Right now, everyone’s talking about THCA flower: aka, raw hemp flower buds infused with THCA, the precursor to delta 9 THC, which, once heated, turns into delta 9. As you may have guessed, THCA flower pretty much offers the closest thing we can get to federally legal marijuana buds, which is sort of a big deal. But, one thing that you should always consider before taking any new hemp product is the potential for side effects, and THCA is no different.
The good news is that no cannabinoid has ever been found to cause serious, life-changing or life-threatening side effects. Basically, if you’ve ever smoked weed before, then you probably know what those common, yet short-lived side effects are. But, we’re going to cover all of them, both related to THCA left in its raw form, and after decarboxylation – aka, delta 9 THC, which is what you’re actually consuming whenever you smoke, vape or bake/cook with THCA flower.
THCA Side Effects
THCA is, again, the raw form of delta 9 THC – basically, the cannabinoid found in raw flower before the flower is heated through a common method like smoking, vaping or infusing into a food at a high temperature. THCA is not, in fact, psychoactive – in other words, you can’t get high from it – since raw cannabinoids do not interact with the same brain receptors as, say, delta 9.
But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get any side effects from THCA. While THCA is, overall, a mild plant compound, there are a couple of side effects that have been reported. Keep in mind that more studies need to be done to really determine the true side effect profile of THCA.
Some people have reported a feeling of anxiety after taking THCA flower at a relatively high dose – basically, a lot more than what’s recommended on any standard product label. This feeling typically subsides within a few hours at most.
Another relatively common side effect of THCA flower after taking a heavy-handed dose is sedation – basically, feeling sleepy. Now, maybe that’s the desired effect if, say, you’re taking THCA at nighttime to help you fall asleep.
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Side Effects of Delta 9 THC
Like we’ve said, THCA turns into delta 9 THC when it’s heated. And, if you’re using THCA flower, the only ways to consume it require heating the flower in a way that turns all of that THCA into delta 9. Whether you’re smoking it, vaping it or making homemade edibles, what you’re consuming is delta 9, not THCA.
So, that being said, it’s important to go over the long-established side effect profile of delta 9. Again, none of these potential side effects are dangerous, or long-lasting. And, many people experience them very mildly.
Yes, paranoia and anxiety are extremely common with delta 9 THC, specifically because of how disorienting it can be to feel high. This is way more common among people who are new to cannabis, as well as people who end up taking way more than they should. The feeling of uneasiness typically goes away after the high has passed its peak, and the cannabinoid’s effects on CB1 receptors aren’t as strong. People may feel self-conscious as well during this time, thinking that everyone is judging them – this is actually incredibly common when you’re high.
#2: Reduced Blood Pressure
THCA flower can have a temporary lowering effect on blood pressure, and that’s something a lot of people don’t know. But, it does explain some of the most commonly reported side effects of getting “too” high, such as an increased heartrate, a feeling of lightheadedness, pins and needles and feeling weak. The good news is that never has there been a report of someone’s blood pressure dropping to genuinely dangerous levels before. If you feel weak or faint, simply sit or lie down for a while – it’ll pass, we promise.
#3: Dry Eyes and Dry Mouth
Most of us are very familiar with these two side effects, which can occur even when you’re just a little high. With dry eyes, it’s common for them to look bloodshot, and even look a little puffy. But, if you’ve got some saline eye drops, that’s probably all you need to get them back to their normal state.
With dry mouth, aka “cottonmouth,” it’s caused by cannabinoid receptors that regulate salivation – in other words, it doesn’t actually mean you’re dehydrated, if that’s something that you were worried about. And again, the remedy is typically simple – just drink a glass of water.
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#4: Drowsiness/Confusion/Poor Coordination
If you’ve ever felt drowsy, foggy or unable to do basic motor skills as well as you normally do (like walking, etc.), you’re far from alone. THCA flower throws off our cognitive balance for a little while when we’re really high, and this can cause one of these effects, or all of the above. A lot of people prefer to take a nap when they get the groggy feeling we’re talking about, and as for the other side effects, they’ll pass soon. Of course, this is one of the key reasons why you should never drive when you’re high on THC.
Lastly, a rarer but still relatively common side effect is nausea. We’re not sure why some people feel nauseous when they’re extremely high, but it may have to do with the dizziness some people feel when their blood pressure gets lower. Either way, this is another side effect that will pass, and you’ll be fine.
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With Both THCA and Delta 9 THC, Dosage Seems to Make the Biggest Difference
At the end of the day, whether you’re taking THCA in its raw form or decarboxylated (into delta 9 THC), you may experience some minor side effects. And, unsurprisingly, it’s likely that they’re very dosage-dependent – in other words, the more you consume, the more likely you are to experience one or more of the side effects listed above. The good news is that no matter what, you can rest easy knowing that you’re not in any true danger, and you can just wait things out as they will pass before long.