As far as CBD oil is concerned, people are comparatively educated: they know the benefits, and many have even read articles explaining where it derives from and how it affects us. However, when it comes to CBDA vs CBD, people don’t know much about CBDA.
What is CBDA? What is the difference between CBD and CBDA? All these questions may not yet be clear to you, but after reading this article, you’ll understand all that matters about both of these cannabinoids and will be able to compare CBD vs CBDA.
Nutritionist, BSc, MSc
What benefits does CBDA have compared to CBD?
Raw cannabinoids such as CBDA are more abundant when ingested, and have a much higher bioavailability than CBD (18x higher). CBDA also has 100 fold greater potency at serotonin receptors than CBD, giving it serious therapeutic value for mood, nausea, and vomiting conditions.
Table of Contents
What is CBDA?
CBDA, its full name being cannabidiolic acid, is one of the many cannabinoids present in the hemp or cannabis plants. This acid is essential for the development of cannabinoids. Did you know that no or very little of the commonly known cannabinoids like CBD or THC is found in the cannabis plant?
Naturally, you start questioning where do they appear from since there’s no denying that they exist. Well, that’s what the acids are for. CBD derives from CBDA, and THC derives from THCA. So, to put it easily, the acids could be the “parents” of these cannabinoids.
Now, we should also mention the conditions needed for the acids to convert to these cannabinoids. What’s needed is heat. To be exact, at least 270°F. The process of heating up the plant is called decarboxylation.
Decarboxylation is a chemical reaction that removes the carboxyl group and releases carbon dioxide. There are a few ways to decarboxylate the plant. One of the commonly used methods is lighting the plant on fire and smoking it.
It’s popular among those who seek to convert THCA to THC. However, it works on CBDA too. Another way people choose to decarboxylate the plant is by putting it into an oven and baking the weed. Since there’s no fire needed and heat works just fine, this method is as effective as setting it on fire.
Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that sometimes the process of CBDA converting to CBD can happen without the heat involved. CBD can appear from CBDA due to continuous exposure to room temperatures. The acid slowly degrades into CBD. However, the results are much slower, and the final product isn’t as CBD-potent.
Usually, the acidic forms of cannabinoids, such as CBDA, are not considered to be pharmacologically active. That’s because they don’t affect our endocannabinoid systems in the same ways as the decarboxylated forms do.
So, you might ask what the hype is about if it’s not pharmacologically active. Well, it has some worth. In fact, scientists noticed that CBDA has various functions, such as being anti-inflammatory or helping with nausea.
The next arising question is probably where do you get it from. You’re used to consuming CBD oil, but where do you get CBDA from? You might not need to make that much of a change as some CBD oils contain CBDA.
However, the easiest way to get CBDA is by consuming raw cannabis if it’s legal where you live or hemp. Another trend that we’ve noticed is cannabis juice. It’s also one of the possible sources of CBDA.
What is CBD?
Now that we talked about what is CBDA, we must also mention what is CBD to be ready for a CBDA vs CBD comparison. CBD might not need to have as much introduction as CBDA requires since CBD is way more well-known.
CBD is one of the many cannabinoids in the Cannabis Sativa plant. It’s known for various effects it’s said to have on people. Lots of studies have been conducted on CBD’s benefits, and many of them proved to be effective in treating illnesses and ailments.
Commonly, CBD is used by people to treat illnesses such as anxiety, insomnia, depression, arthritis, nausea, and many more disorders and illnesses. CBD, with its psychoactive abilities, affects your endocannabinoid system having a positive impact on your health.
The endocannabinoid system is a biological system in your body that’s full of endocannabinoid receptors. This system is responsible for a plethora of functions. These include appetite, movement, coordination, immune system, moods, and sleep.
The primary receptors of the system are CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors can be found in the brain, while CB2 ones are in your immune cells. CBD, unlike THC, doesn’t really bind to the receptors, but it stimulates them.
The positive effects CBD is said to have created this frenzy for CBD products. At first, you could only consume CBD in the oil form, but now the market has expanded drastically.
Your choices aren’t as limited anymore. You have the option to vape CBD. Vape pens and CBD vape oils are used for that. Another option you have is ingesting it in the shape of edibles, such as CBD gummies.
But that’s not it. The CBD manufacturers, as well as people who use it, are getting more and more creative with it. There are topicals, CBD-infused cosmetics, and even CBD-infused drinks. The CBD world is your oyster, and you’re the one to make choices which way you’d like to indulge in CBD.
The Similarities of CBDA vs CBD
Now that you’ve learned the main points of both of these cannabinoids, it’s time to compare CBDA vs CBD. Only one letter differentiates these abbreviations, so it’s not that hard to guess that they’re likely to have something in common.
Let’s figure out the similarities that need to be pointed out when comparing CBDA vs CBD!
The first thing we need to mention in this “CBDA vs CBD” guide when it comes to similarities of both of these cannabinoids is that they’re both anti-inflammatories.
It might come off as surprising after we stated that CBDA is considered to be non-pharmacological. Still, studies have proven CBDA, just like CBD, to be an effective anti-inflammatory.
Scientists have noticed that CBDA molecules’ structure highly resembles nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs’. Then they proceeded to test if it is effective in treating inflammation, and the results proved it to work. 
That means that CBDA could be useful in treating pain and inflammation, which is a common effect of various illnesses. When it comes to CBDA vs CBD, CBD is also said to be an effective anti-inflammatory.
Studies prove that. The results showed that using this, along with other cannabinoids, provided inflammation relief. So, you could definitely benefit from trying out using CBD for pain and inflammation relief.
