The medicinal use of CBD is increasing in popularity, and with more research being conducted regularly, there seems to be an endless amount of health benefits.
Some of the most common reasons for consuming CBD are to reduce anxiety and depression, boost overall mood, and to get a good night’s sleep.
But have you heard about CBDa? As one of the lesser-known cannabinoids, CBDa (short for cannabidiolic acid), also provides some unique positive health effects.
CBDa against COVID
A recent study found that CBDa has potent anti-inflammatory effects and is possibly effective for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.
Researchers found two cannabinoids – cannabigerolic acid, or CBGa, and cannabidiolic acid, CBDa – bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, blocking “entry of live SARS-CoV-2 into cells” and preventing infection.
Authors concluded: “Orally bioavailable and with a long history of safe human use, these cannabinoids, isolated or in hemp extracts, have the potential to prevent as well as treat infection by SARS-CoV-2.”
CBD and CBDA: What’s the difference?
Both CBD and CBDa are known as cannabinoids as found in the flowers of cannabis plants.
However, you won’t find much CBD in unsmoked flower from a high-CBD cannabis plant. Instead what you’ll see is a huge amount of its precursor – CBDa.
Basically, CBDa is a compound that eventually develops into CBD. The “a” in CBDa stands for “acid”, which means the cannabinoid is still in its raw, acidic state.
CBD only comes about when CBDa is exposed to heat, through a process known as decarboxylation.
When consumed, CBD binds with receptors in our brain and body, with many studies have showing it’s effective in reducing inflammation and treating pain.
But while CBDa also interacts with our body’s endocannabinoid system, it doesn’t bind with cannabinoid receptors in the same way as CBD.
Some studies show that CBDa can act as a COX-2 inhibitor – which also makes a great treatment for pain, inflammation, and could also boost serotonin production.
Benefits of CBDa
While both CBD and CBDa interact with our endocannibinoid system, CBDa is thought to have many important differences which could make it a more potent cannabinoid.
This study found that CBDa is 5-11 times better absorbed and also has more powerful effects on pain and inflammation in the body after physical activity, symptoms of nausea, and worry.
And a Canadian study in 2013 found CBDa to be a thousand times more powerful than CBD when binding to a specific serotonin receptor after administered in conjunction with a traditional anti-nausea drug for chemotherapy patients.
When the CBDa interacted with receptors, researchers found that it had strong anti-nausea and anti-anxiety effects.
How to consume CBDa
Placing CBDa oil drops under your tongue is probably the best and most efficient way to administer the cannabinoid.
But CBDa oils are generally concentrated and infused as the active ingredient in many tinctures, topicals, capsules, drinks, edibles, and many other popular products.
However, it could take longer to feel the effects of the CBDa this way, and you may need a larger amount.
You could also try eating raw hemp flower.
CBD and CBDa are very closely related, but they work in the body in different ways.
So since they work differently, CBDa may better at treating certain symptoms than CBD, and vice versa.
But it’s also thought that they could work very well as combination and could compliment each other’s benefits through what’s known as the entourage effect.
In recent studies, the CBDa benefits seem to outmuscle the benefits of CBD.
But on the other hand, there has been a lot more research into the effects of CBD, and the amount of available CBD products outnumber that of CBDa.
The science on CBDa is still in the early stages and they are just now starting to learn about the true effects of this unique cannabinoid. As more studies are carried out, there will be more findings to confirm whether it does outperform CBD or not.