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In the world of cannabinoids, it can be easy to get confused by all the major players: THC, CBD, CBN, THCA, CBG, THCV, etc. Knowing the difference between them is more than adding or subtracting letters. They have distinctly different uses in treating medical conditions.

CBD has been around for quite a while now, while new products like CBDA hemp oil are popping up on the market. This guide will show you the difference between CBD and CBDA, how they're similar, and how they're used.

What Is CBDA?

Cannabidiolic acid, or CBDA, is one of the many naturally occurring cannabinoids on cannabis plants. It is the precursor to CBD. Very little CBD is found on living marijuana plants. Instead, CBDA is rich in the raw form of cannabis.

While CBD was first isolated in the 1930s, CBDA wasn’t isolated until the 1960s. Due to this long wait to discover the compound, CBDA hasn’t been researched nearly as much as CBD has.

In cannabis strains that are genetically geared towards CBD and hemp production, CBDA is the most abundant cannabinoid in the plant.

CBDA Benefits

The benefits of CBDA may look eerily similar to CBD from the outside. This makes sense since we know that CBD is the derivative of CBDA after decarboxylation. CBDA is effective in treating inflammation, nausea, and anxiety.

Unlike CBD, research on CBDA use in humans is still in its infancy. But it does show promise for inflammation, nausea, and anxiety in humans.

The molecular structure of CBDA is similar to NSAID drugs, like aspirin and acetaminophen. Research also shows that it has the same inflammation reduction effects of NSAIDs by inhibiting COX-2 activity.

For nausea and anxiety, it has been directly compared to CBD and it has shown to have 1,000 times the affinity to bind to the serotonin receptors responsible for controlling nausea and anxiety.

While research hasn’t been able to repeat this yet, it’s clear that CBDA may be the medicinal cannabinoid of choice in the future!

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is the active form of CBDA. It is the most researched non-psychoactive cannabinoid and is used medicinally for many ailments. It has been researched quite a bit over the last couple of decades and shows a lot of promise.

CBD also acts as a regulator of THC and its effects. CBD is widely used for its medicinal purposes and lack of psychoactive effects, unlike THC. There is some evidence that CBD and THC work together to create a more effective medicinal treatment for many conditions.

CBD Benefits

CBD has been studied a lot more than CBDA, so more data is showing its promise. It is used to treat epilepsy, inflammation, and anxiety.

CBD interacts with our endocannabinoid system to reduce pain and inflammation. This is one area that the combination of THC and CBD may be more effective, however.

Its neuroprotective properties show promise for treating conditions like epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. However, this is another area that shows better results when it is combined with THC.

While there are many approved medications to treat depression and anxiety, many of them can have serious side effects. CBD is effective at reducing the occurrence of depression and anxiety in users. The best thing about it is the lack of side effects that CBD has compared to other prescription drugs.

It also has promise in improving heart health, reducing the risk for tumor development, and treating symptoms of cancer.

 Even though it has been studied more than CBDA, more research is still needed to create more effective medicinal treatments using CBD, or any combination of cannabinoids.

What's the Difference Between CBD and CBDA?

The CBDA to CBD conversion is the difference-maker for these two compounds. In the raw form of cannabis, like when it is actively growing, CBDA is abundant.

Then, the cannabis is harvested and the decarboxylation process begins. Drying and curing plant material will start to slowly convert CBDA to CBD. Exposure to room temperature and UV light can also activate the process.

CBDA is immediately turned into CBD when it is exposed to high heat, like smoking.

To be able to ensure that CBDA is present in the end product, temperatures must be low and extractions must be made with raw cannabis material. Then, the end product must be stored in optimal conditions and not heated to avoid turning into CBD right before consumption.

CBDA doesn’t interact with the endocannabinoid system as CBD does. That’s why it’s considered the inactive form of CBD. However, research is showing that CBDA still has potential for medicinal treatments just like CBD, even if it doesn’t act upon the endocannabinoid receptors the same way that CBD does.

CBD and CBDA Products

There are myriad CBD products on the market. It's even sold in places where marijuana is still illegal. CBDA oil is newer and harder to find. A CBDA tincture must be processed and stored correctly to even contain CBDA at all.

Raw CBD oil may contain CBDA if the plant material used wasn’t dried or cured when extracting the CBD. There are also commercial products that mix CBDA and CBD to reap the benefits of both.

There are also CBDA edibles, which must be cooked at low temps to retain the benefits of the cannabinoids.  Juicing raw cannabis is a popular choice for those looking to consume CBDA.

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Does CBDA Make You High Like THC?

No, CBDA and its derivative CBD are non-psychoactive. They may help you calm down and feel more relaxed, but you won’t get high like when smoking THC-dominant marijuana.

CBDA vs. CBD – Which is Right For You?

When looking to use CBD or CBDA, using a blend may be the most potent to ensure you reap all the possible benefits. The CBDA vs CBD debate will continue to rage on for years to come as cannabis becomes legal in new places and more researchers put the compounds to the test. For now, you can enjoy CBD or CBDA syrup and find out the benefits for yourself!

Are you interested in learning more about CBD, CBDA, or other cannabinoids? Enroll in online cannabis courses at Cannabis Training University.

Gavin Kushman. Cannabis strain writer in a cannabis garden
Gavin Kushman

Gavin is a worldly adventurer and cannabis connoisseur, embarking on journeys that take him to the far corners of the globe to explore and document the varied effects, flavors, and histories of both renowned and lesser-known strains. From the misty high-altitude farms of the Hindu Kush highlands to the vibrant cannabis cafes of Amsterdam, Gavin's quest for knowledge spans continents. A recognized authority in the cannabis industry, he frequently lends his expertise to leading publications such as Cannabis Training University, where his captivating blog articles chronicle his unique experiences with different cannabis strains.

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