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  • by Nicola Boulton September 07, 2022 4 min read

    The Difference between CBD and CBDA

    The cannabis plant contains over 100 cannabinoids, the most common being CBD and the psychoactive THC. If you are a user of cannabis, you may know the properties of these two, such that you know what to avoid your drug test results coming out positive. However, how about one of the lesser-known cannabis cannabinoids, CBDA? What is it, and how does it compare to CBD? Read on to find out.

    CBDA is extracted from parts of a budding hemp plant. The immature plant contains certain components that make it a better remedy for diseases treated with ordinary CBD. The cannabis derivative becomes CBD after decarboxylation, heating, or maturity. Hence, many users consume CBDA as CBD. The medical and therapeutic benefits of the two cannabis derivatives are relatively similar, although CBDA has inferior potency for some diseases compared to CBD. The current article compares and contrasts the benefits of CBDA and CBD. Learn more about what does cbd taste like?

    What is CBD?

    Cannabidiol (CBD) is the most abundant component of the cannabis plant. Unlike THC, CBD does not have psychoactive effects. The cannabis derivative is available in full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolates (Marinotti & Sarill, 2020). The hemp-based compound has different medicinal and therapeutic benefits, making it an area of interest for many cannabis users and manufacturers. Evans (2020) noted that its potential benefits include pain relief, anti-inflammatory benefits, reducing acne, and suppressing stress. Zhang et al. (2016) suggested that CBD can inhibit cancerous growth.

    CBD works by binding with cannabinoid receptors to alter irregular body functions like pain and inflammation (Corroon & Felice, 2019). It is, therefore, not a surprise to see the surge in the medicinal use of CBD and its incorporation in beauty and skincare products. However, while studies on the medical benefits of CBD are quite promising, they are still inconclusive.

    What is CBDA?

    Cannabidiolic acid, CBDA, is a cannabinoid abundantly found in the young cannabis plant. CBDA becomes CBD once the cannabis plant grows to maturity. CBDA can also be obtained from heating raw cannabis plants in a process known as decarboxylation. Just like CBD, studies on the health benefits of CBDA are still anecdotal.

    Nonetheless, the available research suggests on CBDA can deliver potentially similar health benefits to CBD. These include; reducing inflammation, pain, nausea, and epilepsy. It can also treat mental disorders like depression and anxiety and improve sleep. One study suggested that CBDA can reduce nausea compared to CBD. 

    While CBD binds to the cannabinoid receptors, CBDA interacts with the system. In turn, it increases the levels of serotonin produced in your system. Therefore, while they have relatively similar effects on the body, they work through different body mechanisms.

    CBD Vs. CBDA; The Difference

    CBD and CBDA have properties that set them apart. First, CBDA is plenty in tender and young cannabis plants, while CBD is domiciled in mature hemp plants. CBDA is a precursor to CBD; you decarboxylate CBDA to obtain CBD. The decarboxylation can be instant through smoking or vaping. On the other hand, you can dry it in the sun or put it at room temperature.

    Notably, CBD has gotten more attention in the market compared to CBDA. Therefore, the research on CBD is extensive compared to CBDA. Learn more about what does cbd stand for?

    CBD Vs. CBDA; How to Use

    CBDA comes as tinctures, oil, or easy-to-apply topicals such as creams. Potent CBDA juice is extracted from fresh young plants. In most cases, you consume CBDA as consumed as CBD. This implies that CBDA is a precursor of CBD. The mature product contains the commonly used CBD.

    CBD Vs. CBDA; Which is Better?

    As already mentioned, both products share potential health benefits. Besides, both derivatives are available in tinctures, oils, or topical products. The choice between these two depends on your preference and the specific symptom you want to treat. If, for instance, you want to reduce nausea, Rock et al. (2013) suggested that CBDA is better than CBD. When combined, CBD boosts CBDA; CBD boosts CBDA and vice-versa. Therefore, combining the two compounds ensures you get the entourage effect. Always buy the product from a trusted and reputable company that gives its manufacturing processes, a certificate of analysis, COA, and third-party test results. Furthermore, talk to your doctor before using CBD or CBDA.


    CBD and CBDA are natural components of the hemp plant. They share certain similarities, such as their benefits and lack of intoxicating effects. However, t CBDA is available in the young cannabis plant, while CBD is found in the mature cannabis plant. Besides, you obtain CBD by heating CBDA. While the body tolerates the two products well, poor quality products could result in adverse health effects. First-time users should seek medical advice to decide the best type of CBD for their condition.


    Corroon, J., & Felice, J. F. (2019). The Endocannabinoid System and its Modulation by             Cannabidiol (CBD). Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine, 25.

    Marinotti, O., & Sarill, M. (2020). Differentiating Full-Spectrum Hemp Extracts From CBD             Isolates: Implications For Policy, Safety And Science. Journal Of Dietary             Supplements, 17(5), 517-526.

    Rock, E. M., & Parker, L. A. (2013). Effect of low doses of cannabidiolic acid and   ondansetron on LiCl‐induced conditioned gaping (a model of nausea‐induced       behaviour) in rats. British journal of pharmacology, 169(3), 685-692.

    Zhang, M., Viennois, E., Prasad, M., Zhang, Y., Wang, L., Zhang, Z., ... & Merlin, D. (2016).             Edible ginger-derived nanoparticles: A novel therapeutic approach for the prevention and             treatment of inflammatory bowel disease and colitis-associated cancer. Biomaterials, 101,             321-340.

    Nicola Boulton
    Nicola Boulton

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