Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) isn’t a new discovery, but at the same time, it’s new to the hemp market thanks to its unique relationship to delta 9 THC. THCA is also one of the most misunderstood and, in fact, controversial components of cannabis. We know that many Binoid customers love psychoactive, federally legal cannabinoids like delta 8, THC-P, THC-O and now THCA, still a good number of our customers also happen to be individuals who may get drug-tested from time to time, for work, for probation or some other reason.
Now, what does all this mean in terms of THCA products drug-testing? Let’s find out, since we recognize that many hemp enthusiasts do get drug-tested.
What Is THCA?
Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid is the raw form of delta 9 THC, known as its precursor. In the raw cannabis plant, cannabinoids exist in these raw, acidic forms. Only when they are “activated” through a process known as decarboxylation, which involves heating the cannabinoids to specific temperatures, are they converted into their more familiar forms.
THCA, being a different cannabinoid from THC, has inherent properties that are unique prior to decarboxylation. This is why researchers are beginning to study its potential therapeutic uses, independent of its relationship to THC. Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid is the dominant cannabinoid in raw marijuana, before the plant is heated, and makes up about 0.3% of the hemp plant.
Will Taking THCA Cause A Failed Drug Test?
Some people hope that because tetrahydrocannabinolic acid is the raw form of THC, that it won’t trigger a positive drug test result. But, both THCA and delta 9 THC convert into THC-COOH, the metabolite that lets THC break down and leave the body, and THC-COOH is what drug tests are looking for, not THC itself. Simultaneously, any THCA product that’s meant to be heated, like flower, vapes or dabs, means that you’re converting the THCA into delta 9 THC through a process of heating known as decarboxylation.
So, you’re taking delta 9 THC, which we all know will result in a positive test result. Basically, THCA products will cause you to fail a drug test if the THC-COOH is still in the body.
Different Drug Tests That May Pick Up THCA
There are a few different types of drug tests that are used in various environments, all of which can pick up THCA/delta 9 THC. Let’s compare them.
- Urine Tests: About 90% of all drug tests administered are urine tests, and also are the standard drug tests used for both employment and probation. They can show THC-COOH in a person’s urine about 2-60 days after it was last taken. These are extremely reliable and low-cost.
- Saliva Tests: Saliva tests are usually used by law enforcement, most often at traffic stops and when arrests are made, to find out if a person is intoxicated, as they only show whether or not a person has consumed THC within the last 10 hours.
- Hair Tests: Hair strand tests can identify certain drugs that have been taken in the last 90 days, but they are not the most reliable or affordable, and they have an impractically long turnaround time. Because of that, they’re rarely used by employers.
- Blood Tests: Blood tests are used to find out if a person is currently high, and do not look for THC-COOH but rather THC/THCA, as the cannabinoid hasn’t yet been converted into THC-COOH. They’re commonly used in hospitals.
- Perspiration Tests: Perspiration tests are usually saved for clinical studies at the will of the participant, and require attaching a patch to a person’s skin, where it remains for up 2 weeks, collecting samples of their sweat over the period of time.
What Will Influence Failing a THCA Drug Test?
If you’ve recently taken a THCA formula, in either its natural form or post-heated (delta 9 THC), that doesn’t mean you’re automatically doomed to fail. Consider these factors below.
#1: Your Prior THCA Usage
The date of your last dose of THCA product is maybe the biggest factor. If it’s been over 5 weeks since your last dose, there’s a really good chance that you’re in the clear. It’s also about how frequently you did take it. THC-COOH leaves the body at the same rate regardless of how much of it is in the system – in other words, if you were taking the cannabinoid daily for several weeks, there’s a big traffic jam effect as the metabolite clears the system. If you took it only a couple of times in total, it may not linger in the body for more than a couple of days.
#2: How Your Body Metabolizes THCA
Some people’s metabolisms fully break down and eliminate THC-COOH more quickly than others do, based on variables like diet, immune function, thyroid function and overall health.
#3: Strength of the THCA Product
THCA-infused Products like tinctures, gummies, etc. come in different milligram strengths, and the milligram strength of the product you’ve been using makes a difference. You will process 5 milligrams of THCA at a quicker rate than say at 50 milligrams.
Where To Buy THCA Products: Disposable Vapes
You can find THCA products such as vape cart disposables and more on Binoid's website here! Or you can search “THCA” at the top header of their website. Binoid carries THCA vape carts, disposables and wax dabs such as Exotic Kush, Cranberry Haze, Sour Pebblez, Unicorn Berry, Gusherz, Jillybean, Candy Cloud and more. You can choose your regular THCA favorites with theirTHCA vape disposables here.
How Drug-Testing For THC Works
When a person takes a standard urine test for an employer or other type of organization, the test is not actually seeking to identify levels of THC in the body. Instead, it’s searching for THC-COOH – a type of metabolite that’s released into the body when a person consumes THC, in order to break it down. THC-COOH is fat-soluble, which means that it remains in the body for quite a while. This is why someone can test positive for several days up to weeks following THC usage.
Since standard drug tests are testing for a metabolite rather than a specific compound, this raises the question about how tests will respond to other cannabinoids. In other words, are there other compounds in hemp that cause the body to produce THC-COOH besides delta 9 THC?
What To Know About THCA Before Getting Tested
If you want to take your chances and use THCA products despite knowing that you may be drug-tested in the relatively near future, there are some things to keep in mind first. One is that in the event that tetrahydrocannabinolic acid does, in fact, trigger a positive result, your usage can make a difference.
Comparing it to THC, we see that those who only use marijuana once in a while can require several days or so before they test “clean”, while heavy users may need somewhere around a month of abstinence before THC-COOH is no longer detectable in their urine.
Basically, if you’re concerned that using THCA products can influence a positive result, perhaps applying this information can be useful. Basically, consider when it’s time to take a break from taking THCA, so that the potential levels of THC-COOH would no longer be traceable by the date of your test.
With THCA Drug-Testing – Best To Play It Safe
Overall, whether you’re taking THCA as a raw cannabinoid or as a decarboxylated cannabinoid to convert it into delta 9 THC, you are likely to fail a drug test. And, because of that, we recommend that you simply avoid all THCA products if you do have a drug test coming up.
At the end of the day, it’s better to be safe than sorry, and that’s especially true if you could lose your job because of a positive test result.