By now, most cannabis enthusiasts have the basic knowledge of cannabinoids, including THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). Further, they probably understand their effect on the body and their potential benefits. There are over a hundred compounds in the cannabis or industrial hemp plant, including terpenes, phytocannabinoids, and terpenoids. Among the hundreds of compounds is a lesser-known cannabinoid called CBDA, whose effects on the body and potential benefits are just beginning to be known.
For those who may be new to CBDA, read on to find more about this cannabinoid, including its potential benefits.
What Is CBDA?
Cannabidiolic acid, also known as CBDA, is a cannabinoid that occurs naturally in the cannabis and hemp plant. It was first isolated in 1996, but not much has been discovered about this cannabinoid until recently. A known fact is that CBDA is the acidic precursor of CBD, which means that CBDA is naturally transformed into CBD. CBDA is therefore abundant in fresh cannabis leaves and flowers before they are dried, heated, or cured. In fact, all active compounds in the cannabis and hemp plant are initially found in their acidic forms, which is the case with CBDA.
How Is CBDA Formed in Cannabis or Hemp?
Before cannabinoids reach their final stage (such as CBD and THC), they all start as CBGA. It explains why CBGA is branded the “mother of all cannabinoids” since it is the compound from which all other cannabinoids originate. Through enzymatic reactions that take place in the plants’ trichomes, CBGA is converted to the various cannabinoids in different percentages.
CBDA vs CBD
How does cannabidiolic acid compare to CBD? The acidic forms of the various cannabinoids present in the cannabis and hemp plants have long been known to be pharmacologically inactive. For instance, THCA doesn’t result in the “high” that is common with THC. Therefore, it has been thought that CBDA has none of the effects that CBD has. However, recent studies have shown that CBDA could potentially have more benefits than CBD.
However, it is undeniable that CBDA and CBD have remarkable similarities, primarily because one is the other’s precursor. Both CBDA and CBD have non-psychoactive properties, hence their potential use for various conditions. CBDA is thought to have potentially stronger benefits than CBD since it is in abundance before decarboxylation.
How Does CBDA Work?
Unlike other cannabinoids, CBDA does not interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), neither does it bind directly with the CB1 or CB2 receptors. However, it may interact with COX-2, which is an enzyme associated with inflammation. CBDA might also influence serotonin, a transmitter associated with happiness and overall well-being. CBDA is therefore thought to deliver its therapeutic power to the body by interacting with enzymes and receptors rather than the ECS.
Potential Benefits of CBDA
Inflammation and Pain Relief
One of CBDA’s potential therapeutic powers is that it might help relieve inflammation and associated pain. As mentioned earlier, CBDA works by interacting with enzymes and receptors. In this case, CBDA may help relieve inflammation by inhibiting the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) enzyme. This enzyme is associated with inflammation after infection or injury. By blocking COX-2 enzymes, this cannabinoid may help relieve inflammation and pain.
In a recent study, researchers exploring the anti-inflammatory properties of CBDA looked at the molecular structures of CBDA and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which are common in the treatment of inflammation. They found that the molecular structures were incredibly similar. It was therefore concluded that CBDA could potentially be used as an anti-inflammatory agent.
Nausea and Vomiting
In a rodent study, researchers found that CBDA affected serotonin levels, which is a neurotransmitter that helps in signaling between cells. Serotonin also comes in handy in regulating various bodily functions like eating, motor skills, emotions, and digestion. Researchers discovered that the levels of serotonin are often affected by various stressors, including radiation and chemotherapy.
Particularly, it was found that chemotherapy and radiation caused the body to release excess serotonin, which, in turn, induced nausea and vomiting. Most cancer patients experience chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, and some even find it hard to put up with this form of treatment. While vomiting can be dealt with through medication, nausea proves to be more distressing and hard to control since it is a continuous sensation.
Thanks to the potential of CBDA to influence the activity of 5-HT serotonin-producing receptors, medical practitioners believe that CBDA may be used as a way to manage chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. While this is a subject that needs more research, it hints at how helpful CBDA may be to cancer patients receiving chemotherapy treatment.
