What is CBDA and is it better than CBD?

What is CBDA? Is it better than CBD?

Most have heard of cannabidiol (CBD). You may be wondering how cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) is different and what the benefits of taking it are.

There is becoming more and more research available on this cannabinoid as it becomes more commonly used and studied.

CBD and CBDA have many similarities, but we see that CBDA may be even more effective in treating some ailments than CBD.

In this article, we will discuss how CBDA is different from CBD and its amazing health benefits.


What is CBD-A?

CBGA chemical formula

Cannabidiolic acid (CBGA) is the parent of cannabinoids. It, in a way, creates the others.

CBGA has a vital role in a growing cannabis plant to help regulate the size of the plant and direct the energy from sunlight and moisture to produce leaves and seeds.*

CBGA is converted into a combination of three different precursor cannabinoids:

When exposed to heat or light, these precursor cannabinoids convert to the more commonly known cannabinoids, such as CBD.

THCA becomes THC, CBDA becomes CBD and CBCA becomes CBC.

If you were to study the cannabis plant, you would find no CBD present in the plant. CBD is created when its parent cannabinoid, CBDA, is heated.

CBDA is an acid precursor of CBD in raw, living Cannabis. The letter A stands for acid.

When Cannabis is left at room temperature or heated to 230º or more, the heat causes the CBDA to lose its acidic structure called carboxyl groups.

The CBDA is then converted to CBD. This process is called decarboxylation.


Is CBD-A better than CBD?


If you are curious about which is more potent, your answer is CBDA.

Studies show that when given equal amounts of the two cannabinoids, CBDA had stronger effects than CBD (1).

CBDA is more water-soluble and maybe 11 times more easily absorbable than CBD.

There is not a lot of research to show the side effects of CBDA, but some studies suggest that it doesn't have as much of a sedating effect as CBD.

CBDA has a higher bioavailability than CBD and acts more quickly. Neither have any side effects of intoxication.

CBD-A may help reduce many negative health conditions, including:

  • Pain and inflammation*
  • Nausea*
  • Stress-related mental health*


CBD-A for pain and inflammation

Women using CBD for tennis elbow

We have quite a bit of research provided from animal studies that CBD can help reduce pain and inflammation.*

We are discovering now that CBDA could be even more effective than CBD in assisting pain and inflammation.*

CBDA decreases the COX-2 enzyme, which is responsible for inflammation* (2).

The National Library of Medicine (3) published a study done on rats. When equivalent, low doses of CBD and CBDA were given, CBDA effectively reduced pain sensitivity. CBD in the same low dose had no effect.

Many people who manage pain daily report that CBDA is effective in treating their pain and may work better than their NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).

Chris Carmichael, member of the 1984 US. Olympic Cycling Team and endurance sports coach (4) shared in his blog that CBD and CBDA have helped him manage his knee pain while training for long-distance biking.*

He says that CBDA has been most effective for him compared to CBD.

Many other people report CBDA to be more effective in reducing pain and inflammation than CBD.


CBD-A for nausea and vomiting

women using cbd to help with nasua

Nausea can be very exhausting and stressful for individuals experiencing motion sickness, undergoing cancer treatments, or experiencing nausea for other reasons.*

A study by The National Library of Medicine (5) shows that CBDA inhibits toxin and motion-induced nausea and vomiting.

This could be life-changing if you struggle with motion sickness regularly or are undergoing cancer treatments with nausea as a side effect.*


CBDA for Stress-related mental health

Mother using cbd for stress

Research on CBDA is still being discovered, but from our evidence, we believe it to be effective for mood related issues.* CBDA affects the serotonin receptors 5-HT1A.

CBDA works similarly to antidepressant drugs or selective serotonin reptile inhibitors (SSRI) but without possible negative side effects such as stomach ulcers, indigestion, or problems with the liver, kidneys, and heart.

Animal studies show a reduction in stress-related mental health.

In this study by The National Library of Medicine (6), cows were fed hemp, high in CBDA. Their results show that CBDA reduced stress and inflammation in the cows.

The cows lay down more often, and the stress hormone cortisol was lower.

Studies that have been done on rodents also show CBDA to be effective in reducing stress.


Will CBD-A get you high?


It is a common misconception to assume that all cannabinoids can cause a high effect.

However, CBD and CBDA are both non-psychoactive. They will not cause you to get high. 

The only known cannabinoids that may cause a high effect are Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other THC variants.

A high caused by THC is due to the psychoactive effects brought on by the THC when taken in large quantities.


Can I fail a drug test taking CBD-A?

will cbda make you fail a drug test

CBDA alone will not cause a failed drug test. CBDA does not contain THC and does not have any psychoactive side effects.

If you make smoothies from hemp cannabis leaves or eat the whole leaf, there will be THC content. 

If you take full-spectrum CBD containing CBDA, this also contains a very small amount of THC.

If you are looking for CBDA that won't possibly cause a failed drug test, look for broad-spectrum CBDA or CBDA Isolate. These products do not contain THC and should be safe to take without the risk of failing a drug test.

