If you’ve been using CBD for a while, or you’re in the process of researching before you get on your CBD oil journey, you may have come across some lab reports with lots of different cannabinoids listed, including CBDA.
This guide will give you the rundown on:
- What CBDA is
- The benefits of CBDA vs CBD
- The difference between CBD and CBDA
Put very simply, CBDA is cannabidiolic acid – the acidic version of CBD.
Chemically, this means that to get from one of these compounds to another something has to happen to change the structure of the molecules. This change means CBDA and CBD have different properties which changes how they work within the body.
Research is in its very early stages for CBDA, even more so than CBD. Scientists are still trying to figure out how and why CBDA does what it can do.
However, recent studies have indicated that cannabidiolic acid has some promising properties for health and wellbeing, and may even be more powerful than the ever-popular CBD.
Let’s get into more detail…
What's in this Guide?
What Is CBD?
First, to understand what CBDA is, and the differences between CBDA vs CBD, it’s easier to make sure you know everything you need to know about CBD first.
CBD comes from cannabis or hemp plants. In the UK, it is illegal to grow cannabis but farmers can harvest the stem and leaves of the hemp plant because it is low in THC.
However, this varies in other countries so it is worth checking the legality of cannabis in your country or state.
- Is CBD oil legal in your country? Check out our guide for the answers
A number of studies indicate promising effects of CBD for a number of conditions and problems, including mental illnesses, pain, inflammation, and insomnia.
- Read more about CBD oil benefits on our blog.
CBD works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system which, like other processes in the body such as the immune system, endocrine system, and central nervous system, maintains homeostasis in the body.
Homeostasis is just a fancy word for the way the body continues to function efficiently through a number of internal processes.
What Is CBDA?
If CBD comes from CBDA, where does CBDA come from?
The answer: CBGA.
Simply put, CBGA, also known as cannabigerolic acid, breaks down into three major cannabinoids: THCA, CBDA, and CBCA.
These cannabinoids then break down even further into THC, CBD, and CBC respectively. THC is psychoactive and illegal in many parts of the world, but CBD and CBC are not.
Cannabigerolic acid can also become CBG in some cases but this is less common.
To become CBD, CBDA loses what is called an ‘acidic hydroxyl group’ – a group of atoms consisting of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. This group is what makes cannabidiolic acid, an acid.
This reaction takes place when CBDA is heated, such as when vaping CBD or smoking cannabis. As a result, cannabis users and CBD vapers do not consume CBDA.
If you’re using a broad or full spectrum CBD oil product such as a tincture, you are likely getting some CBDA. Alternatively, in places where cannabis is legal, a new trend of blending cannabis into a smoothie or juice enables you to consume CBDA.
Until recently, scientists didn’t think CBDA had any effect on the endocannabinoid system because of the structure of the molecule. However, recent research has changed that idea.
What are the Pros of CBD vs CBDA?
- Far more research has been carried out into the effects of CBD on the body
- CBD can be cooked with or vaped
- CBD is more widely available in commercial products
- Many of the research findings into CBDA have also been found in CBD
What are the Main Differences Between CBDA vs CBD
CBD is more stable and more abundant
While CBDA is one of the most common cannabinoids in the hemp plant, by the time it has been extracted and bottled, CBD is far more abundant.
Cannabidiolic acid can become CBD even when sat at room temperature for some time, meaning cannabidiol is far more stable – when you buy CBD oil, the percentage of CBD is less likely to decrease over time, but CBDA levels will probably decrease.
CBDA may be more powerful
Early research has found that CBDA could be more powerful than CBD.
This is huge for the CBD industry and scientists alike, considering it was not long ago that scientists didn’t think CBDA had any effect on the body at all.
One reason is because the bioavailability of CBDA vs CBD is greater, meaning it could be metabolised faster and with less effort.
- Read more: The Bioavailability of CBD
However, the research into CBDA is far earlier than CBD studies, so things may change as further research is done and it could be many years until it is confirmed effective.
They influence the endocannabinoid system differently
How different cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid system is a subject of a lot of debate and research in recent years.
The endocannabinoid system itself was only discovered in 1992, so it’s no surprise that we’re still trying to figure out how cannabinoids work with it.
Scientists know that CBD doesn’t interact in the same way as THC, but aren’t sure exactly how it works right now.
However, we do know that CBDA inhibits enzymes associated with inflammation and pain.
CBD can be heated, so it is better for cooking and vaping
A lot of CBD users use vape pens or e-cigarettes as an easy way to add CBD to your daily routine.
However, if you’re wanting the positive effects of CBDA, the process of heating the vape juice will turn CBDA into CBD.
The same goes for cooking with CBD oil; heating it makes the reaction occur and you therefore lose CBDA.
This may be fine if you’re only interested in the benefits of CBD oil alone, but if you’re looking for the potential benefits of CBDA then you should blend hemp leaves into a smoothie or take broad spectrum CBD oil sublingually.
How Can You Take CBDA?
After learning about the differences between CBDA vs CBD, you might be wondering how you can consume CBDA.
By choosing a broad or full spectrum CBD oil, you will likely get a small amount of CBDA in your dose.
This is because in a broad spectrum CBD oil, lots of other cannabinoids and terpenes are present which contribute to the entourage effect – CBDA included. Make sure you check the lab test results of each brand to make sure you’re getting a good product which includes some CBDA.
If you live somewhere where cannabis is legal and you can blend it into a smoothie or juice, then you’re free to experience the effects of CBDA in abundance.
However, in most places where only hemp is legal, including the UK and many parts of the US, the way to experience the potential benefits of CBDA is by choosing an organic, lab tested, broad spectrum CBD oil.