CBDA vs CBD for Pain Relief: Which Cannabinoid Works Better?
If you are dealing with chronic pain or joint discomfort, then you might be looking for a natural solution? CBD and CBDA, cannabinoids that are both derived from the cannabis plant, have been gaining attention lately by many consumers, but also in the scientific community.
While both CBD and CBDA have some similarities in how they work, there are substantial differences in potential therapeutic effects in the body. Both cannabinoids have shown pain relieving properties and are being used by many people as alternatives for those suffering from different kinds of aches.
In this article, we’ll dig deep into the science behind these cannabinoids. This blog aims to help you make an informed decision about what may best suit your unique needs.
- CBDA is thought to be more potent due to its superior bioavailability, between 450% and 1000% better absorbed than CBD.
- CBDA is the natural cannabinoid found in the hemp plant, and is the parent compound from which Cannabidiol (CBD) is derived from when exposed to heat.
- Both CBD and CBDA work by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system resulting in many beneficial effects, such as producing pain relief.
- What is CBD?
- What is CBDA?
- CBD vs CBDA for pain relief
- How to choose between CBD and CBDA for pain relief?
What Is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD), is a well known chemical compound found in the cannabis plant and studied for potential medical use. It shows promising beneficial effects in chronic pain relief, anxiety disorders, neurological disorders, insomnia, and more.
The FDA (Food and Drug Administration), although, has only approved CBD as a medicinal drug for epileptic patients. But despite not being approved by the FDA for pain, CBD continuously gained its popularity as an alternative treatment option for many health issues. It is often added as an active ingredient to oils, creams, and other products. Furthermore, many CBD manufactures also offer the product in different forms like in capsules, tinctures, and edibles.
CBD is also a non-psychoactive compound. This means it does not produce the same “high” associated with marijuana use. Hence, this is a great option to those who want to experience the potential health benefits without the intoxicating effects of marijuana.
How CBD Works for Pain Relief
Many research have shown that there are two main ways that CBD works to alleviate pain. First is by interacting with your endocannabinoid system and second, by affecting the way the human body produces its own cannabinoids.
The body’s endocannabinoid system is a network of receptors in our bodies. These receptors, CB1 and CB2, respond to compounds in the hemp plant like THC, CBD, and CBDA. When the receptors are activated, they help regulate bodily functions like mood, appetite, sleep patterns, and how people feel pain.
Additionally, the body’s endocannabinoid system also helps regulate many physiologic processes. This includes and is not limited to inflammation and immune function. When this network of receptors is disrupted either by injury or illness, the body can no longer effectively regulate those natural processes and that’s where CBD comes into play.
It can help restore balance to your endocannabinoid system through interacting with those major cannabinoid receptors, mostly CB2 and to a minor extent CB1. Additionally, these cannabinoids help your body get back up to speed. CBD also works directly on other body systems involved in pain management.
Scientific Evidence Supporting CBD for Pain Relief
There are several studies conducted on the use of CBD for pain relief. One study found that CBD significantly reduced chronic pain and inflammation in the rodent model. The study concluded that CBD has the potential to be a safe and effective treatment for chronic pain.
Another study found that CBD can help reduce pain and improve mobility in people with multiple sclerosis. The study followed participants who received oral CBD for six weeks. The research team found that the treatment has reduced pain and improved the quality of life of the research subjects.
Furthermore, one particular study has also found that topical CBD can help reduce arthritic pain and inflammation. The study participants applied CBD cream to their affected body parts. At the end of the study, the study subjects have reported that CBD helped alleviate the pain they are experiencing.
Lastly, researchers from National Institute of Neurological Disorder and Stoke and National Institutes of Health have concluded that CBD can help reduce pain associated with neurological disorders. At the same time, it is also shown to have neuroprotective effects. There are even further studies conducted that CBD is beneficial as a conjunctive treatment option for two rare forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.
What Is CBDA?
CBDA, or cannabidiolic acid, is a cannabis compound that’s used in the production of CBD oil. While it has been shown to have many medicinal benefits, it’s also not psychoactive.
CBDA contains a carboxyl group and is found only in fresh cannabis plants. Only when the hemp flower is processed and exposed to heat does CBDA get converted (decarboxylated) to CBD.
How CBDA Works for Pain Relief?
CBDA also works by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system, but has unique interactions with other systems as well. Pre clinical studies have found it to have potential therapeutic benefits, similar to those of CBD. Research suggests that it may also possess anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea, and anti-anxiety properties, and may also have potential as an anti-cancer agent even more potent than CBD.
