What Is The Difference Between THCA & THC?

Regardless of what popular slapstick comedies might portray in their presentations, consuming raw weed will not get you high. Raw, freshly harvested cannabis does not contain any THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) or CBD (cannabidiol), the intoxicating substance of the cannabis plant. Fresh cannabis contains an abundance of THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) which turns into THC through a process called decarboxylation. You have come to the right place if you want to learn about decarboxylation and how potent cannabis can become with a higher THC content. 

How Does THCA Convert To THC?

The process of decarboxylation employs heat and light to convert THCA into THC. The application of heat alters the chemical structure of the THCA to remove the carboxylic acid. There are many different ways that decarboxylation can take place and the main goal is to fully activate the THC in cannabis. Here we look at some of the various ways decarboxylation can be done. 


You can use your oven to create intoxicating homemade edibles if you have raw weed. Finely grate the raw weed and spread it across a baking sheet or wax paper that is waterproof and grease-resistant. Place all of the raw weed onto a tray and place the tray in the oven for half an hour to 45 minutes at 230 degrees Fahrenheit (110 degrees Celsius). The final product is roasted cannabis that has a potent amount of THC that was converted from THCA and possibly some remnants of THCA, depending on the efficiency of the roasting process. 

Sous Vide Method:

The sous vide method is one of the best and most precise ways to decarboxylate cannabis. What you need to have to decarboxylate marijuana according to the sous vide method is a sous vide cooking device, weed grinder, 10-quart pot, and heat-safe resealable ziplock-style bags or an airtight sealing machine with bags. Begin by grinding the weed until it is a coarse grain. Place this coarse grain material in the plastic bags and firmly seal the bags.

The pot needs to be filled with water and the sous device will be placed inside the pot. The sous vide device needs to be set at a temperature of 230 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the bags filled with marijuana in the sous vide device once the desired temperature is achieved. Let the bags stay in the device for at least 90 minutes. 

You can achieve similar results with the help of a thermometer and a pot of boiling water. But it will be difficult to achieve the precise temperature control that is possible with the sous vide device. The sous vide method using the sous vide device is the most reliable method of producing consistently decarboxylated marijuana without drying out or burning the marijuana. 

Identifying Decarboxylated Cannabis

Smoking decarboxylated cannabis is better than smoking raw, freshly cut cannabis. Decarboxylated cannabis has a higher THC content in comparison to raw or dried cannabis. If it is not decarboxylated properly the cannabis will turn to dust when being handled. In addition to this, it may have the taste of burnt popcorn and turn to ash instead of burning slowly for a long time.