A cannabinoid acid with therapeutic potential

Yeah, you read that right, it’s not a typo. CBDA is not CBD. Like cannabidiol CBDA is a cannabinoid from the cannabis plant and its scientific name is cannabidiole acid.

Although CBD is the one who has gained scientific and social fame in recent years, CBDA is the precursor of the cannabinoid CBD and a great unknown! However, from what little is known, new trends related to CBDA are already beginning to emerge because of its potential benefits on our health. What is the CBDA and what benefits does it have?

What is the CBDA?

All cannabinoids contained in the cannabis plant are first developed as what is called “the mother of all cannabinoids”, cannabigerolic acid (CBGA). Its function in the plant is to protect it and to provoke the cellular necrosis that is pruned naturally. In this way the bush can maximize and concentrate the energy on the development of the flowers. The rest of the cannabinoids we know are derived from CBGA by enzymatic reactions.

The unique plant enzymes of each cannabis variety are converting CBGA into a variable combination of the three main cannabinoid precursor compounds:

  • Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), cannabicromenic acid (CBCA), cannabidioleic acid (CBDA)
  • Cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), in cannabidioleic acid (CBDA), in cannabidiol (CBD)

Once CBDA has been formed in the plant and harvested, we can convert it into CBD through a process of thermal decarboxylation. The heat causes the molecule to lose its carboxyl acid group and from CBDA we get CBD.

Decarboxylation can occur instantaneously, such as when cannabis is lit to be smoked, heated when vaporized, or by slow degradation over time if the plant material is allowed to stand/cured at room temperature. You can also heat the organic matter of the plant in an oven to decarboxylate it and “activate” the cannabinoids we know.

Despite being abundant in raw cannabis, marijuana or hemp users do not actually consume CBDA, as it is converted to CBD by most common consumption methods. If you want to consume and benefit from CBDA (without accidentally transforming it into CBD), you will have to use less conventional methods of consumption, such as topical creams, tinctures or join the new trend of raw cannabis juice.


What are the potential benefits and properties of CBDA?

In general, CBDA and the other acidic forms of cannabinoids are not considered pharmacologically active. In fact, if you are looking for any recipe to make your cannabis products the first step is always to decarboxylate the organic matter to activate its cannabinoids and benefit from them. In their acid form, cannabinoids do not interact with our bodies in the same way as their decarboxylated forms do.
the endocannabinoid system
our body in the same way as their decarboxylated forms do. This is why almost all scientific research focuses on studying the effects of CBD and THC, rather than CBDA and THCA.

However, a new branch of research into cannabis as a medicinal plant is beginning to challenge this “primitive” idea.


CBDA scientific evidence

Early research and evidence began in 2008, when researchers noticed that the molecular structure of CBDA closely resembled that of other common non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (such as ibuprofen). Following this finding, researchers became interested in discovering the potential of CBDA to act as an anti-inflammatory agent and found that CBDA exhibited exactly the same behavior as the COX-2 inhibitor that enables NSAIDs to fight inflammation.

CBDA is also hypothesized to be a powerful treatment for nausea and anxiety. A 2013 study by scientists in Guelph, Canada, found that the CBDA was up to 1000 times more powerful than CBD in binding to a specific serotonin receptor related to anti-nausea and anti-anxiety effects when given in conjunction with low doses of traditional antiemetic drugs for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

These interesting findings show an improvement in some of the benefits of CBD, the cannabinoid that results from its decarboxylation.

cbd cbda

The potential use of CBDA in medicine

Despite its therapeutic potential demonstrated in the above experiments, CBDA has never been considered a viable clinical treatment. In its natural form, it’s a very unstable compound. Such instability may be evidenced by its gradual decarboxylation process at room temperature. For this reason it has always been discarded as a viable option for clinical treatment.

New research by Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, the cannabis scientist who first synthesized THC and CBD, may change this scientific perception of CBDA. During the 2019 CannMed conference in California, he announced that his research team has come up with a way to transform unstable CBDA into a more stable compound that retains CBDA’s therapeutic potential.


what is cbda

Stabilization of the CBDA

The scientific explanation for this stabilization of the cannabinoid CBDA is as follows: Mechoulam and his research team worked to stabilize CBDA by converting it into a methyl ester derivative, known as cannabidiolic acid methyl ester, or HU-580. By testing the new compound in an animal model to combat depression, the researchers confirmed that the compound still stably retains its ability to reduce symptoms of anxiety. All of these results mean that CBDA would be chemically stable enough to remain a clinical drug.

In any case, science remains focused on discovering and demonstrating the full medicinal potential of CBD, which is the cannabinoid that has shown the most stable results in the numerous experiments that have been carried out.

cbda cannabinoid

Does the CBD CBDA oil contain?

The way to destroy CBDA and convert it into CBD is decarboxylation by heating the plant, so if we are dealing with an oil whose extraction method has not used any heat to concentrate the CBD then we could also find CBDA. However, this is not common as CBD oil producers try to concentrate maximum levels of cannabidiol in their oils. In Higea CBD we respect to the maximum the plant and the extraction processes, so we use supercritical CO2, what it does is to burn the plant in cold and this way we manage to maintain a part of the CBDA that adds to the qualities of the CBD.

There are specific products and crude oils from CBDA. At the moment, the most stable way available for the everyday consumer to get a dose of CBDA is freshly harvested hemp juice , an increasingly popular trend in countries where cannabis use is legalised.

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