Is CBDA Safe? The Comforting Truth About An Overlooked Cannabinoid

is cbda safe

Posted on January 26th, 2021

If you’ve been paying attention to cannabis and its related products, you most likely have some basic information about two of its most popular and well-known compounds; namely CBD and THC. Their effects on the human body and potential therapeutic benefits have been well-documented over the years. CBD, in particular, has been gaining a lot of attention in the recent past from both the public and scientists due to its perceived broad range of medicinal benefits and non-intoxicating effects. However, what most users don’t know is that CBD and THC are just two of the over one hundred compounds present in cannabis. CBDA is another important compound entering the spotlight lately. But is CBDA safe? It hasn’t gotten nearly the research attention the other two big cannabinoids have.

Cannabinoids 101

You may actually be surprised to learn that in raw cannabis, CBD and THC are only available in extremely low amounts. All cannabinoids, even those that you are most familiar with, start in their acidic versions. Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) is the acidic precursor to CBD while tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) is the acidic precursor to THC. It is important to note that the acidic versions of these cannabinoids, including THCA, are non-psychologically active. This explains why eating raw cannabis doesn’t cause a high.

Heat is the main catalyst used to convert the acidic cannabinoids into CBD, THC, and their respective cannabinoids in a process known as decarboxylation. Considering the many benefits associated with CBD, understandably, many people have been interested in finding out what its acidic counterpart has to offer. For a long time, CBDA was believed to have very little medicinal value. However, according to recent research, CBDA has its benefits that should be seriously considered. This article takes a look at everything you need to know about CBDA including what is CBDA, how CBDA is produced, how it differs from CBD, is CBDA safe to use, and so on.  

What is CBDA?

First purified and isolated in 1996, CBDA was the first cannabinoid acid to be discovered. It is the acidic precursor to CBD. It exists in abundant amounts in raw marijuana and hemp plant material. 

CBDA is obtained from the processing of another compound called cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), also known as ‘the mother of all cannabinoids.’  This is the compound from which all other cannabinoids originate. It is responsible for the four major cannabinoid lines; CBDA, THCA, CBGA, and CBCA. Enzymatic reactions in the cannabis plant’s trichomes are responsible for processing CBGA into the acidic cannabinoids in various percentages that later convert into the cannabinoids THC, CBD, and so on. 

cbd oil concentrate inside shopping cartt with hemp lying aroundCBDA and CBD Differences

As earlier mentioned, CBDA is the acidic precursor to CBD. CBDA has an extra carboxyl group attached to its molecular chain. Thanks to the extra carboxyl group, a CBDA molecule is much larger than a CBD molecule. But exposure to heat or prolonged light, causes CBDA to lose this carboxyl group that contains one carbon atom, two oxygen atoms, and one hydrogen atom (COOH), causing the conversion of CBDA into CBD while releasing carbon dioxide. This process is called decarboxylation. This process is responsible for the formation of all active cannabinoids. 

When raw cannabis including fresh cannabis leaves and flowers are dried, cured, or heated, CBDA, as well as other acidic compounds, undergo major transformations into their respective cannabinoids. 

Now you’ve learned how these two similar compounds are produced. It is time to take a look at how they differ in terms of their effects on the human body. 

How CBDA Works 

While CBD works by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) to produce various effects, CBDA doesn’t work in the same way. It neither interacts with the ECS nor binds to the CB1 or CB2 receptors. 

Rather, it produces its potential benefits by interacting directly with specific enzymes and receptors. For instance, it inhibits the function of the COX-2 enzyme, which is associated with inflammation. It has also been found to have an influence on 5-HT receptors, which are mainly responsible for regulating serotonin levels as well as controlling nausea and vomiting. 

Is CBDA Safe Enough to Explore Its Benefits?

Before answering the question, is CBDA safe to use? it is important to first take a look at the proposed potential benefits of this cannabinoid. While further research is still required to establish the true benefits of this compound, preliminary studies indicate that it has a lot of potential for people living with the following conditions:


Scientific research has found that CBDA has potential anti-inflammatory properties. This is demonstrated through its effect on the COX-2 enzyme. COX-2 enzymes play a crucial role in the development of pro-inflammatory compounds known as prostaglandins. While inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury, stress, and illness, and it is important for the body’s recovery, chronic inflammation is painful and can have a huge impact on your quality of life. 

