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Cannabinoids Featured Minor Cannabinoids

What is CBDA (Cannabidiolic Acid)?

Written by Joseph Mcqueen

The world of cannabis is an ever changing one, especially now. More and more elements of the cannabis plant are being utilised and utilized as time goes on. This is not only due to the fact that this magical plant has so much to offer, but also because many nations are now beginning to open their arms to the benefits of this plant. Cannabis is finally beginning to be accepted by the world. Not all of it, but some of it. CBD and THC are becoming more wildly known cannabinoids within cannabis, however, what about these new ones everyone’s mentioning? Today, we’re going to be looking into CBDA. What is it? What does it do? What are its benefits? And how does it differ from CBD? Let’s find out. 

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Why Does It Matter?

There are many cannabinoids within the cannabis plant – around 100 in fact. Don’t worry, we’ll get into the science later. Whenever a new one is revealed or discussed, many people wonder the same thing: why does it matter? CBD and THC have been well-known for a long time and everyone understands the difference between them. They’ve stood the test of time. But when people start speaking about THCA, THCV, CBN, CBT, and now, CBDA, it often creates a lot of confusion. Do these cannabinoids actually differ from the more well-known ones? Is CBDA worth knowing about?

Well, since the turn of the century, more nations around the world have begun to legalize cannabis medically or sometimes even recreationally. As it stands, 18 states in the US have legalized recreational cannabis and 36 of them have legalized medical cannabis. In Europe, the majroity of countries have legalized medical cannabis and some are beginning to become even more progressive. Malta has totally legalized recreational cannabis, Luxembourg has legalized the cultivation of cannabis for personal use and Germany seem to be two years away from the same. In addition, many other countries around the world have legalized cannabis too. Esentially, what once was a century of strict laws on cannabis, has now shifted. The 2000s are the years for cannabis acceptance. What has followed, is a genuine interest in the cannabis plant, how it works, and how it can benefit people. CBD was the first, as it’s assistance with chronic pain, lowering blood pressure and treating anxiety became more evident. This was only the start. The NCBI writes:

“The renewed interest in the therapeutic effects of cannabis emanates from the movement that began 20 years ago to make cannabis available as a medicine to patients with a variety of conditions…the most common conditions for which medical cannabis is used… are pain, spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis, nausea, posttraumatic stress disorder, cancer, epilepsy, cachexia, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, and degenerative neurological conditions”

The research into cannabis and its medical benefits, as well as it’s recreational purposes, has developed a lot over the last few years. These developments matter because some have found cannabis to be a genuine life saver. Some people struggling with Tourettes have found cannabis to be the only substance to alleviate their tics, some people struggling with muscle pain have found cannais to sooth them, and some people struggling with anxiety have found cannabis to be the only substance that quietens their negative thought patterns. Cannabis, whether you’re a supporter or not, has powers that affect our body through the endocannabinoid system. So, what about CBDA? 

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The Science of Cannabis

Cannabis derives from the natural-growing sativa plant. Whilst people use many words to describe it – like marijuana, weed and Mary Jane – the word ‘cannabis’ seems to me the most poigniant. There are around 400 compounds in the plant, about 100 of these are cannabinoids, and about 100 of these are terpenes. The exact number of each are constantly disputed. 


Terpenes are what give cannabis it’s flavour and aromas. Remember, cannabis is a herb, and like many other herb, it has an extremely potent smell. Myrcene usually has earthy and clove-like tones, linalool has floral notes and pinene has a refreshing pine-forest smell. These are the natural terpenes that are common within canabis. However, many batches of bud are of course synthesised to taste even more extreme. 


Cannabinoids are what gives cannabis its effects. THC is known for its psychoactive effects (high), as it alters the state of the mind. However, CBD also affects the body but does not count as a pysocactive substance. Nonetheless, all cannabinoids react with the endocannabinoid system within the body. This system has two main receptors: the CB1 and the CB2. The CB1’s are found mainly in the central nervous system, and the CBD’s are found mainly in your peripheral nervous system and immunity cells. Ultimately, the ECS has been found to help in the function of sleep, mood, memory, reproduction, fertility and appetite. When cannabinoids attach themselves to these receptors, they are able to alter these functions. This is where the magic of cannabis can happen. 

