Everything You Need To Know About CBDA
CBD vs CBDa. What is CBDa? CBDa Benefits?
January 20, 2022
CBD vs CBDA: Surely you’ve heard of CBD. But now we have CBDA? What is CBDA? CBDA benefits, are there any? Also, what is the best CBDA oil out there? You’ve likely seen CBD products on shelves in stores near you. CBD is everywhere. Now, CBDA and other cannabinoids are emerging on the health supplement scene.
No, CBDA is not a typo. Also, no: CBDA is not interchangeable with CBD. They’re different compounds, although they do have a close relationship.
In this post, we’re going to take a deep dive into CBDA and tell you everything you need to know about CBDA and even CBD before you buy a bottle. We will go over CBDA benefits as well as CBD benefits and more.
All about the CBDa Cannabinoid
Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) is a little-known cannabinoid with major therapeutic potential. In preliminary animal studies, CBDA has shown to be promising against inflammation, anxiety, seizures, and even certain types of cancer. CBDA is now seen as the next frontier in cannabinoid-based therapy.
While the research on the possible benefits of CBDA is still in its infancy, researchers are hopeful that CBDA could reduce the need for medications that can cause long-term side effects while improving people’s overall mental and physical well-being.
New research that is creating quite the buzz found that two compounds commonly found in hemp have the potential to combat the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. The compounds, cannabidiolic acid, or CBDA, and cannabigerolic acid, or CBGA, block a critical step in the process the virus uses to infect people.
No, it does not mean you can smoke weed and prevent the ’rona. No, it does not (necessarily) mean you can squirt some CBD oil from that tincture bottle and keep the ’vid at bay. The CBDA and CBGA are not usually found in commercial hemp CBD products, but some notable companies are out there, such as Ancient Cannabis out of Oregon and Essentia Scientific from Washington state.
CBDA and CBGG are available commercially, although definitely in the minority and not in your average CBD isolate in oil product.
What is CBDa (cannabidiolic acid)?
CBDA has been on researchers rader ever since Israeli scientist Rafael Mechoulam first isolated the compound in 1965 .
So, what is CBDA? Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) is the natural precursor to the cannabidiol (CBD) compound. When the acidic form is decarboxylated, CBDA transforms to CBD, the active ingredient in many infused products.
Despite their similar names, CBD and CBDA affect the human endocrine system differently. To understand just how CBDA is created, it’s important to understand exactly how different cannabinoids are converted into their final form. All major cannabinoids that are present in the cannabis and hemp plant always first develop as CBGA (cannabigerolic acid). If you haven’t read about CBG, you can learn more here. From CBGA, “the plant enzymes are converted into three major cannabinoid precursor compounds:
- tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA)
- cannabichromenic acid (CBCA)
- cannabidiolic acid (CBDA)
So, in the case of CBDA, CBGA would be converted to CBDA. From there, once CBDA is formed, it’s then converted into “CBD by thermal decarboxylation, whereby heat causes the molecule to lose its acidic carboxyl group” (analyticalcannabis.com).
The decarboxylation process happens when heating cannabis. When heated, dried, or processed, cannabinoids undergo a change in molecular structure. In terms of its chemical composition, the process removes one acidic carboxyl group from its molecular chain.
New research is showing that activating the cannabinoid acid is not completely necessary to reap its medicinal benefits. In some cases, CBDA has been shown to be more effective than CBD in treating certain conditions.
Believe it or not, CBD is present on growing cannabis plants in only very small amounts. In growing plants, CBD exists as cannabidiolic acid (CBDa). It isn’t until the plant is cut, dried, and heated that CBD is formed. CBD is a calming phytochemical that does not cause a psychotropic experience.
Cannabis flowers go through major transformations as they dry. In fresh flowers, the active components are found as acids. When cannabis is dried and heated, these acids break down into more famous compounds like THC and CBD. THC is the primary psychoactive in the cannabis plant.
Cannabinoids like THC and CBD, which have been studied over the past four decades, have long been thought of as the main therapeutic compounds in the cannabis plant. However, emerging preclinical evidence suggests that there may be some benefit to keeping the plant raw.
Here, “raw cannabis” refers to fresh leaves and flowers that have not been dried, cured, or heated.
CBDa is one of an estimated 113 compounds known as cannabinoids in the cannabis plant.
Unfortunately, the majority of cannabis research has focused on psychoactive THC or activated CBD, not CBDa. This means that the little information that is available is subject to change and is considered preliminary evidence at best.
CBDa transforms into CBD through a process called decarboxylation. Baking, lighting, or heating cannabis removes the acid group from CBDa and transforms it into CBD.
While clinical trials are lacking, many medical cannabis patients utilize activated CBD as their primary treatment while adding in raw cannabis juices, smoothies, and foodstuffs as additional support.
CBDA vs CBD: Does CBDA Get You High?
Neither CBDA nor CBD cause intoxication. Most cannabinoids such as THC and CBD bind to the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors, but its other acidic forms take a different approach.
CBDA interacts with the endocannabinoid system by inhibiting the Cox-2 enzyme, which does not directly affect the central nervous system.
For customers who do not want to feel impaired, CBDA may be used as a treatment for a variety of medical conditions. For certain conditions, CBDA may actually produce better results than CBD.
What are the potential benefits of CBDa?
