What is CBDA and How Does it Compare to CBD


Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) is one of the major cannabinoids produced by cannabis plants. 

Still, it does not get the recognition it deserves. Being in the shadow of cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), this cannabinoid receives little attention despite having exceptional healing qualities.

CBDA is one of the more fascinating cannabinoids, packed full of incredible surprises. 

Through research into the compound, we have learned much about how it impacts the human body. Consequently, this cannabinoid has become increasingly known for an assortment of therapeutic and medical effects.

That being said, if you don’t know what CBDA is, don’t worry! Today, we will cover all you need to know about this cannabinoid, its benefits and how it compares to CBD.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

What is CBDA?

Cannabidiolic acid is the acidic precursor of CBD. In layman’s terms, CBD comes from CBDA.

It is produced at trichomes on the marijuana plant, primarily located on the flowers or buds. These trichome glands produce and secrete cannabidiolic acid to help the plant defend against environmental effects like the Sun or insects.

While many cannabis plants have been bred to focus on THC, certain varieties create equal amounts of CBDA or more. You can find CBDA in the highest quantities in raw cannabis. 

That being said, dried flowers also contain significant amounts of cannabidiolic acid. It is not until we decarboxylate or heat these buds, usually through smoking or vaping, that we create large amounts of CBD compounds.

What is Decarboxylation? – Why Weed Needs It

CBDA is converted into cannabidiol (CBD) over time naturally as well. This conversion occurs as the temperature increases. 

How is CBDA Made?

CBDA cannabinoid

Examples of CBDA products range from CBDA isolate to oils, vape carts, and more. These versatile products make getting your daily dose of cannabidiolic acid as easy as it gets. 

At this point, you may be wondering why you would want to consume CBDA instead of CBD. To help answer this question, we’ll compare and contrast both cannabinoids.


When discussing the differences between these two compounds, remember that heating, smoking, or vaping CBDA means you are consuming CBD.

If you seek the benefits of CBDA alone, it is better to use it with food or drinks. 

So, is cannabidiolic acid better than CBD? 

Conversion and Activity

One benefit of converting CBDA into CBD involves activity levels. 

While THCA produces no high, THC does. Cannabis plants make cannabidiolic acid as they grow. They start by producing a cannabinoid called cannabigerolic acid (CBGA). 

Over time, this compound converts into three major cannabinoid acids such as THCA, CBDA, and cannabichromenic acid (CBC). 

Since these three cannabinoids all come from CBGA, producing more of one reduces the quantities of the others. This is why many cannabis strains have lots of THCA but barely any of the other two.

To make CBDA oil and other products, producers select specific strains of cannabis plants that focus on our cannabinoids. 

Having said that, while you can find buds high in CBDA, most producers focus on CBDA concentrate and extract. In these cases, the compounds are carefully extracted from the buds. Afterwards, further processing and refinement vary depending on the intended product.

Still, the differences do not appear to be as dramatic with CBD and CBDA. That said, conversion to CBD may enhance the role these compounds play inside our bodies. And thus, increase the overall benefits.

Anti-Depressive Effects

cbda vs cbd

The anti-depression properties of both of these compounds are a promising area of research that is ongoing. Like with CBD, CBDA may help in lifting our moods. 

However, there is some early evidence suggesting that CBDA may be far more potent in this regard. While this research is currently only talking about mice, it is an area where more human studies are needed.

Anxiety Alleviation

Once again, both cannabinoids are thought to help reduce the symptoms of anxiety. One incredible feature, however, is in regards to potency. 

A group of researchers in Canada compared CBDA and CBD in a group of mice. 

Amazingly, they found that CBDA could be 1000 times more potent than CBD. If this result holds up with future studies, we could see a dramatic shift to using CBDA for anxiety instead of CBD.

Benefits of CBDA

To understand the benefits of cannabidiolic acid, we need to learn how it impacts our bodies. 

CBDA does not bind directly with CB1 or CB2 receptors, but it is known to interact with our endocannabinoid system. It impacts the endocannabinoid system by inhibiting the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) enzyme. 

The COX-2 enzyme plays a significant role in producing inflammation. By acting as a COX-2 inhibitor, CBDA could serve an anti-inflammatory role.

Another benefit of CBDA relates to the symptoms of nausea and vomiting. Studies on mice have shown how CBDA positively impacts serotonin levels. By enhancing activity at 5-HT1A (serotonin) receptors, CBDA reduces nausea and vomiting in mice.

Finally, CBDA has shown some exciting promise around breast cancer. More specifically, CBDA was shown to impair the migration of invasive breast cancer cells. While this study was done inside Petri dishes and not people, it warrants future research.

What is Cannabidiolic Acid Used For?

As we have learned, cannabidiolic acid is commonly used for a variety of reasons. To summarize these, here are some of the main reasons to use CBDA:

  • As an anti-inflammatory
  • To reduce symptoms of nausea and vomiting
  • As part of breast cancer treatment
  • To attenuate symptoms of anxiety

A few more common ways cannabidiolic acid is used are topical CBDA and juicing. Let’s discuss these methods below.

How to Use CBDA

Juicing and Topicals

cannabis topicals

CBDA is commonly found in topical products. These creams and lotions allow for direct applications of CBDA to your skin, muscles, and joints. 

Consumers suffering from joint pain, muscle stiffness, and local discomfort report excellent results using these products. So if you can get your hands on one of these products, be sure to give it a try!

Furthermore, many people also get their CBDA from juicing raw cannabis. This includes the leaves, stems, and other parts of the plant. 

While there are only small amounts of CBDA outside of the buds, this efficient use of cannabis plant material holds many benefits. One day, we may see cannabis juicing stations all over the place, providing nutritious and tasty drinks.

Final Thoughts

Nice work, you got through it! 

You now know all about how the cannabis plant produces cannabidiolic acid. 

We have learned about the journey from CBGA to CBDA to CBD. You learned how CBGA converts to CBDA inside the plant and how we often convert CBDA into CBD through smoking or vaping. 

Healthwise, cannabidiolic acid could help reduce inflammation, nausea, vomiting, and anxiety. In addition, it has the potential to assist in the fight against breast cancer. 

Finally, if you want to get your hands on cannabidiolic acid, look for cannabis topicals such as creams and lotions. These products allow for direct applications of cannabidiolic acid to your skin, muscles, and joints.

Stay healthy and happy!

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