CBDA is the precursor for CBD — but it also offers some distinct advantages of its own. Here’s everything you need to know about CBDA & where to find it.
The raw hemp plant doesn’t make CBD — it makes a compound called CBDA instead. Manufacturers then convert the CBDA to CBD to use in their products.
There are distinct advantages to the “raw” form of the cannabinoid over conventional CBD, which we’ll cover in this article.
Here, we’ll explore what CBDA is and provide a list of products that contain this surprisingly rare cannabinoid.
CBDA products are rare, but there are a few good options that have entered the market in 2023 so far.
In order to qualify for this list, the vendor must have a solid reputation and provide proof that at least 50% of the “CBD content” is available in the form of CBDA.
Endoca has been selling raw CBD oils for several years already — they were well ahead of the current trend we’re experiencing today. This brand recognized the value of unprocessed cannabinoids from day one with the release of their “Raw” CBD oils back in 2018.
These oils contain all the raw cannabinoids produced in the plant, not just CBDA — and they also contain some decarboxylated cannabinoids that form as a byproduct of the extraction process. This can’t be helped, but it’s not a bad thing either. Many of these cannabinoids work together to provide stronger or more versatile benefits than they would offer on their own.
You can tell immediately that this stuff is raw from the taste and color of the oil, which is a thick, green-colored, herby-tasting oil. If you want something that combines all the healing power of cannabis, this is the stuff to get.
Endoca sells this oil in both the raw and decarboxylated forms — so make sure you go for the red, raw version if you want the benefits of CBDA.
We also suggest opting for the higher potency oils. They’re more expensive upfront, but the dose is smaller, and you get much more value for your money long-term.
Area 52 recently came out with these CBDA and CBGA-infused gummies earlier in 2022. Each piece contains a 50/50 blend of both cannabinoids (20 mg total), along with synergistic ingredients, including vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc — all of which are important for maintaining a strong immune system.
The best part here is that the gummy formula protects the raw cannabinoids from breakdown during storage and masks the bitter, grassy taste of raw cannabinoid extracts.
These gummies are non-psychoactive, come in a medley of delicious flavors, and use the same premium hemp extracts the company is well-known for.
|500 – 1000 mg
|16.6 – 33.3 mg/mL
|Cost per mg CBDa:
|$0.09 – $0.11
Montkush is a small cannabis manufacturer specializing in CBDA products. They sell CBDA oil as well as a CBDA topical cream.
The oil contains either 500 or 1000 mg total cannabinoids, roughly half of which consist of pure CBDA (according to recent lab reports).
The company lists the flavor as being “cannabis-forward,” — which is a good way of saying the taste is “herby and bitter,” like any good raw cannabis extract should taste. If you want to use raw CBDA, you can’t process the extract very much at all. It’s this processing that removes the flavor in conventional CBD oils, but this process also leads to the destruction of CBDA, CBCA, CBGA, and other raw cannabinoids.
The bottom line is that if you want to use a true CBDA tincture, you’ll need to get used to the taste.
CBDA stands for cannabidiolic acid — the “acid” refers to the addition of a COOH group (carboxylic acid) to the base CBD molecule.
This cannabinoid breaks down quickly when heated. The temperature causes the bonds holding the carboxylic acid to break apart, releasing carbon dioxide, water, and heat. When cannabis is smoked, the heat of the flame instantly converts all the CBDA to CBD.
CBD is created from CBDA through heat exposure. This process, called decarboxylation, strips a carboxylic acid off the molecule, leaving behind CBD. This changes the shape and weight of the molecule and alters the way it functions within the human body.
Studies suggest CBDA has distinct advantages over CBD in regards to the effects on immune function, mood regulation, and viral inhibition. Other studies suggest CBDA shares comparable effects on conditions such as nausea , inflammation , and cancer .
Despite being studied for several decades at this point, there’s still a lot we don’t know about the health benefits of CBDA and how this cannabinoid is compared to CBD on a pharmacology level.
What we do know is that CBDA appears to have a higher affinity for the 5HT1A receptors than CBD, and it offers a unique inhibitory effect on key inflammatory mediators.
Here’s what the current research says about CBDA.
A lot of the attention in the research community involving CBDA has been surrounding its promising benefits involving immune health.
For example, a study from 2008 noted significant COX-2 inhibition from CBDA . This is significant because COX-2 is considered one of the primary rate-limiting enzymes controlling inflammation in the body. It’s the main target for anti-inflammatory drugs, including acetaminophen and aspirin.
Another study found that CBDA, along with CBGA, demonstrated an inhibitory action on the SARS-CoV-2 virus . This study was limited to in vitro research, which doesn’t provide enough evidence to draw any definitive conclusions — but it’s certainly enough evidence to warrant further research.
CBDA has also demonstrated a markedly high affinity for the 5HT1A serotonin receptor , which is involved in the regulation of nausea, libido, mood, sociability, REM sleep, and much more.
One study suggested that CBDA was nearly 1000 times stronger at alleviating nausea than CBD . The same study reported that this effect was primarily due to the serotonergic action rather than through the endocannabinoid system — which is how THC is thought to alleviate nausea.
While there’s no research surrounding the use of CBDA for managing psychiatric conditions yet, there’s a theoretical basis that CBDA may have a positive impact on mood, sleep quality, and libido through its interaction with the 5HT1A receptors.
More research is needed to study the impact this cannabinoid has on neurological function.
If you have access to raw hemp or marijuana flower, you can make your own CBDA tinctures at home.
Making tinctures is very straightforward. Simply soak the raw cannabis flower in oil or alcohol, and let it sit for a few weeks. The active ingredients will slowly diffuse out of the plant and into the oil or alcohol.
The leaves can then be strained or filtered from the solution to leave a cannabinoid-rich extract.
When making CBD tinctures, the raw flower needs to be decarboxylated first by placing it in an oven or pressure cooker for a few minutes.
For CBDA tinctures, you’ll want to intentionally skip this step and go straight to the infusion part. In fact, take as many measures as possible to make sure the tincture isn’t heated. If using alcohol as the tincture base, you can even place the whole thing in the freezer while it infuses.
A good starting point for measurements is to aim for a 1:5 extract. This means you’ll be using about 5 times as much oil or alcohol as dried cannabis leaf.
For example, if you’re using 110 grams of hemp flower (4 ounces), you’ll want to add about 550 mL of oil or alcohol (2¼ cups).
Related: How to Make DIY CBD Oil
CBDA products aren’t very common, but more companies are starting to focus on this cannabinoid in recent months.
You can find products that contain CBDA by looking for raw, unprocessed full-spectrum hemp extracts or specialty products such as the Area 52 Earth Immunity Gummies.
CBDA is non-psychoactive and offers similar benefits to CBD, with a few key differences. The main difference is the heightened affinity for CBDA to bind to the 5HT1A receptors and COX-2 enzyme. This could make it a better option than conventional CBD for people seeking the mood-regulatory and anti-inflammatory benefits of hemp products.