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The Differences of CBDA vs CBD Explained

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CBDA, or cannabidiolic acid, and CBD, also known as cannabidiol, are chemical compounds originating from cannabis or hemp plants (cannabis sativa). CBD and CBDA are both becoming more and more popular as time goes on, but why?

What is the difference between CBDA vs CBD?

Well, CBD has become popular in recent years as an oil with therapeutic properties, and is well thought of due to its usefulness in treating many conditions without any psychoactive effects.

TL;DRCBDA and CBD are extremely similar on a molecular level, and offer a number of the same health benefits. The downside to CBDA is that since it’s highly unstable, it’s difficult to mass produce. On the other hand, it has shown success in preventing the spread of COVID19.

CBD is registered mainly for use in the treatment of epilepsy, but is also used by many people as a relief agent to help with pain, inflammation, sleep problems, and even skin conditions.

On the other hand, CBDA is much less well known by the general public and scientists, alike. It was actually discovered before CBD and some recent research into its potential benefits is showing good results.

Some recent combinations of CBD and cannabidiolic acid have led to a resurgence in interest in CBDA.

What are CBD and CBDA?

Related read: Delta 8 vs CBD: What are the differences?

To understand the differences between CBD and CBDA, you first need to know a little more about the plant they come from – the cannabis plant.

I’m sure you’ve heard of the cannabis plant by now, but did you know that not all cannabis will get you high?

Phytocannabinoids (plant chemicals) come from cannabis plants. Research is constantly discovering different health benefits these chemical can give us.

As a reminder, cannabis plants contain both the hemp plant, and marijuana plants under their species.

Hemp Vs Marijuana Chart

The cannabis plant is full of useful cannabinoids, like CBD and CBDA. Most people are familiar with THC and CBD. While more commonly known, THC and CBD are only two of over 124 different cannabinoids we know about.

While THC and derivatives of THC (like the popular delta 8) are a psychoactive compound, the other cannabinoids are not.

There could be more, too.

The Endocannabinoid System, CBD, and CBDA

Cannabinoids are chemical substances that connect with cannabinoid receptors of the body and brain.

Endocannabinoid System Receptors

These cannabinoid receptors are part of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). The body’s endocannabinoid system regulates many functions including neural functions, coordination, learning, memory, pain, and emotion.

Cannabidiolic acid, CBD, and other cannabinoids can all offer certain benefits by stimulating the endocannabinoid system in their own way.

There are typically three main cannabinoids which develop more frequently in cannabis plants. These are also known as major cannabinoid precursor compounds.

The cannabinoids all start out as CBGA (cannabigerolic acid), and this is often referred to as the “mothership cannabinoid”. This then transforms into:

Let’s take a closer look at these three cannabinoids.

Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid (THCA)

THCA is found in variable quantities in fresh, undried cannabis. Over time it is decarboxylated to THC by either being dried out, smoked or cooked.

Related article: CBG vs CBD

THC is well known as the ingredient in cannabis that provides the “high”. The journal of Molecular Biology investigated the structure of THCA and THC in a study in 2012.

It is commonly consumed by smoking cannabis although it is also available in edibles and tinctures. This means that, unlike CBD, it is not legal in all states. CBD oil products contain less than 0.3 percent THC and most often come from the hemp plant, because it contains less than 0.3 percent THC content.

Cannabichromenic Acid (CBCA)

Cannabichromenic Acid has been the subject of recent research in 2020 in Sydney, Australia, and was found to be effective when used against Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA)

Cannabidiolic acid may not be well known as it is rarely consumed by the end-user. Instead, this acidic compound converts into CBD by a process called thermal decarboxylation.

This means that heat transforms the molecular structure of CBDA, and it loses its acidic carboxyl. The process is instigated by the plant being lit, smoked, or vaporized.

Cannabidiolic acid is so unstable that it is even transformed into CBD when the plant is left to dry at room temperature.

