CBDA benefits

6 CBDA benefits

Cannabis caught many people’s attention and many new products are hitting the market every day, and more research is being carried out.

The two most known cannabinoids in cannabis are THC and CBD.

But what do we actually know about the cannabinoids?

Even though they are very interesting compounds that can have positive medicinal benefits, THC and CBD are not the only ones.

In fact, cannabis plants have over 100 cannabinoids that form naturally when the cannabis plant grows. CBDA (cannabidiolic acid) is one of those in a hundred and can have a variety of medicinal benefits.

Do cannabinoids form somewhere else than cannabis?

Yes, they do.

Interestingly, cannabinoids form not only in cannabis plants. They are also formed in other plants, animals (including us, humans) and laboratories

There are 3 types of cannabinoids:

1. Phytocannabinoids

(In the Greek language – “Phyto” means plant) – these cannabinoid compounds form in plants. Phytocannabinoids are usually plant-derived from cannabis.

CBDA is one of the more abundant phytocannabinoids found in Cannabis Sativa L. (hemp) plants.

However, various cannabinoid-like compounds are also found in different plants other than cannabis.

Interesting fact: black truffles and cacao contain cannabinoid anandamide (the “bliss” molecule). Which might explain the “happy mood” associated with eating chocolate. 

Echinacea (Coneflower) – contains cannabimimetics (the word is combined from 2 words – cannabis and mimetics (from Greek mimētikos – to mimic)), which literally means “to mimic cannabis”).

These compounds are N-alkylamides that are found throughout the plant, but mostly in flowers and roots. These compounds trigger the CB2 receptors in the body, much like some cannabinoids do.

2. Endocannabinoids

These cannabinoid compounds form in living beings – such as dogs or horses, and us – humans.

Our own body produces endocannabinoids (such as anandamide) that interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), that each of us has, and activate cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) throughout the body.

Interesting fact: our own bodies produce the cannabinoid anandamide (ananda means “bliss” in the Sanskrit language), which is similarly potent on CB1 receptor as THC itself.

And, anandamide seems to be an answer to the “What causes the runner’s high?” question, as this “bliss” molecule is released by the body after long runs. It is small enough to reach the brain, not like endorphins, that were previously thought to be responsible for the “runner’s high”.

For those who don’t know what runner’s high is – it is a moment of bliss sometimes felt after running long distances. 

Find out how CBD can benefit runners.

3. Synthetic cannabinoids

These compounds are produced in chemical laboratories.

These are cannabinoids artificially manufactured in a lab by chemists. More research and studies are needed to understand their effects and uses.

For now, we have two synthetic cannabinoids approved as a medicine – dronabinol, and nabilone.

Dronabinol is a synthetic THC. It is approved for the treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, and anorexia.

Nabilone is a synthetic analog of THC. It is approved for the treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.

However, both are psychoactive and therefore their usage is limited.

A good alternative might be non-psychoactive CBDA, as it has been shown to reduce chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.

CBDA benefits

What is CBDA?

CBDA (cannabidiolic acid) is a phytocannabinoid found in cannabis that was transformed from CBGA. It is also a precursor of CBD (cannabidiol).

To put it more simply it is the “father” of CBD – when hemp (cannabis) plant grows, it produces phytocannabinoids – mostly CBGA, which then converts to CBDA, which then starts converting to CBD with time, sunlight, and heat (aka decarboxylation).

Although CBDA is not as well scientifically researched as CBD, there are very promising ongoing studies and interest in this molecule for its potential medicinal benefits.

As of now, GW Pharmaceuticals holds a patent for CBDA as a potential epilepsy drug. It appears under the trademark Epidiolex – cannabinoid medication, which is the only one approved by the FDA, to treat epilepsy disorders.

CBDA is the raw form of CBD. Once CBDA is heated, it then converts to CBD – so it is only possible to consume CBDA using raw hemp oils, which contain mostly CBDa and CBD.

What are the CBDA benefits?

