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What’s the Difference Between CBD and CBDa?

As medical and recreational cannabis products become legal in more U.S. states, CBD (cannabidiol) has been popping up in everything from vitamins to massage oils. CBD is a cannabinoid, a chemical compound in cannabis that interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system. Many individuals find that CBD products relieve symptoms such as anxiety, pain and insomnia without the psychoactive effects associated with products that contain THC, another cannabinoid. Although CBDa gets less press, this cannabidiol is an acid that becomes CBD through a process known as decarboxylation.

The Transformation Process
When CBDa goes through decarboxylation, the hydrogen and carbon dioxide are removed. Although this will occur over time with heat and light exposure, it can be accelerated (such as when cannabis is vaporized or smoked). For CBDa to be transformed into CBD, it must be heated to at least 270 degrees Fahrenheit.

In effect, CBDa is the unprocessed, unheated form of CBD.

The Benefits of CBDa
Although researchers understand that both CBD and CBDa impact the body’s endocannabinoid system, few studies about the impact of CBDa have been conducted. It is known that while CBD interacts with the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the body’s endocannabinoid system, CBDa inhibits the COX-2 enzyme released by this system. This reduces inflammation, which may point to CBDa’s potential in relieving pain and chronic illness. In fact, scientists believe that the effect of the substance may be similar to that of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, which also affect the COX-2 enzyme.

Some of the promising research about CBDa includes:

The 2012 animal research found that CBDa reduced nausea by activating the nervous system’s serotonin 5-HT1A receptor. This has implications for using CBDa to relieve the symptoms of anxiety and other mood disorders, which are also impacted by this receptor.

In addition, one British pharmaceutical company, GW Pharmaceuticals, has already patented the use of CBDa and other cannabinoids for the treatment of disorders that cause psychosis, as well as for seizures.

Consuming CBDa
Using a select portion of flowers from raw cannabis plants can offer a CBDa-rich substance that can be consumed as a capsule or tincture or applied as a topical treatment. The tincture can be added to foods and beverages such as smoothies, juice, yogurt or sauces. Many users experience similar effects to those created by products that contain CBD. Based on more frequent usage and specific effects, some consumers prefer consuming CBDa during the day and CBD at night.
Circle Labs produces high-quality, single-origin cannabis products, including organic extra-virgin olive oil tinctures infused with CBD and CBDa. These oils are legal throughout the U.S. and can be purchased from our online catalog.