Is THCA Legal?

If you've been following along with the rapid progression of up-and-coming cannabinoids that are stronger than Delta 8 THC then you've probably already heard about or even tried some of these increasingly potent cannabinoids derived from the hemp or cannabis plant.


One such cannabinoid that gained extreme popularity in the hemp market was THC-O. That was of course until it was deemed illegal by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently. With this quick change in the legal status of THC-O, you may be left wondering, which psychoactive cannabinoids are legal in the United States. As many have started looking at THCA, a question we get often is "Is THCA legal?".


We'll answer that, plus we'll take a closer look at THCA, a potent cannabinoid that rivals the previously available hemp-derived products like THC-O in terms of strength, possible benefits of THCA, and its psychoactive effects.


Spoiler alert, we've got good news, THCA is likely a great alternative for many, and the best news is, that it's federally legal.


What is THCA

What is THCA?

Let's first start by answering the question "What is THCA?". THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) is the acidic precursor to Delta 9 THC, commonly described as its pre-activated form. THCA and Delta-9 THC are actually remarkably alike, essentially differing only in their chemical structure.


Since THCA is the precursor, it remains inactive until exposed to heat. Upon heating, THCA converts to and produces effects identical to that of Delta-9 THC. This nuance has allowed hemp businesses to manufacture and distribute products containing THCA across the United States, even though its effects mimic those of the federally restricted Delta-9 THC.


This gives many who live in regulated marijuana markets access to an alternative option to medical marijuana and recreational marijuana (Delta 9 THC). Such hemp-derived products are known for generating exceptionally potent effects, including but not limited to a strong mental and physical buzz, euphoria, relaxation, overall happiness, and a potential for a reduction in stress.


Is THCA Legal?

Under the provisions of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp-based products are deemed legal as long as they contain 0.3% or less of Delta-9 THC. For this reason, it's crucial for hemp companies to implement rigorous testing procedures to verify not only the safety but also the legal compliance of their products for nationwide sale.


Given that THCA is chemically distinct from Delta-9 THC, it falls under the category of legal hemp-derived cannabinoids that can be used, marketed, and shipped across the United States. While there are no specific laws mentioning THCA or indicating that it is banned, some individual states have independently opted to ban it.


What is the Farm Bill

What is the 2018 Farm Bill?

This federal piece of legislation was key for the cannabis industry to grow to what it is and opened the floodgates to the multitude of hemp-derived products that are available today.


The 2018 Farm Bill gave legal status to hemp along with all its derivatives, isomers, and extracts. As long as a product originates from hemp and has a Delta-9 THC content not exceeding 0.3% on a dry weight basis, THCA flower and other THCA products comply with the same Farm Bill regulations and are therefore considered legal.


How is Hemp Tested?

The Controlled Substances Act (CSA), which criminalizes recreational marijuana, doesn't explicitly mandate or require anyone to test hemp products, as hemp is not a regulated substance.


This leads to an important question: If hemp initially meets pre-harvest testing criteria under the 2018 Farm Bill regulations (i.e., its THC and THCA levels are below the mandated limits), but later shows elevated levels of THCA, does it then become a controlled substance?


That is where some of the legal grey area comes into play. States such as Oregon and Minnesota have adopted a unique way to look at the THC content of hemp flower. The term "Total THC" refers to the combined concentration of Delta-9 THC and its acidic precursor, THCA, in a cannabis or hemp product. The calculation is essential because THCA can be converted to Delta-9 THC through a process known as decarboxylation, which occurs when the substance is heated.


The formula for calculating this generally involves converting the THCA concentration into its Delta-9 THC equivalent and then adding it to the existing level of Delta-9 THC. The conversion typically uses a factor of 0.877 to account for the molecular weight difference between THCA and Delta-9 THC. The formula is often presented as follows:


Total THC=Delta-9 THC+(THCA×0.877)


Where in the US is THCA legal?

You may have started off just wondering "Is THCA legal?" but the better question is "Where is THCA legal?". Let's start by first taking a look at the few states that consider THCA illegal.


While THCA is federally legal, based on the 2018 Farm Bill, this bill also allows states to develop their own regulations for hemp processing and production within their state. As a result, the legality of THCA varies from state to state.


It is best to research hemp laws within your state or those you plan to visit to ensure you remain compliant. While THCA is legal under federal law, some state laws ban it, these states include Oregon, Idaho, Minnesota, and Arkansas.


Where to buy THCA online

Where to Buy THCA Products

You will find THCA products, including THCA flower, gummies, and vapes for sale in many local CBD shops and vape stores. Many choose to buy THCA online and find that it is the most convenient and enjoyable way to shop for THCA.


Reputable online retailers like EverydayDelta offer a wide selection of many different cannabinoids including THCA products like THCA flower, gummies, and disposable vape pens making your life that much easier. You simply choose the products you're after, click a few buttons and your THCA products arrive directly to your door.


Frequently Asked Questions


What Types of THCA Products Are There?

There are many different forms of hemp products and the same is true with hemp derived THCA products. Some of the most popular THCA-infused products include THCA flower, THCA gummies, THCA disposable vapes, and THCA vape cartridges.


What is THCA Hemp Flower?

THCA hemp flower consists of the dried, raw buds of the hemp plant, which are rich in tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) and may have a Delta-9 THC content of up to 0.3 delta 9 THC on a dry weight basis.


Is THCA Flower Legal?

THCA flower that maintains a percentage of less than 0.3 Delta-9 THC is considered hemp and remains federally legal. Some states have different laws surrounding THCA products, and they may be considered illegal, regardless of their source.


Does THCA show up on a drug test?

Yes, both THC and THCA will likely show up and cause you to fail most drug tests. This is because it is impossible to fully decarboxylate the entire THCA content of the THCA products that you use into THC, so you're most likely going to absorb THCA as well.


Does Non-Decarboxylated THCA Show Up on a Drug Test?

Yes and no, the answer really depends on the type of drug test being used. A standard drug test (basic 5-panel tests) that looks for traditional drugs like marijuana will not find non-decarboxylated THCA. However, some more sensitive drug tests can find THCA, and will likely cause a failed drug test.


How Long Does THCA Flower Stay in Your System?

The duration that THCA flower stays in your system is not exact. There are multiple factors that play a part in how long THCA will remain detectable. These factors include things like the potency of THCA flower, dosage used, how often used, personal metabolism, and method of consumption.


In general, research has shown the following durations that THC-COOH is detectable based on the consumption method.


  • Saliva - Detectable for up to 48 hours

  • Blood - Detectable for up to 20 hours

  • Urine - Detectable for up to 3-4 days

  • Hair Follicles - Detectable for up to 90 days


Conclusion, THCA Legal Status

THCA derived from hemp plants is appealing to many, especially for those who live in a state that does not allow them access to medical and recreational marijuana.


To sum things up, the legality of THCA exists in a nuanced and complex regulatory landscape. Under the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp and its derivatives, including THCA, are generally considered legal if the final product contains no more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC.


However, the lack of explicit federal laws specifically concerning THCA, coupled with varying state regulations, adds layers of complexity to hemp laws. While the Controlled Substances Act criminalizes marijuana, it doesn't directly address hemp or its derivatives, which technically makes THCA legal under federal law when derived from hemp that meets regulatory guidelines.


Still, it is essential to note that some states have enacted their own laws that may restrict or prohibit the use, sale, or distribution of THCA. Given these ever-changing laws, consumers and businesses alike should remain informed and consult local and state regulations to ensure compliance.


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