CBDA vs THC for Anxiety – Mixed and Single Cannabinoid Benefits
Your boss dumps a lot of new work on you that supposed to go to someone else, you leave work and pick up the kids from daycare, they are hungry and dont like the snacks you picked up. Cant stop thinking about new workload, and one of the kids waking up at 2 am results in poor sleep, and now your tired in the morning which causes more stress.
While many people are using cannabis plant based products for anxiety and stress help, what works best? CBDA, THC, or CBDa oils?
We have found, and research shows that a mixture of multiple cannabinoids may be ideal, so check out below for the details.
- THC alone may actually increase anxiety!
- A mixture of CBDA alone or a CBDA + THC mixture will yield better anxiety relief
- CBDA has superior absorption to all other cannabinoids, like CBD or THC
- Cannabinoid acids: What is CBDA and THCA?
- CBDA vs THC, whats best for anxiety?
- The endocannabinoid system and anxiety
- Understanding the benefits of CBDA
- How to use THC and CBDA products
Cannabinoid Acids: THCA and CBDA
Cannabis plants (such as a hemp plant) produce over 100 different acidic cannabinoids in their mature flower. For conventional marijuana plants, the primary cannabinoids is THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid), and for hemp plants its cannabidiolic acid (CBDA).
You may have not heard much about these acidic cannabinoids, but they are the natural form of all cannabinoids found in the market. For example, CBDA converts to CBD (cannabidiol) and THCA to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) when exposed to significant heat, such as when smoking cannabis plants.
These acidic cannabinoid compounds are the major cannabinoid precursor compounds from which all others are derived.
CBDA vs CBD – whats the difference
The molecular structure difference between CBDA and CBD is a simple carboxyl group (-COOH) that is found on CBDA and all acidic cannabinoids. Typically, when hemp extract is purified to create a high purity CBD oil, the CBDA decarboxylates to CBD in a heating process called thermal decarboxylation.
Because conventional purification processes (short path distillation) are the most widely used technology in the field, there is not much CBDA oils found on the market.
Are acidic cannabinoids psychoactive?
Acidic cannabinoids do not have psychoactive effects.
The caveat though is that THCA, when exposed to heat, converts to THC which is the main psychoactive compound derived from cannabis plants. Because of the legal issues surrounding marijuana, it is rare to find isolated THCA, but if taken orally then the psychoactive compound delta 9 THC should not be found.
CBDA and THC – what may help with Anxiety
Anxiety and stress can slowly wear everyone down when it becomes chronic.
What goes on in our body when we experience anxiety and stress in our lives? The activation of our sympathetic nervous system, which stems from the brain and gut, but is only supposed to be active during a brief period of time.
- A classical example: Tiger jumps out of the tall brush, your sympathetic nervous system gets activated, cortisol spikes, and its fight or flight! But afterwards you calm down, no more tiger, hopefully.
- A modern example: Your boss dumps a lot of new work on you that supposed to go to someone else, you leave work and pick up the kids from daycare, they are hungry and dont like the snacks you picked up. Cant stop thinking about new workload, and one of the kids waking up at 2 am results in poor sleep, and now your tired in the morning which causes more stress. The sympathetic nervous system has not calmed down.
Often, we need help controlling stress and anxiety disorders, and that can start with calming the mind and nervous system.
Does THC alone help with anxiety and stress?
Now that medical cannabis, in this case medical marijuana, is legal in many states, it is often prescribed for anxiety and stress. However, new research is finding that a more nuanced formulation may provide superior anti anxiety effects.
THC alone often causes anxiety and stress!
More people are now appreciating that THC needs to be taken in combination with other cannabinoids. This can include CBDA oil or CBD oil.
Much of the early cannabis plant breeding was focused on increasing the THC amounts, but most people find the effects too extreme. Now, research and many consumers are looking for combination products with more equal amounts between THC and CBDA or CBD.
Does CBDA or CBD oil alone help?
Yes. There are preclinical and clinical studies showing that CBDA and CBD can improve signs and symptoms of stress and anxiety.
We should note that a significant portion of the CBD studies found that you need to take a significant amount of CBD (100-600mg) per day to see an effect. This can make using CBD products expensive, since taking 200-300mg per day is often a significant portion of the bottle.
