What is CBDA?

All of the major cannabinoids present in cannabis and hemp first develop as “the mother of all cannabinoids,” cannabigerolic acid (CBG-A) it’s from this compound that all the rest originate..

What is CBDA?

The acidic precursor to CBD in marijuana is Cannabidiolic acid (CBD-A) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid. CBD-A can be found in the live or raw form of cannabis. Particularly in the hemp plant and strains bred to cultivate higher CBD levels. CBD-A converts to CBD through thermal decarboxylation, which occurs when cannabis is exposed to heat or sunlight. Heat causes the molecule to lose its acidic carboxyl group. This decarboxylation process happen instantly, such as when the cannabis material is lit and smoked or vaporized, or by slow degradation over time if the plant material is left to sit at room temperature.


Those who want to consume CBD-A, means having to use more uncommon or conventional consumption methods, such as topical creams, tinctures, capsules and joining in on the raw cannabis juice trend.

How does CBD-A work and research behind it:

CBD-A isn’t known to bind directly with the CB1 and CB2 receptors but interacts with the ECS as an inhibitor to the COX-2 enzyme, giving CBD-A the potential to reduce inflammatory activity throughout the body. CBD-A is also thought to enhance the serotonin producing 5-HT receptor. This particular interaction could possibly make CBD-A, a primary contributor to the antiemetic effects of cannabis.

CBD-A is widely considered to be a key constituent in the medicinal spectrum of cannabis and the multitude of therapeutic applications it may offer. Normally, CBD-A and the other acidic forms of cannabinoids are not considered to be pharmacologically active until they’ve been decarboxylated. This is because they don’t affect the body’s endocannabinoid system in the same way that their decarboxylated forms do. As a result, most research has focused on the effects of CBD and THC, rather than CBD-A and THC-A.

But new research is beginning to challenge this idea.

Researchers noticed in 2008 that the molecular structure of CBD-A closely resembled that of other common non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The team then investigated the potential of CBD-A to act as an anti-inflammatory agent and found that CBD-A demonstrated the same COX-2 inhibitor behavior that enables NSAIDs to tackle inflammation.


A 2013 study from scientists in Guelph, Canada, found that CBD-A was a thousand times more powerful also CBD-A is also thought to be a powerful treatment for nausea and anxiety.


CBD is known to bind to a specific serotonin receptor linked to anti-nausea and anti-anxiety effects when administered alongside low-doses of the traditional anti-nausea drug for chemotherapy patients, ondansetron (OND). CBD-A shows promise as an anticonvulsant, anti-nausea and vomiting agent, analgesic and anti-inflammatory. CBDA may also have antibacterial, antioxidant and cancer preventing properties.


A September 2012 study researched CBD-A as a possible anti-cancer agent. Another study February 2013, the antiemetic effects of CBD-A was the subject. In January 2017 study suggested CBD-A may have application in the treatment of aggressive breast cancer.

CBDA Benefits and Medical Use

However despite its demonstrated therapeutic potential, CBD-A has not normally been considered as a viable clinical treatment. Naturally, it’s quite an unstable compound because at room temperature gradual decarboxylation. Because of this it wasn’t considered a viable option for clinical treatment.

New research from Dr Raphael Mechoulam, the cannabis scientist who first synthesized THC and CBD may have broken down that barrier. While speaking at the 2019 CannMed conference in California, Dr Mechoulam announced that his research team has found a way to transform the unstable CBD-A into a more stable compound which retains the therapeutic potential.


“We have taken the unstable acid molecules of the cannabis plant and synthesized them to provide a stable, consistent basis for researching new therapies across a wide range of medical needs – from central nervous system disorders to inflammation and many more,” Mechoulam stated. 

Mechoulam and his research team worked to stabilize the CBD-A, they found by converting it into a methyl ester derivative (known as cannabidiolic acid methyl ester or HU-580). By testing the new compound in an animal model for depression, the researchers confirmed that compound still retains its ability to reduce anxiety behaviors.


What is CBDA?

Synthesis of cannabidiolic acid metal ester, HU-580 (right) from cannabidiolic acid, CBD-A (left)

“In addition, we have provided several delivery mechanisms including tablets, topical applications and others to facilitate several approaches,” stated Mechoulam. Also added “Our work is a catalyst for the development of potential new therapies from a source long thought to have huge potential.”

The discovery was made by an international collaboration of scientists from several universities in Israel, Canada, and the United States, a topical cream manufacturer, a testing lab, and the start-up company EPM.

Which has now opened its intellectual property portfolio to the healthcare industry for licensing partnerships, in the hopes of attracting further investment. The company hopes that the compound will begin Phase 1 FDA clinical trials within the next six to twelve months. On average the time for a drug to gain FDA approval is 12 years.


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