WHAT IS CANNABIDIOLIC ACID (CBDA)?

With the consistent drive by researchers to know more about Cannabidiol (CBD), and other cannabinoids that exist within the cannabis plant, new compounds are being discovered. Each one contains its unique properties and potential medicinal uses.

One of the discovered cannabinoids is Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA). CBDA is one of the other acidic cannabinoids produced by cannabis plants discovered by scientists. CBDA is converted to CBD when exposed to heat.

CBDA was first recognized in the year 2008 in a study that was done by the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics Journal (ASPET). It was discovered by ASPET that CBDA is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, unlike its other counterpart THC. It was also discovered that CBDA has the same anti-inflammatory benefits as CBD.

While the first compound that is formed in the plant is CBDA, when heated, it loses its acidic carboxyl group and then converts to CBD – the process whereby the acidic carboxyl group is lost is known as decarboxylation. This is how major cannabinoid precursor compounds are converted into compounds that will bind to cannabinoid receptors.

This process can occur naturally when the plant is left to slowly degrade over time, or with the intervention of humans when the cannabis plant is smoked or lit on fire. This means CBDA is the antecedent of CBD.

Since 2008 when CBDA was discovered, a series of studies have been ongoing to create a concrete foundation of understanding the cannabis plant. Some of these studies report that the compound shows huge potential in treating inflammation, anxiety, aches, and also in improving mood.

HOW DOES IT WORK

We have receptors in our brain that are made to bind directly with psychoactive cannabinoids that are present raw cannabis plants like CBD, THC, etc. CBDA does not work this way.

Rather it interacts with the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) which contains the receptors. ECS has three major parts; cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoids, and metabolic enzymes. All of these play an important role in regulating our biological systems.

POSSIBLE THERAPEUTIC BENEFITS

Even though potential CBDA benefits have been shown in numerous therapeutic studies, it is yet to be an acceptable clinical means of treatment. Being an unstable compound, research is still going on to see how it can be stable, and how it can become a viable option for clinical use.

Here are some of the therapeutic benefits of CBDA:

  1. For Nausea and vomiting

In a study that was done on mice and rats, it was reported that CBDA was able to reduce anticipatory nausea and vomiting. It was said to be more potent at controlling nausea than CBD. Raw cannabis juice works well here.

  1. For Depression and anxiety

There is a serious discussion surrounding the ability of CBD to reduce anxiety. Likewise, studies were done using rats to determine the effectiveness of CBDA against anxiety and depression. It was recorded that rats pre-treated with CBDA did not exhibit any form of anxiety in response to the test carried out on them. 

  1. For Breast Cancer

A 2012 study showed that CBDA was able to stop the migration and invasion of deadly human breast cancer cells. Another study also showed that CBDA was able to suppress genes that are associated with breast cancer.

INTERESTING FACTS

  • CBDA acid becomes CBD. It is then heated in a process called decarboxylation to form CBD.
  • It has been shown by scientists that CBDA has 100 times the affinity for the receptors compared to CBD from raw cannabis.

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REFERENCES

Bolognini, D., Rock, E., Cluny, N., Cascio, M., Limebeer, C., Duncan, M., … Pertwee, R. (2013). Cannabidiolic acid prevents vomiting inSuncus murinusand nausea-induced behaviour in rats by enhancing 5-HT1Areceptor activation. British Journal of Pharmacology, 168(6), 1456–1470.

Rock EM, Limebeer CL, Petrie GN, Williams LA, Mechoulam R, Parker LA. Effect of prior foot shock stress and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiolic acid, and cannabidiol on anxiety-like responding in the light-dark emergence test in rats. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2017;234(14):2207-2217. doi:10.1007/s00213-017-4626-5

Takeda, S., Okajima, S., Miyoshi, H., Yoshida, K., Okamoto, Y., Okada, T., … Aramaki, H. (2012). Cannabidiolic acid, a major cannabinoid in fiber-type cannabis, is an inhibitor of MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell migration. Toxicology Letters, 214(3), 314–319.

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