Are you having trouble understanding what the letters CBDA mean on your cannabis product? If so, you’re in the right place! 

Cannabidiolic acid, short for CBDA, is a chemical compound produced by the cannabis plant. While CBD is a well-known cannabis compound that has been for a while on the market, CBDA might be worth your attention even more.

What are the benefits of CBDA and how does it function? Keep on reading to learn more about this lesser-known but yet powerful cannabis compound.

What is CBDA?

CBDA definition

Cannabidiolic acid is one of the over 100 cannabinoids that the Cannabis Sativa L. can produce. It may sound new to you, but if you know about CBD then you know half the story.

Cannabidiolic acid converts to CBD when exposed to time or heat. CBDA is the actual compound produced by the cannabis plant, present in various levels across different strains. This compound only converts a little during the drying process, and so any CBD dried flower you own is full of CBDA.

The same goes for certain types of low-heat extraction methods and the resulting concentrates. These CBDA concentrates require heat before consumption to activate the compounds from conversion into CBD. The name for this process is decarboxylation.

Nowadays, we even have numerous CBD products such as oils, tinctures & topicals, or even raw cannabis juice. All of these share one quality, and that is that the process to make them use lower heat than is needed to cause significant decarboxylation.

If you’re able to buy some CBDA oil, CBDA isolate, or CBDA concentrate, take advantage and see how they make you feel!

Cannabidiolic Acid vs Cannabidiol

For those who need a quick reminder about CBD, we’ll explore how it is different from THC. 

First, THC is impairing and is highly psychoactive. On the contrary, CBD is non-impairing, minimally psychoactive, and produces no ‘high’ as one would expect from THC. CBD is also broadly safe to consume and has no abuse or dependence potential.

In scientific terms, cannabidiolic acid is the acidic precursor to CBD. For those wondering, THC also has an acidic precursor, and it is named what you might expect, THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid). 

Both THCA and CBDA come from the same compound in the cannabis plant, known as cannabigerolic acid (CBGA).

THCA and CBDA must undergo decarboxylation to become their more standard active versions, THC and CBD. It is through the decarboxylation when CBDA becomes more biologically active in the body. 

This process happens more quickly when we use fire or high heat, but it also occurs slower when the compounds are exposed to light, warm temperatures, and over time.

So if we usually convert CBDA into CBD, why would we want to avoid that process? 

What Does Cannabidiolic Acid do?

cannabidiolic acid

In terms of physiology, CBDA is known to selectively inhibit cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 activity. This vital enzyme is known to mediate prostaglandin synthesis, which is involved in tumor invasiveness and angiogenesis. 

One study explored the potential for CBDA to reduce nausea and vomiting in animals. They found that compared to CBD, CBDA had significantly great potency at inhibiting vomiting and nausea. Furthermore, they found that CBDA is also better at enhancing 5-HT1A receptor activation in these animal models.

As a result, the researchers concluded that CBDA displays promise as a treatment for vomiting and nausea.

CBDA may also hold anticonvulsant properties, just like Cannabidiol does, due to how it modifies serotonergic activity. If CBDA has any sort of benefit or alternative use for conditions like epilepsy, we will likely be sure to find out in the coming years. For now, we know that the CBD-based medicine Epidiolex has been showing plenty of benefits.

Through the study of CBD, the company behind Epidiolex also studied CBDA. Based on the findings produced, they have filed two patents (one, two) involving CBDA.

One other area of known effects that have been found in cell cultures includes the topic of breast cancer. In fact, these researchers concluded that CBDA offers potential therapeutic modality to reduce cancer cell migration, including aggressive breast cancers. 

While a cell dish is far from a human being, scientists are eagerly waiting to progress studies of CBDA toward human clinical trials.

Benefits of CBDA

benefits of CBDA

We must start with a bit of bad news. There are basically zero clinical studies looking at the impacts of CBDA on humans. This means that we do not have well-controlled studies that can help us determine a solid cause and effect relationships. That said, what are the potential benefits of CBDA?

We have already discussed some of the preclinical research done in the laboratory and on animals.

Fortunately, there have been enough positive signs that we are incredibly likely to see a slew of upcoming CBDA clinical studies (eventually!).

So the best we can do right now is speculate based on those preliminary and preclinical studies.

Based on the ones we discussed above, there may be some use for CBDA as part of the treatment for cancers, nausea, vomiting, and seizures.

Going even further into speculation, CBDA may have some impact on human angiogenesis, which is the growth of blood vessels. This may be beneficial as tumors require sufficient blood supply and can trick our body into growing more blood vessels to support their growth.

As the National Cancer Institute describes, angiogenesis inhibitors are unique cancer-fighting agents due to their blocking of blood vessel growth. Whether CBDA may become an angiogenesis inhibitor medication in the future requires much further research.

The final domain of speculation involves one term you may have glanced over earlier, prostaglandins. These lipids are known to control processes including inflammation, blood flow, the blood clot formation. 

While we don’t know the benefits and dangers of this function, future research should help us answer this question.

Cannabidiolic Acid – Right For You?

Well, there you have it. Congratulations for making it through the scientific jargon! You now know more about cannabidiolic acid than all your friends probably do. Don’t be afraid to impress them with this knowledge during your next blazing session.

Cannabidiolic acid is the acidic precursor of CBD. Further, it is the compound found in the living cannabis plant and dried flower. That said, products that avoid decarboxylation are able to provide you with significant amounts of CBDA.

Finally, we don’t precisely know what the effects of CBDA are on the human body. Based on what we know about animals and cell cultures, CBDA may have some utility around nausea, vomiting, cancer treatments. 

Further speculation makes us wonder whether CBDA may be helpful in health domains like tumors, inflammation, blood clots, and blood vessel growth.

The future is bright for cannabidiolic acid and cannabis as a whole, so be sure to subscribe to Herb Approach and visit often to keep yourself updated on all things cannabis!