The Difference Between CBDA and CBD

For a long time, CBDA’s possible effects haven’t been thoroughly studied due to the focus on other, more popular and talked about compounds CBD and THC. However, more and more studies are coming out that suppose the “raw” state of the cannabis plant, when its leaves and flowers are fresh, can also have a beneficial impact. In this article, we will tell you about CBDA and CBD and what is the difference between them.

What is CBDA?

Cannabidiolic acid or CBDA is a yet lesser-known compound of the cannabis plant. It’s a middle link in the natural synthesis chain that begins with cannabigerolic acid (CBGA). The initial CBGA compound transforms into three precursors: cannabichromenic acid (CBCA), tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA). By removing the acid group through the decarboxylation process (i.e., by heating), CBDA is converted into its neutral derivative cannabidiol, the already familiar CBD.

Most cannabis plants contain only tiny amounts of CBDA. However, some have been cultivated to strike a balance between THCA and CBDA. In particular, hemp plants are known for their high CBDA content and traces of tetrahydrocannabinolic acid.

The differences between CBDA & CBD

As we have indicated, the cannabis plant undergoes considerable transformations. When the plant is still growing and fresh, its active elements are in the form of acids, whereas already cultivated and cured plants contain CBD.

The acidic forms of cannabinoids are not pharmacologically active. For example, we know that THC causes euphoria, but THCA does not. It has long been thought that CBDA can have none of CBD’s effects, but scientific research is beginning to question this. In any case, cannabinoids like CBDA are not considered pharmacologically active until they have been decarboxylated.

CBD and CBDA have many similarities, but since they work in the body differently, CBDA may be better at relieving certain symptoms than CBD.

How can CBD affect the body?

Сannabidiol (CBD) is an ingredient of the cannabis plant that has been closely studied in recent times. It can bind to cannabinoid receptors located in the body and responsible for metabolism, appetite, immune system changes, cellular communication and much more. It is gaining popularity because of its possibility to alleviate some of the most common health issues such as anxiety, stress, pain, depression, insomnia and even cancer. At the same time, it doesn’t contain the THC compound responsible for giving users a euphoric experience.

How can CBDA affect the body?

Cannabidiolic acid can be a promising compound. Both CBDA and CBD affect the same receptors in the human body but in different manners: unlike CBD, CBDA can act as a COX-2 inhibitor, possibly reducing inflammation and pain. Also, CBDA can be used for medical purposes, such as treating the following conditions:

  • Depression. At low doses, 10 or even 1,000 times smaller than CBD ones, CBDA may have antidepressant effects.
  • Inflammation. Unlike nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and aspirin that can damage the stomach, CBDA seems to relieve inflammation in the same way, but is more gentle on the gut.
  • Epilepsy. Given that CBD may produce prolonged effects but is slow-acting, and that CBDA’s effect comes quickly but often for a shorter period of time, studies are underway to develop a perfect combination of these two compounds.
  • Nausea. Receptors that regulate well-being and anxiety levels also control the state of nausea, and CBDA communicates with these receptors to prevent vomiting. It also appears that cannabidiolic acid has more effect than CBD due to its rapid onset.
  • Breast cancer. There are claims and some studies that suggest CBDA can suppress the growth of an aggressive form of this disease.

CBD vs CBDA: How to use CBD and CBDA

There are several methods of how to use CBD and CBDA. Both compounds can be found in the following products:

  • Oils and tinctures. CBDA and CBD contained there can be used sublingually, orally or as an additive to foods (like salad dressings) or fresh drinks (like fresh juices).
  • Cosmetics. Cosmetics (soft gels) is where CBD and CBDA may also get together.
  • Edibles. Do you know CBD gummies? Yes, you can find CBDA inside them as well.

One more essential point is that not all CBD products can contain CBDA on the chemical level. For example, CBDA turns into CBD while heated, making it impossible to be present inside CBD e-liquids. Also, keep in mind that most hemp products comprise low amounts of CBDA. 

Final thoughts

Most cannabis research has long been centred around non-acidic forms of cannabinoids that are truly impressive. As a result, the advantages of acidic precursors have been kept in the dark, however, it seems the time has come to bring them to the bright side, as researchers explore their potential benefits and areas of application.


  1. Cannabidiolic Acid, a Still Overlooked Bioactive Compound: An Introductory Review and Preliminary Research (
  2. The Endocannabinoid System (
  3. What Are the Benefits of CBD? (
  4. The current state and future perspectives of cannabinoids in cancer biology (
  5. Cannabidiolic acid as a selective cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitory component in cannabis (
  6. What is CBDA: Facts and Health Benefits (
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