Cannabidiol, or CBD, has fast become the world’s favorite darling. In just five years or so, evidence of its therapeutic properties skyrocketed it to fame worldwide. It is now mainstream, especially in the United States, where most everybody uses it already. However, few understand this cannabinoid. Most believe cannabis comes readymade with it. That buds are dripping CBD in abundance. This is blatantly untrue.
CBD derives from cannabidiolic acid, or CBDA. CBDA is the raw form of CBD, if you like. It is its precursor. In order to convert into CBD, CBDA must first undergo decarboxylation, or heating. This process exposes its acid molecule to heat, which changes its structure to CBD. Sadly, CBDA receives no media attention whatsoever, unlike its botanical offspring. Most believed CBDA completely inactive until only recently.
The idea of CBDA as inactive, particularly when combined with its fast-degrading instability, meant nobody gave CBDA much thought at all. Folks just wanted to buy CBD oil online. Research into it was nearly non-existent. Now, with the patented launch of a CBDA variant, as well as many anecdotal claims of its medical efficacy, more and more people are taking notice. Even the media is talking of CBDA.
Israeli scientist Raphael Mechoulam first isolated CBDA. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, that was back in 1965. When exposed to enough sunlight or heat, CBDA undergoes a chemical process that loses the acidic carboxyl group, metamorphosing into CBD. Until recently, scientists believed activated cannabinoids to have already undergone conversion, making them more potent.
However, studies showing CBDA activating 5-HT1A serotonin receptors proves that theory false. In fact, CBDA seems more potent than CBD. Notably. Further, CBDA also has a stronger affinity for binding to receptors than CBD does, specifically as an antagonist at the GPR55 receptor. This suggests CBDA might be important in the treatment of a variety of conditions. We know this about it already:
Because it regulates mood, serotonin is likely the most famous of neurotransmitters. However, it does more than just make you happy. It plays a crucial role in digestion, especially in bowel movement. It helps to control vomiting and nausea too, making it an effective antiemetic. CBDA binds to 5-HT1A more aggressively than CBD does. As such, it quells the stomach, even relieves motion sickness.
What is more, you need less CBDA to the same job as CBD does. A whopping 1,000 times less, in fact. Even more interesting, CBDA actually reduces anticipatory nausea, no other drug does, which is especially helpful for patients undergoing chemotherapy. It is so horrible many feel worse even before treatment starts. If that is not enough, it also quells THC-induced nausea better than CBD does too.
The reason for CBD’s explosion into mainstream fame is its efficacy for treating seizures. Its anti-seizure properties are legendary. In fact, Epidiolex, a CBD tincture, is the only approved treatment for three types of drug-resistant epilepsy. However, CBDA is even better at it. CBDA has greater bioavailability. This means it works faster than CBD does. What is more, patients need less of it than CBD too.
Several studies show CBD more effective in certain situations than CBD at reducing both severity and frequency of seizures in chronic epileptics. Anecdotal reports are everywhere. For many parents, CBD is the only safe option for treating their kids, for giving them a chance at a somewhat normal life. With CBDA even more promising, sufferers are finally getting the help and focus they so desperately need.
CBDA is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Since inflammation is the root cause of most pain and illness, reducing it is crucial. According to Drug Metabolism and Disposition, the acid cannabinoid has a very strong anti-inflammatory action. This is likely due to its role as a selective Cox-2 inhibitor. Cox-2 enzymes are anti-inflammatory, but unlike aspirin and other NSAIDs, CBDA does not cause massive gastric issues.
Studies show CBDA safer than non-steroidal anti-inflammatories. As a Cox-2 inhibitor, it has other benefits too, such as preventing metastasis of a specific and invasive Cox-2 related breast cancer. As such, it can treat all Cox-2-related issues effectively, and its anti-inflammatory effects will only amplify these benefits. What is more, it is non-addictive and has no harmful side effects.
As a molecule, CBDA is notoriously unstable. Studying it and using it in a laboratory environment is difficult. Mechoulam recently launched a synthetic CBDA methyl ester. This represents a subtle change to the methyl ester molecule making it more stable than natural CBDA. They can now study its properties for use against IBM, depression, anxiety, gastrointestinal issues, and more.
In fact, some are already touting synthetic CBDA as a safer alternative to the steroids typically used to relieve such problems. While it may be lab-friendly, easier for making drugs, no data exists to show if it really does improve its therapeutic modality more than naturally occurring CBDA from hemp or cannabis products. It will certainly find its way into the pharmaceutical industry regardless. No question there.
You can find CBDA in raw cannabis plants, or in any lab-tested CBD oil products that have yet to undergo conversion into CBD. It is present in full spectrum products, not really in CBD distillate or isolate, both of which still need to decarboxylate. The best way to get CBDA is to buy buds and leaves for smoothies, salads, garnishing. Eating acidic cannabinoids is the easiest way to absorb them.
It is clear that CBDA is taking its place as an important cannabinoid. No longer in the shadow of CBD, CBDA is now familiar as a potent, safer alternative to pharmaceuticals and even CBD itself. For those who buy CBD oil online already, it might be worth considering CBDA in small doses. Science shows it highly beneficial to health of mind, body, and soul.