What is CBDA (Cannabidiolic Acid) & How is it Different from CBD?


Do you know how CBD is made in the hemp plant? No, I don’t mean the method of extraction. I mean the chemical process it takes to get from nothing to CBD?

It involves something called cannabidiolic acid… also known as CBDA.

What is Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA)?

Like CBD, CBN, and CBC, CBDA is another of the many cannabinoids in the hemp plant.

It’s actually the precursor to CBD.

One of the first cannabinoids to develop as hemp grows is cannabigerolic acid. That’s why it is often called the Mother of all Cannabinoids.

As the plant grows, enzymes unique to each strain convert that cannabigerolic acid into one of 3 major cannabinoid compounds:

  1. Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA)
  2. Cannabichromenic acid (CBCA)
  3. Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA)

Once the cannabigerolic acid has turned into cannabidiolic acid, that’s when the real magic happens. From there, we get all those other amazing cannabinoids, including CBD!


From CBDA to CBD

CBDA becomes CBD through a process called thermal decarboxylation. This is when heat is applied which causes the CBDA to lose its acidic carboxyl group. This can happen instantly, such as when a person vapes and heat is applied, or over time, when the CBDA is left to sit at room temperature or is exposed to sunlight.

What’s really interesting about CBDA is that is doesn’t work the same way as most other cannabinoids. CBD, for example, binds with receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ES) to illicit a response somewhere in the body. CBDA, on the other hand, interacts with the ES by inhibiting the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) enzyme. COX-2 enzymes are most often associated with inflammation after an injury or infection.

Current Research

Scientists have only been studying CBDA for about a decade. That’s not long at all. But, that doesn’t mean we don’t already have some impressive data regarding what it’s good for.

With only a few years under its belt, and while many studies are in animal models not yet humans, we’re sure to see more from this cannabinoid in the future!

Final Thoughts

Are you reading this thinking, “So how do I take CBDA alongside my CBD?”

The best way to get some CBDA in your diet is by juicing raw cannabis. Now, that’s now a viable option for many, we totally get that.

Unfortunately, if you’re using something that’s been extracted using heat, the count will be really low. That’s just the way the science of this compound works. You can also look for raw hemp products, but they’ll need to be really fresh.

As we learn more, hopefully we’ll gain some insight into making this valuable cannabinoid more accessible – stay tuned!!