Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA) Overview, Uses & Benefits
For the most time in human history, hemp has played an important role, providing food, medications, and was used in various industries. It is the hemp fiber and fabric made from it that made the discovery of many continents possible. It seems that now people are discovering new uses of hemp extract with the help of science.
Studies show that hemp extract is rich in various cannabinoids. However, cannabidiol (CBD) has till now received the most attention. But things are changing fast. Studies show that various cannabinoids have different mechanisms of action. Therefore, there is a need to know more about each cannabinoid.
Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA) is a precursor of CBD and is present in large amounts in hemp. Decarboxylation of CBDA through heat and storage results in its conversion to CBD. Currently, the industry is converting most CBDA to CBD via decarboxylation by applying heat to cannabis extract. However, some researchers think that it may be good to preserve this acidic compound.
What is CBDA?
Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA) is a precursor of CBD, but it has many unique properties. Unlike CBD, it is acidic. On applying heat to CBDA or prolonged storage of cannabis plants, it may get converted to better known CBD. CBDA is abundant in various parts of the plant that are generally rejected.
It means that CBDA can be pretty economical to extract. Moreover, researchers think they have been mistaken to view it just as a precursor to CBD, something that must be converted to CBD. Studies into the unique properties of CBDA only started a few decades back. New experiments show that it has quite different properties when compared to CBD. Thus, it may be used alone or along with CBD for more significant health benefits.
CBDA vs CBD and CBG
These compounds are all closely related and are just other compounds found in the cannabis plant. But what sets them apart?
CBDA and CBD are both non-psychotropic cannabinoids meaning they won’t produce a high associated with THC. Even though they have similar traits, it has been found that the human body can absorb more of the CBDA, meaning it is more effective in smaller doses than CBD.
CBDA is actually the most raw form of CBD, working in a very different way and interacting with COX-2 enzyme rather than with CB1 or CB2 receptors as CBD does.
CBG is often described as the mother of all cannabinoids whereas CBDA is the raw form of CBD. This means that CBDA transform into CBD when exposed to heat, while CBG is present in many cannabis strains but in smaller doses. What they have in common are the many health benefits that are present with both.
Health benefits of CBDA
Cbda can be beneficial in many ways and as the research continues, the list of benefits just keeps growing. Let’s have a look at some of them
- Supports Cardiovascular Health
More and more data supports the claims that the chemical compounds found in hemp and the cannabis sativa plant, including CBDA, can be effective against cardiovascular issues. This includes heart attack, atherosclerosis, arrhythmias, hypertension, and metabolic disorders. This positive effect comes from blocking CB1 receptors.According to one study, it may even be effective with diabetic patients, helping them manage many of the complications that come with the disease.
- Regulates Metabolism
The benefits seen from this are largely in CBGA helping stimulate lipid metabolism, which reduced excess lipid accumulation. However, more research is needed on this topic.
- Anti-Anxiety and Depression Properties
It has already been that non-acidic CBD presents as a potential treatment for both depression and anxiety. But recent developments show that there is reason for excitement around cannabidiolic acid as well. In fact, researchers have seen that CBDA not only affects the same receptors as CBD which are the receptors that control feelings of anxiety and well-being, but that it is effective as an antidepressant at doses 10 to 100 times less than the dosage size required of CBD.
- Prevents Seizures
As of now there is only one FDA-approved CBD medication is an anti-seizure drug, which is used when treating drug-resistant epilepsy. The company has since tested the efficacy of cannabidiolic acid against that of CBD in seizure prevention. The results pointed to CBDA as being even faster-acting and more effective than CBD. This may mean a chance for a great reduction in any possible side effects.
- Boasts Anti Inflammatory Properties
Since chronic inflammation is highly influenced by the Cox 2 enzyme, CBDA has proven itself as a powerful anti-inflammatory substance because of its characteristics as a selective Cox 2 inhibitor. This means it works in a very similar way as aspirin or ibuprofen but without the long-term side effects.
- Effective Anti-Nausea Agent
As research shows, CBDA can be greatly effective against nausea caused either by toxins or motion sensitivity. It has even proved effective against anticipatory nausea many experience before receiving chemotherapy and since no other medication has been effective in this, CBDA is a particularly interesting option. In addition, the doses needed to achieve anti-nausea effects are much smaller when compared to doses of CBD to reach the same goal.
