The Differences Between THC, THCA, THCV, and Delta-8-THC

PUBLISHED Jul 24, 2020
diagram showing the differences between THC, THCA, THCV, and delta-8-THC

The most commonly known cannabinoid THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, produces many of the effects most people associate with cannabis. However, as more cannabis research emerges, minor cannabinoids show promise for both physical and mental relief. Let’s break down the similarities and differences between this family of molecules.


THCA or tetrahydrocannabinolic acid is found in the raw cannabis plant and has no psychoactive effect. THCA does not bind to our cannabinoid receptors due to its difference in structure and size. It does, however, have potent antioxidant properties as well as anti-inflammatory advantages. THCA makes cannabis a superfood when consumed in its raw form, and many cannabis enthusiasts wise to THCA’s benefits will typically juice raw cannabis to reap the rewards of cannabinoids and terpenes

THCA is the acidic cannabinoid that converts to delta-9-THC through decarboxylation of the cannabis plant. Once THCA is converted to Δ9-THC through this process it becomes the psychoactive cannabinoid we know and love.  


Delta-9-THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is the commonly known cannabinoid responsible for the psychoactive “high” associated with cannabis. D9 has many health benefits including antiemetic properties, pain reduction, relaxation, and reduced anxiety in lower doses. 

Once THCA goes through the process of decarboxylation and becomes delta-9,  it is then able to bind to our CB1 endocannabinoid receptors and produce physical and mental effects. 


THCV or tetrahydrocannabivarin is a minor cannabinoid that has very minor psychoactive effects. THCV and high-THCV cannabis strains are highly sought after for their appetite-suppressing effects, a remarkably different effect from delta-9, which stimulates appetite. In larger amounts, THCV provides a stimulating effect and can increase overall focus. These characteristics, along with anti-inflammatory and anticonvulsant properties, gives this minor cannabinoid major potential in cannabis products. 


Delta-8-THC, or delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol, binds to the same CB1 receptors as D9 THC but does so in a different way due to its differences in molecular structure. Delta-8 is known to address pain, anxiety, loss of appetite, and nausea, and has a “clearer” head feel than delta-9. 


Minor cannabinoids and other cannabis ingredients are emerging as valuable additions to many products. To learn more about opportunities with Delta-8 THC, download our free guide “Delta-8 THC: A Legal Opinion”

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