These days, many people are familiar with the beneficial effects of the non-psychoactive cannabis compound cannabidiol (CBD). But while CBD tends to get all the credit, most CBD preparations actually contain dozens of beneficial cannabinoids.
These include not just THC, CBG, CBN, and CBC, but also their precursor compounds such as THCa and CBDa. In fact, it is these parent molecules that CBD and all other cannabinoids come from.
So, what exactly is CBDa? How does it differ from CBD? And which CBDa products are worth trying out? Let’s take a closer look at this often-overlooked parent of cannabidiol.
What is CBDa?
Cannabidiolic acid (CBDa) is a compound found in the raw cannabis sativa plant. CBDa is the precursor to CBD, which means it turns into CBD after a chemical reaction.
Interestingly enough, the cannabis plant does not directly produce CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids. Instead, the plant makes cannabinoid acid precursors, such as CBDa, THCa, CBGa, and so on.
It is only when these precursors are exposed to heat or sunlight and undergo a process called decarboxylation that they lose their acid group and turn into CBD and other cannabinoids. In the case of hemp, this process usually occurs after the plant is cut, dried, and heated.
This explains why cannabis and hemp plants contain little CBD in their natural state, and why CBD products are first decarboxylated to turn the CBDa into CBD.
This principle is also the reason why marijuana has traditionally been consumed through smoking, which heats up the THCa, transforming it into THC.
CBDa vs CBD – What’s the difference?
Chemically-speaking, the only difference between CBDa and CBD is that CBDa contains an acid group. Aside from this, CBDa has similar properties to CBD: it is non-psychoactive and helps support overall health and well-being by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system.
For this reason, full-spectrum CBD products — those that include the complete range of cannabinoids and other cannabis compounds — typically contain small amounts of CBDa. In addition, some manufacturers go a step further and formulate products that include CBDa in ratios similar to CBD.
The bottom line is that CBDa is a beneficial cannabinoid just like CBD. Unless you’re using CBD isolate, chances are your CBD product will contain at least a small amount of CBDa.
Is CBDa beneficial like CBD?
Yes. Just like CBD, CBDa interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which helps keeps our bodies in a healthy state of balance.
How do CBDa products differ from CBD preparations?
Most full-spectrum CBD products already contain small amounts of CBDa, but these amounts are much higher in CBDa-focused formulations.
Why choose CBDa-heavy products over standard CBD extracts?
If you prefer products made in the rawest, most natural, unadulterated form, then CBDa preparations are an excellent choice. The hemp used to make these products is not heated and undergoes very little processing from how it is found in nature.
How can CBDa be taken?
CBDa can be taken in any form just like CBD, which includes oils, edibles, creams, vape juices, and pastes. The only thing to keep in mind is that heating or exposing CBDa to sunlight will cause the acid group to break off, converting it into CBD.