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)?
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:
- Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA)
- Cannabichromenic acid (CBCA)
- 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.
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.
- An early 2008 study looked at cannabidiolic acid as potential anti-inflammatory agent.
- Research from 2012 shows us that it’s is an inhibitor of MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell migration
- In 2016, GW pharmaceuticals, the company behind Epidolox , did their own research (and filed a pendent for it) exploring its use as an anti-epileptic.
- In another study, done in 2018, researchers discovered that cannabidiolic acid has the potential to reduce stress-induced anxiety-like behavior.
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!
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!!