CBDA Flower – The Unsung Cannabinoids
We used to think that you need to convert CBDA to CBD to get the “active” form, but new research is showing this is not true. Studies are finding many benefits of keeping the acidic cannabinoids, and opening up new avenues for potential benefits.
Did you know that all the common cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant are mostly in the acidic form?
- CBDA has over 500% better absorption than CBD
- CBDA has some unique and similar health benefits as CBD
- All CBDA is converted to CBD when smoking hemp flower
- What is CBDA
- What are cannabinoids
- Smoking hemp flower
- CBDA benefits
- Types of CBDA oils
- Best CBDA products
- How to use CBDA
- Side effects of CBDA oil
- Is CBDA legal?
What is CBDA
Cannbidiolic acid (CBDA) is found in all cannabis plants, including the hemp and marijuana strains. The main difference between the two is the amount of CBDA in the hemp plant is much higher, and has much lower THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid).
Like CBD, CBDA oil is not a psychoactive compound.
CBDA, the precursor cannabinoid to CBD
CBDA is the precursor molecule to CBD, and is the natural form found in high amounts when growing cannabis plants that are hemp strains. The conversion of CBDA to CBD oil is a process called decarboxylation, where the CBDA emits carbon dioxide from the loss of a carboxylic acid.
This conversion can take place slowly over many months if the hemp plant is harvested, and is left out to dry and exposed to light. Most of the time, CBDA is converted to CBD by heating the raw cannabis juice from the extraction process to create a final CBD oil, such as full spectrum CBD.
The reason for decarboxylation of CBDA oils comes mostly from two prior points:
- In the marijuana community, people know you know you need to convert THCA to THC to get an “active” compound that confers the euphoric properties. This same thinking was applied to CBDA and CBD oil, although we now know that is not accurate.
- The conventional processing and purification technologies to create high purity CBD and THC oils for cannabis products were using short path distillation. This purification process involves heating cannabis plant extracts to boil off the cannabinoids to create a higher purity oil. As the purification equipment industry matured, they made advancements in the efficiencies and throughput, but still relied on the basic thermal properties, which meant nobody was able to capture the acidic cannabinoids.
What is CBDA flower?
Typically, CBDA flower is referring to smokable hemp flower with an elevated level of high quality CBDA oil.
Broadly, hemp plants are grown for three different purposes, fiber, CBDA and CBD oil (and other major and minor cannabinoids), and flower for smoking. These can be different strains depending on what cannabinoids you want in your plant material.
What are cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are a class of compounds that interact with the endocannabinoid system through its endocannabinoid receptors. CBD was first discovered the 1940s by the chemist Roger Adams, who isolated it from the wild Minnesota hemp plant.
How cannabinoids are made
All cannabinoids are derived from starting compound CBGA (cannabigerolic acid), created from the combination of geranyl diphosphate and olivetolic acid. CBGA can be converted to either CBDA and THCA by specific enzymes in the hemp plant.
While hemp plants primarily produce CBDA, there are over 100 minor cannabinoids present that create the full spectrum CBDA oils.
Here are some of the most common occurring cannabinoids:
- THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) & THC (tetrahydrocannabinol)
- CBDA (cannabidiolic acid) & CBD (cannabidiol)
- CBDVA (cannabidivarinic acid) & CBDV (cannabidivarin)
- CBGA (cannabigerolic acid) & CBG (cannabigerol)
- CBCA (cannabichromenic acid) & CBC (cannabichromene)
- CBNA (cannabinolic acid) & CBN (cannabinol)
- THCVA (tetrahydrocannabivarinic acid) & THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin)
Smoking hemp flower
Hemp flower has become a popular method for consuming CBD, and is usually grown indoors unlike the hemp plants for CBDA extraction which are grown outdoors. Smokable hemp flower typically has higher amounts of CBDA in the bud, seen by the crystal formation on the trichomes.
When you smoke hemp flower, you are decarboxylating the CBDA and other acidic cannabinoids, and are getting only CBD or THC. Smoking is one of the fastest methods of consumption, but you lose all the health benefits of CBDA oil.
Because CBDA has not been on the market long, many people are still unaware that it may be a more potent cannabinoid than CBD. Early findings relied on raw cannabis juice or raw form hemp extract as the vehicle for CBDA tinctures, CBDA products etc.
Natural Dos has developed a new purification technology that allows us to capture just the acidic cannabinoids, creating the only high quality CBDA oil on the market. Ours is unique in that it contains all the major and minor cannabinoids in their acidic form, giving it all the benefits of a full spectrum CBDA oil.
CBDA vs CBD, 500% absorption difference!
New studies have found that CBDA has over 500% better absorption than CBD, with some studies showing over 1000% better absorption!
The health benefits of a compound are largely determined by how well it gets into your system. If hemp oil cannabinoids after decarboxylation are only mildly absorbed, then you would need to take a large amount to get a therapeutic benefits.
Many clinical trials using CBD products find that they need a dose in the 100mg’s to 1000mg’s per day. Since CBDA oil has such higher absorption, a 250mg CBD dose would be equal to a 50mg dose of CBDA oil.