When it comes to inflammation, there’s no need to compare CBD vs CBDA. Both the cannabidiol, as well as cannabidiolic acid, provide the benefit of easing inflammation.
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Having talked about CBDA vs CBD when it comes to inflammation, we should also mention both of these cannabinoids’ abilities to tackle nausea. It’s been suggested that both CBDA and CBD are effective treatments of nausea.
Nausea can occur for many reasons. Some experience it as a gastrointestinal issue, others deal with it as an effect of anxiety, while some may have it due to cancer treatment. The reasons might differ, but it doesn’t change the fact that nausea is never pleasant.
CBDA has been proven to be effective in combating nausea. The study conducted on rats has shown that CBDA works excellent for nausea. Despite the study being conducted on rodents, the effects on humans are expected to be the same.
CBD is also said to work well for nausea. A study was conducted on rats that tried easing nausea in rats by using CBD. The study proved CBD to be a successful way to treat nausea. 
As you now understand, when it comes to CBDA vs CBD, they both can help ease nausea. So, choose either of these two cannabinoids. Both of them should work just fine to alleviate the unpleasant nauseous feeling.
Differences of CBDA vs CBD
We’ve mentioned what unites both of these cannabinoids, but as you’ve read before, they’re definitely not the same. So, what is the difference between CBD and CBDA? Let’s answer that now!
The Time When It Appears in the Plant
The most noticeable difference between CBD and CBDA is the time when it appears in the plant. The cannabinoids present in the plant aren’t always the same. They go through many processes before the final cannabinoids are formed.
Acids come first. Firstly, there’s cannabigerolic acid (CBGA). All the other cannabinoids stem from it. Then this acid is converted into other acids. The job is done by plant enzymes that are unique to every cannabis plant.
CBGA is converted into a varying combination of the three major cannabinoid precursor compounds: cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), cannabichromenic acid (CBCA), and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA).
That’s when the need for CBDA vs CBD comparison rises. CBDA appears naturally in the plant. Enzymes in the plant convert it from CBGA. However, if you’d ask, “what is the difference between CBD and CBDA?”, the answer would be that CBD doesn’t really appear naturally.
This cannabinoid requires decarboxylation for the acid to turn into cannabidiol. The temperature of 270°F doesn’t occur naturally as human interference is needed. So, the difference between CBD and CBDA is that one appears naturally while the other one doesn’t.
CBDA Is Cleaner Than CBD
One more thing worth mentioning when comparing CBD vs CBDA is that CBDA is purer than CBD is. There’s some work to do if you want to extract CBD. There are quite a few different ways to do it.
Some methods are better than others, but sometimes solvents or even toxic residue can’t be avoided. At least when it comes to CBD. However, CBDA doesn’t require that, as getting CBDA can be done as simply as eating the raw plant.
It might sound surprising, but people do eat cannabis or hemp plants in order to gain the benefits of CBDA. If you decide to try it out, just get some hemp or cannabis leaves if it’s legal where you live and munch on them. It’s just like spinach or kale, but it comes with slightly different benefits.
Which One Is Better?
My guesses are that if you looked up CBDA vs CBD, you might want to learn which one of them is better for you. Yes, I might’ve mentioned the benefits of both, but there has to be one that’s better than the other, right?
Well, the answer is that it is quite hard to tell. Based on some of the studies, we’re convinced that CBD might be more effective, as CBDA is considered non-pharmacological. Despite that, it still provides lots of benefits.
The reason why I would personally stick to CBD is the amount of research conducted on its effects. While we definitely can’t state that everything is known about CBD, when it comes to CBDA vs CBD, CBD is way better studied.
That lets us consume the cannabinoid more confidently, knowing that both the positive effects as well as the side effects have been studied carefully. So, if you’d like to stick to CBD, check out some of the best CBD oils to choose the best one for you.
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There’s quite a bit of confusion when it comes to CBDA vs CBD. Just one letter differentiating these two abbreviations lets us believe that these two cannabinoids are likely to be somewhat similar. And they actually are.
They both share anti-inflammatory properties, as well as nausea-alleviating ones. However, they differ by the time they appear in the plant as well as their purity, as CBD has to go through decarboxylation and extraction using solvents or gases, while CBDA can be consumed naturally.
Now you have to make a choice between CBDA vs CBD. However, if you’d like to avoid that, you have the option of getting full-spectrum CBD oil that contains both CBD and CBDA. So, look into the best CBD oils and choose the one according to what you want.
Nutritionist, BSc, MSc
Contributed By Rory Batt, Nutritionist, BSc, MSc
Rory has a BSc in exercise and sports science and an MSc in Personalised Nutrition, where he studied cannabinoids as part of his MSc in nutritional science. He is a co-founder of Read Full Bio...
Contributed by Rory Batt, Nutritionist, BSc, MSc
1. Shuso Takeda, Koichiro Misawa, Ikuo Yamamoto, et al. 'Cannabidiolic Acid as a Selective Cyclooxygenase-2 Inhibitory Component in Cannabis'
2. Natascia Bruni, Carlo Della Pepa, Franco Dosio, et al. 'Cannabinoid Delivery Systems for Pain and Inflammation Treatment'
3. Rock E., Parker L. 'Effect of low doses of cannabidiolic acid and ondansetron on LiCl-induced conditioned gaping (a model of nausea-induced behaviour) in rats.'
4. Linda A Parker, Erin M Rock, Cheryl L Limebeer 'Regulation of nausea and vomiting by cannabinoids'
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