How to Spot a Fake or Lower-Quality THCa Product
Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCa) is changing the landscape of the hemp industry. How? Well, by offering customers products that are nearly identical to marijuana, all while being perfectly legal (protected under federal law). THCa flower, THCa vapes, and THCa concentrates all must be heated to a high temperature to be consumed, and this process converts THCa into delta 9 THC, as THCa is simply the naturally occurring precursor cannabinoid to THC, found in raw cannabis.
Now, THCa is a really big deal at the moment. So, you’re not gonna have a hard time finding it if you want to experience its dreamy effects for yourself. But, at the same time, you have to keep in mind that it’s always possible to come across low-quality or fake THCa products while you’re shopping. Luckily, there are some ways to ensure you’re getting a legit, effective, and high-quality product.
Why Might You Encounter Fake/Low-Quality THCa Products?
We want to believe that every company that carries THCa products has gone above and beyond to ensure that they’re offering the very best for their customers. But, sometimes, that just isn’t the case. We tend to underestimate just what goes into making a high-quality and effective formula, and so you can see why so many brands can miss the mark.
THCa products are really profitable right now. After all, they fill a gap in the market. How? Well, by simply offering something that’s a lot like weed to people who live in states where marijuana is still banned. And, because they’re so profitable, it’s not surprising that some manufacturers would attempt to make money off of the fast-growing trend. And that would be by selling questionable products at high prices to benefit from demand.
Now, there’s obviously a difference between fake products and low-quality products. Fake products can mean:
- Products made by illegitimate manufacturers that copy the packaging of a THCa product made by a trusted brand – basically, a counterfeit product.
- Products that claim to be THCa, but don’t actually contain THCa.
- Products that don’t live up to what’s being advertised – such as containing far less THCa than what’s said on the label.
Meanwhile, low-quality products can mean:
- Products made with unwanted/harmful additives.
- Products that’re ineffective because they were made using low-quality manufacturing methods (exposure to temperatures so high that the terpenes are destroyed, products made with poorly cultivated industrial hemp, etc.).
So, how do you avoid these products altogether? Let’s find out.
How to Put a THCa Product to the Test
Now, luckily, there are some pretty straightforward ways to be sure that you’re buying a THCa product that’s legitimate, and high in quality. And, remember, you should always, always look for these things below, because even though low-quality THCa may be more affordable, the fact that the market is unregulated means that companies selling cheap THCa can get away with just about anything – unsafe ingredients, ineffective amounts of THCa, and so on. Here are the things to be on the lookout for when shopping for THCa.
Third-Party Lab Reports
Probably the first thing that you should look for is third-party lab reports. These should be provided by every manufacturer through their website, or a scannable QR code on the product label – no exceptions. Hemp brands are required to have their products third-party-tested. This means sending each batch of a product to a state-licensed laboratory, where it undergoes extensive testing for purity, potency, safety, and legal compliance, all while providing a breakdown of every detectable cannabinoid and terpene present in the product. These lab reports are objective and unbiased. Plus, they’re a fantastic way to verify for yourself that what you’re getting is the real deal.
Of course, if a company’s website is plagued with bad reviews, then that’s a pretty clear sign that you should stay away. It’s also wise to look up reviews for a company off of their website – Reddit and YouTube are two great resources, where you’ll find people who try out certain hemp products and publish their opinions – as these sources are more likely to be unbiased.
Obviously, you want to be conscious of the vendor that’s selling the product. One thing we strongly advise against is getting your THCa from a gas station or convenience store, as these products do often carry the latest trends in the hemp world. The quality standards in these establishments are just too low to give you the promise of an effective, safe, and trustworthy product.
The best way to go is through a reputable brand’s website, directly. This way, there’s no risk of a counterfeit product, and you know that you’re buying a product that can be trusted since it’s being sold by a manufacturer that is already known for their high standards of quality.
If you’re buying a product in person, look at the label carefully. If the wording is intentionally vague (like not naming the strain of a flower product, or leaving out an ingredients list), that’s cause for concern. And, if there are spelling or grammar errors on the label, that’s not necessarily a good sign, either.
