CBDa (cannabidiolic acid) is a cannabinoid that you may not have heard much about. While the world seems fascinated by CBD, CBDa has received relatively little media attention. CBDa is the original form of CBD, prior to decarboxylation. This process occurs when hemp flower or cannabis is heated, changing its chemical structure. While both plants contain CBDa, a higher amount of CBDa is naturally present in hemp flower.
The “acid” is no longer present and so the cannabinoid is structurally different once the carbon chains in the plant have been removed with the application of heat. But what happens when CBDa is isolated prior to decarboxylation? What are the benefits of this mysterious cannabinoid and how does it work?
Preliminary studies exploring the benefits of CBDa have revealed the potential of the “acid” cannabinoid to achieve a variety of effects. Inflammation, anxiety, and specific types of cancer are all potential beneficiaries. CBDa is, in fact, an emerging focus in the research sector.
First isolated as a cannabinoid by an Israeli scientist in 1965, research is finding numerous benefits associated with CBDa. Part of that research is exploring CBDa’s synergistic relationship with other cannabinoids and its position in the entourage effect. CBDa’s relationship to terpenes like limonene is also being explored. But where CBDa really shines is in the realm of anti-seizure medications. And that’s the first of our 5 benefits.
1. Controlling Seizures
CBD burst onto the pharmaceutical scene as the principal ingredient in the anti-seizure medication, Epidiolex. Now, Epidiolex manufacturer GW Pharma is commissioning research into CBDa’s potential as an anti-seizure agent. In biokinetic testing, CBDa was found to provide faster onset and enhance bioavailability, representing an improvement on the original Epidiolex formulation.
Some US clinicians are having great success treating their epilepsy patients with CBDa. As GW Pharma and other stakeholders continue to examine the efficacy of CBDa for seizures, a fast-acting, biologically nimble treatment for seizures may be at hand.
2. Nausea and Vomiting
We understand the neurotransmitter serotonin as a bodily compound that regulates our moods. But serotonin does a lot of heavy lifting around the body, including its role in bodily functions like vomiting.
CBDa binds with 5-HT1A serotonin receptors much more profoundly than CBD does, according to the work of researchers at Ontario’s Guelph University. This exciting discovery could revolutionize medications for people struggling with motion sickness, but also for those who’ve ingested toxins.
3. Anxiety and Depression
Because of CBDa’s passionate embrace of serotonin receptors, researchers are now hypothesizing that the presence of CBDa in the body may provoke enhanced serotonin production. The symbiotic relationship between the two offers tremendous potential for the treatment of anxiety and depression.
CBDa appears to have a very similar effect to that of the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) which many anti-depressant medications are based on. But, SSRI’s side effects are material, including nausea and drowsiness. CBDa has no such side effects. Again, the ability of this cannabinoid to bind to such an important mood regulator could change the way we approach mood disorders. With our bodies more effectively deploying serotonin with the help of CBDa there’s another tool in the global mental health toolbox.
CBDa’s increasing reputation as an anti-inflammatory is due to its status as a selective Cox-2 inhibitor. Cox-2 enzymes cause inflammation, normally treated with OTC preparations like NSAIDs. But, the long-term use of these drugs is known to have serious side effects, like liver damage.
Researchers are focusing on CBDa as an alternative to NSAID anti-inflammatories and a non-harmful solution. This is a hopeful development for those with chronic pain disorders and persistent inflammation issues.
Because CBDa is a Cox-2 inhibitor, its candidacy as an anti-tumor agent is now being seriously considered. Breast cancer is indicated by an abnormal accumulation of Cox-2. In the linked study, CBDa was administered over 48 hours.
Over that period, the cannabinoid was seen to suppress Cox-2 and to additionally impede the ld-1 protein, known to encourage cancer cell proliferation through the development of tumors. CBDa was found to suppress metastasis in breast cancer in active cases in the same study.
As we learn more about the amazing properties of raw, unprocessed CBDa, the potential of the cannabis and hemp flower plants for human health seems limitless. The power of this cannabinoid is only now being discovered.