CBDA (cannabidiolic acids) is one of the many compounds that can be found in cannabis and hemp. It is abundant in CBD-rich CBD varieties. When heated, it transforms into the more well-known cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol).
Cannabinoids can be used to create a variety of medical and recreational effects. These effects include pain relief, stress relief, and euphoria. THC and CBD are two of the most well-known cannabinoids. They both originate from the CBGA (cannabigerolic acids) precursor.
CBGA can be converted to three main cannabinoid precursor chemicals, depending on the plant enzymes that are activated to direct its synthesis.
- THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid)
- CBCA (cannabichromenic acids)
- CBDA (cannabidiolic acids)
Decarboxylation is when the cannabis plant is exposed to heat or sunlight. CBDA then converts to CBD. CBDA, also known as the precursor to CBD, is the raw form of CBDA.
Today, tinctures and topicals contain CBDA. To get their daily CBDA dose, many people drink raw hemp.
What is CBDA and why is it so important?
CBDA has potential medical benefits
CBDA, unlike most other cannabinoids, doesn’t bind to either the CB1 and CB2 receptors. CBDA instead interacts with the Endocannabinoid System by inhibiting the cyclooxygenase-2(COX-2) enzyme. The inflammation caused by injury or infection is associated with COX-2 enzymes. Therefore, CBDA can reduce inflammation and pain associated with it.
One rodent study found that CBDA had an effect on serotonin levels. This chemical is produced by nerve cells and aids in signaling between cells. The core functions of the human body, such as motor skills, sleep, eating and emotion, are all dependent on serotonin.
Radiation and chemotherapy can trigger excess serotonin release, which can cause nausea and vomiting. Although vomiting can usually be managed with medication, nausea can be more difficult to manage. Many patients with cancer say nausea causes more distress than vomiting, because nausea is a constant sensation. One in five cancer patients would consider quitting treatment to avoid nausea.
Scientists have shown that CBDA can alter the body’s 5-HT-serotonin-producing receptors. This suggests that CBDA could be used as a treatment for chemotherapy-induced nausea/vomiting and other conditions that cause these symptoms. More research is necessary.
Current Research on CBDA
CBDA has been studied by scientists for over a decade.
A 2008 study focused on the anti-inflammatory properties of CBDA. It was specifically studied for its COX-2 inhibitor capabilities. The research team compared CBDA’s molecular structure with NSAIDs, which are commonly used to treat inflammation. They found that their chemical structures were remarkably similar. Both drugs have been shown to inhibit COX-2 receptors. The initial study revealed that CBDA is a promising anti-inflammatory agent.
CBDA is thought to be an anticonvulsive, similar to how it controls nausea. Scientists have found that CBDA has 100x the affinity to the 5-HT receptors than CBD. One reason is that CBDA’s bioavailability means that the body can metabolize it with less effort.
The same receptor affinity could mean that CBDA could effectively combat depression. CBDA acts on 5-HT receptors the same way that a selective serotonin reuptake inhibit (SSRI) antidepressant medication would.
Most CBDA studies to date have been conducted in non-human preclinical studies. Although human trials are still needed, some companies such as GW Pharmaceuticals, based in the UK, are paving their way. GW Pharmaceuticals produces a CBD oil of pharmaceutical quality called Epidex. This is the first prescription drug derived from cannabis to be approved by US Food and Drug Administration.
The FDA required that the company conduct CBD research. However, GW’s own research has shown that CBDA is a more effective seizure treatment. Two other CBDA medical-use patents were filed by the company: one for treatment of cancer treatment and one for inflammatory dermatology.
While CBDA has not been tested on cancer cells yet, preliminary studies suggest that CBDA may stop the migration of MDA-MB-231.