Is this the next biggest cannabinoid. Photo credit: IRA_EVVA.
CBD is one of the most common cannabinoids that many use for a variety of treatments. However, there may be a better alternative that’s stealing the spotlight — CBDA.
The Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) states that the cannabis plant produces between 80 and 100 different cannabinoids. The foundation also states that the two main cannabinoids in cannabis are THC and CBD.
While there are an abundance of different cannabinoids, scientists have not thoroughly researched them all. One cannabinoid that has recently been shining in the spotlight — CBDA — is starting to show health effects similar to CBD.
Before diving into this specific cannabinoid, it’s important to understand exactly what cannabinoids are.
Oxford Languages defines cannabinoids as any group of closely-related compounds which include CBD and the active constituents of cannabis. While plants produce phytocannabinoids, our bodies produce endocannabinoids.
These cannabinoids interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS); a communication system located in the brain and other organs that affect different functions. It contains cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2 receptors. When cannabinoids bind to these receptors, it helps regulate different activities like sleep, appetite, and memory.
The ADF states that cannabinoids work by “interacting with specific receptors [either CB1 or CB2 receptors], located within different parts of the central nervous system.” More specifically, they regulate the communication of cells (sending, receiving, or processing messages).
Research proves that certain cannabinoids (mainly CBD) can treat diseases, and have positive health benefits. This includes treating forms of epilepsy, side effects of chemotherapy like nausea, and weight loss due to HIV/AIDS, etc.
CBDA may prove to have similar effects as CBD, as well as treat similar diseases and issues.
A scientific article in the journal Molecules states that CBDA is the “main phytocannabinoid [cannabinoids that occur naturally in the cannabis plant] in fiber and seed-oil hemp.” Additionally, “its potential health-related capabilities have been masked for years by a greater scientific interest towards its neutral derivative CBD.”
CBDA, along with THCA and CBCA, all derive from the “mothership” cannabinoid, CBGA.
CBDA is the raw predecessor to CBD. It is one of many compounds that the cannabis plant produces. According to Leafly, when it is exposed to sunlight or heat for an extended period of time, a chemical reaction turns CBDA into CBD. Many know this process as decarboxylation.
Benefits of CBDA
Like CBD, CBDA does not cause intoxication. According to a research blog by Luna Technologies, an extraction company, “CBDA interacts with the endocannabinoid system by inhibiting the Cox-2 enzyme, which does not directly affect the central nervous system.”
This means that for potential customers/users that do not want to feel impaired, CBDA may be a great option for the treatment of various health conditions.
Due to CBDA’s affinity for serotonin receptors, it is able to affect mood, nausea and inflammation.
For example, according to Luna Technologies, “CBDA has shown to have a more intense activation of 5-HT1A serotonin receptors compared to CBD.” Additionally, “serotonin can affect a variety of physiological functions including mood regulation, nausea, vomiting, and intestinal motility.”
Luna Technologies states that GW Pharma, the company responsible for Epidolex, a CBD formulation used to relieve seizures, conducted studies comparing CBD and CBDA.
“In some studies, the team found that CBDA can have better bioavailability (the rate at which a drug enters the system) and a faster-acting effect than its parent compound,” they wrote.
Additionally, the study concluded that “in some cases, [low doses of] CBDA proved more effective in reducing seizures compared to CBD.”
Similar to CBD, CBDA carries anti-inflammatory properties.
Katie Stem, CEO of Peak Extracts, an extract company that distributes CBDA products, told Emerald via email that “CBDA seems more useful to those suffering from long-term inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, whereas CBD seems to be better for acute pain,” Stem explained. “CBDa seems to last a bit longer, probably due to its effect on the inflammatory cascade.”
According to health news site, Health Europa, “non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen and aspirin target COX-2 receptors for reducing inflammation.”
CBDA is a known COX-2 inhibitor. This means that it works the same way as NSAIDS, without the possible negative side effects. Additionally, Health Europa states, “CBDA does a better job of blocking COX-2 than even CBD or THC, and with fewer side effects.”
Health Europa also explained that, “nausea is controlled by the same receptors that control anxiety and wellbeing. CBDA interacts with these receptors in a comparable way to CBD to temper the feelings of nausea and help to prevent vomiting.”
The publication also states that “recent research concludes that CBDA is more effective than CBD for reducing nausea because of its rapid onset.”
Additionally, according to the British Journal of Pharmacology, researchers discovered that the cannabinoid was a powerful treatment against nausea and vomiting caused by toxins and motion-induced nausea.
This also applies to nausea induced by chemotherapy treatment. Because this type of nausea has no known treatments, this is very promising for CBDA.
CBDA holds potential in preventing the migration of specific cells involved in breast cancer.
Research by the British Journal of Pharmacology states that investigations reveal that “CBDA inhibits migration of the highly invasive MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells.”
However, research on this property of CBDA is limited. Despite this, the route for CBDA looks incredibly promising and beneficial.
A Promising Future
CBDA holds very similar properties and applications to that of CBD. However with very specific applications for certain issues, research proves that CBDA so far is more effective.
Like CBD, CBDA is legal to purchase and consume within the U.S. There are a variety of websites and dispensaries that distribute the cannabinoid in various different forms. This includes topicals, vapes, and even edibles.
Researchers have made many promising discoveries regarding the effects and usage of CBDA. However the research is still relatively limited compared to THC and CBD. However, the leads made so far pave a promising route for its future.
The leads are so big in fact that scientists are trying to create a synthetic form of the cannabinoid to make it more widely available, reports the British Journal of Pharmacology.
The effects of CBDA may potentially synergize with others such as CBD as well.
Bottom line for consumers, it’s definitely worth a try.
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