Recent findings show that CBDA is over 450% to 1000% better absorbed than CBD. This is not surprising, since CBD is poorly absorbed, and most studies suggest needing around 200-2000mg per dose to get significant results.
Scientific Evidence Supporting CBDA for Pain Relief
In a study conducted at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, researchers found that CBDA reduces inflammation and pain. This was observed when applied topically on mice and human skin cells. The researchers also found that CBDA works by activating TRPV1 channels. These channels are known as transient receptor potential channels. TRPV1 channels also play a role in regulating many bodily processes such as inflammation and pain perception.
CBDA has also been shown to have potential benefits in pre clinical trials for neurodegenerative diseases. This includes Alzheimer’s disease and ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). This research claim is supported by a study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
Lastly, a study found that CBDA had a greater affinity for the 5-HT1A receptor than CBD. This conclusion is found to be significant because this receptor is believed to be involved in the regulation of anxiety, depression, and pain perception.
CBD vs CBDA for Pain Relief
CBD and CBDA are two of the main cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. Both have been shown to have analgesic (pain-relieving) properties, and may work in both similar and different fashions. The main difference between CBD and CBDA is that CBDA has a much higher absorption rate than CBD.
If a compound cant into the bloodstream at a high enough dose, then it essentially becomes ineffective. CBDA is absorbed by your body through oral consumption better than CBD. This is because it’s more water soluble than CBD. This means that you’ll get more relief from taking a small dose of CBDA than a large dose of CBD if your goal is to alleviate pain.
Different Types of Pain and Which Cannabinoid May Be Better Suited
- Neuropathic Pain: Neuropathic pain is caused by damage or dysfunction of the nervous system. These conditions can be difficult to treat with traditional pain medications alone. Both CBD and CBDA have been studied for their potential to alleviate neuropathic pain.Using an CBDA mimetic, investigators in Canada found that low doses could prevent pain perception in a pre clinical trials for neuropathic pain management.
- Inflammatory Pain: Inflammatory pain is caused by swelling in the body, such as those brought about by arthritis or other inflammatory conditions. Both CBD and CBDA have been found to have potent anti-inflammatory effects. This means that hemp-derived products containing CBD and CBDA can be a good option in naturally alleviating inflammatory pain and treating the causative issues, as well. For example, a 2018 study found that CBDA and THC were more effective in treating inflammatory pain than CBD.
- Cancer Pain: Cancer pain can be caused by the disease itself or by cancer treatments such as chemotherapy. Both CBD and CBDA have been studied for their possible effect to alleviate cancer-related pain.However, more research is needed to determine which cannabinoid may be more effective. A 2018 review found that both CBD and CBDA had the potential for managing cancer pain and even nausea caused by chemotherpay. Thus, more studies were needed to determine their efficacy.
- Migraine Pain: Migraines are a type of headache that can be extremely debilitating. Many traditional pain medications are not always effective in alleviating the condition. Some studies have suggested that CBD may be helpful in reducing the frequency and severity of migraines. For example, a 2020 study found that CBD reduced the frequency of migraines in a small group of participants. However, CBDA has also shown in few studies to have a potential to relieve migraines, and is a more potent compound for the TRPV1 pain receptors than CBD.
How to Choose Between CBD and CBDA for Pain Relief?
There are a number of factors to consider when choosing between CBD and CBDA for pain relief. Because every individuals biochemistry is different, your own dose and use may be different.
We may be biased, but we think CBDA is the superior compound due to its bioavailability. You can always compare the two, but you will need to take a much higher dose of CBD to get an effect (well over 100mg).
Choosing the right brand is critical, as many cannabinoid products have not been properly tested before being sold to the public. Always check for a third party testing results, such as a certificate of analysis (CoA). This will show you how much CBD or CBDA is in the product, and if it is clean or not.
CBD and CBDA are two cannabinoids that have been shown to have potential pain-relieving properties. While both CBDA and CBD interacts directly with cannabinoid receptors in the body, CBDA has potent bioavailability. Additionally, CBDA acts on additional mechanisms in the body, such as pro inflammatory enzymes and pain receptors.
Most of the hemp products on the market have focused on CBD, so it is not always easy to find a high quality CBDA product. The reason is most of the purification and extraction companies do not have the capabilities to isolate CBDA due to the use of heat.
Often, which cannabinoid is better for pain relief depends on the type of pain and individual preferences. It’s best to consult with a healthcare provider before trying either cannabinoid for pain relief.