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CBDA Vs CBD - What’s The Difference?

Published on 12th February 2019


You’ve just about got your head around CBD oil, when suddenly you keep reading about CBDA as well. It probably seems a bit confusing, right? Is CBDA suddenly better than CBD? Should you be choosing a CBD oil that contains both CBD and CBDA? What’s the difference between CBD and CBDA? All these questions and more will be answered in this ‘all you need to know about CBDA’ article.


What is CBDA?


CBDA (Cannabidiolic acid) is a type of compound found in hemp called a cannabinoid. CBD (cannabidiol) is also a type of cannabinoid, but if you examined fresh hemp, you would find very little CBD. Instead, there would be abundant amounts of CBDA. That’s because CBDA is the acid precursor of CBD and only comes into being when raw hemp containing CBDA is heated, causing what’s known as decarboxylation. Decarboxylation in scientific terms is a type of chemical reaction removing a carboxyl group.


In the past, it was thought that unless raw hemp was heated, transforming CBDA into CBD, it had no therapeutic benefit. Indeed, it is true to say that far more scientific research has been performed on CBD compared to CBDA. 


However, CBDA is now becoming a cannabinoid of interest in its own right, that’s why at Spirit of Hemp, our whole plant CBD oils contain both CBD and CBDA. 


How Does CBDA Affect The Body?


Research into how cannabinoids affect our bodies is very much in its infancy. But it seems that both CBD and CBDA share a few commonalities. Neither create a high or stoned effect because they do not directly interact with receptors in our endocannabinoid system - the complex network of cell receptors and cannabis-like chemicals that brings balance to our bodies and minds. 


In fact, both CBD and CBDA are thought to cause some of their most noted effects on the body by activating the 5-HT1A serotonin receptors. Serotonin is a type of neurotransmitter found in the brain involved in regulating mood, anxiety, sleep, and feelings of nausea. 


CBD has been tested on humans with social anxiety, with subjects able to perform a simulated public speaking task more effectively after taking the cannabinoid. CBDA research into depression has only reached the preclinical stage, but so far it has been found to elicit antidepressant effects on rats at doses 10-100 times lower than CBD. It’s thought these anti-anxiety and mood boosting effects are a result of increased serotonin levels.


CBDA’s activation of the 5-HT1A serotonin receptors has also led to it being investigated as a potential anti-nausea drug, with one study finding CBDA more effective at reducing nausea than CBD.   


And finally, like CBD, CBDA is thought to be anti-inflammatory, inhibiting key inflammatory mediators called COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes.


Current Areas of Research Into CBDA


As with most research into the cannabis plant, right now there are no human trials examining the effects of CBDA. However, there have been several interesting studies at a preclinical level, meaning they were carried out on cell cultures or animal models. It must be noted though, that until this research happens in humans, no real conclusions about CBDA’s benefits to our health can be reached. 


What we do know is that Cannabinoid research giants, GW Pharmaceuticals, currently hold a patent for CBDA as a potential epilepsy drug. As world leaders in cannabinoid treatment of epilepsy, they have discovered that CBDA has better bioavailability than CBD, allowing for a more rapid onset and quicker results. They also noted that less CBDA is required compared to CBD to achieve a therapeutic effect. 


CBDA is also being studied for its anti-tumoral activity, with scientists finding that CBDA may prevent the migration of cancer cells in certain breast cancer lines. 


CBD and CBDA - Better Together


At Spirit of Hemp we are committed advocates of full spectrum hemp extracts containing both CBD and CBDA. That’s why we use organic raw hemp grown to make our Life Force CBD + CBDA Oil. Using the solvent-free, CO2 supercritical extraction method, we maintain the full cannabinoid profile in our CBD oils, with each 10ml bottle containing 300mg of CBD and CBDA, as well as other minor cannabinoids such as THCV, CBG, CBN, and THCA. 


Not only that, we maintain the fullest terpene profile of CBD oils on the market, mixing in distilled terpenes from raw hemp, after the extraction process. 


So, if you’re interested adding CBDA to your wellbeing routine, why not stop by our webshop, or talk to one of our customer service team who can tell your more about our unique CBD + CBDA range.