Learn About the Meaning of THCA Percentage

What Is a High THCA Percentage?

New to cannabis products like THCA? Finding the right cannabis plant product for you can be quite tricky, especially if you are just starting out. Reading the product labels and understanding the various pieces of information can be downright frustrating.

As a consumer of cannabis plant products, it is critical to know exactly the cannabinoid profile of the specific item you are eyeing to buy to ensure that you get an accurate dosage and know what to expect.

For THCA products like raw cannabis and buds from your preferred cannabis strain, you have to learn to read product labels.

Anatomy of a Cannabis Label

Learning how to read and interpret the information on cannabis product labels is an essential skill that you need to learn and master, whether you are buying these for medical or recreational purposes. So how exactly do you read cannabis product labels and know that you have the right THCA percentage?

Under the Farm Bill of 2018, all cannabis products should come with product labels that inform consumers about a wide range of vital information. These include product descriptions, dosage, quantity, potency, expiration dates, storage information, and warnings.

Here is a brief look at the different pieces of information that you will see on the labels of cannabis products.

Product name

The product name should include (where applicable) the cannabis strain and species (Sativa, Indica, hybrid).

Product type

The label should also clearly state what type of product is inside the packaging, whether it is a cannabis bud, extract, edible, tincture, or edible.


This refers to the amount of cannabis product contained in the packaging.


The product label should clearly state the exact amount that is equivalent to one dose.

Other pieces of information

The product label or packaging may also include other pieces of information like expiration dates, storage information, warning labels, and key information about the product manufacturer.

Another key piece of information you should consider before buying a cannabis product is terpene analysis. While terpenes are not intoxicating on their own, they can affect the flavor, aroma, and your overall experience when using a cannabis product like THCA.

Understanding Potency Analysis

While all the pieces of information mentioned above are important, cannabis consumers should put more of their focus on the potency analysis. But what exactly is a potency analysis?

In a nutshell, a potency analysis lists the percentage of each cannabinoid found in a cannabis product. Of these cannabinoids, the percentages of THC and CBD are probably the most important.

Most of the intoxicating effects of marijuana can be attributed in large part to THC. THC percentage will vary depending on the cannabis product you are eyeing to buy. For example, the THC percentage of cannabis buds can range from 0% to 30%, while the THC percentage for tinctures averages well below five percent.

Aside from THC percentages, you might also see the percentages for other cannabinoids like CBG, CBN, and THCA. Of these various percentages, the most useful of these for cannabis consumers are the percentages of CBD, THC, and THCA.

THCA or tetrahydrocannabinolic acid is a cannabinoid that turns into THC when exposed to heat.

It is a usual practice for marijuana companies to put the THCA percentage on their labels instead of the THC percentage. The main reason behind this is that THCA is converted to THC. For example, a label may indicate that the product contains 20% THCA and 0.9% THC. Essentially, this means that the product contains 20% THC.

Cannabis products with high THCA and THC percentages possess intoxicating effects. Their THC percentage will hover around 15% or higher. In contrast, products with higher CBD percentages are less intoxicating and instead, produce effects that affect the body more.

Converting THCA to THC

How exactly does THCA convert to THC?

Another important thing that you should understand before looking at THCA percentages is the difference between this cannabinoid and THC. Although both share a few similarities, they are two different cannabinoids.

As cannabis plants, they produce various compounds, including THCA. In fact, cannabis plants produce just a small amount of THC. Instead, they produce THCA as they go through the different growth stages. This is why you won't get intoxicated from consuming raw cannabis. THCA by itself has no psychoactive effects.

THCA is the precursor to THC. Simply put, the latter is derived from the former. That transition happens through the process known as decarboxylation. Decarboxylation can occur naturally as raw cannabis is exposed to light and heat or artificially by smoking, vaping, or dabbing THCA products. THCA is quite unstable and will readily convert to THC.

But why does THC make you high while THCA can't? It all boils down to the molecular structure of the two cannabinoids. THC readily binds with the endocannabinoid receptors in your body because its molecules can make a seamless fit with the CB1 and CB2 receptors.

