It might be surprising to learn that the raw hemp plant actually contains very little CBD. In its natural state, the raw hemp plant is composed of 95% CBDA (Cannabidiolic Acid) and only about 5% is in the form of CBD (Cannabidiol).
What is CBDA?
The hemp plant contains over 85 active compounds called cannabinoids. One of the more significant cannabinoids is Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA), the molecular precursor to the more well-known compound, Cannabidiol (CBD).
When the hemp plant is processed, cannabinoids can be changed or removed. The final hemp product can contain a single cannabinoid molecule (CBD isolate) or all the available cannabinoids (full-spectrum), depending on how it is manufactured.
Until recently, CBD has been viewed as the more important cannabinoid and manufacturers have intentionally converted CBDA into CBD to expose its diverse therapeutic benefits.
Through a process called decarboxylation, the raw plant form of CBDA is heated and the acidic form is converted to CBD — a process known as “decarbing”. Decarboxylation is a chemical reaction where a carboxyl group (-COOH) is removed and carbon dioxide is released. In less rigid scientific terms, CBDA is ‘converted’ into CBD. What is left is referred to as ‘activated’ CBD. Cannabinoids in their acidic-form had previously been considered ‘inactive’.
Today, most commercially available CBD products are decarbed and contain little or no CBDA. That’s unfortunate because science is now discovering that the acid-form of CBD, Cannabidiolic Acid, possesses significant medical benefits and healing qualities in its own right.
According to current published research, many conditions that respond well to CBD may also respond to CBDA. And thanks to its natural anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, analgesic effects.
CBDA as a treatment for arthritis or inflammatory conditions, laboratory research in cell cultures have discovered that CBDA seems to work in a remarkably similar way to common non-steroidal-anti-inflammatory-drugs like Aspirin, Ibuprofen, and Acetaminophen–but without the increased risks of peptic ulceration or kidney damage associated with the use of NSAIDS.
Natural CBDA from raw hemp has analgesic (pain-relieving) effects similar to NSAIDS with chronic pain.
Researchers speculate that the analgesic, anti-inflammatory effects of CBDA are based on the way it interacts with an enzyme called COX-2.
There are two types of cyclooxygenase (COX-2) enzymes, COX-1 and COX-2. Both enzymes produce prostaglandins that promote inflammation, pain, and fever but it’s the COX-2 enzyme that is the primary target site for anti-inflammatory drugs and the recent focal point of research into CBDA as a preferable pain-management therapy.
While NSAIDs block the COX-2 enzymes and reduce the production of pro-inflammatory prostaglandins, CBDA can also perform this chemical interference but do so without the negative side-effects associated with prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications (OTC).
Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA) is a selective inhibitor for COX-2 and a potential natural treatment alternative for pain management where the use of NSAIDS may not be well tolerated.
While clinical research is still in its infancy regarding the potential therapeutic effects of Cannabidiolic Acid, CBDA from natural, full-spectrum hemp is thought to provide the following medicinal benefits:
Anti-inflammatory – Reduces systemic inflammation, effective for conditions like arthritis and Crohn’s Disease.
Anti-proliferative – Prevents cancer cells from spreading. CBDA (along with CBD, THC, and THCA), has proven to be an effective anti-tumor treatment–in some cases cannabinoids “re-program” cancer cells to kill themselves, causing tumors to shrink.
Analgesic / Anti-cancer – CBDA shows dual inhibitory effects on COX-2 through down-regulation and enzyme inhibition and may possess the ability to suppress genes that are positively involved in the metastasis of cancer cells in vitro.
Anti-oxidant – cannabinoids are neuroprotectants, preventing oxidation damage to neurons exposed to toxic levels of the neurotransmitter, glutamate.
Antibacterial – Slows bacterial growth, aiding in the fight against bacterial conditions such as pneumonia, meningitis, ear infections, strep throat, and food-borne poisoning.
Anti-emetic – CBDA activates the serotonin 5-HT1A receptor commonly associated with regulating mood and anxiety. This brain receptor also plays a part in reducing or eliminating feelings of nausea and vomiting.