Cannabis, Cannabinoids, CBD

Cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabidiol acid (CBDA) are cannabinoids found in cannabis. Both CBD and CBDA have been shown to have therapeutic effects, but they do different things. CBD is more popular than CBDA because it is easier to produce, and there is more evidence of its benefits. However, CBDA may be more effective than CBD in some cases. Learn more about the differences between CBD and CBDA here.

What Is CBDA?

CBDA is the chemical precursor to CBD. Cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), commonly known as the “mother of all cannabinoids,” precedes CBDA by a few milliseconds. At this point, plant enzymes specific to each cannabis strain transform CBGA into one of three different cannabinoid precursor compounds: tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), cannabichromenic acid (CBCA), and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA).

After CBDA is produced, it undergoes thermal decarboxylation to become CBD, which is then converted into CBD by the action of heat on the molecule. If the plant material is left to sit at room temperature and allowed to degrade slowly, this decarboxylation method can occur rapidly when cannabis material is burned or vaped.

Despite being plentiful in raw cannabis, users are not regularly exposed to much CBDA since it is converted from its “raw” form into CBD by most typical consumption techniques. This implies that people who want to consume CBDA would have to utilize alternative or conventional means such as topical treatments, tinctures, and drinking raw cannabis juice.

How Does CBDA Work?

CBDA does not bind to the same receptors as CBD (CB1 and CB2) or have the same enzyme that degrades our endocannabinoid anandamide (FAAH). Besides, it doesn’t seem to have the same capacity to regulate the endocannabinoid system. It does, however, act similarly to CBD by stimulating serotonin and capsaicin receptors.

CBDA is a bit more acidic than CBD. It has a higher bioavailability in humans (5-11x better absorption) and, according to animal studies, is more potent than CBD because it is absorbed better and acts more strongly. According to animal research, CBDA is 20 times more potent than CBD in models of epileptic seizure activity, 100 times more potent in models of arthritic pain, 10,000 times stronger in models of nausea, and 50,000 times more potent in models of anxiety.

Potential Benefits of CBDA

CBDA has been shown in recent studies to have additional benefits. CBDA’s potential for use as a therapeutic agent was demonstrated in a 2016 research review. CBDA was found to be quite helpful in reducing nausea and vomiting because it binds strongly to the 5-HT serotonin receptor. This study is fascinating, especially for those suffering from severe nausea while undergoing chemotherapy treatment. This intense nausea can be so well-trained that patients get nauseated just walking into the hospital, which is known as anticipatory nausea. CBDA appears to be a potential antiemetic in early studies, and additional research is being conducted.

Beyond these essential applications, CBDA’s relationship with the 5-HT receptor may have additional purposes. Serotonin is essential for many bodily functions, including eating and digestion and sleep, motor skills, and emotions. If serotonin levels are excessively high or low, it can have damaging consequences in various body areas. CBDA has been shown to aid in the proper balance of serotonin at healthy levels by regulating and balancing it.

Additional study is needed to understand all of CBDA’s possible applications. COX-2 is a protein in nerve cells and has a vital role in inflammation and pain. CBDA may assist in controlling COX-2, as researchers have discovered that it has a chemical structure comparable to many NSAIDs – anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin. More research is required to comprehend the implications of CBDA for all its potential uses.

Side Effects of CBDA

Because there have been preliminary clinical trials, the potential adverse effects of CBDA use are largely unknown. An analysis published in the Psychopharmacology journal, CBDA does not cause sedating side effects comparable to CBD. The research concludes that overall, the chemical should be well tolerated. Because CBDA has a similar chemical makeup to CBD, it may have additional undesirable side effects such as lightheadedness, low blood pressure, dry mouth, and drug interactions.

The bottom line is that CBDA’s side effects are mainly dose-dependent and easily manageable. And to date, no serious adverse consequences have been reported following regular usage. When patients take too much CBDA, the only times when some side effects have been noted are when they don’t consume it with the raw cannabis plant undergoing decarboxylation. CBDA is a typically relaxing phytonutrient that doesn’t induce any psychotropic effects.

What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol is discovered in the cannabis sativa plant, commonly known as cannabis or hemp. In the United States, one specific form of CBD has been authorized as a medication for seizures. It contains more than 80 different chemicals known as cannabinoids. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the most well-known component of cannabis. On the other hand, CBD comes from hemp, a type of Cannabis sativa plant that only contains traces of THC. CBD appears to have brain-altering effects; however, they are distinct from those caused by THC.

