Let’s talk about cannabinoids. These are naturally occurring compounds that we find in cannabis plants. If you keep up with the cannabis industry, you may already have heard about CBD and THC. THC is best known for its psychoactive properties; it’s the compound in marijuana that gets you high. And CBD is the second most prevalent cannabinoid. It has many potential benefits, but no psychoactive effects. And then there’s CBDA. Have you heard of that one? If not, just keep reading!
Cannabidiolic acid, or CBDA, is one of the many compounds found in cannabis plants. But, it’s not a cannabinoid. You see, before they develop, all cannabinoids start as cannabigerolic acid (CBGA). In fact, it’s often called the “mother of all cannabinoids,” since it’s the compound from which all others are derived. Through an internal, enzyme-controlled reaction, CBGA is converted to THCA, CBDA, and CBCA.
CBDA can be converted to CBD through a process called decarboxylation. That’s why it’s considered a precursor to CBD. Chemically, it is a carboxylic acid, which means that its structure contains a carboxyl group (COOH). When exposed to high temperatures, this chemical compound breaks down to hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and cannabidiol (CBD).
If we waited long enough, scientists do believe that CBDA would develop into CBD naturally. But the process would be extremely slow. Instead, we provide an outside heat source that speeds up decarboxylation.
Many CBD oil manufacturers will only include CBD in their products. That’s because they believe CBDA is basically useless except for its end product. But because Tanasi invests in science, we’ve learned through academic research that, when combined, it helps enhance your body’s ability to absorb CBD. It also increases the potency of any CBD that you take, as well as the duration of the effects you experience. For that reason, each of our Tanasi CBD products contains a patent-pending, 1:1 ratio combination of CBDA and CBD.
And, here’s some even more exciting news: emerging research suggests that CBDA may have its own unique benefits! While we still have a lot to learn, here’s what we do know about how it works, and what kind of benefits it may offer.
CBDA as an Anti-inflammatory
A recent study showed that cannabidiol acid’s structure is remarkably similar to that of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). This suggests that CBDA has the potential to function as an anti-inflammatory.
Unlike other cannabinoids that work by interacting directly with cannabinoid receptors in your body, CBDA seemingly functions by slowing down the activity of the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) enzyme. Since this enzyme is associated with inflammation, research further indicates CBDA’s potential to reduce inflammation.
CBDA as an Antidepressant
Research also shows that CBDA interacts with the 5-HT serotonin system. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter whose biological function is complex and multifaceted. But one of its most famous jobs is to help keep your moods in check.
Many individuals struggling with depression are prescribed SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). These drugs prevent the reabsorption of serotonin, increasing its concentration in your body, and enhancing your mood. Research suggests that cannabidiolic acid produces a similar effect in your body.
Potential Benefits of CBDA
Unlike CBD, cannabidiol acid is yet to make a name for itself in terms of potential medical benefits. But this is likely because we have little research on its potential. But, the early studies we do have show promise in these areas:
Cannabidiolic acid has shown some promise in cancer treatments, particularly breast cancer, as it appears to suppress breast cancer cells. In fact, CBDA may stop MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells from spreading to other parts of the body (metastasis).
One study established that exposing cancer cells to cannabidiol acid for 48 hours decreased the production of the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) enzyme. As we mentioned before, this enzyme is associated with inflammation. But it also contributes to many cases of invasive breast cancer.
In another study, CBDA increased the presence of a gene known as SHARP1 or BHLHE41. This gene inhibits breast cancer metastasis, suggesting that this is the reason why it may prevent cancer spread.
Considering the fact that 90% of breast cancer-related deaths are associated with metastasis, these findings could mean a better prognosis for breast cancer patients. But more research is necessary.
Nausea and Vomiting
While research regarding the use of cannabidiolic acid for nausea and vomiting isn’t conclusive, it does seem to relieve toxin and motion-induced vomiting. CBDA enhances the activation of 5-HT1A receptors, which are common in the digestive system and are designed to bind with serotonin.
