Side Effects of CBDA: Anything To Be Concerned About?

side effects of cbda

Posted on September 28th, 2020

Before you ask about the side effects of CBDA, you must first have an understanding of its uses and origins. The short answer to the question of origin is— cannabis. Human beings have been utilizing cannabis for centuries as a source of food, fibers and medicinal properties. But we have only recently come to understand the chemical composition of this plant. Studies from the 1970s indicated the presence of various other molecules in the cannabis plant that were dubbed as cannabinoids. They include compounds like the famously infamous psychoactive THC, among many other compounds. 

We also know that in addition to cannabinoids, the cannabis plant contains several other useful substances, including proteins, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and terpenes. Despite this, it is cannabinoids that have received mainstream attention from the public and scientists alike. Furthermore, CBD and THC are the two most heavily researched cannabinoids. Thanks to extensive research conducted on CBD over the years, there’s been a massive boom in the CBD industry. Companies are capitalizing, creating CBD infused oil deodorant, pillows, athletic wear, and even tampons. 

The therapeutic effects related to CBD are well established in the fields of chronic pain, depression, seizures, anxiety, sleep and nausea. But there would be no CBD without CBDA. Being among the more than 100 cannabinoids that make up the cannabis plant, it acts as a precursor to CBD, the A standing for “acid.” 

side effects of cbdaWhat Is CBDA?

All cannabinoids owe their creation to the ‘mother molecule’ CBGA. Soon after, the CBDA synthase enzyme comes across the plant’s trichomes and catalyses a reaction that transforms CBGA to CBDA and other ensuing cannabinoids. CBDA, or cannabidiolic acid, is the chemical precursor to CBD. There’s no CBD in growing, live cannabis plants. It’s not until it is heated to around 270º F that the formation of CBD occurs.

CBDA can be referred to as a carboxylic acid, in that the structure has a carboxyl group consisting of two oxygen atoms, one hydrogen atom and one carbon, usually expressed as COOH. The ‘acid’ part of cannabidiolic acid originates from this carboxyl group. When this molecule is exposed to high-temperature conditions during cooking, vaporization or extraction, this group is removed from the molecule and leaves CBD behind. This process is referred to as decarboxylation.

Most people believe that CBDA is the ‘inactive’ state of CBD and only becomes ‘active’ after decarboxylation has occurred. However, this belief is totally unfounded and untrue. Scientists are only just finding out that CBDA has its therapeutic properties separate from CBD. This has caused cannabinoid users to increasingly express interest in ‘raw’ cannabis products as potential CBDA sources. 

Studies have shown that CBDA is more soluble in water than CBD, meaning the body will absorb it more efficiently compared to CBD. It also enhances CBD’s absorption rate in the body. More importantly, CBDA has proven to have 100 times higher affinity to certain body receptors compared to CBD. Because of this, researchers hope that small quantities of CBDA can have therapeutic effects, increasing its accessibility and minimizing potential side effects.

side effects of cbdaSide Effects of CBDA

Due to the lack of adequate clinical trials conducted, side effects related to CBDA usage are largely uncertain. But according to an animal study published in the Psychopharmacology Journal, CBDA doesn’t have the sedating side effects sometimes associated with CBD. The study suggests that the compound should be well tolerated overall. Because CBDA shares a similar molecular structure to CBD, it may have other similar side effects to CBD use. These can include lightheadedness, low blood pressure, dry mouth and reactions with certain medications. 

The bottom line is that the side effects of CBDA are largely dose-dependent and are easily tolerable. And as of yet, no adverse side effects have been consistently reported after normal consumption. The only instances where some side effects have been apparent is when patients take too much CBDA. What’s more, when you consume CBDA without the raw cannabis plant undergoing decarboxylation, the side effects experienced will be minimal. This natural compound is generally a calming phytochemical that doesn’t exhibit any psychotropic effects.

Side effects of CBDA are virtually non-existent if any, and only positive things can be said about the natural substance. Even if mild side effects do occur, here are some convincing reasons you may still want to give CBDA a try.