Seizures and Convulsions
The interaction of CBDA and the 5-HT receptors makes this cannabinoid a potentially powerful anticonvulsive. Compared to CBD, scientists have found that CBDA has up to 100 times the affinity of these receptors. This means that CBDA can interact more easily with these receptors than CBD, and can be metabolized faster and in less time.
Epidiolex, the only FDA-approved prescription cannabidiol medication, is already being used to treat seizures associated with Dravet syndrome, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), and tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). Due to their similarities, CBDA is also thought to be a potentially better way to manage various forms of seizures and convulsions due to its higher affinity for 5-HT serotonin receptors.
Breast Cancer Treatment
While the research on CBDA and cancer has only been done on isolated cells, there has been an indication that CBDA can potentially stop metastasis, especially with an aggressive form of breast cancer cell called MDA-MB-231. However, more research is required to determine how CBDA can stop or prevent cancer cells’ migration.
Anxiety and Depression
The interaction of CBDA and the 5-HT receptors is responsible for the various potential benefits of CBDA in the body. The affinity of this cannabinoid for these receptors could make it a potential remedy for symptoms of anxiety and depression. Serotonin is a monoamine neurotransmitter whose biological function in the human body is multifaceted and complex. It regulates various physiological processes in the body, including modulating mood.
Serotonin is often referred to as the happy chemical as it contributes to happiness and well-being. Over the years, scientists have considered depression to be a result of hormone and neurotransmitter imbalance. Depression has also been linked with low serotonin levels, but whether this is the major cause remains unanswered. Studies have suggested that CBDA might interact with the 5-HT receptors in the same way as antidepressant medication, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). This way, CBDA is thought to show promise for symptoms of depression.
Other Potential Benefits of CBDA
Apart from the benefits highlighted above, CBDA has potential anti-bacterial, anti-oxidant, and analgesic properties. These properties could make this cannabinoid a great remedy for various conditions, including auto-immune conditions.
What Are the Best Ways of Consuming CBDA?
While studies on the benefits of CBDA could still be ongoing, cannabis enthusiasts who wish to experience some of the benefits of CBDA are looking for some of the best ways to consume it. The best way to do this is to start with the raw and uncured leaves and flowers of the cannabis or hemp plant. These can be infused into topicals like creams, balms, or even ingested orally.
Other than infusing into various topicals, raw cannabis or hemp plant leaves and flowers can be enjoyed raw by:
- Juicing it and mixing it with other juices. This helps make it less bitter.
- Steaming the leaves lightly before eating.
- Shedding the leaves and using them to make a salad.
- Garnishing food with the leaves.
- Using the leaves in sauces and salad dressings.
If you are looking to use cannabis or hemp plant leaves and flowers for CBDA benefits, proper storage is crucial to keeping the cannabinoid intact. When exposed to high temperatures, decarboxylation occurs, and you may no longer enjoy CBDA, but CBD. Therefore, it is advisable to store cannabis leaves and flowers in a refrigerator, just as green and leafy vegetables would be stored.
Why Combine CBD and CBDA?
At Tanasi, our team of university-based scientists have discovered that CBDA and CBD work better together. That’s why when you buy Tanasi products, you’re getting our proprietary blend of CBD and CBDA. Together, you’ll experience the power of both these compounds. What’s more, you can experience this without the hassle of sourcing raw plant material.
Are There Side Effects of Using CBDA?
Currently, there are very few CBDA products in the market. Most people use the raw leaves and flowers of the cannabis and hemp plant to enjoy the benefits of CBDA. It is, therefore, safe to say that there are no foreseeable side effects of CBDA, which makes it generally safe to use. However, always consult with your doctor before taking CBDA. Your doctor will guide you on dosage and know if it will interact with any of your medications.
Cannabidiolic acid, commonly known as CBDA, is a cannabinoid present in cannabis and hemp plant. It comes from CBGA, just like most of the other cannabinoids, and is CBD’s acidic precursor. Research on this cannabinoid indicates that it interacts with various receptors and enzymes, including the 5-HT receptors. Potentially, CBDA could help alleviate inflammation and pain, symptoms of depression, nausea and vomiting, seizures, and convulsions.