Stressors like radiation and chemotherapy often trigger the release of excess serotonin, which can cause nausea and vomiting. This is a debilitating side effect of many cancer treatments.
But, there’s hope in CBDA’s ability to influence your body’s 5-HT1A receptors. It suggests that CBDA may alleviate chemotherapy-induced nausea or vomiting (CINV) and other associated conditions. However, more studies are needed on the same.
CBDA also appears to be a powerful anticonvulsive. Studies suggest that cannabidiol acid has 100 times the affinity to 5-HT receptors as compared to CBD. CBDA also boasts greater bioavailability, meaning your body metabolizes it faster and with less effort.
Recently, GW Pharmaceuticals made Epidiolex, an FDA-approved drug for epilepsy treatment. It’s main ingredients? CBD and CBDA, the powerful combination that fuels Tanasi products. And, before the drug’s approval, the company conducted extensive research showing that CBD and CBDA effectively treated epilepsy.
The research was patented, and now we can say that CBDA has the potential to treat generalized seizures, including tonic-clonic seizures. Its anticonvulsant makes it a better candidate than CBD or other cannabinoids for treating epilepsy and other seizures.
Anxiety and Depression
CBD may be known for its calming and antidepressant effects, but CBDA might show even more promise. As previously mentioned, it seems to impact your body’s serotonin levels in the same way as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant drugs. This suggests that CBDA may be used to support mental health.
How to Use CBDA
Just like other cannabis compounds, CBDA is present in mature plants. But, even though it’s fairly abundant, it’s tough to find CBDA products. That’s because we typically extract cannabis compounds through decarboxylation, which basically evolves cannabidiolic acid out of existence.
You can eat raw cannabis leaves and buds to ingest CBDA, but sourcing plants isn’t easy. And they have a bitter taste. A better option? Low-temperature juicing, so you can extract the raw product.
A downside to juicing is that your end product contains a big mix of cannabinoids; it’s unlikely to be rich in cannabidiolic acid. Now, if you use high CBDA cannabis strains, you’ll have more luck. But, again, it’s not so easy to source and buy any cannabis plant strain, let alone one specific kind.
This leaves us to our true recommendation: combine the powers of CBD and CBDA and use them together.
CBDA and CBD
Legal CBD must be sourced from industrial hemp plants (these are strains of cannabis with high CBD concentrations and THC concentrations lower than 0.3%. Plants with higher THC levels are classified as marijuana and are still illegal in much of the United States). This may be bad news for MJ lovers. But if you’re seeking a CBDA experience, it’s actually a big plus. Why? Plants with high CBD levels also contain high levels of CBDA.
As we mentioned earlier, our team of university-based scientists learned that CBDA and CBD work better together. And they do so without inhibiting each other’s individual effects. So, when you buy Tanasi products with our proprietary blend of CBD and CBDA, you get the combined, superior power of both these compounds. Without the hassle of sourcing raw plant material.
Is It Legal to Buy CBDA?
Yes. CBDA is legal, as long as it comes from hemp plants with less than 0.3% THC, as we mentioned earlier. It is important to note that it is not strictly regulated, and you should always purchase CBDA and CBD products from a reputable source. How can you know that a supplier is trustworthy? Check for a certificate of analysis and third-party testing to ensure you’re getting a quality product with the stated concentrations and ingredients list.
What Are the Side Effects of Using CBDA?
The use of CBDA doesn’t come with any unwanted side effects. What’s more, it doesn’t cause the high that is common with THC. Instead, it’s associated with positive experiences.
Cannabidiol acid, also known as CBDA, is a lesser-known cannabis compound whose full potential is yet to be explored. It is the precursor to CBD and can be found in the leaves and buds of certain cannabis strains. Research on this compound shows great potential in the areas of breast cancer, inflammatory conditions, seizures, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, and anxiety and depression. We can only wait and see what more this cannabinoid has to offer.