CBD is a popular cannabinoid derivative derived from hemp. It’s been used to treat seizure disorders (epilepsy) since the 1960s. It’s now being studied for various other conditions, including anxiety, pain, muscular dystonia, Parkinson’s disease, Crohn’s disease, and others.

Hemp is now legal in the US, allowing consumers to purchase hemp and hemp-based products. However, that doesn’t imply that all CBD items made from hemp are lawful. Because CBD is a prescription medicine, it cannot be included in foods or dietary supplements. CBD is used in cosmetic products. However, there are still dietary supplement products, including CBD. The amount of CBD contained in these goods isn’t always what’s stated on the label.

How Does CBD Work?

CBD has been shown to help with various ailments, such as pain, spasticity, nausea, anxiety, seizures, and inflammation, by modulating the endocannabinoid system and other bodily systems. In fact, in laboratory research, 65 distinct pharmacological targets have been established. All may not apply to real-world dosing, but I believe a few are pretty important. CBD is a 5-HT1A serotonin receptor agonist example.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is associated with happiness and contentment, as well as anxiety, nausea, and blood circulation. CBD works similarly to serotonin by binding to the same receptors. So it’s so popular among people who suffer from anxiety, attention deficit disorder (ADD), or other mental health problems. CBD activates the capsaicin receptor (TRPV1), which has been shown to help manage pain and inflammation. Finally, CBD acts on glycine and adenosine receptors, which reduce pain and inflammation.

Health Benefits of CBD

When it comes to CBD’s total capacity, researchers are seeking answers. What have they found in the meantime? We already know that CBD is a successful treatment for epilepsy, and preliminary studies suggest that it may be helpful for a variety of anxiety problems.

Approved to Treat Epilepsy

In 2018, the first FDA-approved medicine containing CBD, cannabidiol (Epidiolex), was released to treat two distinct forms of epilepsy: Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. The treatment was approved for children as young as two years old. In comparison with a placebo, it appeared to be effective in decreasing the number of seizures.


Although there are many things to learn, a 2015 medical journal study analyzed CBD and its influence on various anxiety disorders, such as general anxiety disorder, seasonal affective disorder, panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Side Effects

CBD is deemed to be safe at recommended dosages when taken by mouth. For 13 weeks, individuals have safely consumed up to 200 mg per day. A healthcare provider’s advice has been used with the higher dosages and longer durations of CBD, which has produced adverse effects, including dry mouth, lightheadedness, drowsiness, and low blood pressure.

The prescription form of CBD (Epidiolex), a prodrug that may cause liver damage, has been shown to produce symptoms of harm. There isn’t enough reliable data to know whether CBD is safe or what the adverse effects may be when it’s used on the skin.

CBD vs. CBDA: Which Is Best for Me?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a well-known component of hemp that has been researched for several health advantages. Despite this, many individuals are caught off guard to discover that the hemp plant does not create cannabidiol directly. The plant produces cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), which converts to CBD gradually at room temperature or quickly when exposed to heat.

CBD is a bit more complicated than THC, but not much. It’s a fantastic compound that is incredibly safe and therapeutic. CBD is an exciting topic of popular media, marijuana legislation, and medical study. Although we are learning more about CBD’s healing capability every day, there are still many unknowns. We know less about CBDA now than CBD at this time. Early findings indicate that even tiny amounts of CBDA may have significant physiological benefits; this is precisely what I’ve seen in my clinical practice.


CBDA, the underappreciated precursor to CBD, has significant medical benefits. Researchers and customers pay attention to CBDA because of its tremendous therapeutic potential. While I don’t anticipate that CBD will entirely replace CBDA in our repertory anytime soon, I believe that people who use CBD will discover CBD products containing CBDA to be considerably more powerful, with some reporting that switching entirely to CBDA is more beneficial for reducing their symptoms and promoting health.

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By Soulful Steve

I’m Soulful Steve.  I'm a writer, IT professional, and daily user of cannabis for relief and wellness. Soulful Cannabis is where I share knowledge, product info, and occasional tall tales with those of you out there considered cannabis curious!  Now that I’m getting older, I’m leaning into CBD products to keep my quality of life and take the edge off daily stress. Come explore the amazing cannabis plant with me!

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