids (like Delta-8 THC), which would produce the effects of feeling high.

Choosing Your Strain

Realistically speaking, all cannabis strains in 2024 are from hybrids of cannabis sativa plants and cannabis indica plants. However, some strains tend to be more sativa-dominant or indica-dominant, while some strains are right in the middle and are referred to as hybrids. Regardless of the genetics of the plant, customers expect certain experiences with strains labeled as sativa, indica, or hybrid, which are as follows:

Main options:

Sativa – Customers report experiences with psychoactive effects commonly known as a “head high” with higher levels of energy, alertness, and creativity.

Indica – Customers report experiences with psychoactive effects commonly known as a “body high” with higher levels of comfort, relaxation, and sleep aid.

Hybrid: Customers report experiences with psychoactive effects with both body and head effects somewhere between Sativa and Indica.

Other options:

Much like breakfast cereals, there are countless variations of cannabis strains available to choose from. These will contain varying levels of cannabinoids, terpenes, colors, and fluffiness. A few great examples of THC-A strains worth considering include:

  • Gelato 33 (Hybrid)
  • Maui Waui (Sativa)
  • Skywalker OG (Indica)
  • Gelato (Indica)
  • Pineapple OG (Sativa)
  • Rainbow Beltz (Hybrid)
  • Orange Creamsicle (Sativa)
  • Boss Cake (Indica)
  • Lemon Cherry Gelato (Hybrid)
  • Blue Sherbet (Hybrid)
  • Pink Candy (Sativa)
  • Purple Urkel (Indica)

Best THC-A Products

The THC-A marketplace can feel overwhelming as there is so much choice out there. Here is a breakdown of the main categories to help you get started:

Smoking – Flower, Pre-Rolls, and Dab Sauce

Depending on which brands you buy, cannabis flower and pre-rolls will either be grown to naturally produce high levels of D9, THC-A, or CBD. Flower with high levels of D9 is only for sale in states with legal recreational marijuana or legal medical marijuana. Most flower grown for smoke shops has little to no D9 in it in order to be classified as hemp and be legal in all 50 states. The majority of hemp flower sold in smoke shops is a CBD flower with isolate crystals or isolate spray added to the flower for psychoactive effects.

However, growing cannabis with high levels of THC-A has been possible since at least 2018! So, THC-A flower is a federally legal cannabis flower that does not require isolate to be added in order to be psychoactive. However, some brands will add isolate such as THC-A to CBD flower. Regardless of whether the THC-A is from an isolate or grown in the plant, the effects will be the same. Customers who want to avoid added isolate and enjoy a completely natural experience will need to do their homework by checking brand websites, looking over company lab reports, and reaching out to individual brands for more information if necessary.

Top Brands for Smoking THC-A:

Astro Eight: Known for their pre-rolls dipped in THC-A liquid diamonds

Creme: Endorsed by legendary rappers like Afroman and Bun B, with dozens of strains available

Cutleaf: A brand with classy packaging offering pre-rolls and flower

Dazed: Known for a wide range of products, including pre-rolls topped with diamonds, flower, and disposable vapes

Dope Candy: Products available in the largest range of sizes from 1g to 1lb, including pre-rolls and flower

Kik Kalibloom: Big name brand carrying fresh frozen and premium flower

STNR: A lifestyle company with an iconic logo selling flower as well as mushroom gummies and kratom

Torch: An LA company known for collaborating with brands like Extrax, offering flower and disposable vapes

Vaping – Disposable Vapes & Vape Carts

Vaping is a way of consuming cannabis growing in popularity, and the THC-A vaping experience will be exactly like Delta-9. Some brands add other cannabinoids to their THC-A disposable vapes and carts, which can provide an enhanced experience or more flavorful vaping than D9 alone.

Top Brands for Vaping THC-A:

Binoid: A popular CBD company considered a pioneer in cannabinoids and often the first to supply new cannabinoids to the market

Cake: Known for disposable vapes with THC-A live nectar sauce

Extrax: Major industry player known for offering countless cannabinoid combinations and a range of products, including disposable vapes, vape carts, and edibles

Hidden Hills: A trending brand with sleek packaging offering THC-A disposable vapes, carts, and gummies

Kik: A big-name brand for hemp products with a selection of disposable vape size options and cannabinoid combos

Runtz: A highly popular brand that gained popularity from crossing Cookie brand Gelato cannabis with Dying Breed Seeds brand Zkittlez cannabis

Other Great THC-A Products

Edibles: Gummies, cookies, and other edibles can be a fun and discreet way to enjoy cannabis products. These products may provide similar effects to CBD, CBG, and CBN but will not be psychoactive with THC-A only. If cannabinoids like D8 are added, the effects may become psychoactive.

Top Brands for THC-A Gummies:

Cactus Labs: Known for high strength and large quantities with various cannabinoids

Extrax: THC-A gummies with countless cannabinoid combinations

Ghost: A sleek brand with straightforward blends and THC-A gummies with live badder

Rock It: Powerful gummies from a brand with iconic rocket-shaped gummies 

Topicals:

Lotions, salves, and balms with THC-A may provide similar effects that CBD, CBG, and CBN provide.

 

Top THC-A Brands

We know it can feel overwhelming when there are so many brands and products out there. The market is brimming with top-quality THC-A brands offering a range of products catering to every customer’s needs. You know you are in good hands with any of the brands on this list:

  • Astro Eight
  • Binoid
  • Blaze
  • Bud Brothers
  • Budget
  • Cactus Labs
  • Cake
  • Caps by Good Morels
  • Creme
  • Cutleaf
  • Dazed
  • Death Row
  • Delta 8 Pharma Grade
  • Delta Munchies
  • Dope Candy
  • Dozo
  • Dream
  • Extrax
  • Flying Horse
  • Ghost
  • Green Skull
  • Half Bak’d
  • Hi On Nature
  • Hidden Hills
  • Ice Kream
  • Imperial
  • Kanna Boss
  • Kik
  • Looper
  • Litty AF
  • Modus
  • NVUS
  • Ocho Extracts
  • Pixie Dust
  • Puro Exotics
  • Reserve
  • Rock It
  • Runtz
  • Sitlo
  • Space Gods
  • Sticky Green
  • Sugar
  • Sunrise Cannabis
  • Sweet House Genetics
  • Swish Leaf
  • STNR
  • Torch
  • Trinity
  • Twenty One Cannabis
  • Underdogs
  • Uplift
  • Urb
  • Wavy
  • Zapack

Hopefully, the THC-A details in this post will provide you with the information you need to start shopping for THC-A products with some confidence. It can feel daunting and overwhelming at first, but once you know the basic science, terminology, and product types, you can start to look for products that suit your needs. If you have any further questions relating to THC-A products or cannabis in general, head over to goMWI.com, and do not hesitate to get in touch!