What is CBDA
Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) is among the numerous compounds that are produced by hemp and cannabis. Within CBD-variety plants, it is abundant and converts into the more well-known cannabinoid called cannabidiol (CBD) when it is exposed to heat and over time.
Cannabinoids are a type of cannabis compound. They interact with the human body to produce recreational and medical effects, from euphoria to stress and pain relief. Most likely you have heard of THC and CBD before. They are the most well-known cannabinoids. Originally, they both come from the precursor cannabinoid called cannabigerolic acid (CBGA).
cannabidiolic acid – CBDA
cannabichromenic acid – CBCA
tetrahydrocannabinolic acid – THCA
Whenever decarboxylation takes place, exposes cannabis plants to sunlight or heat, CBDA is converted into CBD. That means that CBDA is the predecessor or raw form of CBD.
CBDA these days is commonly found in topicals, tinctures, and capsules. Many people even get their daily CBDA dose from raw cannabis juice.
Why is CBDA important and what does it do?
Potential Medical Benefits Provided by CBDA
Although most cannabinoids directly bind with either the CB2 or CB1 receptors, that is not how CBDA works. CBDA, instead, interacts with the endocannabinoid system. It does this by inhibiting the enzyme cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). COX-2 is associated with inflammation following an infection or injury. So when COX-2 enzymes are blocked, CBDA is able to relieve inflammation along with the pain associated with it.
Scientists found in a rodent study that serotonin levels were affected by CBDA. This is a chemical that the nerve cells produce to help with signaling between cells. Serotonin is critical to important human functions such as emotions, digestion, eating, sleeping, and motor skills.
A number of different stressors, including chemotherapy and radiation, triggers the body into releasing excess serotonin which causes vomiting and nausea. Although typically vomiting can be controlled with medication, controlling nausea is more difficult. Nausea causes a lot more distress to cancer patients than vomiting since nausea is a type of continuous sensation. One out of every five cancer patients considers discontinuing their cancer treatment to avoid experiencing nausea.
Scientists have shown that CBDA can affect the 5-HT serotonin-producing receptors in the body, which indicates CBDA may be potentially used as a form of medication for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) as well as other conditions that can induce those symptoms. Additional research is needed.
Current CBDA Research
Over the past decade, scientists have studied CBDA.
A 2008 study examined the potential of using CBDA as a type of anti-inflammatory agent. It did this by specifically researching its COX-2 inhibitor characteristics. The researchers compared CBDA’s molecular structures against NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) that are often used for treating inflammation. They found that the two have very similar chemical structures. Both are known for inhibiting COX-2 receptors. The initial study demonstrated that CBDA has promise as a possible anti-inflammatory agent.
Just as CBDA controls nausea, it can potentially be a very powerful anticonvulsive as well. It has been shown by scientists that compared to CBD, CBDA has 100 times more affinity for 5-HT receptors. One reason for this is CBD has higher bioavailability. Therefore the body is able to metabolize it faster and with less effort.
The same receptor affinity might also mean CBDA can fight depression effectively CBDA, after all, works on 5-HT receptors in a similar way that an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) antidepressant medication does.
To date, a majority of CBDA studies have been non-human preclinical studies. Although human trials need to be conducted, certain medical cannabis companies such as the British-based GW Pharmaceuticals are helping to pave the way. The company manufactures Epidiolex, which is a pharmaceutical-grade CBD oil. It is the first cannabis-derived prescription drug that has been approved by the FDA.
The company was required by the FDA to conduct research on both CBD and also on its precursor CBDA. Research done by GW shows that CBDA is a very effective treatment for seizures. Two other patents for CBDA medical-used have been filed by the company: one for cancer treatment and the other for inflammatory skin diseases.
Although to date CBDA cancer research has been just on isolated cells, there are indications from initial studies that CBDA may stop the migration of a very aggressive type of breast cancer cell called MDA-MB-231.