CBD And CBDA -What Is The Difference?


In recent years, CBD is a celebrated term in the wellness industry. But many would not have heard about its acidic precursor, CBDA (Cannabidiolic acid). Cannabis plants have about 113 cannabinoids and the active cannabinoids among them have acidic precursors.

What Is CBD?

CBD stands for cannabidiol. It is a therapeutic cannabinoid present in cannabis plants. Their concentrations, however, will not be the same in all cannabis plants. Take for instance, hemp and marijuana. These cannabis plants have significantly varying concentrations of cannabinoids. Hemp has CBD as its major active cannabinoid, while marijuana has THC as its major cannabinoid. The cannabinoid percentages in cannabis-derived products are also influenced by the manufacturing processes employed.

What Is CBDA?

Like THC has an acidic precursor, THCA, CBD has CBDA as its acidic precursor. The carboxyl group attached to the parent molecule chain is the characteristic of its chemical structure. The removal of this carboxyl group converts CBDA to CBD. Raw cannabis extract does not have CBD. Instead, it has CBDA, which can be converted to CBD by applying heat. The step is referred to as decarboxylation.


Here is a comparison of CBD with CBDA.


Both CBD and CBDA are sourced in cannabis plants. Hemp and marijuana are widely used to obtain CBDA and CBD. However, years of selective breeding has contributed to the significant differences between the cannabinoid percentages among the plants.

The raw extracts from marijuana and hemp have CBDA alone. To obtain CBD, the CBDA has to undergo decarboxylation as mentioned before.

Possibilities Of A High

A high refers to the euphoric effect in users on using cannabis. The euphoric effect is attributed to the THC content in the cannabis product. Both CBD and CBDA do not cause a high in the users and hence do not lead to substance addiction.

Working Mechanism

The endocannabinoid system that is found in humans and most animals is responsible for regulating various body functions. The receptors of the ECS are spread across different parts of our body. CBD and CBDA interact with the receptors indirectly instead of attaching to the receptor sites directly.

Both compounds produce notable effects in our body by activating the 5-HT1A serotonin receptors. The neurotransmitter, serotonin found in the brain performs functions like regulating mood, happiness and anxiety.


The benefits of CBD are:

Pain relief: Pain relief effect of cannabis has been famous since many centuries ago. CBD has the ability to contribute to a significant difference between the pain in the origin and the pain that we experience. One of the suggested reasons for the pain relief effects of CBD is the increase in the levels of anandamide in our body on taking CBD.

Anxiety relief: Anxiety disorder has various associated symptoms like shivering, intense sweating and unexplained fear that make it difficult for people with the disorder to lead a normal life, especially when the symptoms occur frequently. CBD has proven anxiolytic properties that help the users gain better control over their anxiety symptoms.

Skincare applications: CBD is rich in anti-oxidants. It can be used to control aging signs and keep the skin hydrated. The ability of the compound to balance oil production in our skin makes it effective in preventing acne breakouts.

Regulates sleep:  When taken during the day, CBD helps you stay awake and active, whereas when taken at night, it helps you get good sleep. The use of CBD helps handle insomnia and REM sleep disorder.

Reduces inflammation:  Results of various animal studies shed light to the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD. Inflammation is the source of some types of pain and allergies. All of these can be handled better by taking CBD.

Although CBDA is not as effective as CBD, it too has various therapeutic properties similar to that of CBD. Relief from pain, inflammation and nausea are some among them. CBDA has mood-enhancing abilities like CBD does because both compounds are known to influence the serotonin-related 5-hydroxytryptamine receptors.

How To Convert CBDA To CBD?

CBD is an active cannabinoid while CBDA is the opposite. Raw hemp does not contain CBD because it is present in its acidic form, CBDA. The acidic form can be converted to CBD by decarboxylating raw hemp. Decarboxylation is achieved by heating the raw hemp.

When you smoke CBD hemp flower, it readily undergoes decarboxylation while the flower is combusted. However, while making CBD edibles with hemp flower, you would have to supply adequate heat to convert CBDA to CBD. Also, make sure you do not overheat the flower because the cannabinoid strengths will be affected by high temperatures.

Drying raw cannabis under the sun can also support decarboxylation.