Knowledge and information on cannabis plant and its components like CBD, THC, and CBG has gone a long way. Researchers have been and are continuously looking into the different benefits and effects of cannabis use, both for recreational and medicinal purposes. Further studies on the components of the plant are still being done because of the increasing popularity of cannabis. A lot of people may know about THC and CBD. But what about CBDa? Does it ring a bell?

Cannabidiolic acid (CBDa) is among the primary cannabinoids produced in the leaves, stems, and flowers of certain varieties of the cannabis plant. In most cannabis types, the prominent cannabinoid is THCa. However, other strains, like AC/DC, Harlequin, and Cannatonic, have high levels of CBDa. Hemp is another viable source of CBDa.

It is the acid precursor of CBD. The cannabis plant grows and produces THCa and CBDa. Not THC and CBD. However, they are all unique compounds formed within the plant. CBD is largely seen as the most promising cannabinoid for medical purposes. And as a result, CBDa has fallen to the wayside. But a new trend of raw juicing cannabis leaves have brought CBDa back into the limelight. Today, a lot of people are left wondering what the difference between CBD and CBDa is. Let us take a closer look.

How Are CBDa and CBD Related

A natural relationship exists between CBD and CBDa. Therefore, it would be best to understand it, especially if you are consuming CBD. CBDa is the acid precursor to “active” CB. It is found in raw plant material. CBD and CBDa are first developed in the cannabis plant as the cannabinoid CBGa. The CBDa synthase converts the CBGa into CBDa when an available enzyme is present.

CBDa is then transformed into CBD. This is possible through a process known as decarboxylation. The decarboxylation process involves applying heat to remove the carboxyl group. It can happen right away. Just like when cooking or vaporizing. Moreover, it can occur more slowly over time. Hence, as the plant matter is left to sit.

The “a” (acid) disappears, not until the CBDa goes through the process of decarboxylation. Hence, the new compound, called CBD, is formed. CBD and CBDa are non-psychoactive. In other words, they will not get you high, or impair the thought process. CBDa is primarily seen as being inactive. Therefore, ancillary to CBD, research suggests that it could have some compelling potential of its own. Like CBD, CBDa is also thought to have anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative properties. However, the amount of research in favor of CBD has yet to spill over into the domain of CBDa.

CBD and CBDa have similar therapeutic benefits because of their chemical structure. However, there are a few key differences between the two molecules. But the biggest difference between the two is the amount of research that has been conducted on each cannabinoid.

Roles of CBDa and CBD in the Body

CBD and CBDa both activate the endocannabinoid system (ECS). However, far less is known about the role CBDa plays in comparison to CBD.

The ECS or endocannabinoid system is a group of cells found in the body. It promotes balance or homeostasis. Cannabinoids were first discovered in 1963 by Israeli researcher Dr. Raphael Mechoulam. However, it was only in the 1990s when scientists started to learn about how they work in the body. The ECS helps to regulate digestion, sleep, immune system, pain, memory, and mood, along with other key bodily functions, when it is functioning properly. CBD and CBDa both interact with the ECS. Therefore treating conditions like Alzheimer’s, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, MS, epilepsy, and a lot more other medical ailments.

CBD works in the ECS of the brain and body. The system contains cells with receptors. They send messages along different chains of cells. Cannabis, however, works with two receptors: CB1 and CB2. These receptors are present all over the body. The CB1 receptors are more dominant in the brain and also the central nervous system.

THC binds with CB1 receptors. This is to control their activity. However, this typically occurs in control centers. Which is why THC has psychoactive effects and influences several functions including memory and coordination.

However, CBD works differently. It does not bind to receptors but indirectly impacts them. CBDa is thought to work in the same way and it is viewed to be “cleaner”. There are no solvents, toxic residue, or combustion involved.

CBDa is being pretty much ignored up until now. Studies suggest that CBDa has some anti-tumoral effects. And that these are the same as its chemical cousin CBD.


CBDa and CBD differ in the way they are consumed. CBDa is found on raw cannabis leaves and flowers only. It is often ingested through juicing high CBD forms of cannabis. Furthermore, this is one of the most popular ways to ingest medical cannabis.

Cannabis is sometimes mixed with fruits to reduce bitterness. Furthermore, cannabis juice fits in with just about any diet because cannabis is a great source of fiber and phytonutrients. Other viable sources of CBDa include tinctures, resin, topicals, and non-activated full plant extracts.

CBD vs. CBDa: Which is Best for You?

In deciding which one is best for you, it all depends on what you are looking for. It depends on what effect you want to experience, depending on the health condition you want to address.

Patients who suffer from autism, fibromyalgia, Multiple Sclerosis, ALS, and neurological pain have reported a notable decrease in their symptoms after adding CBDa to their treatment. This positive change happened within days to weeks. However, when they stopped taking the CBDa, symptoms seemed to return.

CBD and CBDa both tend to relieve and serve as a remedy to different health issues. CBD is commonly used for immediate relief of nausea, acute pain, and appetite. CBDa is more effective in the long-term treatment of chronic conditions. For instance, inflammation and insomnia. Raw cannabinoids (CBDa) interact with different enzymes and receptors in the body. That is, compared to active cannabinoids.