Finding the Differences

So why is there such an interest in cannabidiolic acid? Well, before 2022, CBDA was another relatively unknown cannabinoid.

Then, researchers with Oregon State University concluded in a medical study that CBDA (and CBGA) can prevent the spread of the COVID19 virus in human cells.

As you can imagine, this caused CBDA to become extremely popular, literally overnight. We’ll get into this a little bit later in this article.

Let’s dig just a bit deeper into these differences, and see what they encompass.

Differences Between CBDA and CBD

Both CBD and THC are decarboxylated and have a recognized effect on the body’s endocannabinoid system, hence their growing popularity in the treatment of a variety of conditions.

Cbd Vs Cbda Molecules

There is a good amount of ongoing research being conducted to prove their health benefits and how they work.

Since CBDA is not active in the end product, as it transforms into CBD, it does not affect the endocannabinoid system and has not therefore been the focus of much research. However, some scientists have now discovered some medical benefits of CBDA.

What are these CBDA benefits?

COVID 19 Prevention With CBDA

In a study headed by Richard van Breemen, findings specify that CBDA (in addition to CBGA) can prevent the virus that in responsible for COVID-19 from entering human cells.

Cbd And Covid Cell

In the lab tests, it showed that cannabigerolic acid and cannabidiolic acid were able to stop the infection of human cells by the coronavirus spike protein. This prevented SARS-CoV-2 from entering into human cells.

This is a prime example of why we need to study more cannabinoids. There are roughly 124 cannabinoids that we KNOW OF. Who knows what else we’re missing out on!

Other Interesting Studies

In 2008 researchers discovered that CBDA had a similar molecular structure to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). They found that it worked as a COX-2 inhibitor in the same way as typical NSAIDs.

Later in 2013, scientists from Canada looked into CBDA as a treatment for anxiety and use as an anti-nausea application. Their study found that CBDA was indeed a thousand times more powerful than CBD in binding to serotonin receptors linked with anti-nausea and anti-anxiety when given with low doses of traditional anti-nausea drugs in chemotherapy patients.

Brain Receptors

Related article: Benefits of Using 1,000mg CBD Tinctures

This important finding could link the use of CBDA with functions like motor skills, sleeping, eating, digestion, and emotions.

There is also some evidence that CBDA could be a powerful anti-convulsive. Compared to CBD, it has five times more similarities with the 5-HT receptors.

This is due to the bioavailability of CBDA which is far greater than CBD meaning it can be more easily metabolized providing more effects in less time.

One interesting development is that CBDA could effectively treat depression as it works in a similar way to existing SSRI inhibitors that are currently used as anti-depressant medications.

New Phase Blends Cbd Product Line

CBD is licensed by the FDA for the treatment of seizures in epilepsy. It is the only regulated use of CBD. During the licensing process, the FDA requested that studies should also be carried out on CBDA. It was found to be even more effective than CBD.

Difficulties of Cannabinoid Consumption

The problem with CBDA is that, despite its medical benefits, it has not been a feasible treatment due to its instability.

Since decarboxylation occurs even at room temperature and CBDA converts to CBD it is far more difficult to isolate the CBDA compound for use clinically.

This requires very special, and expensive, storage equipment to keep CBDA as stable as possible until it is ready for use.

CBD is also much easier to extract than other cannabinoids. There is a ton of CBD found in hemp plants, and easily extracted for use in drops, gummies, gels, and lotions.

Related article: Different Methods of Taking CBD Products

The health benefits of CBD coupled with how easy to is to extract (in comparison to CBDA) make it more sought after in the medical community.

New Methods of Isolating CBDA

Dr. Raphael Mechoulam is renowned for being the first scientist to synthesize THC and CBD. Fortunately, he has now worked on ways to utilize the therapeutic properties of CBDA by making it more stable.

Cbd Balm For Inflammation

Speaking at the Cannabis Conference in 2019, he indicated that his team had overcome the barrier of retaining CBDA and synthesizing the molecules to provide a stable compound that can be used therapeutically in various medical capacities.

