Your Wild n’ Awesome Cannabinoid Matchup: Delta 10 THC vs. THCa
The cannabis plant boasts over 100 individual cannabinoids. And, as any enthusiast knows well, some are a lot more popular than others. We want to focus on just two cannabinoids that’re widely available on the hemp market: delta 10 (delta-10 tetrahydrocannabinol) and THCa (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid). While these cannabinoids are actually similar in surprising ways, it’s crucial to know how they differ. Especially, since once can get you high, and one can’t.
Before we compare delta 10 THC to THCa, let’s offer a little more context by talking about cannabinoids, for those who are new to cannabis. Cannabinoids refer to the main active compounds found in cannabis. These compounds are one of a kind, in that they’re the only plant-derived compounds that directly work with our endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The endocannabinoid system is a vast network of cannabinoid receptors and endocannabinoids that are tasked with regulating processes of the body, like pain tolerance, inflammation, sleep, mood, and more. Cannabinoids in hemp and marijuana attach to different cannabinoid receptors in the body, resulting in chemical reactions that improve how efficient these physiological processes are. Basically, consuming cannabinoids supports our body’s innate methods for maintaining homeostasis, for optimal wellbeing.
Interestingly, all cannabinoids begin as CBG, or cannabigerol, the singular cannabinoid present in young cannabis, before the plant matures during the growing process. CBG eventually branches itself out to become over 100 individual cannabinoids that are isomers of one another, including the ones that we’re exploring now.
THCa, or tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, is the raw precursor to delta 9 THC, and it exists only in raw cannabis flower. Simply out, all cannabinoids have an acidic precursor form, such as CBDa, which converts into CBD. These raw cannabinoids only convert into their more widely used counterparts after the plant has been heated. That’s why, for example, smoking raw flower gets us high, but ingesting it doesn’t. Heat has to be applied for THCa to become THC, and the compound takes on new properties during this process.
Can You Get High from THCa?
Yes and no – allow us to explain. You can’t get high off of THCa left raw, because again, the cannabinoid isn’t intoxicating until it’s heated, converting it into delta 9 THC, which gains the ability to attach to cannabinoid receptors in the brain to trigger intoxication.
But, the majority of THCa products that you’ll encounter will get you high. The reason why is that these products have to be heated in order to be usable. We’re talking about flower, vapes, and dabs, all of which undergo a heating process through combustion or vaporization. This process converts the THCa into delta 9 THC, and as we all know, delta 9 THC is absolutely intoxicating – it’s what gives weed its notorious high, after all.
Does THCa Have Any Benefits?
THCa has lots of benefits in its raw state, which is something that many people aren’t aware of. And, while there’s plenty of research on THCa’s benefits, we’re really focusing on products like THCa flower, vapes, and concentrates, which aren’t feeding you THCa, but delta 9 THC. In other words, these products will give you the benefits of delta 9, which we know about through many decades’ worth of clinical research. These benefits include:
- Effects on Appetite and Nausea: Studies have shown that delta 9 THC can reduce nausea and episodes of vomiting, all while improving appetite (after all, a lot of us are familiar with the munchies)
- Better Mood and Better Sleep: Researchers have found that delta 9 regulates neurotransmitters in the brain that impact our mood and stress response, which is why so many people find THC to be both relaxing and uplifting. It can also improve sleep by balancing hormones that affect our sleep response.
- Anti-Inflammatory and Analgesic Properties: Delta 9 THC is known for both its anti-inflammatory and analgesic that can help with physical discomfort and inflammatory symptoms, as we’ve seen proven in a number of studies.
- Neurological Effects: A lot of studies have explored the way in which delta 9 can regulate neurological function, and studies done on multiple sclerosis and epilepsy show that delta 9 THC has a strong likelihood of improving symptoms.
How are THCa Products Made?
THCa naturally exists in the hemp plant, but there are a few ways to make specific THCa products. One is by growing THCa flower, by cultivating industrial hemp and exposing it to specific conditions that naturally increase its THCa concentration. This is how most THCa flower and concentrates are created. Usually, for vapes, a distillate is created through isomerization, rearranging the molecules in CBD distillate to turn it into THCa distillate, which can then be enhanced with terpene extracts to offer a full-spectrum vape oil.
Can You Enjoy THCa Legally?
Yes, THCa converts into delta 9 easily through the application of heat, and we know that federal law does not permit sales of hemp products that contain more than 0.3% delta 9 THC. But, when you test a THCa product, it’s compliant with this law, as the THCa hasn’t converted yet. That means that THCa products are totally legal under federal law. However, 4 states have banned THCa products, as in products that contain more than 0.3% THCa + delta 9 combined. Those states are:
- Rhode Island
Delta 10 THC
Delta 10 THC is a relatively new discovery, and a naturally occurring component of cannabis, present in very trace amounts in cannabis flower. We know very little about it in terms of its chemical structure and other properties, and research is lacking, as studies haven’t really come out yet about its effects.
Can You Get High from Delta 10 THC?
What we do know is that delta 10 is intoxicating, as it’s been on the market for a few years now, and plenty of people have explored it. Similarly to delta 8 THC, delta 10 THC is 70% as intoxicating as delta 9, give or take, and it’s known for offering a clear-minded, euphoric, and almost energizing buzz – sort of like what you’d expect when vaping or smoking a sativa strain of cannabis.
Does Delta 10 THC Have Any Benefits?
Delta 10 THC, again, hasn’t really been studied for its benefits in any regard. We have heard anecdotal stories from long-time users who say it helps them with focus, energy, mood, and physical discomfort, however.
How are Delta 10 THC Products Made?
To make delta 10 products, you need an isolated delta 10 extract. But, delta 10 exists in trace amounts only, so to make it, companies must follow a process known as isomerization, in which CBD is converted into delta 10 by chemically rearranging its molecular structure – something that’s possible because all cannabinoids started out as CBG, and so they are isomers of one another. This creates delta 10 distillate, which can be used to create all kinds of formulas.
Can You Enjoy Delta 10 THC Legally?
Despite being psychoactive, delta 10 is compliant with federal law in any concentration or product type. How come? Well, because only delta 9 THC is a restricted cannabinoid in hemp products. However, it’s illegal these states:
- New York
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
Delta 10 THC or THCa: Which One Will It Be?
Delta 10 THC and THCa both provide lots of positive effects. These inlcude the ability to be treated to a deeply satisfying high. As you can see, they’re actually quite different from one another. And, that is something to consider when choosing which one you’re going to gravitate toward. Of course, there’s no reason why you can’t try both, and compare them for yourself.