CBDA vs CBD: Major Differences You Should Know
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When you first think about cannabis derivatives, you probably think of two different components: THC and CBD. Most people are familiar with how both of these substances work. THC is what produces the “high” associated with cannabis use, although it also has some therapeutic applications. CBD, on the other hand, produces no “high,” and has its own separate benefits.
What you might not be aware of is that there are more than a hundred other compounds in the cannabis plant. One of these is Cannabidiolic acid, also known as CBDA. So, what’s the difference between CBDA vs CBD? Like CBD, CBDA is found naturally in the cannabis plant, both in its hemp and marijuana variations. In fact, CBDA is the precursor chemical that produces CBD.
Even though these are two very similar compounds, there are important differences between them that need to be discussed. Here, we’ll explain why you might want to use CBDA vs CBD, as well as what benefits you can gain from both compounds. Let’s take a closer look!
What is CBDA?
Cannabidiolic acid, or CBDA for short, is a natural compound that’s produced by the cannabis plant. CBDA is a relatively recent discovery, and was not even isolated until 1996. It’s primarily found in raw, unprocessed cannabis plants.
The main difference between CBDA vs CBD is that CBDA is a precursor chemical to Cannabidiol (CBD), which is a similar but not acidic. What that means is that it’s a natural compound found in the raw plant. As with many other cannabinoids, CBDA undergoes a transformation when cannabis is processed. When the plant is heated, cured, or dried, acidic compounds break down into new chemicals. This is the process that produces large amounts of CBD from CBDA.
In raw cannabis, by contrast, you’ll find a large quantity of CBDA. You can also find it in most raw, unprocessed cannabis products. For instance, raw hemp oil is rich in CBDA. This is also true for regular CBD oils that haven’t been filtered or otherwise processed.
Is CBDA the Same as CBD?
CBD and CBDA are both cannabinoids. This is a class of chemicals that are found in the cannabis plant. In fact, they’re also found in the human body, and are used by the endocrine system to regulate normal bodily functions. This is why cannabinoids are often considered healthy dietary supplements. In total, the cannabis plant contains at least 113 cannabinoids. However, the exact concentration will depend on the type of plant and whether or not the plant has been decarboxylated.
Decarboxylation sounds like a complex process, so let’s break it down as simply as possible. As we mentioned, a major difference between CBDA vs CBD is that CBDA is an acid. This is because there’s a chemical chain called “carboxyl” attached to the molecule. When the cannabis is left to cure, the carboxyl chain will slowly break down. When this happens, CBDA and other acidic cannabinoids lose their acidity. They also become more active. Decarboxylation can be accelerated by other processes, like heating in particular.
In live, growing cannabis plants, CBD is only found in relatively small quantities. By drying or heating the plant, producers can convert the CBDA into CBD. However, one thing is the same between these two compounds: both of them are non-intoxicating. Neither one of them will get you “high”, which means they’re safe to take before work, or even before driving.
Cannabinoids all affect your body through your natural endocannabinoid system. This system activates neurotransmitters, which can help moderate your brain function. It also helps regulate many other bodily systems. However, the effects of CBDA vs CBD are different, since CBD is active and CBDA is not.
What Benefits Does CBDA Offer?
Okay, we’ve talked a bit about the science between how CBDA works. But what does it actually do when you ingest it? The short answer is that we know a lot less about the effects of CBDA compared to the effects of CBD. The reason is that CBD has been studied for many years, while scientists are only just beginning to study the effects of CBDA.
Why the lack of study? The simple answer is that until very recently, scientists didn’t think that cannabinoids had any effect in their acidic, non-active form. As a result, they didn’t bother to run many studies on CBDA and other inactive cannabinoids.
All of this started to change in 2008. That year, some researchers noticed that CBDA had a very similar structure to commonly-used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). This class of drugs includes everyday painkillers such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen. These researchers followed up on their discoveries by investigating whether CBDA actually worked the same way as common NSAIDs. Amazingly, they found that CBDA inhibits COX-2, the same body chemical that’s inhibited by NSAIDs.
