When medical marijuana is heated and vaporized, the decarboxylation process rapidly converts THCA to THC as it is inhaled. More recently, researchers discovered that THCA represents about 90% of the total THC content of cannabis. Around 70% of the cannabinoid acid is converted to THC when properly heated. THCA is converted to THC in varying degrees through exposure to heat or light.
If a cannabis plant stays under the warm sun for an extended period of time, its THCA molecules will slowly convert to THC. One of the questions we receive most frequently is “Why does my label have such a small percentage of THC? In Illinois, the label on all cannabis products contains. THCA is usually the most common cannabinoid, but it is not psychoactive until it is converted to THC. A small percentage of THC is naturally produced in the curing and drying process and the label indicates this natural amount.
However, decarboxylation is the process needed to convert THCA to THC and activate the psychoactive effects of cannabis. Decarboxylation occurs when cannabis is heated by smoking, vaping, or baking by 26%. I hope this will allow you to better understand how the THCA and THC percentages that appear on product labels were determined. While the FDA doesn't specifically mention THCA, it's best to avoid these products in states where THC hasn't been legalized.
I will also explain how the percentages of THCA and THC that appear on the labels of cannabis products are derived.