The cannabis plant is known to boast over 100 unique cannabinoids, some very similar, some intoxicating, and some exceptionally therapeutic. While CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) garner a lot of attention, other cannabinoids may be just as important.
CBDA (cannabidiolic acid) is a good example of a lesser-known but especially noteworthy cannabinoid. So, what is it & how does it stack up against CBD & CBG (cannabigerol)? Below is a closer look.
What is CBDA?
Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) is an acidic, non-intoxicating cannabinoid that naturally exists in plants from the cannabis family. While most people are familiar with CBD, not many people know where it comes from. It comes from CBDA! CBDA acts as the “precursor” to the developing CBD cannabinoids in maturing hemp and cannabis plants.
Where does CBDA come from?
All cannabinoids start out as CBGA (cannabigerolic acid). However, as the plant grows, CBGA converts into other cannabinoids that serve as precursors to other cannabinoids, such as:
Plant genetics determine concentrations of these precursors, including CBDA. For example, hemp cultivars tend to have extremely high concentrations of CBDA, which is understandable since the most dominant cannabinoid in hemp is CBD. When these precursor compounds are exposed to heat and sunlight, they decarboxylate. CBDA becomes CBD. THCA becomes the different types of THC. CBCA becomes CBC (cannabichromene). Any remaining CBGA becomes CBG.
CBDA is in its infancy stage in terms of research, especially compared to CBD. Nevertheless, the early findings show that this acidic form of CBD may be just as, if not more, valuable for therapeutic purposes. This is partially due to the fact that CBDA is more bioavailable than CBD, but also because it interacts with the endocannabinoid system in unique ways.
Related: Best Strains for Inflammation & Pain
Potential Benefits of CBDA
Researchers have determined that CBDA does not bind to either of the primary known receptors of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). However, it interacts with COX-2 enzymes (cyclooxygenase-2 enzymes) in the ECS, as well as other receptors in the body like serotonin receptors. COX-2 enzymes are a type of mediator that affect numerous physiological processes, including inflammation. This means that CBDA may hold unique therapeutic value.
One important benefit of CBDA is that it seems to offer better bioavailability than CBD. The body can metabolize the compound easier and faster, which means more is available to interact with the ECS after consumption. Due to this and the unique ways CBDA interacts with the ECS, it may offer a lot of benefits. Some of the most interesting include:
- Deterring nausea or encouraging appetite
- Deterring depression or helping in stressful situations
- Deterring inflammation and helping to control pain
- Deterring convulsions
CBDA vs CBD
CBDA and CBD are two forms of the same compound—one in acidic form and one without the acidic molecule. Therefore, CBDA and CBD do share some similarities. For example, both seem to work well for inflammation, even though CBDA seems to work better at lower doses because it is as much as 5 to 11 times more bioavailable than CBD. In one study, CBDA was actually 100-times more activating on certain receptors than CBD as well. One other key characteristic is that CBDA does not seem to counteract the effects of THC like CBD.
CBDA vs CBG
CBDA and CBG are both cannabinoids from the same family of plants. However, CBG is much less prevalent. Because most of the initial CBGA is converted into other precursors, there is usually not a lot of CBG left by the time of harvest (possibly 1 percent or less of the total cannabinoid makeup of the plant). CBG and CBDA also differ in how they interact with the ECS and the potential therapeutic values they provide. CBG is known for things like neural cell protection, lowering bowel inflammation, and targeting ocular pressure.
How to Take CBDA
Even though CBDA can be found in several strains of cannabis in flower form, heat with ignition converts the CBDA into CBD. Therefore, if you want a straight dose of CBDA, you do have to look for an alternative product beyond standard flower.
If you decide to try CBDA, you do have several options. CBDA can be found in several forms, including:
- CBDA tinctures and oils
- CBDA capsules
- CBDA topical cannabis products.
No matter which type of CBDA product you want to try, always look for CBDA products from a reputable manufacturer. In order to extract CBDA, the cannabinoid must be extracted at the perfect point in the plant’s lifecycle. And, the cannabinoid must be handled carefully to retain its quality and prevent conversion to CBD. Therefore, always look for lab-tested products that specifically disclose how much CBDA is present.
How Much CBDA to Take
Because CBDA can be more bioavailable than CBD, it is good to start with a lower dose, even if you have experience with CBD. You may not need as big of a dose to achieve the desired effects. For example, if you are accustomed to taking 100mg of CBD, you may want to start out with a smaller dose of around 25mg with CBDA oil. Once you take this smaller dose, gauge the effects, and adjust in small increments until you get where you want to be.
Trust a Reputable Source for All Cannabis-Based Products
In the end, CBDA is just one more cannabinoid in a lineup of other valuable constituents found in cannabis. We are bound to discover more about the therapeutic potential down the road. In the meantime, be sure to take a look at our menu at Uma Flowers, we are family-owned, woman-led dispensary rooted in wellness. Come see us in Pepperell, MA – we are just 5 minutes from New Hampshire.