Health Benefits of Cannabis Compound: CBDA

The Interesting Case of Cannabidiolic Acid

What is Cannabidiolic Acid?

Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) is a chemical compound present in the trichomes (hair-like appendages) of raw cannabis plants. Raw in this context refers to uncured or unheated flowers and leaves that are trimmed directly from the plant. Cannabidiolic acid serves as the precursor to the already well-known cannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD). It is estimated that 95 percent of fresh cannabinoids in fresh cannabis is in the form of tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), while only 5 percent exists as CBDA. So, what are the health benefits of cannabis, particularly, CBDA? 

Heating of CBDA causes its degradation into CBD. This process by which CBDA is converted to CBD is known as decarboxylation.

CBDA occurs in significant quantities in some types of cannabis plants. Large quantities are found mostly in high-CBD strains. These high-CBD strains are not psychoactive.

There is still much to learn about CBDA. But many people have already discovered the therapeutic benefits of taking it in raw form through juicing or smoothies.

The Health Benefits of Cannabis & CBDA

CBDA is believed to have the following properties:

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-nausea
  • Antioxidant
  • Analgesic
  • Antiproliferative
  • Antimicrobial/antibacterial

Health Conditions That Respond to CBDA

Conditions that respond to CBD also responds to CBDA. However, degradation of CBDA occurs via a different mechanism than that of CBD. Also, CBDA requires much higher dosages as its potency is not as great as that of CBD.

There is very little research on CBDA. Majority of cannabinoid research, thus far, has been focused on CBD. However, a few studies have uncovered some interesting results.

Nausea and vomiting: The anti-nausea effect of CBDA was demonstrated in a 2012 study. Rodents were used for the study. Results showed that CBDA was more potent in relieving nausea than activated CBD. It appears that CBDA activates 5-HT1A receptors, which have a role to play in nausea and vomiting.

Anticancer: Several experiments on animal and cell lines have shown that cannabis compounds have very strong anticancer properties. Researchers discovered in 2012 that CBDA showed anticancer effects in breast cancer. Although cells cultured outside the body were used for the experiments, researchers were able to determine that:

  • CBDA is an inhibitor of highly aggressive human breast cancer cell migration.
  • The mechanism responsible for the effects of CBDA involves activation of RhoA.
  • RhoA is an inhibitor of cancer cell mobility.

Anxiety and psychotic disorders: Not much research has been done on the effect of CBDA on anxiety and psychotic disorders. GW Pharmaceuticals has, however, received a patent on CBDA as an adjunct treatment for such disorders.

Arthritis and inflammatory conditions: Studies are lacking regarding whether or not CBDA has therapeutic effects on inflammatory conditions or arthritis. Laboratory examinations on cell cultures have discovered that CBDA has a similar mechanism of action to NSAIDS.

NSAIDs are anti-inflammatory drugs. They are taken in significant amounts by arthritis patients. However, doing so can have serious side effects. Complications linked with NSAIDs include: risk of stomach ulcers, damage to the kidney, high blood pressure, hemorrhage, and headaches.

According to the researchers, these effects are possible because of the mode of interaction of CBDA with COX-2. COX-2 is the main target site for anti-inflammatory drugs.

Let's Fill the Knowledge Gaps in Cannabinoid Science

There are 113 known cannabinoids produced by the hemp plant. The health benefits of cannabis and its array of compounds are known by many already; but we still need rigorous research of specific cannabinoids to prove what they can do for specific diseases, disorders, and how they could even prevent some of those conditions. When health care professionals, legislators, and the public work together to discover the benefits of cannabinoids, we can really begin to educate ourselves and change the future of our health for the better. We must support what has already been discovered and move forward. What is known so far about cannabinoids like CBDA suggests a possible unique therapeutic profile … something that is worthy of our attention and research.


Takeda, S. et al.Down-regulation of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) by cannabidiolic acid in human breast cancer cells.” 2014. Web. Accessed 18 August 2018.

Bolognini, D. et al. “Cannabidiolic acid prevents vomiting in Suncus murinus and nausea-induced behaviour in rats by enhancing 5-HT1A receptor activation.” British Journal of Pharmacology. 25 Feb. 2013. Web. Accessed 17 August 2018.

Takeda, S. et al. “Cannabidiolic acid, a major cannabinoid in fiber-type cannabis, is an inhibitor of MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell migration.” HHS Author Manuscripts. 8 Sept. 2012. Web. Accessed 18 August 2018.


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