Marijuana contains a lot of THC (The cannabinoid that causes a high). Eating the cannabis leaf may cause a failed drug test and make you high because THC is much more abundant in marijuana than in hemp.

Depending on the law concerning marijuana where you live, it may or not be legal to consume marijuana recreationally. Hemp contains less THC and does not typically cause intoxication.


What is the best way to take CBD-A?

Woman taking CBDA oil

The most convenient way to take CBDA may be to take drops under the tongue (sublingually).

Since CBDA is a natural compound in cannabis leaves, you may enjoy eating raw cannabis leaves or flowers in a salad or smoothie or making cannabis leaf juice.

You may also enjoy seeping the cannabis leaves in water. This will not completely convert the CBDA to CBD, but you may get the benefits of both that way.

The CBDA in Cannabis can at least partially carboxylate if left at room temperature for a long time. The most promising way to take CBDA may be to take it as a tincture or softgel capsule.

CBDA can not be vaped or smoked because this would cause the CBDA to become CBD.

The entourage effect

Entourage effect equation

The entourage effect is when you get the full effects from the whole hemp or cannabis plant.

Studies show that when two cannabinoids are given at one time, there are more benefits than those two cannabinoids provide individually.

For example, in this study published by the National Library of Medicine (7), CBDA and THC were given together to mice. It was discovered that "when ineffective doses of CBDA or THC alone were combined, this combination produced an anti-hyperalgesia effect and decided inflammation."

We recommend this product which contains CBDA and CBGA. Each cannabinoid in this product has unique therapeutic and immune-boosting benefits when together.*


Sum it up!

CBDA is similar to CBD. It wins in a few departments, though. It's more potent, more naturally bioavailable, and more easily absorbable.

It might be better for treating ailments like nausea and inflammation and doesn't have the sedative side effect that CBD sometimes does.

For some people, it may work best to take both CBD and CBDA together. Thanks to the entourage effect, you can experience the benefits of both plus their strengths combined because these cannabinoids work great together.

Here at Zatural, we know that being educated can help you find relief from your health challenges and more fully enjoy life!*


CBDA + CBGA Full Spectrum CBD Softgels

These amazing softgels contain a high concentration of cannabinoids along with CBDA and CBGA. They are a powerful CBD supplement that can be taken daily to unleash their therapeutic properties.

CBDA and CBGA Full Spectrum CBD softgels


For educational purposes only FDA DISCLAIMER

*FDA DISCLAIMER -These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.



(1) LA;, R. E. M. L. C. L. P. (n.d.). Effect of cannabidiolic acid and ∆ 9-tetrahydrocannabinol on carrageenan-induced hyperalgesia and edema in a rodent model of inflammatory pain. Psychopharmacology. Retrieved June 13, 2022, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30225659/ 

(2)K;, T. S. M. K. Y. I. W. (n.d.). Cannabidiolic acid as a selective cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitory component in Cannabis. Drug metabolism and disposition: the biological fate of chemicals. Retrieved June 13, 2022, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18556441/ 

(3) LA;, R. E. M. L. C. L. P. (n.d.). Effect of cannabidiolic acid and ∆ 9-tetrahydrocannabinol on carrageenan-induced hyperalgesia and edema in a rodent model of inflammatory pain. Psychopharmacology. Retrieved June 13, 2022, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30225659/

(4) Mia, J., Flower, D. 8, Reakiro, C., Murphy, C., orange, D., Unabis, Nk, Fonda, G., Mattingly, L., Carmichael, C., Scott, Griffeth, J., Rutberg, J., Simmons, E., Sanchez, A., Cyclist, D., Cts, W, K., & Nancy. (2021, September 9). For pain relief, the 'A' in CBDA makes all the difference. CTS. Retrieved June 13, 2022, from https://trainright.com/cbda-pain-relief-for-athletes/

(5) Bolognini, D., Rock, E. M., Cluny, N. L., Cascio, M. G., Limebeer, C. L., Duncan, M., Stott, C. G., Javid, F. A., Parker, L. A., & Pertwee, R. G. (2013, March). Cannabidiolic acid prevents vomiting in suncus murinus and nausea-induced behaviour in rats by enhancing 5-HT1A receptor activation. British journal of pharmacology. Retrieved June 13, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3596650/

(6) Kleinhenz MD;Weeder M;Montgomery S;Martin M;Curtis A;Magnin G;Lin Z;Griffin J;Coetzee JF; (n.d.). Short term feeding of industrial hemp with a high cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) content increases lying behavior and reduces biomarkers of stress and inflammation in Holstein steers. Scientific reports. Retrieved June 13, 2022, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35256692/

(7) LA;, R. E. M. L. C. L. P. (n.d.). Effect of cannabidiolic acid and ∆ 9-tetrahydrocannabinol on carrageenan-induced hyperalgesia and edema in a rodent model of inflammatory pain. Psychopharmacology. Retrieved June 13, 2022, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30225659/

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