Anti inflammatory potential of CBDA oil
The molecular structure of CBDA was found to directly inhibit the activity of COX-2 (cyclooxygenase 2), one of the most potent inflammatory enzymes. This enzyme is a target of many non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), such as ibuprofen and aspirin.
In addition, in breast cancer cells, CBDA was found to also inhibit COX-2 production, by altering the genetic signaling that turns on genes. Thus, while CBDA’s affinity for direct inhibition of COX-2 is not on par with ibuprofen for example, it can decrease the production as well, conferring significant potential benefits.
Anti anxiety properties of CBDA oil
The body’s endocannabinoid system encompasses many physiological properties, and is controlled through different receptors that the endocannabinoids can bind. One of these is 5HT1A receptor, and cell surface protein that regulates serotonin levels.
This 5HT1A receptor is widely studied for its ability to regulate mood, and is a target of many SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor). There are now multiple studies showing that CBDA can activate the 5HT1A receptor, and help reduce stress in many animal models.
Anti nausea effects of CBDA oils
Preliminary research in animal models using CBDA oil also showed significant improvement in nausea. There are now many studies that find one of the biggest physiological effects of CBDA tincture is on nausea.
Types of CBDA oils
There are a couple different kinds of CBDA oil on the market, CBDA isolate, Natural Spectrum CBDA, raw CBDA, and raw hemp oil.
Natural Spectrum CBDA products
These full spectrum CBDA products are produced by isolating all the acidic cannabinoids from the hemp plant in a high purity oil. Pioneered by Natural Dos, this high purity acidic cannabinoid oil is used in all our products.
The raw cannabis products
Most of the products using the “raw form” are pressed extracts that still have CBDA in the CBD oil, since they do not use a purification step. However, they often have heated plates used for pressing, which do cause decarboxylation.
Cannabinoid isolates are crystalized cannabinoids derived from a hemp oil extraction process. These forms are usually used for beverages, or making specific product formulations.
Where to get high quality CBDA products
There are now a couple companies that produce CBDA products, but we have not seen any that contain the level of full spectrum cannabinoids that we have in our proprietary extract.
Natural Dos produces the best CBDA oil which is in every product we sell. Other cannabinoids are present in our products, but we only count the amount of CBDA, so the total may be higher.
- Third party tested, check out our CoAs
- Grown, purified, and bottled in USA
- 100 day money back guarantee
- No pesticides, chemicals, or heavy metals
Unless you buy a product with delta 8, none of our CBDA only items have psychoactive properties.
Our CBDA tinctures come in all natural extract flavorings, refreshing mint, orange zest, and raw (no flavor).
Ingredients: All our CBDA oil tinctures are made with organic coconut oil, Natural Spectrum CBDA oil, and natural flavor.
Tropical vegan CBDA gummies
All our gummies are infused with Natural Spectrum CBDA oil, 30mg per serving, and never sprayed for consistant dosing and quality.
Ingredients: Organic tapioca syrup, cane sugar, pectin, citric acid, Natural Spectrum CBDA, natural flavors, natural colors, sodium citrate, coconut oil
Also comes in a CBDA + delta 8 version!
CBDA breath mints
Ingredients: Organic powdered sugar, organic gum arabic, organic gelatin, Natural Spectrum CBDA, natural peppermint extract
Also comes in a CBDA + delta 8 version!
How to use CBDA
When first taking a CBDA product, we recommend starting in the 20-30mg range per day. Because everyone has slightly different chemistry, its important to start with only very small amounts and work your way up to a dose that syncs with your body’s endocannabinoid system.
If using a tincture, place the CBDA oil under the tongue for up to 2 minutes for maximum absorption. Sublingual administration is potent since there are lots of blood vessels under the tongue in close proximity to the surface.
Luckily for people who enjoy CBDA oil, it is highly absorbed in the digestive tract, so you dont have to worry if you are losing product by eating it.
When to take CBDA oil
CBDA gets into your system fairly rapidly, and can reach its maximum blood concentration between at around 1 hour after ingestion.
We find that effects of CBDA can be felt within 15 minutes if taken under the tongue, but for maximum relaxation before bed or work, try taking at least 1 hour prior.
Side effects of CBDA oil
There is considerable research and concerns on the side effects of cannabis use when it comes to marijuana, but neither CBDA or CBD has any significant psychoactive effects and has minimal side effects.
The hemp product items tend to have minimal side effects, but at moderate doses (in the 100s range) you may see:
- Mood changes
See our article on CBDA and CBD side effects for a deep dive on the research.
At higher doses, in the 1000mg to 2000mg, there have been clinical trials showing that the drug metabolism of CBD can interact with other medications leading to elevated liver enzymes. If you are on multiple medications or have a history of liver complications, talk with your physician first before consuming a hemp product.
Legality of hemp plants and CBDA
Since cannabis plants have been illegal for a while, we often get asked “is CBDA legal?”
Since the passing of the 2018 federal farm bill, hemp cultivation and processing is legal with the oversight of a state program. The cannabis leaves and flower are where most of the cannabinoids are, and need to have less than 0.3% THC to be state and federally compliant.
All hemp plant material is lab tested before it can be sold or processed.