What is CBDa?

All about CBDa

CBD, CBG, CBN, CBDa…it seems like there’s a new cannabinoid discovered almost every day! With increased research, the list of beneficial cannabinoids found in hemp only continues to grow and it’s easy to lose track. Today, we’re going to talk about one of our favorite cannabinoids CBDa– where CBDa comes from, what the benefits of CBDa are, and how you can experience the benefits.

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What is CBDa?

CBDa or cannabidiolic acid is one of the many chemical compounds found in the hemp plant. These compounds are called cannabinoids and are able to interact with your body’s endocannabinoid system to produce unique effects. For example, THC is the cannabinoid known for producing a “high” feeling while CBD may actually counteract the “high” effects. And while we’re on the topic of intoxicating compounds, CBDa is non-intoxicating, meaning it will not make you feel “high.”

CBDa is most abundantly found in living hemp plants. This is because CBDa is the acidic precursor of CBD, which is formed when CBDa is exposed to heat, light, or oxygen. This process, called decarboxylation, occurs naturally during the growing and curing process but can also be simulated by applying heat, like fire, to plant matter. Basically, CBDa is the raw form of CBD.  So now that you know where CBD comes from, you might be wondering where does CBDa come from?

How Many Cannabinoids Are There?

The cannabis plant (including the non-intoxicating hemp variety) contains over 100 recognized cannabinoids. Many of these cannabinoids are very similar to each other, but in reality, many are actually the same cannabinoid in a different state or form. 

Hemp plants can change cannabinoids from one form to another as needed. It may need more of one cannabinoid than another to fulfill a certain function of its growth or reproductive cycle, so the overall cannabinoid content of the plants will change depending on the season.

Some cannabinoids change with light, heat, and time after the hemp flower has been harvested from the plant or used to create products like CBD oils and tinctures

This is because cannabinoids are attached to groups of natural acids. When they’re smoked, vaporized, or processed into CBD products, they undergo a transformation called decarboxylation that burns off these natural plant acids. 

When these plant acids are gone, the cannabinoids can release their beneficial effects. Removing the acids also affects cannabinoids’ bioavailability. With their new molecular structure, cannabinoids can fit into your cannabinoid receptors easily or influence them better.

Some cannabinoids, like THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), will turn into CBN when allowed to naturally degrade. When this happens, THC loses its psychoactive properties and becomes a milder cannabinoid that is commonly used to support sleep. 

Cannabinoids are always growing and transforming, and they each have their own potential set of health benefits and effects. Researchers are always working to uncover new uses for cannabinoids and discover how they may work as a part of your wellness routine.

Cannabinoid Acids

All cannabinoids start in their acidic form. However, all cannabinoids are derived from CBGa (cannabigerolic acid), hence the name “mother of all cannabinoids.” Depending on the strain, the plant’s cannabis synthesis enzymes will have varying levels of activity.  For example, marijuana strains typically have overactive THCa synthesis enzymes, meaning the plant will produce more THCa. Whereas, hemp typically has overactive CBDa enzymes. These enzymes essentially control what CBGa breaks down into. CBDa is formed when CBGa interacts with one of the synthesis enzymes and converts to CBDa. Besides CBDa, CBGa is also the precursor to THCa as well as CBCa.

What are the benefits of CBDa vs. CBD?

Most common consumption methods convert CBDa to CBD so it’s a bit more difficult to harness the therapeutic effects of the raw cannabinoid. Because of this, the majority of research has focused on cannabinoids like CBD and THC. That being said, CBDa has its own growing list of benefits and may even be more powerful than CBD.

CBDa can interact with 5-HT1A serotonin receptors. These are only one of the many types of serotonin receptors spread throughout the body, but the effects of CBDa are due to these specific receptors.

The 5-HT1A serotonin receptors work to regulate the nervous system, which means that CBDa may be able to promote feelings of relaxation and support overall digestion.

Research on this cannabinoid has only included animal models. However, as science continues to expand its perception of cannabinoids, we have more breakthrough discoveries in the future.

Some studies show that CBDa may be able to help ease feelings of discomfort or tension and support overall wellness. CBDa has soothing properties that can work to maintain your joint health and keep you feeling your best. 

CBDa might also help support the overall health of the cells throughout your body, and, as a result, can work to support your mood, digestive health, and immune function. 

Research is ongoing around CBDa’s benefits, and potential medicinal uses are being studied. Some research is promising when it comes to CBDa’s potential ability to soothe certain skin concerns and ease feelings of skin irritation.

Where to find CBDa?

CBDa is most prevalent in raw cannabis plants. Because of this, many consumers juice raw cannabis leaves to experience the benefits of CBDa. Raw cannabis juice can be ingested on its own or mixed into cold drinks. 

Just remember that hot drinks or foods can encourage the carboxylic acids to melt away, which would turn the CBDa into CBD.

As cannabis research continues to grow, we expect CBDa to step into the spotlight in both wellness and medical communities. Especially, when you consider the compound’s potential benefits and minimal risk, compared to traditional treatment methods.  

How To Use CBDa

CBDa can be used as a part of your daily wellness routine. Small amounts of CBDa may naturally occur in full-spectrum hemp products, but it’s also found in all raw hemp products. You can use raw hemp flower without heat to preserve CBDa and prevent it from converting to CBD. You can also use hemp products that are specifically formulated to include CBDa.

You can find CBDa in many cannabis products, such as edibles, creams, and specialized CBDa oil.

Our raw hemp tincture contains CBDa, as well as CBGa, CBCa, and CBDva. It’s essentially liquid drops of natural hemp in its purest form. This easy-to-take format is more convenient (and a little more pleasant) than eating raw hemp flower. 

You can use CBDa in conjunction with other cannabinoid products, but you may not need to. Since our raw hemp tincture contains the full spectrum of naturally occurring cannabinoids in their truest form, you probably won’t feel like it’s necessary to add more cannabinoids into your routine. One tincture contains just about everything you need for raw hemp wellness. 

Like with all cannabinoid products, consistency is the key to success. You may notice some benefits right away, but you’re more likely to notice even more benefits with daily use over a long period of time. It can take about a month for the full wealth of cannabinoid benefits to become apparent. Stay committed!

The Final Word on CBDa

CBDa is one of many cannabinoids that can play an important role in your wellness routine. If you’re interested in the benefits of raw natural hemp, CBDa tinctures are packed with cannabinoids in their original forms. Simply add a few drops to your daily routine and enjoy all of CBDa’s benefits.

For more high-quality hemp products and education, visit our website. With a wide selection of CBD products and growing resources, we have everything you need for your hemp journey.


13.2: Decarboxylation | Chemistry LibreTexts

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COX-2 Inhibitors: What They Are, Uses & Side Effects | Cleveland Clinic

5-HT1A receptors are involved in the cannabidiol-induced attenuation of behavioural and cardiovascular responses to acute restraint stress in rats | Frontiers in Psychology