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THCA and HHC are exciting cannabinoids growing in popularity in the cannabis market. Interestingly, not many comparisons are made between them in terms of psychoactive strength, cost, legality, and effects on the body. 

In this article, we thoroughly examine the HHC vs. THCA debate, giving you deep insights into the individual cannabinoids and their areas of comparison.

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Key Takeaways 

  • THCA and HHC are both cannabinoids. However, THCA occurs naturally in hemp plants, while HHC does not.
  • THCA is the acidic precursor to THC, while HHC is produced through the hydrogenation of THC.
  • THCA is non-psychoactive, while HHC is psychoactive and will get you high. However, heated THCA will get you high as it will convert to THC.
  • HHC is typically more expensive than THCA.

What is THCA?

THCA, or tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, is one of several cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. However, unlike many other cannabinoids, THCA is non-psychoactive; that is, it does not have properties that will get users high. 

Furthermore, this cannabinoid is closely related to THC, as it is the precursor or, if you like, mother of THC. That is, before you have THC, you have THCA. It is the exposure of THCA to heat that converts it into THC. The process of THCA turning into THC via heat is referred to as decarboxylation.

Lastly, note that the major reason why THCA is non-psychoactive is because of its chemical makeup, which contains an additional carboxyl ring that prevents it from binding with receptors in the body that get people high. 

How is THCA Made?

Manufacturers leverage various methods in making THCA products, whether they are crystals, diamonds, or flowers, with each method possessing advantages and weaknesses. 

Here’s a quick rundown of THCA extraction from cannabis plant material:

  • Get a cannabis extract from your cannabis plants. Cannabis extracts are made using solvents like hydrocarbons and ethanol to pull out the cannabinoids, terpenes, or trichomes from your cannabis plants. This is done after harvesting your plants and then drying and curing them. 
  • In creating your cannabis extract, you must be particular about pulling out THCA
  • To go ahead and produce THCA crystals, combine your cannabis extract with acetic acid and hexane. These serve as solvents to melt away any form of plant compounds, such as terpenes, fats, and other cannabinoids, that may be left in your cannabis extract, thereby increasing the purity of the THCA in your extract.
  • The next step in the process involves equipment like a rotary vessel. This equipment uses pressure, heat, and motion to evaporate the solvent and leave behind just your THCA – this is done for purity. 
  • When manufacturers are aiming for pure THCA crystals, they will subject this seemingly pure solution to a process referred to as chromatography. Chromatography typically involves adding more chemicals to your solution to purify it further. 
  • After this, the cleansed solution is subjected to a rotary vessel to separate the THCA from any residue of unwanted solvents or compounds. 
  • From these repeated processes, the purity of the solution is secured. Furthermore, the THCA molecules bond, creating a crystalline structure. 

What are the Effects of THCA?

The effects of THCA can differ from individual to individual based on a couple of factors, such as tolerance for cannabinoids and individual biological compositions. However, there are generally specific side effects and benefits linked with this cannabinoid, and we discuss them in detail below.

What are the Benefits of THCA?

THCA has been linked with some truly remarkable health benefits and properties that may surprise you. Here are some of the characteristic properties of THCA that can be beneficial:

However, It is important to remember that most of these are potential health benefits that still need to be thoroughly researched and studied. 

Potential Side Effects of THCA

While THCA is generally considered non-intoxicating and non-psychoactive, it may still have some effects, especially in high doses or for individuals sensitive to cannabinoids. Some potential side effects of THCA include:

  • Red eyes
  • Dizziness 
  • Fatigue
  • Paranoia
  • Dry mouth

However, whether you will have these side effects in your adventure into THCA depends on varying factors like your biology and your tolerance for cannabinoids. 

Best Way to Take THCA

There are generally several options you can explore if you want to consume THCA. However, your preferred consumption method will depend on your specific preferences and your goal for THCA consumption. For instance, smoking THCA will expose it to heat, which can trigger decarboxylation and convert the THCA to the psychoactive THC.

That said, here are some of the more common ways consumers choose to take THCA:

  • Vaporizing – THCA can be vaporized using a specialized dab rig or a vaporizer designed for concentrates, allowing for inhalation of the vapor.
  • Dabbing – Similar to vaporizing, dabbing involves heating a concentrated form of THCA and inhaling the resulting vapor.
  • Edibles – THCA can be incorporated into various edible products, including gummies, candies, and baked goods, providing a longer-lasting and more gradual effect.
  • Tinctures – THCA tinctures can be consumed orally by placing drops under the tongue, providing a quick onset of effects.
  • Topicals – THCA-infused topicals, such as creams and balms, can be applied to the skin for localized relief without the psychoactive effects.
  • Capsules – THCA can be encapsulated, allowing for precise dosing and ingestion, similar to traditional pills or supplements.

