CBDA VS CBD – Benefits and Differences Explained


The cannabis plant contains hundreds of cannabinoids.

CBD and THC are the two most widely known cannabinoids, but have you heard about CBDA?

As research on cannabis advances, our knowledge about cannabis compounds increases.

CBDA is a recently discovered compound with a range of benefits.

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CBDA (Cannabidiolic Acid) is the acidic precursor to CBD (Cannabidiol) found in the raw cannabis plant.

When CBDA is exposed to heat or UV light, it undergoes decarboxylation, converting it into CBD.

While CBD is widely known and used for its potential therapeutic benefits, CBDA is less studied but shows promise in different areas, such as anti-inflammatory and anti-nausea effects.

The critical difference lies in their chemical structure and processing stage: CBDA is the raw form, and CBD is the activated form after decarboxylation.

Because it has more research behind it than CBDA in most cases, CBD is recommended.

(Click here to try our full-spectrum CBD oils).

What is CBDA?

CBDA, or Cannabidiolic Acid, is a chemical compound found in the raw cannabis plant.

It is the acidic precursor to CBD (Cannabidiol). CBDA is present in the trichomes of the fresh cannabis plant, and when the plant is dried, cured, or heated, CBDA undergoes decarboxylation, transforming into CBD.

This process involves the removal of a carboxyl group from CBDA, effectively converting it into the more commonly known CBD.

Unlike CBD, which has been extensively studied for its potential therapeutic effects, CBDA is less researched.

However, preliminary studies suggest that CBDA may have unique properties, including anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea, and potentially anti-cancer effects.

CBDA is typically consumed through raw cannabis products, like juices or raw extracts, as these methods preserve the acidic form of the cannabinoid without causing decarboxylation.

The interest in CBDA has been growing, particularly in the context of exploring the full spectrum of cannabinoids’ potential benefits beyond just CBD and THC.

Related Post: Benefits of full-spectrum CBD oil.

What is CBD?

CBD, short for Cannabidiol, is a naturally occurring compound found in the cannabis plant.

It is one of over a hundred cannabinoids identified in hemp plants. Unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the other well-known cannabinoid, CBD, is not psychoactive, meaning it does not cause the “high” associated with cannabis.

CBD has gained significant attention for its potential health benefits.

It has been studied for its role in easing symptoms of various conditions, including anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and inflammation.

It’s also being researched for its effects on sleep, heart health, and skin conditions.

CBD is available in various forms, such as oils, tinctures, capsules, edibles, and topical creams, and can be used in different ways depending on the desired effects.

It’s important to note that while CBD is legal in many countries, including the UK, the regulations surrounding its sale and use can vary.

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What’s the Difference Between CBDA and CBD?


CBDA and CBD differ primarily in their chemical forms and the stages of processing they undergo.

CBDA, present in raw cannabis, transforms into CBD when exposed to heat or light through a process called decarboxylation, altering its chemical structure and potential effects on the body.

While CBD is widely recognized and used for its various therapeutic properties, CBDA, its acidic precursor, is less studied but shows promise in different health-related areas.

Let’s look at some details:

  • Chemical Structure: CBDA is the acidic precursor to CBD. It is present in the raw cannabis plant. When CBDA is exposed to heat or ultraviolet light (a process known as decarboxylation), it loses a carboxyl group and transforms into CBD. This change in structure alters how each compound interacts with the body.
  • Physiological Effects: CBD has been more extensively studied and is known for its potential therapeutic benefits, such as anti-inflammatory properties, anxiety relief, and pain management. CBDA, on the other hand, is less researched, but early studies suggest it might have unique benefits, like anti-nausea effects and possibly anti-cancer properties.
  • Availability and Use: CBD is widely available in various forms, including oils, tinctures, capsules, and topicals. CBDA is less commonly found and is typically consumed in raw cannabis products, like juices or raw extracts, to avoid converting it into CBD.
  • Psychoactive Properties: Neither CBDA nor CBD is psychoactive, meaning they do not produce the “high” associated with THC, another cannabinoid found in cannabis.

CBDA is the raw, unprocessed form found in the cannabis plant, with potential unique benefits, while CBD is the activated form known for its various therapeutic applications.

The choice between CBDA and CBD depends on individual needs and the specific health benefits one is seeking.

Related Post: How does CBD make you feel?

What are the Potential Benefits of CBDA?