He also suggested that it could be used as an anti inflammatory, the central nervous system, and the reduction of anxiety.

Clinical trials will need to be carried out on CBDA before it can be licensed by the FDA as an authorized treatment for these medical conditions. This will take further investment. It is hoped in the future that CBDA will be available as a licensed drug in the form of tablets and topical applications.

How are They Consumed?

Currently, CBD is popular and is available legally in the form of oils, gels, gummies, creams, and balms providing the products contain less than 0.3 percent THC. It can be consumed orally or topically with sublingual drops being the most effective method of absorbing CBD quickly.

Cbd Oil Tinctures

CBDA is an acid that transforms into CBD when activated by heat. It is very unstable and will even convert at room temperature over time.

Cannabis users who smoke or vape will not receive any CBDA as it will be completely converted into CBD. Broad or full-spectrum CBD oils may contain some residual CBDA.

In states where cannabis is legal, there has begun a trend in blending cannabis into a smoothie or juice that will preserve some of the CBDA.

CBDA vs CBD: Pros and Cons

Let’s break everything down into a pros and cons format for comparing CBDA vs CBD.


There has been far more research into the effects of CBD than CBDA. Although CBD is not generally regulated by the FDA, it is possible to use CBD derived from organic hemp plants and have the ingredients tested by a third party lab.

Cbd For Sleep

CBDA is only at the beginning of its research stage, with testing only carried out on animals. More time and financial input are required before being used safely on humans as a regulated medicine.


CBD is far more stable than CBDA. It is much easier to extract as a chemical compound and can be used easily in a variety of products. For this reason, making CBD rich oils seems to be easier than CBDA rich oils (at least for now).


CBD is widely available in many commercial products. CBDA is available in small quantities in the full spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD oil products that are taken orally or topically.

To get a higher dose of CBDA you would need to blend hemp strains, but this is only legal in some states.


The benefits of CBDA seem to outweigh the benefits of CBD in recent studies, but CBD offers similar benefits and uses to CBDA and has had more studies into its effects. You can infuse it into products, like a CBD balm, or other form of hemp goods.

As studies into CBDA are at the early stage there may be more findings in the future that will confirm or retract these benefits.

Natural Derivatives of Raw Hemp

CBD is a natural ingredient and in broad-spectrum and full-spectrum oils you will find other compounds from the hemp plant. CBD isolate will be pure with other compounds removed.

CBDA goes through fewer processes, and some people consider this even more natural.

Buying CBD Products Online

The only legal way to experience the effects of CBDA now in many states is to try full spectrum or broad spectrum CBD oil products as they will contain small amounts of CBDA.

You can find premium CBD products such as drops, gummies, or balms for a variety of conditions such as promoting sleep, giving energy, treating skin conditions, and reducing pain and inflammation.

You can find all of these products, and more, at New Phase Blends’ CBD store.

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All products are certified by Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) for quality and consistency and are free from THC. They are also certified by a third party so you can check out the ingredients for yourself.

Finally, they offer a 30 day money back guarantee on all CBD products sold. If you don’t like them, just return them for a refund in full (within 30 days of the original purchase date).’

The cannabis plant is filled with useful, natural chemicals that we keep discovering on what seems like a monthly basis.

*FDA disclaimer: none of the statements on this webpage have been approved by the FDA. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Medical advice should be sought before starting any supplement. If you are pregnant or nursing consult with a doctor. Medical advice should be sought if you have any pre-existing medical conditions. If you take other prescription medications, a doctor’s advice should be sought. Site void where prohibited.

About the Author

Dale Hewett Author

Dale Hewett

Dale is the owner and founder of New Phase Blends. He discovered his passion for CBD use after suffering from injuries sustained while on Active Duty in the US Army. His number one priority is introducing the same CBD products that he himself uses for relief to others who can benefit from them.

Dale holds a Master Degree of Science, and is the inventor of the popular, patent-pending CBD-based sleep aid known as ‘Sleep.’