CBDA has been found to selectively block the COX-2 enzyme, thus interrupting the production of pro-inflammatory compounds. 

Anxiety and Depression

As mentioned earlier, CBDA interacts with 5-HT1A receptors, which regulate serotonin levels in the body. Also known as the ‘happy hormone,’ serotonin plays a crucial role in our moods, digestive functions, sleep, brain function, and overall well being. 

Depression is often associated with low serotonin levels. Research shows that CBDA acts on the 5-HT receptors in a similar way as selective reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant medication but with minimal side effects. Research also suggests that, for anti-depression purposes, CBDA is 10 to 100x more effective than CBD, thus it is effective in smaller doses. 

Seizures and Convulsions

GW Pharmaceuticals is the manufacturer of the only CBD drug the FDA has approved (Epidiolex). According to their researchfe, safety, cbd, cannabinoids, marijuana, cannabis, CBDA is much more effective in seizure treatment than CBD. CBDA has 10 to 100 times more affinity for 5-HT receptors than CBD potentially making it a more powerful anticonvulsive. 


As earlier mentioned, 5-HT receptors play a role in regulating feelings of nausea and vomiting. And as discussed, CBDA has a strong affinity for these receptors. CBDA interacts with 5-HT receptors to calm an upset stomach. 

Breast Cancer

A 2012 study in Japan revealed that CBDA could potentially help prevent the growth of an aggressive form of breast cancer. Another study also found that CBDA can inhibit the migration of breast cancer cells, thus minimizing the chances of the disease metastasizing to other body parts. 

We still need much more research to fully determine how this compound affects cancer cells. But another study in 2014 established a potential link between CBDA’s COX-2 enzyme inhibiting properties to its ability to defeat breast cancer. 

Bioavailability of CBDA

According to a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, compared to CBD, CBDA is 18 times more bioavailable than CBD. This means that more CBDA reaches systemic circulation than CBD. 

How to Consume CBDA

Consuming CBDA is pretty straightforward as it doesn’t require any processing. It is available in abundant amounts in the raw hemp and marijuana plant. If you can handle raw plant tastes, you can eat raw cannabis buds and leaves to get your dose of CBDA.

If you aren’t a fan of the bitter taste, you can choose to juice the raw leaves and infuse them in your favorite fruit juice. 

Unless you use CBDA rich cannabis strains, the juice likely won’t have a substantial amount of CBDA. It is quite difficult to get your hands on raw cannabis plant materials of any kind. Your best bet is to go for cannabis products with a blend of CBD and CBDA. Not only does this minimize the hassle of obtaining raw plant material, but it also ensures that you get the best of both worlds. Scientific research has found that CBD and CBDA work better together. Tanasi embraces this research and bases its hemp extract formulas on blending these two specific compounds

Is CBDA Safe?

Determining CBDA’s safety means examining its potential side effects. Research on CBDA and its effects on the body is still in its early stages. There isn’t enough data to determine concrete side effects. However a study  in the Psychopharmacology journal provided some insight. CBDA shares the same side effects as CBD due to their similarities in molecular structure.

As you might be aware, these side effects include low blood pressure, dry mouth, lightheadedness, and interactions with certain medications. However, it is important to note that CBDA lacks the sedating effects of CBD. 

Overall, the side effects of CBDA are minimal as nobody has reported any harmful effects. However, it is important to note that these side effects only occur as a result of taking too much CBDA. For average use, you shouldn’t really expect any adverse side effects. 

Legal Status of CBDA

You might be wondering whether it is legal to buy or possess CBDA. Well, Yes! Provided it comes from hemp plants that contain less than 0.3% THC. This means that wherever CBD is legal CBDA is legal (which is the entire US). However, it is important to keep in mind that the CBD sector is highly unregulated. As such, you need to ensure that you only order your CBDA products from reputable suppliers like Tanasi.

Conclusion: Is CBDA Safe?

As you can see, there is a lot more to CBDA than meets the eye. For many years, many assumed CBDA had no medicinal value given the inactive nature of THCA, its acidic counterpart. However, increasing research is continually showing the value of this compound.

Hopefully, this article has provided you with all you need to know. Surely it has sufficiently answered the question, is CBDA safe to use?

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