THCA molecules, on the other hand, cannot fit with the endocannabinoid receptors because of their shape. And because THCA molecules cannot bind with the receptors, you cannot experience the intoxication typically associated with THC.

In a way, THCA is similar to other cannabinoids like CBD that do have the psychoactive properties THC has. However, they still offer a few benefits. THCA offers a few benefits like protection against neurodegenerative diseases and anti-obesity properties, anti-nausea, and anti-inflammatory properties.

But do take note that research on THCA remains little and more studies need to be done to delve into the benefits of THCA.

How to Decarboxylate THCA

Decarboxylation does not require special equipment. Because THCA is unstable, it readily converts to THC with minimal intervention. And if you have been using cannabis products like cannabis flowers, you might be decarbing THCA without being consciously aware of it. So how exactly do you convert THCA to THC?

Well for starters, you can just leave raw cannabis at room temperature and things will work themselves out. Exposing cannabis plant material to sunlight will fast-track the decarbing process further.

Applying heat to cannabis plant material in the form of smoking, vaping, or dabbing converts THYCA to THC. But be aware, smoking isn't the most efficient way of decarbing THCA. You end up losing a substantial amount of the cannabinoids by smoking. If you want to get the most out of a THCA product, consider vaping or dabbing.

Decarbing can also occur when you cook THCA products. In fact, if you want to get the psychoactive effects of marijuana, you need to decarb the THCA product you are using. Most hobbyists and home cooks use cannabis oil or butter with cannabis extracts.

THCA and THC Percentage

Now that you are familiar with THCA, its benefits, as well as its relation with THC, it's now time to move on to THCA percentages. Specifically, what is considered to be a high THCA percentage.

Typically, cannabis strains that have a THC percentage of 15% and above are considered to have higher THCA content pre-decarboxylation and are called high THC strains.

When you look at the label and packaging of a cannabis product, you will see both the THC percentage and THCA percentage. The THCA percentage denotes the potential THC content of the cannabis strain.

However, the true amount of THC that you will get from a THC product will depend on a few things, including product type and your chosen method of consumption like smoking cannabis buds, eating edibles, or using tinctures or oils.

Another important thing to note is that the THC percentage refers to the actual THC you get from consumption and not from the dry THC percentage. Usually, the dry THC percentage on the product label is considerably lower.

Because THCA is relatively new to the cannabis industry, there are quite a few THCA products available in the market, the most common of which are THCA cannabis buds and raw cannabis. These products contain THCA in varying levels.

There are also cannabis seeds that are labeled as THCA-dominant. With weed seeds, the THCA percentage hovers between 15% to 20%. At around these levels, you are assured that you will get consistency from your cannabis plants in terms of THCA. But beyond 25%, you are looking at some pretty potent stuff.

However, people metabolize cannabinoids like THCA differently. For some, 20% may just be alright, and for others, the same THCA percentage may be too potent for them.

Computing THCA Percentages

Let's say that the product you are eyeing to buy in a dispensary does not indicate the THCA percentage. Or perhaps a friend gave you a cannabis product without any indication of the THCA percentage? How do you know how much THC and THCA are in a product?

In either case, do not hesitate to ask the staff members of the dispensary for assistance. Although they might not know the exact THCA percentage, they may be aware of the ballpark percentage based on the specific cannabis strain of the product.

It is also possible to perform a cannabinoid analysis on the product but that would be an expense you can easily skip. Instead, consider researching the specific strain used for the product.

There are a few ways to compute the THCA percentage of the product, including the Potential Total THC which uses this formula:

Total THC = (%THCA) x 0.877 + (%THC).

At the end of the day, the right THCA percentage depends on your personal preference. Take note that cannabis buds will usually have a THC percentage of zero. But once the heat is applied to the product, the THCA is converted to THC and you will get percentages of 15% or more. With products like distillates, concentrates, and tinctures, the THCA is usually activated during the manufacturing process. As such, the THCA percentage never changes.

What Is Considered High THC?

To some cannabis consumers, a THC percentage of 15% is already high. For others, that may be relatively low, with minimal intoxicating effects experienced.

