What’s The Difference Between CBDa vs CBD?


You probably know what CBD is, but have you heard about CBDA?

For those interested in what CBD is, CBD is the non-psychoactive compound from the cannabis plant. CBD has been touted for a wide variety of health issues, including arthritis, insomnia, pain, depression, and so much more. Patients use CBD for its great medicinal benefits and as an alternative to prescription drugs without side effects. 

CBDA or cannabidiolic acid is a non-psychoactive compound from the cannabis plant that has gotten rising popularity over the past years.

How is it different from CBD?

Both CBDA and CBD are found in abundance in the cannabis plants. However, even though they sound similar and have a direct connection, these both compounds are actually quite divergent. They both carry their own unique properties and potential uses that are worth learning about.

Keep on reading to discover more about CBDA, its difference from CBD and potential uses!

What is CBDA?

These four letters stand for cannabidiolic acid (CBDA). As we have mentioned before, CBDA or cannabidiolic acid is a compound that can be found in the raw cannabis plant.

Its first isolation occurred in 1996. However, only in 2008, thanks to a study published by the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics Journal (ASPET), this compound could gain notoriety. These studies discovered that CBDA produced similar anti-inflammatory benefits to CBD. As a result, this finding stimulated further scientific interest from medical groups for CBDA.

Now, to better understand CBDA, let’s discover how CBDA is produced.

How Is CBDA Produced?

CBDA in marijuana plant

Compounds such as CBDA, THCA and CBCA all start from something. And the name for it is CBGA.

CBGA is known as “the mother of all cannabinoids” due to the fact that all the rest originate from her. Via an enzymatic reaction, this compound transforms into acid CBDA, THCA and CBCA, which in their turn, through decarboxylation, convert into CBD, THC and CBC. That said, CBDA is the raw form or predecessor to CBD, while THCA and CBCA are precursors to THC and CBC.


When CBDA heats up (decarboxylates), it turns into CBD. Once it’s done, CBD stays as it is and can be infused into various products ranging from CBD oil to CBD edibles and tinctures.

Nowadays, CBDA is converted from its “raw” form into CBD by most producers and cannabis consumers don’t have much access to it.

We can find CBD products in large amounts available on the cannabis market. Yet to try CBDA, we need to use more unconventional methods such as raw cannabis juice or opt for products like topical creams and tinctures.

Topical creams and tinctures can preserve more CBDA due to their different manufacturing processes. When producers create CBDA creams and topicals, they don’t use decarboxylation, aka heating methods. Instead, they infuse high-quality cannabis strains with various oils like hemp seed oils and coconut oils known for their superior moisturization and anti-inflammatory effects. 

You can use CBDA topical creams and tinctures for various purposes, including localized pain management, mild skin irritations, inflammation and arthritis.

Once you choose your preferred CBDA product, apply it to your skin and give yourself a nice quick massage to absorb the product (in case of topical creams) or put it under the tongue and wait for around 15 minutes for effects to kick in (in case of tinctures).

The cream will interact with the CB1 receptors found in your skin, while the tincture will make its way through the bloodstream through the capillaries under your tongue. That said, the time usually varies from consumer to consumer, but on average expect to feel the relief within 30 minutes after application.

Finally, even CBD is more popular than CBDA, when you compare CBDA vs CBD vs THC, CBDA appears to be stronger out of the cannabinoids. For example, in a study conducted in 2008, it was found that out of the two, CBDA and THCA, CBDA had a more substantial inhibitory effect on inflammation.

What are the Potential Benefits of CBDA?

Now that you understand the difference between CBD and CBDA let’s talk about the potential benefits of CBDA.

The researchers are still investigating the benefits of CBDA and its potential uses to promote health and wellness, yet, thankfully we have some promising studies to discuss.

Decreases Inflammation

We have already learned that CBDA is anti-inflammatory. In a study from 2008, CBDA was identified as a COX-2 inhibitor. COX-2 is an enzyme that causes the pain and swelling of inflammation and other painful conditions. Usually, drugs such as ibuprofen and aspirin are used to block this enzyme, however, the researchers found that CBDA may work even better.

CBDA for Breast Cancer

A 2012 study out of Hokuriku University found that CBDA was effective at inhibiting the growth of an aggressive form of breast cancer. Although more research is needed to prove this point since these findings came from tests performed on cancer cells in a lab and not on human beings.

In the meantime, you can learn how another study from 2014 has found that CBDA could suppress genes that are positively involved in the development of cancer cells.

Reduces Stress and Anxiety

In a study published by the United States National Library of Medicine in 2018, CBDA had the ability to reduce stress-induced anxiety in rats. CBDA is able to impact serotonin receptors, which are responsible for influencing biological and neurological processes including stress and anxiety.

Is CBDa in CBD oil?

Both CBD and CBDA can be present in CBD oil, depending on how it was prepared. To recall, CBDA is preserved in the oil only when raw and unheated forms of cannabis are used. In case when producers heat up the cannabis, CBDA is lost because it transforms into CBD.

The same goes for CBDA isolate and CBDA tincture. If the cannabinoid has not been heated or processed, then CBDA is preserved.

Cannabidiolic Acid – Is It Right For You?

Now that you have an understanding of CBDA and its potential uses and benefits, you can go and find the best CBDA oil to experience the effects for yourself.

CBDA has shown promise in treating conditions such as breast cancer and depression. Furthermore, CBDA may also provide anti-inflammatory effects and decrease pain by blocking the COX-2 enzyme.

Ultimately, if you want to experience CBDA in its best form, look for raw cannabis products. These include whole plant products like CBD flowers and raw hemp extracts.


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