However, CBDA has superior absorption to CBD. A number of studies find that CBDA is 450-1000% better absorbed than CBD, meaning a 50mg dose of CBDA is about the same as a 250mg dose of CBD!
The endocannabinoid system, anxiety, and how cannabinoids interact
The endocannabinoid system is integrated across much of the human body, including immune cells and the central and peripheral nervous system. Because of this, boosting and treating the endocannabinoid system has been found to be important in human health.
The body naturally produces endocannabinoids, which under normal conditions help keep this system in balance. During chronic stress and anxiety, this endocannabinoid system may get out of balance, leading to further mental exhaustion.
Sympathetic nervous system and the endocannabinoid system
During times of stress, the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis stimulates the sympathetic nervous system and propagates anxiety and stress. While this is a broad overview, it does show that there are many different systems that interact with each other to affect your mood.
Both the HPA and sympathetic systems have strong interaction with the endocannabinoid system, and many studies have shown changes in endocannabinoids and their associated receptors (such as CB1 and CB2) during times of stress and anxiety. These changes and interactions lie at the heart of how hemp oil can have diverse health benefits and especially anti anxiety properties.
THC, CBD, and CBDA oil for the endocannabinoid system
While medical cannabis sativa is often prescribed for anxiety and stress, properly extracting and formulating the different cannabinoid acids may provide superior mental health benefits.
THC is known to target the CB1 receptor, and CBDA similar to CBD is known to target the CB2 receptor. The combination CBD and THC are more common than a CBDA oil combination due to the traditional difficulty in isolating cannabinoid acids. However, new cannabinoid research is showing that CBDA also has additional benefits outside of cannabinoid receptors.
Understanding The Benefits of CBDA
CBDA oil and other acidic cannabinoids are now understood to have superior absorption compared to the post-decarboxylated neutral cannabinoids. This is leading to an evolution in the scientific community since much of the therapeutic benefits of CBD relied on high dosing.
CBDA and serotonin
Recent studies on CBDA oil found that it is a serotonin receptor agonist, with much work assessing 5HT1A serotonin receptors. These class of receptors are a common target for SSRI antidepressants (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), and may form part of the therapeutic properties that are unique to CBDA for treating anxiety.
CBDA and anti inflammatory properties
One of the earlier discoveries around CBDA and inflammation was its potential role in regulating pro-inflammatory enzymes. CBDA oil was found to inhibit COX-2 (cyclooxygenase 2), a classic target for non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like ibuprofen.
This is important as well since chronic inflammation has long been associated with stress and anxiety.
How to use THC and CBDA Products
Often, CBDA oil products come in different forms. Some are labeled raw cannabis or raw form hemp oil, but we think the best CBDA oil is Natural Spectrum CBDA oil from Natural Dos. Yes, some bias, but…
Our cannabis scientist developed a new technology to purify all the acidic cannabinoids from the hemp plant, creating Full Spectrum CBDA oil for the first time.
Combining the SUPERIOR ABSORPTION of CBDA with delta 8 THC can get the relief and mental relaxation you need.
CBDA and THC dosage
Every person is slightly different, so the effects they get from CBDA, CBD, or THC may differ. Its important to start with low doses and work your way up from there. This is especially true if you are not used to THC, whether its delta 8 THC or delta 9 THC.
- Since CBDA does not have the psychoactive effects like THC, you can start in the range of 25mg to 50mg per day to get the best CBDA benefits. We typically use 50mg to 100mg doses, but this will depend on what effects you need.
- For delta 8 THC or delta 9 THC, it is very dependent on the user. If you are new we recommend starting with 5mg to 10mg, and not at work or when driving. The more experienced individuals are more in the 15mg range.
- For our Natural Spectrum Vegan CBDA plus delta 8 gummies, you can cut one in half to start. It can take around an hour for the full effects to kick in.
Finding high quality CBD, CBDA, or THC
Whether its THC, CBDA, or CBD edibles, its always important to check that the product has been tested by a third part lab. This will be shown in the certificate of analysis (CoA), and will show cannabinoid potency, and if there are any residual chemical compounds.
If you are not familiar with reading a testing report, check out our CoA guide to learn more.