Will THCA Make Me Fail a Drug Test?
THCA is becoming more popular with each passing day, making it important to fully understand all the attributes of this cannabinoid — including any that may be undesirable. Nobody wants to be drug-tested, but for some of us, it’s an unavoidable reality.
Will using THCA make you fail a drug test for THC? The short answer is, “yes.” For the long answer, dive into this guide to THCA and drug testing.
What is THCA?
Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) is a general term used to refer to the precursor compound to cannabinoids like THC, which are known as “tetrahydrocannabinols.” Usually, “THCA” refers specifically to delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, the precursor to delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, widely known as THC and the only remaining substance defined specifically as “marijuana” under the Controlled Substances Act.
Are THCA and THC the same thing?
THCA converts into THC when heated above 232°F, essentially making THCA and THC the same thing from the point of view of most end users. It’s possible to use THCA in a way that doesn’t involve converting the cannabinoid into THC, but most users seek THCA out specifically because it’s the precursor to THC.
THC and THCA are not the same thing, importantly, from the perspective of federal law. To the United States federal government, the only substance defined as the Schedule I illicit drug “marijuana” is THC. THCA is not included in this definition, making the substance “industrial hemp” by default as per the 2018 Farm Bill.
What effects are expected with THCA?
The effects THCA provides vary depending on how you use it. If orally ingested or used with another method that does not involve the application of heat, THCA will stay in its original form, providing non-intoxicating effects similar to those provided by CBD.
When heated, though, THCA becomes THC, providing the classic effects of this intoxicating cannabinoid. Expect to feel mentally transported and physically transformed for the near future, sinking deeper into the type of soothing disconnect that only THC can provide.
Will I fail a drug test if I use THCA?
Yes, you will fail a urine drug test for THC if you use THCA products. That’s because both THC and THCA break down into the same metabolite in the human body, codified by cannabis researchers as COOH-THC. This is the primary substance tested for in THC drug testing, not THC itself.
Since both THC and THCA become COOH-THC, it makes no difference from the perspective of drug testing which compound you use. THCA use will also cause you to fail a hair test, but at present, saliva tests are not capable of detecting the presence of THCA.
Will I fail a drug test if I smoke THCA?
Yes, smoking THCA flower is just as likely to make you fail a drug test for THC as smoking flower listed as “high-THC.” Aside from the fact that both THC and THCA become COOH-THC in the human body, the very name “high-THC flower” is also a bit of a misnomer since the primary substance it contains is THCA, not THC.
So, smoking THCA is the same as smoking THC in more ways than one. Enjoy THCA flower as much as you’d like, but don’t be under the illusion that doing so is any different from using THC flower — at least from a chemical perspective.
Will I fail a drug test if I vape THCA?
Yes, failing a drug test is just as likely after using a THCA vape as it would be if you used a THC vape instead. Not only does the THCA in your vape convert into THC even before it enters your lungs, but THCA and THC both become COOH-THC in the human body anyway. There’s simply no way around the fact that THCA becomes indistinguishable from THC after being ingested in the human body, something users should understand so they can make informed and appropriate decisions.
Will I fail a drug test if I take THCA gummies?
Yes, you will even fail a drug test if you use THCA in a way that does not involve the application of heat, such as eating THCA gummies. Whether it converts into THC prior to ingestion or not, THCA nonetheless becomes COOH-THC in the human body, the same substance that results when THC breaks down. Despite the fact that unactivated THCA products will not even provide the same high as THC, they will still appear as THC in drug testing.
Will THCA make me fail a urine test?
Yes, a standard urine drug test will detect THCA use since these tests are actually calibrated to detect the shared metabolite of both THCA and THC, COOH-THC. Urine tests usually become capable of detecting THC use 1-2 days after ingestion and can no longer detect use once 30 days have elapsed since the date of ingestion.
Will THCA make me fail a hair test?
Yes, THCA will show up in a hair follicle test since this form of drug testing detects COOH-THC, the shared metabolite of THC and THCA. Hair tests usually cannot detect drug use that occurred within the last 7-10 days, but they can, on the other hand, still detect THCA use that occurred up to 90 days ago, approximately three times the testing window of urinalysis.
Will THCA make me fail a saliva test?