Potential CBDA benefits:

1) Therapeutic potential for anticipatory nausea

One research with rodents showed that CBDA is very well tolerated and might be an alternative for people on-going chemotherapy and experiencing nausea. As benzodiazepines, normally used for AN during chemotherapy, have “significant sedative effects and induce dependency”

Anticipatory nausea (AN) is a poorly controlled side effect experienced by chemotherapy patients. Currently, pharmacotherapy is restricted to benzodiazepine anxiolytics, which have limited efficacy, have significant sedative effects, and induce dependency. The non-psychoactive phytocannabinoid, cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), has shown considerable efficacy in pre-clinical AN models”

The conclusion of the research was that:

“CBDA is very well tolerated and devoid of the sedative side effect profile of benzodiazepines, justifying its clinical investigation as a novel AN treatment.”

2) Has anti-inflammatory properties

“CBDA or THC alone, as well as very low doses of combined CBDA and THC, has anti-inflammatory and anti-hyperalgesia effects in this animal model of acute inflammation.” (source)

CBDA works on COX-2 enzymes in pretty much the same way as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as paracetamol, aspirin, or ibuprofen would.

Both CBDA and NSAIDs inhibit (block) COX-2 enzymes.

COX-2 enzymes are thought to be responsible for inflammation and pain in the body.

By inhibiting COX-2 enzymes, CBDA can help alleviate inflammation and pain associated with it.

3) Might have anti-tumoral effect

A study made in Japan shows that CBDA inhibits the migration of breast cancer cells.

“Results of the current investigation revealed that CBDA inhibits migration of the highly invasive human breast cancer cells”

“The data presented in this report suggest for the first time that as an active component in the cannabis plant, CBDA offers potential therapeutic modality in the abrogation of cancer cell migration, including aggressive breast cancers.”

4) Can help with social anxiety and depression

CBDA shows potential results as an anxiolytic drug. In one study, CBDA gave anti-depressant effects at doses 10-100 lower than those of CBD.

Interestingly, CBDA works on the 5-HT receptors in a very similar way that common anti-depressant (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors – SSRI) drugs do.

Therefore, it is thought that CBDA could benefit those with anxiety and depression.

The upside of CBDA compared to SSRI medications is its safety profile.

While SSRI drugs seem to have a never-ending list of side effects, such as headaches, feeling numb, blurred vision, feeling shaky and many others, CBDA’s side effects seem to be close to non-existing.

5) Has better bioavailability than CBD

As CBDA has better bioavailability than CBD it gives quicker results. Also, less CBDA is required to achieve therapeutic effects.

That is because CBDA has 100 times the affinity for the 5-HT receptors when compared to CBD.

In simpler words, CBDA is metabolized 100 times faster and easier by the body than CBD.

6) Reduces vomiting

University of Guelph research on rodents found out that:

”CBDA potently reduced conditioned gaping in rats, even at low doses and enhanced the anti-nausea effect of a low dose of OND. These findings suggest that combining low doses of CBDA and OND will more effectively treat acute nausea in chemotherapy patients.”

While the study was done on rodents, it would not be surprising that similar CBDA benefits were reproducible in humans.

Serotonin is considered a “feel good” chemical. However, chemotherapy and radiation cause the body to release too much serotonin, which then induces conditions such as recurring nausea and vomiting.

Most cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy face these conditions. While vomiting can be more or less controlled with drugs, nausea is harder to eliminate with currently existing medications.

The good news is that CBDA was shown to affect 5-HT receptors. These receptors are responsible for producing serotonin. While more research is needed, scientists think that by affecting 5-HT receptors, CBDA can help alleviate nausea and vomiting in cancer patients.

Other potential CBDA benefits:

Much research needs to be done on this interesting cannabinoid to know all of CBDA’s benefits. 

CBDA containing medicine Epidiolex is now also patented for epilepsy, and is prescribed for two rare forms of it: Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.

CBDA can also work as an analgesic (pain-relieving) medication due to its nature of blocking COX-2 enzymes.

How does CBDA form in cannabis?

When cannabis plants grow and start flowering, they secrete a sticky resin full of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids.

Firstly, plants start producing CBGA – it is the main cannabinoid from which others are formed.

Then due to certain conditions (such as light, heat, time,..) CBGA transforms into three other cannabinoids:

CBDA – cannabidiolic acid

THCA – tetrahydrocannabinolic acid

CBCA – cannabichromene

Which then transform into CBD, THC, and CBC.

CBDA benefits

How does CBDA work?

CBDA works differently than most cannabinoids. While most cannabinoids either attach to CB1 or CB2 receptors, CBDA does not.

Instead, CBDA interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) by blocking COX-2 enzymes.

COX-2 (cyclooxygenase-2) is an enzyme responsible for inflammation and pain.