Lack of Transparency
Companies should go above and beyond to be transparent on their website. Essentially, giving customers information about the strain of a product, how much THCa is in it, the ingredients they use, where they source their hemp, and so on. If that info is lacking, that can mean that the company is trying to hide something.
No Customer Service Contact
A brand that doesn’t give you easy access to their customer service is sketchy to say the least. If you have a hard time contacting a brand, that can mean that they don’t want to be held accountable should you be dissatisfied with their product in any way.
Identifying Subpar THCa by Product Type
To get a bit more specific here, let’s cover the ways you can verify the legitimacy and quality of certain THCa product types.
THCa flower is pretty hard to fake, since you can’t replicate hemp flower buds. But, the issue could be the amount of THCa in the product. This is where lab reports are helpful, as they clearly indicate the percentage of THCa via testing. However, other indicators would be:
- Spiked or Sprayed Flower: There have been instances in the past where low-quality cannabis flower has been sprayed with various chemicals, including synthetic cannabinoids, to boost its potency or give it a more pungent aroma. This is dangerous and unethical, as synthetic cannabinoids can have unpredictable and harmful effects.
- Misrepresentation: Someone could mislabel or misrepresent a cannabis flower’s cannabinoid content, claiming it has more THCa (and potential THC content when smoked) than it actually does.
- Hemp Flower: With the rise of CBD popularity, hemp flower (which looks and smells similar to high-THC cannabis) is available in many markets. Hemp contains little to no THC but has CBD. It’s possible, though unethical, for someone to sell hemp flower as high-THCa cannabis.
- Synthetic Production: Technological advances in biosynthesis have enabled the production of cannabinoids like THC and CBD in lab environments using yeast or bacteria. While this technology has potential benefits, such as producing rare cannabinoids, there may be concerns about “synthetic” cannabinoids being represented as natural.
With THCa vapes, you also want to look at the ingredients and the entire packaging carefully. And once again, view those lab reports, as there should not be any other ingredients in the formula besides hemp derivatives. Still, other indicators would be:
- Additives: People encounter vape oils that contain additives.
- Thinned-Out Oil: Be cautious if the oil in the cartridge is too thin. High-quality cannabis oils usually have a thick consistency. However, the viscosity can vary, so this isn’t a definitive test.
- Cloudy Oil: Watch out for any particulate matter or cloudiness in the oil, which can be a sign of contaminants.
- Disposable Vape’s or Cartridge’s Outside Quality: Examine the disposable vape’s or cartridge’s quality. Fake vapes might use cheaply made cartridges that leak or break easily.
With concentrates, the same rules apply that apply to vapes. The lab reports are critical to tell you how pure the product is, as additives do not belong in concentrates. But, there still are other things you want to consider:
- Appearance: Pure THCa usually forms into crystalline structures. When isolated, these crystals should appear white to clear, similar to diamonds or crushed glass. Any other colors or impurities could indicate contamination or the presence of other substances.
- Consistency: Depending on its preparation, genuine THCa crystals can range in consistency from a powdery isolate to larger, chunky crystals.
- Smell: Pure THCa shouldn’t have a strong cannabis odor because the terpenes, which give cannabis its characteristic aroma, have been removed.
- Effects: While THCa is non-psychoactive when consumed raw, applying heat (as in dabbing or vaporizing) will decarboxylate it into THC, producing a high. If you don’t experience the expected effects, you might question the concentrate’s authenticity or potency.
- Solvent Residue: Check for any signs of residual solvents. Quality extracts should have minimal to no solvent residues. Solvent residues can indicate a subpar extraction process and can be harmful to consume.
Never Be Let Down by THCa Again
Basically, as long as THCa is popular on the market, you always run some risk of ending up with a fake or low-quality product. Want to avoid fake or cheaply made THCa? No problem. At Wild Orchard Co., we offer only lab-tested, pure THCa flower, THCa vapes, and other formulas. Each boasts superior quality, as our longtime, loyal customers will tell you. By going with our products, just know you’re getting the finest around, since our longstanding reputation speaks for itself.