What is CBDA?
CBDA is a powerful cannabinoid. Cannabinoids are compounds that work as marijuana's active ingredients, and the plant is known to contain dozens of them. When cannabinoids are introduced into the human body and brain, they mimic the natural chemicals that our brain produces and plug into the same receptors.
Therefore, it's fair to say that cannabinoids can have a range of profound effects on the human condition. This includes alleviating pain, easing depression and anxiety, reducing feelings of nausea, and creating euphoric states.
In their derived states, these cannabinoids are known as CBD, CBG, THC, and many more. However, before CBD and other cannabinoids are extracted and isolated, they exist in their original acidic forms.
The precursor to CBD in the cannabis plant is CBDA, otherwise known as cannabidiolic acid. This is the case with all the other popular cannabinoids, meaning that raw cannabis flowers contain CGBA, CBDA, CBCA, and THCA.
How Is CBDA Produced?
Before any cannabinoids reach the shelves in the forms of oils, tinctures, edibles, and capsules, they originate as CBGA. For this reason, it's widely regarded as the 'mother of all cannabinoids.' Enzymatic reactions occur across the plant's trichomes, and specific percentages of CBGA convert to THCA, CBDA, and other cannabinoids.
This process is carried out using inverse proportions. Picture all the CBGA in a cannabis plant like a pie. If two-thirds of this pie convert to THCA, then only a third is left to convert into other cannabinoids like CBDA. For this reason, cannabis strains are specially bred to contain high levels of THC, CBD, or vice versa.
CBDA vs. CBD
The main difference between acidic forms of cannabis, such as CBDA and popular versions such as CBD, is that acidic types are not pharmacologically active. For example, THCA will not create the euphoric high in the same way that THC does. Additionally, CBDA has long be considered ineffective in comparison to CBD, although some studies beg to differ.
Either way, cannabinoids cannot be considered to be pharmacologically active until they have gone through the process of decarboxylation.
Decarboxylation occurs when cannabiniolic acids are heated to the point when their carboxylic acid evaporates. This process of 'heat extraction' is how CBDA is converted into CBD.
This form of extraction can be accomplished through vaping or smoking. However, some scientific studies are showing that CBDA may have medical benefits without the requirement for decarboxylation.
The Medical Benefits of CBDA
Most of the research studies around CBD, THC, and cannabis have focused on non-acidic forms of various cannabinoids. This has left a huge 'knowledge gap' concerning the efficiency of their acidic precursors. That said, a broadening area of research has started to spark conversation about CBDA, its uses, and potential benefits.
Certain studies have proven that CBD is promising when it comes to treating depression. However, can the same be said of CBDA? Scientists have discovered that CBDA works as an antidepressant at doses up to 100 times less than those required of CBD.
CBDA could be useful in treating people with epilepsy. GW Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer responsible for Epidiolex, a CBD-derived epilepsy treatment, has recently patented the use of CBDA for epilepsy. The pharmaceutical firm also believes that CBDA may be more efficient at treating epilepsy in lower doses than CBD. However, they are investigating if the two may be best used in synergy. This is because CBDA can take effect fast, but CBD can last for longer.
NauseaScientists currently studying the benefits of CBDA also think that it could be effective against nausea. The receptors in our brains that control well-being and anxiety also help to regulate feelings of sickness, nausea, and vomiting. CBDA can interact with these receptors to alleviate queasy feelings. Some research suggests that CBDA can be just as effective as CBD.
Breast CancerA 2012 study out of Hokuriku University in Japan found that CBDA could efficiently inhibit the growth of an aggressive form of breast cancer. Although researchers found the results promising, more studies are needed to pinpoint exactly how CBDA achieved this breakthrough. Another study found that cannabidiolic acid can prevent breast cancer cells from spreading, meaning that it limits the disease's chances of metastasizing in other parts of the body.
A 2014 study found a connection between CBDA as a COX-2 inhibitor and its breast cancer-fighting ability. Although more research is necessary to utilize CBDA as a weapon against cancer fully.
Because CBDA has been proven as a COX-2 inhibitor, it makes it more than a cancer-fighter; it makes it an excellent anti-inflammatory. COX-2 is the enzyme targeted by non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAID) drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen. Research has found that CBDA blocks this enzyme even better than THC.
How CBDA Should be Consumed
Although studies are still ongoing as we discover the potential benefits and medical uses of CBDA, some people are hoping to harness its benefits by consuming it in their homes.
The most effective way to do this is to use raw flowers from plants and cannabis leaves that haven't been cured. Use these offcuts to infuse the cannabis into topical creams and balms, as well as eating them.
Uncured marijuana can be very difficult to find. In countries where it's legal, some people simply grow their own, while others purchase from their local dispensaries.
CBDA-rich marijuana should be stored in the refrigerator just like any leafy, green vegetable.