The vast majority of those reading this have heard of CBD, but what about CBDA? No, it’s not a typo. Nor is CBDA interchangeable with CBD. They’re different compounds with a close relationship. So, what makes CBDA different from its more famous relative?
First, let’s talk about cannabinoids. They are naturally-occurring compounds found in cannabis plants, of which there are over 110 with more to be discovered as scientific studies continue. More importantly, these compounds are responsible for the effects consumers and patients alike seek out from popular cannabinoids like THC, CBD as well as more obscure ones like CBDA.
CBDA (cannabidiolic acid) in particular, is a non-psychoactive compound that serves as a precursor to the better-known cannabinoid, CBD (cannabidiol). Abundant in live plants of CBD varieties, it converts to CBD over time through a process called degradation and also when it is exposed to heat. This can happen instantly if smoked or vaped, or slowly if the plant material is left to dry in the sun or even at room temperature.
How to Consume CBDA
CBDA is often consumed as CBD, but it can also be beneficial in its raw form. CBDA oil can be consumed or absorbed through tinctures, raw cannabis juice, topical creams, and raw CBDA oil. It seems the raw juicing cannabis trend is bringing CBDA into the spotlight.
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) has been consumed medicinally and recreationally for centuries. A psychoactive compound found in cannabis, THC is what gets you high. CBD, however, has become famous in the last decade for its plethora of medicinal uses. It is also found in the cannabis plant, but is non-psychoactive, which means CBD will not get you high. Instead it can deliver many therapeutic benefits, which is the reason its popularity has exploded.
Part of the issue with CBDA when it comes to potential medical use, is that it is an unstable compound. This is evident when you consider that it gradually changes chemically, even at room temperature. Thankfully, recent research has identified a method to transform unstable CBDA into a more stable version of the compound.
The Endocannabinoid System
Cannabinoids deliver their high or medicinal effects by interacting with the human body through cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Since each person’s ECS is different, cannabinoids react differently to everyone who consumes them. The ECS regulates our health functions, like mood, anxiety, stress, sleep, inflammation and pain, among other things.
Yet, CBDA and other acidic forms of cannabinoids are not considered to be pharmacologically active. This means that they don’t affect the endocannabinoid system in the same way as more popular cannabis compounds. Therefore, most research has focused on CBD instead of CBDA.
Therapeutic and Medicinal Potential
However, early research suggests that raw CBDA oil can be just as, if not more, effective at treating depression, nausea, and inflammation. It may also have special properties that CBD does not, making it an option for different treatments. Studies show that raw CBDA oil has its own unique potential, acting as an effective anti-inflammatory agent, and can be a thousand times more powerful than CBD for anti-nausea and anti-anxiety effects. It also shows promise as an anticonvulsant and may even have antibacterial, antioxidant, and cancer-preventing potential.
Bella Mitchell, a marketing director in the cannabis space weighs in on the value of CBDA. “Science is still slowly unveiling the benefits of minor cannabinoids, like CBDA, CBN, and CBG. Many consumers who rely on CBD for daily well-being are showing interest in the potential benefits and are extremely open to trying other non-psychoactive cannabinoids; an increase in their usage and demand is a natural next step.”
So, while it’s hard to say whether CBDA is better than other cannabinoids, there is enough early evidence to suggest that CBDA has its own distinct qualities that may set it apart from CBD. Although research into much of CBDA’s potential is still in the early stages, there is enough evidence to give scientists, patients, and health-conscious consumers great optimism for unique possibilities moving into the future.