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To put it simply, CBDA is the acidic precursor to CBD (the “A” stands for “acid”). CBDA is found in the raw cannabis plant and, when heated, the compound then becomes the well-known CBD. The process of transforming CBDA to CBD is called decarboxylation or decarbing. With heat and some time, the acid group of the molecule degrades and what is left is what is dubbed as “activated” CBD.

While CBDA is thought to be inactive as a therapeutic compound, some research suggests that CBDA might not be as useless as many previously believed.

Cannabis consumers might prefer to smoke or cook their cannabis, but some also opt to garnish their salad or dish with raw cannabis leaves, thus munching on CBDA as opposed to CBD. So what then are the benefits of CBDA?

It’s known to have anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea and anti-anxiety qualities. A 2013 study found CBDA worked effectively to fight nausea, even more so than CBD, concluding, “Compared with cannabidiol, CBDA displays significantly greater potency at inhibiting vomiting in shrews and nausea in rats…”1

What Everyone Needs to Know about CBDA
Research from 2012 found that CBDA effectively stops the migration of breast cancer cells cultured outside of the body. While experiments done in petri dishes are no comparison to clinical human trials, the cannabinoid did offer some positive effects against a highly invasive form of breast cancer.

The authors wrote, “CBDA is a biologically active component of the fiber-type cannabis plant with potential utility as an effective anti-migration agent.”2

It should be noted that those who munch on raw cannabis leaves won’t be feeling any psychoactive effects because, like CBD, the high-inducing psychoactive THC isn’t activated until it’s heated, so those raw cannabis lovers are ingesting THCA as opposed to THC.

You might be wondering if you can decarb your cannabis at home. In order to effectively do so, you require some starting material, an oven set to 220-235 degrees F, parchment paper, and a baking tray. You begin by grinding your cannabis until the material can be spread over parchment and placed on your baking sheet. Let the cannabis bake for 30-to-45 minutes. 

Cannabis can also be decarboxylated in a slow cooker or Instant Pot by introducing solvents such as cooking oils or lecithin. These techniques create infusions that can be used in a variety of cooking recipes, topicals, and also cannabis capsules. Since they contain decarboxylated cannabinoids, they will work any way you choose to consume them.

If you’re looking for high CBDA strains, some experts suggest strains such as Pennywise, Harlequin and Harle-Tsu.3

What we should see in the coming months is more research into how CBDA reacts in the body and influences other conditions beyond nausea, cancer and inflammation. CBDA science is in its infancy stage, despite the compound being present in the plant since it took root in soil. 

  1. "Cannabidiolic acid prevents vomiting in Suncus mutinous and nausea-induced behaviour in rats." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3596650/
  2. "Cannabidiolic acid, a major cannabinoid in finer-type cannabis, is an inhibitor of MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell migration." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4009504/
  3. "Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA): The Raw Cannabinoid That Fights Inflammation." https://herb.co/learn/cbda/

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