What is HHC?

HHC is a cannabinoid found in small amounts in cannabis plants. This cannabinoid is a relative to THC, though it is quite new to cannabis users. One big question about HHC is whether it is psychoactive or not, and the short answer is that it is. 

However, you should note that research on HHC is still quite limited, so most of the evidence on its psychoactive nature comes from other users.

How is HHC Made?

HHC occurs in too small an amount in cannabis plants for it to be mass-produced. Therefore, manufacturers typically make HHC from THC through a process called hydrogenation. Hydrogenation is adding hydrogen to THC molecules to change their chemical structure into HHC. This procedure was first discovered by a chemist called Roger Adams in the 1940s. 

What are the Effects of HHC?

One thing to note about HHC is that it produces very similar effects in the body to THC. However, like all cannabinoids, the biggest rule is that it affects individuals differently based on the specific circumstances that surround them, such as their biological makeup and previous tolerance levels to cannabinoids.

What are the Benefits of HHC?

HHC is a cannabinoid that interacts with the endocannabinoid system; therefore, it has been linked with some therapeutic and healing effects on the body. 

This could include:

  • Improved sleep
  • Increased appetite 
  • Pain-relieving properties
  • Mood boost

Potential Side Effects of HHC

The side effects that may be linked to HHC are also not well-researched. However, from anecdotal evidence, some of the possible side effects of HHC include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Red eyes
  • Paranoia 
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia

Best Way to Take HHC

HHC can be consumed in several ways, each offering a unique experience and method of delivery. Here are the various ways to consume HHC:

  • Taking HHC gummies 
  • Vaping HHC using a vape cartridge 
  • Smoking HHC flowers 
  • Taking HHC sublingually via tinctures

Each method generally has its unique advantages. For instance, smoking HHC flowers or using tinctures will help you feel the effects of HHC far faster than taking gummies. Also, vaping may be more fast-acting than taking a gummy or using tinctures. 

That said, we recommend being careful with your HHC dosage, especially if you are a newbie. We always recommend starting with low doses and working your way up from there. 

THCA vs. HHC: Effects

When it comes to the effects of HHC vs. THCA, the fact is that they are more similar than different. So, for example, they have both been linked with health benefits like pain relief and anti-nausea properties. Furthermore, they also have similar side effects on the body, depending on several factors, including the body and tolerance of the individuals that use them.

All that said, there are still minor differences in their effects, especially regarding their potential health benefits. For instance, THCA has been heavily linked with protecting the brain, but the same cannot be said of HHC.

HHC vs. THCA: Potency

Fundamentally, these cannabinoids differ in terms of psychoactive potency because THCA is non-psychoactive while HHC is. This means that you won’t get high taking THCA, while HHC is likely to give you the euphoria that accompanies the high from cannabinoids. 

However, when you smoke, vape, or generally apply heat to THCA, it converts into THC, and at that point, it is more potent than HHC. This is because THC is a stronger psychoactive cannabinoid than HHC. 

THCA vs HHC: Legality

When it comes to their legality, both cannabinoids fall under the same category. That is, at a Federal Level, thanks to the Farm Bill 2018, THCA and HHC should have no problem with being legal. 

However, some states still frown at THC and other forms of cannabinoids. Therefore, users must pay attention to their state laws to know whether authorities will frown at THCA or HHC products.

THCA vs. HHC: Cost

Here, the simple fact is that HHC is more expensive than THCA and even other cannabinoids like delta 8 and delta 9. This is because it is harder to find compared to THCA and the others. 

Note, however, that you may still find products for both in the same price range. However, THCA typically has more low-scale prices than HHC. For instance, you may find a THCA product for $15, while the lowest HHC prices generally are around $30.

Where to Buy THCA and HHC Products Online

If you’re searching for reliable sources to purchase top-notch THCA and HHC products online, the Imperial website is where to look. We pride ourselves on crafting premium-quality products and boast an extensive range of options. 

Click here to shop our products today.

Final Thoughts

HHC vs. THCA is an important conversation among cannabis users. However, where it really gets interesting is that they have more similarities than differences. But, there’s one notable difference — THCA is non-psychoactive while HHC will get consumers high irrespective of consumption method. 

On the flip side, heat via smoking or vaping will also allow users to get a high from THCA. 


Is HHC Stronger than THCA?

Yes, fundamentally, HHC is stronger than THCA in terms of psychoactive high. This is because THCA doesn’t have psychoactive properties. However, at the application of heat to THCA, it converts into THC, which is stronger than HHC. 

What is Stronger than THCA?

Since THCA is non-psychoactive, all psychoactive cannabinoids are stronger than THCA.

Which is Stronger, THCA or THCP?

THCP is stronger than THCA, whether it is THCA in its original form or when it is converted into THC by heat. 

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