What is CBDA?

CBDA is much the same as THCA in theory. Before THC or CBD are heated or lit, they are THCA and CBDA. This process of heating is known as decarboxylation and this is what unlocks the known effects of both THC and CBD. But before even this, as Mont Kush writes:

“All cannabinoids in cannabis and hemp come from cannabigerolic acid (CBGa), the mother of all cannabinoids. Plant enzymes then convert the CBGa into a combination of the three major cannabinoid precursor compounds: tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), cannabichromenic acid (CBCA), and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA). The combination will depend on the unique cannabis strain they are derived from.”

Many unknowing youths might try and eat loads of dry cannabis buds and wonder why they aren’t getting high. Well, that’s because you’ve just eaten THCA, which is not psychoactive. It only becomes psychoactive when it is transformed into THC by heating through a vape, cooked in edibles or smoked in a joint. 

So, if CBDA is just CBD before its been decarbed, then what’s the point of it? Well, whilst CBDA is technically a pre-cursor to CBD, it does actually have its own individual properties and benefits. 


CBDA, like CBD, is a non psychoactive cannabinoid. So it does not have wild effects on the mind like THC does. It will not get you high. But it does activate our 5-HT1A serotonin receptors, which is responsible for mood, sleep, anxiety and nausea. CBDA can have a positive impact on all of these processes. Whilst the research into CBDA is in its early stages, many people will consume it either through raw-juicing, tinctures or topical creams. Raw-juicing is a specifically trendy activity, which involves blending lots of healthy raw substances and creating a juice. Kama Hemp writes:

“CBDa is Superior to CBD because of its Bioavailability. CBDa is only found on raw hemp/cannabis flowers and leaves, CBDa is often ingested through juicing or taking freeze-dried juice powders. Juicing raw hemp is the most popular method of consuming CBDa.”

For your information, when a substance is ‘bio-available’, it means that more of the substance enters the circulation when introduced to the body. The belief currently is that CBDA has more bioavailability than CBD. 

CBDa Can Help Prevent COVID-19, but Not in the Way You Might Expect

Positive Signs

CBDA is hardly really spoken about, but the early research signs are positive. A study recently found that CBDA has anti-depressant effects on rats – even with doses 10 to 100 times lower than a CBD dose. Plus, it’s been discovered to have more antiflafamority abilities than CBD. In addition, CBDA is also being found to be more effective at alleviating nausea than CBD is. Mont Kush writes:

“CBDA is actually more effective. It’s more than a thousand times more effective than CBD in activating a serotonin receptor that reduces nausea and anxiety. This effect is even more pronounced in chemotherapy patients using ondansetron (OND) to treat nausea.”

Very recent findings have even gone as far to say that CBDA can benefit those suffering from the Corona Virus. According to some reports, CBDA can bind to the proteins with covid and prevent the virus from entering more cells and causing more infection. 


The research going into newly discovered cannabinoids like CBDA is extremely important. We’ve been blown away by the power of cannabinoids before, and we may be yet again. Cannabis research was stunted and not given the time it deserved for generations due to stagnant governments. Now is the time of cannabis research. CBDA has shown early signs of being an extremely effective cannabinoid in the medicinal cannabis realm. If these signs show to be correct, then CBDA could lift off globally just as CBD did a very years ago. I wouldn’t be surprised if CBDA is sold in local health shops in the next few years and used more in medical treatment.

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DisclaimerHi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advice, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

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1 Comment

  • It seems like any ambient or low temperature extraction would preserve the CBDA, correct? Like a simple CO2 extraction. I think the next biggest thing will be finding out which types of supplements already have it.

About the author

Joseph Mcqueen

Joseph is a cannabis journalist in the UK. His search and love for the truth in the cannabis industry is what drives him to write.