CBDA: definition, effects and differences from CBD

The world of cannabis is filled with acronyms. We knew about THC, we've been hearing about CBD all the time since 2018. Since then, other secondary cannabinoids have been trying to find a place on the market (CBN, CBC et CBG notably). Today, it is the CBDA that interests us. Or more precisely, under its full name, thecannabidiolic acid. How is it different from CBD, what are its effects, what exactly do we know about it? We respond to these questions immediately.

What is CBDA?

What is CBDA?

As it dries, the CBDA in cannabis produces CBD

CBDA is the acid form of cannabidiol (CBD). To be more precise, it is the original form of CBD, that which is found in large quantities in the trichomes of the plant, these small vesicles that contain the resin and therefore cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids, in particular responsible for the aromas and certain effects of the plant.

Over time, the plant ages, dies or is cut down for processing and then marketed. At the same time, a process known as decarboxylation. It is he who will allow the transformation of CBDA into CBD.

To keep it simple:

CBDA + heat = CBD + carbon dioxide (CO2)

This natural phenomenon takes place when the plant dries out, is exposed to the light and heat of the sun or is burned. Smoking, vaporizing or cooking CBDA therefore implies its transformation into CBD.

Is CBDA Legal?

At the time of this writing, the French and European legal frameworks, although sometimes contradictory, agree at least on one point: only THC, the molecule with the high effects of cannabis, is prohibited. It is also the only one explicitly mentioned by the legal texts. By default, CBDA is therefore considered the same as CBD and is therefore perfectly legal. As interest in the molecule and its potential effects is growing, it is however very likely that, within a few years, the official texts will be gradually completed, leading to a more precise legal framework for the use and marketing of CBDA.

Differences between CBD and CBDA: an acid story

difference between CBD and CBDA

Combustion transforms CBDA into CBD, but remains a mode of intake prohibited in France

It's no longer a secret for many people, CBD is a active compound in cannabis. Also naturally produced by marijuana plants (legal or not), CBDA is therefore its acid form which, by decarboxylation (elimination of CO2), becomes the neutral form.

Following the exact same process, THCA becomes THC, CBGA becomes CBG, etc. Ultimately, this explains why the general public only knows the neutral forms of cannabinoids, and not their acid form. In fact, unless we consume freshly collected and extracted cannabis juice, we have few opportunities to obtain acidic forms.

However, this acidic form has certain advantages over the neutral form. As it stands, it looks like:

  • CBDA acts more quickly on the body than CBD, which acts more in the long term.
  • At equivalent dosage, CBDA induces more powerful effects than CBD.
  • On the other hand, the CBDA seems to act mainly on CB1 sensors (acting on the nervous system) of endocannabinoid system (SEC), while CBD activates both CB1 and CB2 sensors.

Potential Effects of CBDA

Still little known, like most components of cannabis, the role of CBDA in CBD production has been known for a long time. Some of its effects have also been highlighted. They mainly derive from experimental research, mainly carried out on animal species, and still to be applied to humans.

If CBDA is able to act on the human body, it is above all thanks to its great similarity with molecules produced naturally by our bodies. More specifically, CBDA, like CBD but also CBG, interacts with a neurotransmitter calledanandamide, sometimes called the “happiness hormone”. It is no coincidence that anandamide is what is called a neurotransmitter.

The first properties noted are thus promising. The CBDA would thus be:

This last point should be taken with a lot of tweezers, as the subject is serious and the quantity as well as the quality of scientific information is still too low to draw definitive conclusions. However, initial research seems to abound in this direction.

What science tells us about cannabidiolic acid

Medicinal cannabis still has a lot to prove, especially regarding CBDA

Medicinal cannabis still has a lot to prove, especially regarding CBDA

The scientific research move slowly and surely on the subject of CBDA. Each study brings its share of discoveries and allows, little by little, to cross-check information which outlines the progressive understanding of the effects of CBDA. However, it is important to keep a critical eye on these results, on the one hand because they still have to be cross-checked with other studies, on the other hand because they are often ordered by pharmaceutical groups, which therefore defend commercial interests.

Action of CBDA against nausea and vomiting

This first 2013 study investigated the ability of CBDA to reduce nausea and vomiting. Carried out on populations of shrews and rats, it demonstrated that CBDA has reduces vomiting among the former, and stopped nausea among the latter. In all cases, CBDA was found to be clearly more effective than CBD, both in treatment of proven symptoms and in prevention. The use of cannabidiolic acid therefore represents a hope of preventive treatment for nausea, a sector where traditional therapies still largely fail.

A way to fight cancer?

Published in 2014, this second study discusses the possible reduction in the spread of metastases in breast cancer with CBDA. This time, breast cancer cells were brought into contact with CBDA under in vitro (laboratory) conditions. The acidic form of CBD appears here limit the spread of diseased cellsor even suppress the genes causing the metastasis. An astonishing result which still does not seem to have been tested on humans to date.

Reduce convulsions

This third and last study is more broadly interested in the potential role of CBD, THC, CBDA and THCA in the setting of seizures caused by neurological diseases. epilepsy, Alzheimer et Parkinson are particularly targeted since they remain incurable. Again, cannabinoids seem to have a positive effect on patients, while being less aggressive than current therapies.

To conclude

Each of these studies leads one to believe that CBDA has very interesting properties, which the scientific community must strive to better understand. However, this does not mean that CBDA is better than CBD and should replace it, but rather that the two cannabinoids have complementary properties. Understand how to combine them for take advantage of their combined effects is therefore one of the many challenges of the modern cannabis world.