Humans have a long history with the cannabis plant, dating back thousands of years. Some experts even suggest that it’s one of the oldest cultivated agricultural crops. However, it’s only over the past few decades that we’ve really started to understand its chemical makeup. The first really significant evidence goes back to the 1970s when scientists discovered the presence of a variety of different molecules known as cannabinoids.
Cannabis has become one of the hottest topics of our era. Whether you’re for it or against it, just about everybody is talking about it. Cannabinoids are the naturally occurring chemical compounds that are found in the cannabis plant, of which the two most popular are CBD and THC. However, there are currently over 110 cannabinoids that we know about, and more are likely to be discovered in the future. Cannabinoids are thought to play a big part in the variety of medicinal and psychoactive effects that are associated with cannabis.
Cannabinoids work in the human body via the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS contains a set of receptors that function to regulate health and promote homeostasis within the body. There are two primary receptors: CB1 and CB2. The CB1 receptors connect primarily to the nervous system and brain, while CB2 receptors interact mostly with the immune system. The body relies on the cannabinoids binding to the receptors in order to produce the array of therapeutic effects.
Each cannabinoid has unique characteristics that are worth looking into if you want to maximize the desired effects by medicating with cannabis.
What is CBDa?
Believe it or not, CBD exists in growing cannabis plants in only tiny amounts. This is because, in growing plants, CBD exists in the form of cannabidiolic acid (CBDA). It’s only when the plant is dried, cut, and heated that CBD is formed.
As the name suggests, CBDa is closely related to CBD. It’s often considered to be the parent molecule of CBD since it’s only present in raw cannabis, while CBD only exists through the process of decarboxylation. This is why CBDa is known as the acid precursor of CBD.
CBDa is classified as a carboxylic acid, which means that its structure is that of a carboxyl group and comprised of one carbon, one hydrogen, and two oxygen atoms, usually expressed as COOH. When the molecule is exposed to high temperatures, the group is broken down to form hydrogen and carbon dioxide. What’s left after this process is CBD.
This process is what is known as decarboxylation. While it can happen slowly over time, decarboxylation takes place anytime that the compound is exposed to heat. This means that anytime you smoke weed, bake it in the oven, or heat it in a vaporizer, the decarboxylation process is taking place.
How Does CBDa Work?
CBDa isn’t believed to bind directly with the CB1 and CB2 receptors but rather interacts with the ECS as an inhibitor to the COX-2 enzyme. This gives CBDa the potential to reduce inflammatory activity within the body. Also, CBDa is believed to enhance the serotonin-producing 5-HT receptor. This interaction means that CBDa could be a primary contributor to the antiemetic effects of cannabis.
CBDa is commonly consumed by juicing with raw cannabis, but it is also often found in topicals, tinctures, and capsules. It has shown a lot of promise as an anti-nausea and vomiting agent, as well as for its anticonvulsant, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties. It could also have antioxidant, antibacterial, and cancer-preventing effects.
Research into CBDa is still very limited. However, it’s widely considered to play a key role in the medicinal spectrum of cannabis and the various therapeutic applications it may offer.
What is CBDa Oil?
Now that you know what CBDa is, you should have a pretty good understanding of what CBDa oil is. Essentially, CBDa oil is very similar to CBD oil, except for the fact that the primary ingredient is CBDa rather than CBD.
Believe it or not, hemp and cannabis plants contain more CBDa than CBD. But, this should be pretty obvious by now given that we’ve established CBDa is the precursor of CBD, and CBD is only formed once the CBDa is heated. This means that CBDa can be extracted from the cannabis plant before it is converted into CBD.
Ultimately, CBDa oil is the “raw” version of CBD oil. However, most CBD products currently on the market are decarboxylated, which means that they contain very little if any, CBDa. But, given the potential benefits of CBDa that are starting to emerge, you’re probably going to want to get your hands on CBDa oil soon.
What are the Benefits of CBDa Oil?
Unfortunately, research into CBDa is seriously lacking. However, preliminary lab studies suggest that CBDa oil may be useful in four distinct therapeutics areas:
Nausea and Vomiting
According to rodent research, CBDa appears to be a very helpful treatment option for a queasy stomach. A 2012 study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology revealed that CBDa was effective in treating nausea in rodents.
The same study discovered that CBDa could reduce vomiting in shrews. When a comparison was made between CBD and CBDa, researchers found that CBDa was more powerful in treating an upset stomach.
As with just about all cannabis research, we are very much in need of high-quality studies on the use of CBDa for anxiety. But, one biopharmaceutical company has a patent on the use of CBDa in the potential treatment of psychotic disorders.
The British company known as GW Pharmaceuticals included CBDa in a patent for using cannabinoids in combination with antipsychotic medications. The patent also includes other cannabinoids such as CBD, CBCa, CBGa, CBC, and THCV.
Lab research done in cell cultures has discovered that CBDa possesses some potential anti-inflammatory properties. A 2008 experiment that was published Drug Metabolism and Disposition revealed that CBDa is a selective COX-2 inhibitor.
To put it simply, COX-2 is an enzyme that plays a part in the development of pro-inflammatory compounds known as prostaglandins. The COX-2 is the target of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), such as aspirin and ibuprofen.
Inflammation is an important and natural response to injury, stress, and illness. However, chronic inflammation can be very painful and detrimental to the health of an individual. One example of a chronic inflammatory condition is arthritis.
The study found that naturally occurring CBDa selectively blocks the COX-2 enzyme, thus reducing its ability to synthesize pro-inflammatory compounds. Also interesting, the research showed that CBDa was more effective in its anti-inflammatory effects than its counterpart, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA).
Research conducted in 2012 discovered that CBDa was effective in halting the migration of breast cancer cells that are cultured outside of the body. While there’s no comparison between experiments conducted in Petri dishes and human clinical trials, CBDa did display some positive results against a highly invasive type of breast cancer.
Particularly, the CBDa appeared to prevent the migration of breast cancer cells. Theoretically, stopping cancer cells from migrating would prevent cancer from spreading into other parts of the body.
Final Thoughts on CBDa Oil
CBDa isn’t nearly as well research as CBD, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have some therapeutic benefits of its own. We are only now starting to understand the potential uses of CBDa, particularly for conditions like nausea & vomiting, breast cancer, and inflammation.
In time, we are bound to see more research being done on CBDa, especially based on the positive results that have been demonstrated in preliminary studies.