By inhibiting (blocking) the COX-2 enzymes, CBDA can help relieve inflammation and pain.

In fact, most nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), for example, ibuprofen and paracetamol, work in a similar way as CBDA, by inhibiting COX-2 enzymes, and providing pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory effects.

Keep in mind that with heat and time CBDA is transformed into its “active” form CBD, which then starts to work in a different way.

CBD works on CB1 receptors. However, CBD does not directly bind to the receptors, but rather attaches to them and modifies the CB1 receptors’ ability to bind to cannabinoids.

On top of that, CBD affects some receptors and enzymes of the endocannabinoid system and therefore enhances the body’s natural levels of endocannabinoids.

What is the difference between CBD and CBDA?

CBDA is a raw form of CBD – the so-called precursor. When cannabis plants grow, they mostly contain raw cannabinoid forms – CBDA, THCA, CBGA, and others. These acidic cannabinoids then convert into active form cannabinoids – CBD, THC, CBC, when they are exposed to direct sunlight, heat, and time.

Therefore some CBDA is naturally transformed into CBD in cannabis plants during growth.

The main chemical difference between CBDA and CBD is that CBDA (cannabidiolic acid) is in its raw acidic form. When hemp plants are heated, dried, or cured, CBDA’s acidic compounds break down into new chemical compounds – and CBD is formed.

As mentioned previously, the changed chemical structure also changes the way these cannabinoids work – CBDA works differently than CBD does.



Only raw cannabis (hemp) oils contain CBDa, together with CBD and 100+ other cannabinoids – hence the name “full-spectrum CBD oil”.

However, it is worth knowing that not all full-spectrum CBD oils contain CBDA. Some raw cannabis (hemp) oils are heated, to convert cannabidiolic acid to CBD. So, as mentioned earlier, it is recommended to inspect the product before buying it to receive all the CBDA benefits that this compound has to offer.

A good idea would be to check lab results and labels before making a purchase.

Also, isolated CBD does not contain any CBDA, or any other cannabinoid for that matter, as all of them were destroyed, to degrade trace amounts of THC… So isolated CBD oils are not suitable for you if you want to try using CBDA.

Also, studies approve that full-spectrum hemp extracts are more efficient than isolated CBD alone.

How to use CBDA?

The best way to consume CBDA is by using raw hemp flower (CBD) tinctures, topicals, and balms. As raw hemp oil is not heated (decarboxylated) – all the naturally produced CBDA is present in the oil (tincture).

However, if you are not a fan of the hemp (cannabis) taste, raw hemp oil can be added to smoothies, juices, guacamole, and other foods of choice. Just remember to avoid hot foods, because then CBDA will start converting into CBD.

CBDA is the raw form of CBD. Once CBDA is heated, it then converts to CBD – so it is only possible to consume CBDA using raw hemp oils, which contain mostly CBDa and CBD. 

However, not all full-spectrum CBD oils are raw – some of them are heated (to convert CBDA to CBD) or even destroyed (to create isolated CBD), so keep an eye when making a CBDA purchase to truly feel cannabidiolic acid benefits!

Tip: It is worth knowing that you don’t get any CBDA benefits when smoking cannabis, as it is converted to CBD with heat

Does CBDA make you high?


CBDA is not psychoactive.

Most raw hemp oils contain no more than 0.2-0.3% THC (the substance that makes you high) and that is considered to be “trace amounts” and are nearly not enough to have any psychoactive effects.

Are there any potential side effects of CBDA?

CBDA is well tolerated in humans. Even high doses of CBDA does not induce harsh side effects.

However, some people might experience dry mouth or lightheadedness.

Also, CBDA might interact with some medications, so always check with your doctor if there are any CBDA interactions with other currently used drugs.


Nowadays CBDA has an interest in the scientific field and more research is being made as CBDA shows great potential in the medicinal field. We are very excited to get more scientific evidence of CBDA benefits.

CBDA is a promising phytocannabinoid for medicinal use. Even though more research needs to be done to understand all CBDA benefits, it can already be used to treat epilepsy, anxiety and depression, nausea and vomiting in cancer patients, or even used as an anti-inflammatory agent.

Another benefit of CBDA is its lack of side effects, which is great for long usage.

If you wish to feel CBDA benefits, be aware that only raw hemp (CBD) oil contains CBDA!

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