No, THCA will not be detectable in a roadside saliva test, now administered in some states to detect the use of THC. If you recently smoked THCA flower or hit a THCA vape, however, you will still fail a saliva drug test since THCA converts into THC when it is heated. Those who ingested THCA orally or in another way that does not involve the cannabinoid’s conversion into THC have nothing to fear from saliva drug testing.
The bottom line: Can drug tests detect THCA?
Don’t be surprised if using THCA makes you fail a drug test for THC. You know, for instance, that THCA becomes THC when heated, and now you also know that THCA and THC both become COOH-THC in the human body, the primary substance detected in drug testing.
There’s hardly any circumstance in which using THCA will not make you fail a drug test for THC. With workplace drug testing becoming less and less common, however, it’s worth carefully assessing whether you need to be concerned about testing positive for THC in the first place. In many cases, a simple and honest conversation with the party requesting the drug test can clear matters up and alleviate any concerns on either side.
THCA drug test FAQ
There’s much more to learn about THCA and drug testing. Expand your knowledge in the following FAQ section:
Which strains have THCA?
Any strain that is labeled as “high-THC” is actually high in THCA, the chemical precursor to THC and the form THC takes in cannabis before it is decarboxylated. So, all strains of cannabis bought at medical or adult-use dispensaries are, first and foremost, high-THCA and only become high-THC when used in a method that triggers chemical conversion.
Is THCA considered CBD in drug testing?
No, THCA and CBD are not very alike chemically, so there’s no possibility of THCA being mistaken for CBD or categorized as CBD in the context of drug testing. Instead, THCA will be considered THC since both THCA and THC become the metabolite COOH-THC in the human body.
Is THCA an active cannabinoid?
No, THCA is considered an inactive cannabinoid since it does not have psychoactive effects and is still in its precursor form. THCA contains a carboxyl group that is shed when it becomes THC, and this is the transition where scientists have identified THCA “activates” and becomes THC. THCA can be activated and converted into THC via heat, oxidative stress, or ultraviolet light.
Where is THCA banned?
To our knowledge, THCA is not specifically banned in any state. Some states have imposed bans or regulations on THCA production or sale within their borders, but these restrictions do not amount to a ban on personal ownership. So, even in areas that have enacted these policies, residents can still buy THCA products online.
Is THCA a toxin?
Neither THCA nor its active form, THC, are known to be particularly toxic. Sparse reports indicate that THC can sometimes become acutely toxic in some individuals, but tetrahydrocannabinols are, in general, considered to be relatively mild. Side effects of THCA or THC use include paranoia, dry mouth, and minor audiovisual hallucinations, but it is very rare for individuals to have severe reactions to either compound.
What is the difference between delta 10 and THCA?
Delta 10 is a rare alternative to THC that is synthesized from CBD. While naturally occurring in cannabis, delta 10 THC is so rare that it is not possible to create products made from natural delta 10.
THCA, on the other hand, is the all-natural precursor to THC. It can be synthesized, but doing so is no longer economical since abundant THCA can now be sourced directly from cannabis. Strains of cannabis with high concentrations of delta 10 may never come about, but high-THCA strains are already here, making THCA considerably more available as well as more natural.
Does THCA dissolve in water?
THCA is known to have slightly better water solubility than THC, but not enough to make a noticeable difference. Generally, cannabinoids do not effectively dissolve in water at all and must be formulated into oil-based products to be absorbed properly in the human body. Even if purified THCA crystals appear to disperse when added to water, they won’t stay that way, gradually settling to the bottom of the container.
Can you smoke THCA isolate?
It is technically possible to smoke THCA isolate, but doing so will provide a subpar experience compared to hitting a THCA distillate vape or smoking THCA flower. In the early days of the THCA industry, isolated extracts were the only products available, but the market has since diversified.
Smoking THCA isolate will simply provide you with a flavorless and harsh experience that’s nothing like the type of vaping or smoking you’re used to. With THCA flower, on the other hand, you get to enjoy all the flavors and textures of cannabis smoke, and with THCA vapes, terpenes come to the fore to elicit a symphony of different flavor notes.
There are so many better ways to use THCA aside from smoking isolate that the average user has no reason to take this approach anymore. Whether you’ve tried smoking THCA isolate and found it lacking or want to start with the real thing, give THCA vapes a try as an alternative today.