CBDA For Cancer 

CBDA comes as a ray of sunshine into the worlds of people who have cancer; particularly breast cancer. Research has shown that CBDA can suppress breast cancer cells and hinder them from metastasizing. It has also been proven to suppress an enzyme called Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), which has been linked to the spread of breast cancer cells. 

COX-2 is the primary catalyst of inflammation, anaphylactic reactions, and narrowing of blood vessels. COX-2 suppresses tumor immunity and elevates tumor growth. This is because the enzyme is linked to inflammatory diseases and carcinogenesis, which initiate the formation of cancer cells. 

Research has shown that cancer cells exposed to CBDA for 48 hours down-regulated COX-2 by 40%. It may very well prove to be integral in cases of invasive cancer. CBDA also increases the quantity of a gene known as SHARP1, also referred to as BHLHE42, which has the ability to prevent the metastasis of breast cancer cells. Medical practitioners estimate that metastasis accounts for up to 90% of breast cancer-related deaths, so this discovery could lead to a better prognosis for many people diagnosed with this condition.

CBDA For Inflammatory Conditions

Research shows a substantial amount of evidence that CBD can relieve pain as a result of its anti-inflammatory properties. However, CBDA has proven to be even more effective in relieving inflammation. This is because the molecular structure of CBDA is similar to the structure found in Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs.

CBDA has been shown to inhibit the COX-2 enzyme, much like its renowned counterpart CBD. Conventional anti-inflammatory drugs function by hindering COX-2 with many medical practitioners prescribing them to treat painful conditions like arthritis. But NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and aspirin engage COX-2 receptors to help in minimizing inflammation. But there are more instances where NSAIDs have adverse side effects on a person’s health. Bleeding in the stomach is one example of a known side effect of NSAIDs. CBDA has far fewer side effects and can do a comparable job at blocking COX-2 when appropriately used.

CBDA For Nausea

Nausea is one malady for which CBDA has been thoroughly researched. Studies have come to discover that CBDA relieves motion and toxin-induced vomiting in shrews and also alleviated nausea in rats. The 5-HT receptor regulates anxiety and controls vomiting and nausea. CBDA targets receptors in the body in the same way that CBD alleviates the feeling of nausea to avoid vomiting. What’s more, research indicates that CBDA reduces vomiting and nausea even  more effectively compared to CBD.

Receptors in the intestinal walls are triggered by either abnormal contractions, physical damage, or distension (enlargement). When these receptors induce reactions, the Dorsal Vagal Complex is involved as it acts to elicit vomiting and nausea. Cannabinoids minimize the intestinal walls’ motility, which can help in reducing the feeling of nausea. This treatment can really come in handy for patients undergoing chemotherapy, of which nausea is a common side effect.


CBDA has been shown to target receptors that regulate the feeling of anxiety, much like CBD does. But it can actually work as a sort of antidepressant at dosages that are up to 100 times less than CBD. Considering the rise of depression in recent years, the possibility of CBDA as a stress-reducer could be just what we need to improve treatment.

Because every person is different, their reactions to any substance are likely to vary as well. If you want to know the specific side effects CBDA could have on you, you should begin with small dosages. Remember that CBDA can only be found in the raw cannabis state. Baking, smoking, or otherwise heating the plant could cause it to become plain CBD. For this reason, decarbing is the best method you can use to gain the benefits associated with cannabinoids. CBDA can also be used when it’s infused in cannabis topicals like creams or balms. Here are some ideas you can use to consume your cannabis while keeping the CBDA in tact:

-Steam the leaves lightly

-Combining it with fruit juice not to make it bitter

-Mixing the leaves with salad

-Use to garnish food

-Mixing it into salad dressings or sauces

Make sure to store your raw cannabis flowers and leaves in the fridge like any other leafy vegetable to keep it fresh and harness the full nutritional value the plant has to offer.

side effects of cbdaFinal Thoughts

Even though research into CBDA is still in its early stages, it is clear that there is major potential for this compound. If you are thinking about using it for medical purposes, it’s essential that you understand the potential benefits, consumption methods, and possible side effects. You should consult a physician if you have doubts or questions about whether CBDA is right for you. As for a product you might want to try, Tanasi’s full-spectrum CBD oil contains CBDa as well as 100 other cannabidiols.

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