CBDA, or Cannabidiolic Acid, is the acidic precursor to CBD and is found in the raw cannabis plant. While it has not been studied as extensively as CBD, emerging research suggests several potential health benefits:

  1. Anti-Nausea Effects: Early studies indicate that CBDA may have powerful anti-nausea and anti-emetic (anti-vomiting) effects. It appears to have a strong affinity for the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor, significantly regulating nausea.
  2. Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Like CBD, CBDA might also possess anti-inflammatory qualities. This could make it beneficial in managing conditions characterized by inflammation.
  3. Potential in Cancer Treatment: Some preliminary research suggests that CBDA may have properties that could inhibit the spread of certain types of cancer cells. However, this area of study is still in its infancy and requires more extensive research.
  4. Anxiety Relief: Although more commonly associated with CBD, CBDA may also contribute to reducing anxiety, particularly given its interaction with the serotonin system.
  5. Epilepsy Treatment: There’s growing interest in CBDA’s potential role in treating certain forms of epilepsy, similar to CBD, which has been approved in several medications for this condition.

It’s important to note that while these potential benefits are promising, the research on CBDA is still in the early stages.

Many studies are preclinical, meaning they have not yet been extensively tested in human trials. As such, more research is needed to understand CBDA’s therapeutic potential and efficacy fully.

Related Post: The benefits of taking CBD

Is CBDA Legal in the UK?

In the UK, CBDA (Cannabidiolic Acid) is legal, following the same legal framework as CBD (Cannabidiol).

The legality is based on the source of the CBDA: it must be derived from industrial hemp strains that are approved and contain no more than 0.2% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive compound found in cannabis.

As long as CBDA products are derived from hemp and comply with the THC content limits, they are legal to sell, purchase, and consume in the UK.

However, manufacturers and sellers must adhere to the regulations set by the Food Standards Agency (FSA), particularly concerning the marketing and labelling of these products.

They should not make any unproven health claims.

The UK market for cannabis-derived products, including CBDA, is regulated to ensure safety and quality.

Consumers should, therefore, look for products from reputable sources, preferably with third-party testing, to ensure they meet legal and safety standards.

Related Post: CBD is available on NHS prescription for people living with epilepsy.

How Does CBDA Make You Feel?

CBDA, being non-psychoactive, doesn’t produce the high associated with cannabis but can induce more subtle effects.

Users often report a sense of reduced nausea, which is particularly useful for those undergoing treatments like chemotherapy.

It’s also associated with a feeling of calmness or decreased anxiety, likely due to its interaction with serotonin receptors.

Additionally, CBDA might contribute to anti-inflammatory effects, leading to relief in inflammation-related conditions.

Overall, users may experience a sense of general well-being or balance. However, these effects can vary significantly among individuals, depending on dosage, method of consumption, and personal body chemistry.

Related Post: CBD isolate vs full spectrum CBD.

How Can You Take CBDA in the United Kingdom?

Here are some common ways to take CBDA:

  1. Raw Cannabis Juices: One of the most popular ways to consume CBDA is by juicing raw cannabis leaves and flowers. This method keeps CBDA in its natural acidic form.
  2. Tinctures: CBDA tinctures are available, which can be taken sublingually (under the tongue) for quick absorption into the bloodstream.
  3. Raw Cannabis Edibles: Incorporating raw cannabis into edibles is another way to consume CBDA. This could involve adding raw cannabis leaves to salads, smoothies, or other cold dishes.
  4. CBDA Oils: Some manufacturers offer CBDA oil, similar to CBD oil, but containing CBDA instead. This oil can be used in the same ways as CBD oil, including sublingual administration or food addition.
  5. Topicals: CBDA can also be found in topical forms, such as creams and lotions, applied to the skin. These are particularly useful for localized issues.

It’s crucial to source these products from reputable suppliers to ensure quality and legality, especially considering the strict regulations surrounding cannabis-derived products in the UK.

Also, since heating can convert CBDA into CBD, these products are usually used in their raw or cold-processed form to maintain the integrity of the CBDA.

Related Post: Can CBD Oil help to minimise inflammation?

Lisa’s Top Tip

I closely follow the science of CBD and similar compounds to benefit my lovely customers and my own health.

I still firmly believe that the best option for most people is not to try new compounds such as CBDA just yet.

Instead, stick to taking full-spectrum oil under the tongue.

In my experience, this is almost always the best option.

Related Post: Can CBD allevaite pain?

Some Final Notes on CBDA vs CBD Oil

This exploration of cannabis cannabinoids focuses on CBD, THC, and the emerging CBDA.

CBDA, the raw precursor to CBD, is gaining interest for its potential anti-inflammatory and anti-nausea properties, although research is still limited.

The main difference between CBDA and CBD is their chemical structure and processing stage.

In the UK, CBDA must comply with legal regulations similar to those for CBD.

Users report subtle effects like reduced nausea and anxiety from CBDA, which can be consumed in various forms but is most effective raw.

While CBD remains popular and well-researched, the interest in CBDA underscores the evolving field of cannabis research and its potential health benefits.

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