The bottom line is that THC percentages boil down to your current tolerance level. THC percentages will vary depending on the products and strains used for these.

For newbies, products labeled as strong or high-grade can be confusing. These terms do not necessarily reflect the potency of a cannabis product.

More THC = Higher Potency?

Does a higher THC percentage translate to higher potency? According to current research, a higher THC percentage does not automatically mean that you get to experience more intense more potent psychoactive effects.

Factors like your current tolerance level and method of consumption affect your overall experience. This is particularly true if you have been using marijuana for quite some time.

Seasoned users may have cannabinoid receptors that are already saturated. In contrast, if you are new to using marijuana, you may be more likely to experience the psychoactive properties of THC more intensely.

The psychoactive effects of cannabis may also depend on how you consume weed. Compared to smoking a joint or vaping, ingesting edibles leads to more potency.

Finally, CBD content matters just as much as THC content. CBD, along with terpenes, enhances the effects of THC and counters some of the adverse side effects of the cannabinoid.

One final thing to bear in mind: higher THC percentage can lead to a few side effects, including panic attacks, confusion, dizziness, nausea, and hallucinations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you get high from THCA?

It really depends on how you're consuming THCA. If you're smoking, vaping, or dabbing THCA, it's likely that you will feel some effects as it gets converted to THC. However, if you're consuming raw cannabis for its THCA content, it's unlikely that you will get high.

In order to feel the psychoactive effects of THC, THCA needs to be decarboxylated, which usually happens through heat exposure.

While there are some theories that suggest the human digestive system can convert THCA into THC, it's unlikely that you will feel significant effects from consuming THCA this way.

In short, if you're looking to get high, you're better off consuming cannabis products that have already been decarboxylated.

What's the current THCA legal status?

The legality of THCA depends on the laws and regulations in your specific location.

In many places, THCA is considered legal as long as it comes from industrial hemp containing less than 0.3% THC. However, in other places, THCA may be considered illegal or heavily regulated, even if it comes from industrial hemp.

It's important to do your research and understand the laws and regulations in your area before purchasing or consuming any cannabis or hemp products.

Be aware that rules and regulations on the sale and use of cannabis products are subject to change. And as such, practice due diligence and brush up on your knowledge about the pertinent laws.

Does THCA show up on drug tests?

Most drug tests are designed to detect THC and its metabolites. These tests usually do not zero in on the THCA found in your body.

THCA is the non-psychoactive precursor to THC and is typically not included in standard drug testing panels.

However, it's important to note that some more advanced drug tests, such as those used by law enforcement or in certain workplaces, may be able to detect THCA.

Additionally, if the THCA is not properly decarboxylated before consumption, it may be converted to THC in the body and show up on a drug test.

It's always a good idea to be cautious and informed about the specific drug testing policies in your workplace or industry if you are concerned about drug test results.

What are the effects of THCA?

THCA is the non-psychoactive precursor to THC, and as such, it does not produce the intoxicating effects typically associated with THC consumption. However, THCA is thought to have a number of potential therapeutic benefits, and research is ongoing to explore its effects.

Some studies suggest that THCA may help reduce inflammation, protect the nervous system, and alleviate nausea and vomiting. It may also have the potential in managing conditions such as arthritis, epilepsy, and certain types of cancer.

It's important to note that more research is needed to fully understand the effects of THCA, and its potential therapeutic benefits are not yet fully established.

Additionally, the effects of THCA may vary depending on individual factors such as dosage, mode of consumption, and individual biology.

Final Thoughts

THCA percentage is an important factor to consider when selecting cannabis products, particularly for individuals seeking the benefits of cannabis without the psychoactive effects of THC.

While THCA does not produce the intoxicating effects typically associated with THC, it may have a range of potential benefits, including anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and anti-emetic properties.

When selecting cannabis products, it's always important to review lab test results to ensure that the THCA percentage is consistent with your needs and expectations.

Apotheca is committed to providing our customers with quality products that have been thoroughly tested for efficacy and overall value. If you wish to try THCA products or learn more about them, do not hesitate to contact us now.