Unfortunately, substantial human research on CBDa is lacking. However, preliminary animal research in the lab suggests that CBDa may be helpful in several therapeutic areas. These include:
Laboratory research performed in cell cultures has found that CBDa has potential anti-inflammatory properties. A 2008 experiment published in Drug Metabolism and Disposition has found that CBDa is a selective COX-2 inhibitor.
Simply explained, COX-2 is an enzyme that plays a role in the development of pro-inflammatory compounds called prostaglandins. This enzyme is a target of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), like aspirin and ibuprofen.
Inflammation is a natural and important response to stress, injury, and illness. However, chronic inflammation is painful and can be detrimental to health. Arthritis is one example of a chronic inflammatory condition.
The 2008 research discovered that naturally occurring CBDa selectively blocked the COX-2 enzyme, reducing its ability to synthesize pro-inflammatory compounds. The researchers found that CBDa was more successful than its counterpart, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA).
Nausea & vomiting
As it turns out, some raw cannabis juice might be helpful for a queasy stomach. At least, if rodent research has anything to say about the subject.
A 2012 study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology has found that CBDa treatment reduces nausea behaviors in rodents.
The study also found that the cannabinoid reduced vomiting in shrews. When compared to activated CBD, the researchers found that CBDa was actually more powerful in quieting an upset stomach.
Research from 2012 has found that CBDa effectively halted migration in breast cancer cells cultured outside of the body. While experiments conducted in petri dishes are no comparison to clinical human trials, the cannabinoid did show some positive effects against a highly invasive form of breast cancer.
Specifically, the CBDa treatment seemed to prevent the migration of breast cancer cells. In theory, a therapy that stops cancer cell migration would prevent the disease from spreading to other parts of the body.
Cell culture research from 2014 had similar findings, suggesting that treatment with raw CBDa altered the expression of genes associated with invasive breast cancer metastasis. The cannabinoid also down-regulated the enzyme COX-2, which can amplify breast cancer migration.
As with almost all cannabis research, high-quality studies on CBDa for anxiety are sorely needed. However, one biopharmaceutical company already has a patent on CBDa for the potential treatment of psychotic disorders.
Britain’s GW Pharmaceuticals included CBDa into a patent on the use of cannabinoids in conjunction with antipsychotic medications. The patent also included the cannabinoids CBD, THCV, THCVA, CBC, CBCA, CBG, and CBGA.
Even more promising is CBDA’s promising depression-fighting properties. Researchers have found that “CBDA not only affects the same receptors as CBD…but that it works as an antidepressant at doses that are 10 to 100 times less than the ones required of CBD. This in and of itself is huge!
CBD burst onto the mainstream when a CBD-based drug called Epidiolex became the first Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved cannabis-derived prescription drug product for drug-resistant epilepsy. It follows that its acidic precursor has some potential to reduce the severity and frequency of seizures.
GW Pharma, the pharmaceutical company responsible for Epidiolex, has performed studies comparing the effects of CBDA vs CBD. In some studies, the team found that CBDA can have better bioavailability and a faster-acting effect than its parent compound.
Essentially, their studies concluded that lower doses of CBDA were required to be effective, thereby, lowering the risk of negative CBDA side effects. In some cases, CBDA proved more effective in reducing seizures compared to CBD.
Preventing Viruses From Entering Human Cells
Hemp compounds identified by Oregon State University research via a chemical screening technique invented at OSU show the ability to prevent the virus that causes COVID-19 from entering human cells.
The compounds are cannabigerolic acid, or CBGA, and cannabidiolic acid, CBDA, and the spike protein is the same drug target used in COVID-19 vaccines and antibody therapy. A drug target is any molecule critical to the process a disease follows, meaning its disruption can thwart infection or disease progression. Learn more about this study here.
Is CBDA Legal?
CBDA is often seen as a distinct cannabinoid from CBD, but the reality is that CBDA is largely treated like CBD in the U.S. and international market.
In the U.S., the 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp production. Because of this, CBD products began to flood the market. Under the law, CBD products must contain less than 0.3% THC by dry weight. Cut-off limits vary by country.
Because it is nonintoxicating, CBDA is completely legal in nearly all states. In states that prohibit the sale of THC, CBDA products must not contain any THC.
How do you use CBDa?
High levels of CBDa can be found in raw materials taken from high-CBD cultivars. This includes hemp cultivars as well as CBD-dominant plants sold in medical and legal cannabis dispensaries.
There are several ways to incorporate CBDa into your diet, including:
- Salad dressings
- Cold sauces
- Lightly steamed leaves
Raw cannabis flowers and leaves can be refrigerated like any other herb or leafy vegetable. For best results, keep them in a crisper and consider wrapping them in a kitchen cloth.
Cannabis leaves can be chopped up and used like any other herb, such as parsley or oregano, to add flavor and increase the nutrient profile of a dish.
Hemp Plant Relief
All the recent developments around CBDA have earned it a place among health food shelves and the ecommerce market.
CBDA has shown tremendous potential in treating a variety of conditions including anxiety, nausea, and vomiting, epilepsy, and cancer. Overall, it could lead to a more efficient endocannabinoid system.
CBDA is now stepping into the spotlight as a safe and sometimes more effective alternative to traditional medication or even its cannabinoid parent.
If you use CBD products such as CBD oil or can benefit from its potential benefits, a small dose of CBDA products can be a worthwhile treatment option.