CBDa certainly lives in the shadow of its derivative CBD which has been the center of research and public attention. That being said, as cannabis knowledge and consumption methods advance, more and more people are starting to learn about CBDa.
What is CBDa?
Raw cannabis, as in fresh cannabis leaves and flowers that haven’t been dried, cured, or heated, contains cannabidiolic acid, or CBDa.
CBDa turns into CBD only after decarboxylation occurs, which refers to the removal of carbon dioxide and hydrogen from CBDa, and respectively the “a” which stands for acid. This process can happen naturally over time as the cannabis plant ages under the effects of light and heat, but more often, it occurs when cannabis is baked, lit, heated, and/or smoked.
CBDa shares some similar medicinal properties with CBD.
A 2008 experiment published in Drug Metabolism and Disposition found CBDa to alleviate inflammation by blocking the COX-2 enzyme, which helps with the development of proinflammatory compounds called prostaglandins. (1) In that sense, CBDa performs a similar function to aspirin and ibuprofen.
A study from 2012 published in the British Journal of Pharmacology found CBDa to relieve nausea in rodents and vomiting in shrews, and it does so more efficiently than CBD. (2)
Furthermore, another study from 2012 found that CBDa treatment to prevent the migration of highly invasive breast cancer cells. While there’s a serious caveat – the study was conducted in petri dishes, CBDa still demonstrated serious promise at least in theory, stopping cancer cells migration basically means stopping the disease from spreading. (3)
A study from 2014 came to similar findings, with CBDa affecting breast cancer genes and keeping COX-2 at bay, which is an enzyme that speeds up breast cancer migration. (4)
It’s also worth noting that the British biopharmaceutical company GW Pharmaceuticals created a patent on the use of CBDa, along with a few other cannabinoids, in conjunction with antipsychotic medications.
The most popular way to consume CBDa before it has turned into CBD is by juicing. People usually mix it with sweeter fruit to neutralize its bitterness. Other popular methods include salad dressings, cold sauces, smoothies, and tinctures.
Studies on CBDa are still in their dawn, but there’s certainly a lot to be explored, and more research might get some of CBD’s shine to rub off on this exciting cannabidiolic acid.
- Takeda et al, Cannabidiolic Acid as a Selective Cyclooxygenase-2 Inhibitory Component in Cannabis, Drug Metabolism and Disposition September 2008, 36 (9) 1917-1921;
- Bolognini et al, Cannabidiolic acid prevents vomiting in Suncus murinus and nausea-induced behaviour in rats by enhancing 5-HT1Areceptor activation, Br J Pharmacol. 2013 Mar; 168(6): 1456–1470, Published online 2013 Feb 25.
- Takeda et al, Cannabidiolic acid, a major cannabinoid in fiber-type cannabis, is an inhibitor of MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell migration, Toxicol Lett. 2012 Nov 15; 214(3): 314–319.,ublished online 2012 Sep 8.
- Takeda et al, Down-regulation of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) by cannabidiolic acid in human breast cancer cells, J Toxicol Sci.2014;39(5):711-6.