- Potential Cancer Treatment
Researchers of an early study found that CBDA could potentially suppress the spread of a specific type of breast cancer cells. Meaning that, in theory, a therapy that can stop cells from metastasizing could also stop the disease from spreading.
- Potentially Effective Against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19)
In recent years, researchers started to think about what effects CBDA could have on SARS-CoV-2. They found that both CBD and CBDA have some potential to combat the infection. Both seem to block a critical step in the process of infection.
What does CBDA do to the Human Body?
Studies show that, unlike CBD that primarily works by influencing endocannabinoid receptors, CBDA has a different mode of action. As a result, it may help reduce the production of some of the early inflammation markers like IL-2, INF-gamma, and many more.
It also might reduce the activity of the COX-2 enzyme. This particular enzyme plays a vital role in inflammation and pain induction in humans. Further, CBDA influences TRP-type receptors that have a crucial role in pain mediation.
Interestingly enough, in experimental studies in mice, researchers found that it may even stimulate serotonin receptors in the brain. This may have various effects on the brain. For example, it may have a role in reducing nausea. Thus, such stimulation of serotonin receptors may play a role in preventing substance addiction. However, it is still not clear if this mechanism can help fight mood or emotional disorders.
Researchers are also focusing on the CBDA actions like its ability to help in seizures or suppress the growth of cancer cells, and much more.
It is worth understanding that these are still very early findings, nonetheless, highly encouraging findings. There is still a need for more studies and to carry out clinical trials in humans. Nevertheless, these early findings provide hope that we may see the emergence of more cannabis-based therapies in the future. It also highlights that there is still a lot to understand about cannabis extract and how various cannabinoids work together, resulting in the entourage effect.
Potential Benefits of CBDA
Studies show that CBDA may help in many ways. It appears to help suppress inflammation. Thus, it may have a use in local inflammatory conditions like joint pains. There is still a need to understand if it can help prevent low-grade inflammation and reduce the risk of various chronic disorders.
Some of the pathways that are involved in inflammation are also responsible for causing pain. CBDA may be suitable for suppressing pain related to inflammation. It may also work for non-inflammatory pains like those caused by neuropathies in diabetes or pains associated with cancer.
Cannabidiol acid may stimulate serotonin receptors in certain parts of the brain. It may explain its potent anti-emetic properties. CBD acid may also help keep calm, improve mood, and enhance sleep quality. There is a need to understand if it can help in more severe conditions like anxiety disorder or depression.
CBDA may help prevent convulsions. There are already cannabis drugs approved for use in certain epileptic conditions. Therefore, it is entirely possible that CBDA may also help in many such conditions.
Although it also exerts anti-cancer activity, it is unclear if it can help prevent or treat cancer. Nonetheless, experimental studies show that it may have certain benefits.
Current Medical Research
The most recent medical research focuses mainly on its potential prevention of Covid-19. A team of researchers of the University of Chicago published a study in early 2022 that contains evidence that CBD can reduce the infection in humans. They found a reduced number of positive tests with patients that were taking the FDA-approved drug for treating epilepsy. More clinical trials should be done to determine whether CBD could be used as a viable way to prevent or to treat early cases of Covid-19.
Manufacturing CBDA Products
CBDA might be isolated from cannabis. However, most methods used to separate it from other cannabinoids are experimental. Thus, at present, it would be difficult to isolate it with the use of conventional extraction methods used by the cannabis industry, like hydrocarbon or CO2 extraction.
Nonetheless, isolating pure CBDA is possible. It may be achieved with the use of well-known methods called chromatographic techniques. It is regarded relatively inexpensive and straightforward way of isolating the compound. Moreover, this method helps get relatively high purity CBDA.
Further, it is worth noticing that decarboxylation is a frequently used strategy in CBD extraction. This helps convert acidic CBDA to neutral CBD. Thus, those looking to preserve CBDA in whole cannabis extract should avoid decarboxylation.
At present, the best way to create products with CBDA is to use broad-spectrum distillates, as they contain it in smaller amounts. Or even better, extract the cannabinoid using supercritical CO2 without decarboxylation of the plant material.
To conclude, CBDA is a poorly understood compound to date. However, it is one of the most abundant compounds in cannabis. Therefore, there is a real need to explore this molecule, understanding its health benefits better. Moreover, studies show that it is also present in hemp plant parts that are generally rejected as waste products. But, regretfully, CBDA remains a largely unknown cannabinoid due to the greater popularity of CBD.