However, CBDA isn’t just used to reduce inflammation. It can also be used to treat nausea and anxiety. In this case, there’s a strong similarity between CBDA vs CBD. In fact, CBDA is actually more effective . It’s more than a thousand times more effective than CBD in activating a serotonin receptor that reduces nausea and anxiety. This effect is even more pronounced in chemotherapy patients who are using ondansetron (OND) to treat nausea.
Furthermore, CBDA doesn’t act directly on the endocannabinoid system. Instead, by inhibiting COX-2 activity, it has an indirect effect. It also acts on 5-HT receptors, which influence serotonin production. Serotonin production is essential to overall health, including reduced anxiety and general well-being.
How do You Consume CBDA?
Regarding consumption, CBDA vs CBD works pretty much the same way. The simplest way is to buy an oil, like MONTKUSH Raw CBDA Oil, which you would consume orally. More concentrated preparations are available as sublingual drops and even syrups. If you find the cannabis flavor overwhelming, you can take capsules. Another method is to blend your cannabis oil into a fruit juice or add it to a salad dressing. You can even put it in your morning smoothie with a bit of sugar to mask the flavor.
Keep in mind that most cannabis products contain relatively low levels of CBDA. Most cannabis preparations are designed to deliver CBD, or even THC. Since these are “active” compounds, they require the cannabis to be decarboxylated in order for them to be produced. Make sure to check the active ingredients carefully, or speak with the shop owner to make sure you’re getting the right thing. Otherwise, you may end up with a ton of CBD and very little CBDA.
Is CBDA Legal to Buy?
Cannabis legalization is ongoing on a state-by-state basis. This can make it confusing for everyday people to understand what is or is not legal in their state. Here’s a quick summary:
In states where cannabis is legal for recreational use, all cannabis products can be legally sold over the counter. In states where cannabis is legal for medical use, but not for recreational use, cannabis products containing THC are available by prescription only, but non-psychoactive cannabis preparations are legal for over-the-counter sale. Finally, in states where cannabis is completely illegal, non-psychoactive cannabis preparations are still legal.
In other words, CBDA oil is available in all 50 states. However, depending on what state you’re in, the preparation may or may not contain THC. If you want the benefits of CBDA without the THC “high”, check your state laws carefully. If recreational cannabis isn't legal in your state, you’ll want to make extra sure that your CBDA oil is THC-free.
What Research is Being Done With CBDA?
As we already mentioned, CBDA has only been studied for a little over a decade. When it comes to CBDA vs CBD research, our understanding of CBDA is only just beginning to develop. We’ve already talked about CBDA’s anti-inflammatory effects. However, there are some other significant benefits that are worth mentioning.
For instance, new research shows that CBDA is more than 100 times as effective than CBD at bonding to 5-HT receptors. This is not entirely because of its relationship to the 5-HT receptor itself. Research suggests that CBDA is more bioavailable than CBD. This means that the body can process it and metabolize it faster and more easily. So not only does it work better, it works faster.
As we mentioned, CBDA’s affinity for the 5-HT receptor is a great benefit for serotonin production. However, the implications of this are still being studied. For instance, it’s possible that CBDA could be effective in battling depression. This research is still in its earliest stages. However, it’s promising, and early results indicate that CBDA may even be as effective as common SSRI antidepressants.
There have also been early studies on CBDA as a treatment for certain kinds of breast cancer. To date, this research has only been performed on isolated cells in petri dishes, so it may not work the same way in the body. But the earliest results show that it may be effective.
As of this writing, the majority of CBDA studies have been performed on animals, not on humans. As a result, human trials will be needed to verify many of their findings. Nonetheless, early results are promising. As companies continue to research CBDA treatments, we can expect more and better news in the years to come.