CBDA Guide

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Your Guide to CBDA Benefits on Your Body

What are the actual health benefits of CBDA? Can CBDA help with anxiety, stress, depression, pain, or sleep? Here is everything you need to know about the benefits of CBDA & how to use it to help improve your health.

Many people are surprised to learn that the phytocannabinoids found in cannabis and hemp exist in two states: acidic (for example CBDA, THCA) & neutral (CBD, THC). While the focus has been on neutral cannabinoids, new research indicates that cannabinoids in their original, acidic form possess incredible healing properties that work both together with and different from their neutral counterparts.

What is CBDA (cannabidiol)?

Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA) is one of many compounds produced by cannabis and hemp. The plants produce this cannabinoid in its acidic state, which then converts to the better-known cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol) over time at room temperature, or rapidly when exposed to high temperatures.

It is important to note that human research on these cannabinoids is still emerging. At this time, we know even less about CBDA than CBD. However, early findings show that even small amounts of CBDA can have significant physiologic effects.

CBD vs CBDA – What is the difference?

In many ways, CBDA works similarly to CBD, with activity at serotonin and capsaicin receptors. Unlike CBD, CBDA has not been shown to influence cannabinoid receptors, and it has been shown to target the COX enzymes associated with inflammation, a similar mechanism as popular over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs.

Therefore, if you’re unsatisfied with the results from CBD products, do not assume that CBDA won’t work any better.

About the Endocannabinoid System

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is a biological system in the human body involved in establishing and maintaining human health. In each tissue, the endocannabinoid system performs different tasks, but the goal is always the same: homeostasis, the maintenance of a stable internal environment despite fluctuations in the external environment, which allows organisms to maintain a state of equilibrium.

Your body’s ECS has been hard at work since before you were born to maintain balance at a cellular level, helping you stay healthy and heal from illness and injury. Present in all the tissues and organs of the body, the ECS regulates the function of the immune, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal and nervous systems and thus has a profound influence on every aspect of our health.

CBDA and other compounds found in cannabis and hemp can enhance the activity of the ECS and act on several other physiologic targets involved in health and healing.

Important Differences between CBD & CBDA

CBDA gets absorbed significantly better — 5x-11x times better— than CBD when taken orally.[1] There is also some evidence-based on animal models that CBDA is stronger and more potent than CBD, not just because it’s getting absorbed better but because it’s acting more powerfully. For example, animal studies have found CBDA to be 10 times more potent than CBD in a model of seizures [2], 100x more potent in a model of inflammatory pain [3], 10,000x more potent in a model of nausea [4], and 50,000x more potent in a model of anxiety [5].

The Difference between CBDA & THCA

Both CBDA and THCA are the original acidic versions of their better known cannabinoid counterparts, CBD and THC. Both are non-impairing when taken alone; When combined with THC they are synergistic and increase THC’s benefits. Compared to THC and CBD, there are relatively few studies on the potential benefits of cannabinoid acids, specifically, THCA vs CBDA. But anecdotal evidence and preliminary research appear to suggest that these precursors could also offer an assortment of benefits.

At this time we know that CBDA and THCA have demonstrated anti-inflammatory and anti-nausea properties as well as neuro-protective benefits that slow damage to the nervous system and brain. In his clinical practice, Dr. Dustin Sulak has been impressed by the anti-seizure properties of THCA in extraordinarily low doses, as well as it’s anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory properties.

The Benefits of Combining CBDA & THC

When taken together with THC, CBDA doesn’t diminish THC’s impairing effects like CBD does. For people who use THC for recreational or spiritual purposes but would also like the benefits of CBD without diminishing the THC effect, CBDA is an excellent alternative.

What Conditions CBDA May Help

CBDA and other compounds found in cannabis and hemp can enhance the activity of the ECS and act on several other physiologic targets involved in health and healing.

The health benefits of CBDA may include improvements in:

  • Inflammation
  • Mood and anxiety
  • Resilience to stress
  • Cognition
  • Neurologic healing
  • Pain signaling
  • Gut function
  • Tissue recovery after exercise or injury
  • Current and future animal and human studies promise to reveal even more…
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CBDA Dosage Guide | How to Use CBDA

Many medicinal components including CBDA and other acidic cannabinoids are diminished or lost when smoking or vaporizing cannabis flower, though very small amounts of acidic cannabinoids can be absorbed through these delivery methods.

Wide-spectrum products such as tinctures and drops that are formulated for precision dosing are an excellent method for getting acidic cannabinoids. However, CBDA and other acidic cannabinoids can also be lost or destroyed by conventional extraction and manufacturing methods. Choose products that contain significant amounts of CBDA to achieve superior benefits. Make sure to keep these products refrigerated so the acidic cannabinoids don’t gradually convert to neutral ones at room temperature.

Start with 5-10mg twice daily and gradually work up to 20mg if needed. Most people report noticing the effects and how the benefits increase over the first 30 days. CBDA can have a peppery taste when taken in drops, which can be washed away with a sip of water.

Which Cannabinoid Is Best for Me: CBD or CBDA?

It’s best to start with a trusted, most complex spectrum or full-spectrum hemp CBD that includes naturally occurring terpenes, flavonoids, and other important plant compounds, including CBDA if possible.

However, you should start with a CBDA product if:

  • You have not tried CBDA and want to experience its benefits.  
  • You’ve tried CBD in the past in moderate to high amounts (25-50 mg) and have been unsatisfied with the results
  • You’re using THC and don’t want your hemp product to alter its effects

Adding or switching to CBDA can actually lower the amount of CBD and cannabinoids you use every day and significantly increase the benefits. Everyone responds uniquely to CBDA, so it is important to try CBDA in the proper way to understand what it can do for you.

How to use THC with CBD and CBDA to Improve Health

Finding your optimal ratio of THC to CBDA (or CBD) can be very effective, well-tolerated and non-impairing. Try low and moderate amounts in the ratio of 1:4 THC:CBD (1 mg THC to 4mg CBDA or CBD or higher ratio of CBDA).

Dr. Sulak recommends exploring this treatment under the guidance of a medical professional.

How to use CBDA Oil

The key to achieving successful results with CBDA is using an appropriate dosage that’s tailored to your individual needs. This means in order to get maximum benefit from CBDA, you must find your personal optimal dosage amount and the frequency with which you need to take it.

For treating and preventing chronic pain or other symptoms, Dr. Sulak recommends starting with CBDA drops placed under the tongue. Some of the medicine will be absorbed directly into your bloodstream through the network of capillaries in your mouth, leading to faster relief, while the rest is swallowed for a delayed effect. Also, taking CBDA this way allows the fine tuning necessary to discover your personalized optimal usage amount. This is particularly evident with Healer brand drops which are formulated so that 1 drop is equal to about 1 mg of cannabinoids. For that reason, drops are by far the most cost-effective method.

Taking CBDA drops (or capsules/edibles) with a meal or snack that contains some fat can increase absorption up to 5-fold, making the treatment more powerful and less expensive.

How to use CBDA edibles

When taking drops sublingually (under the tongue) isn’t possible, adding them to food —or taking CBDA in capsule form— are also effective. Results may take longer and you may need to take a larger amount, as the CBDA passes through the digestive system first, which affects onset and potency. If capsules or other edibles take too long to start working, or not working well even in moderate to high doses, or for people with poor gut motility, try switching to drops.

CBD & CBDA

Learn more about CBD & CBDA–explore the healing powers of cannabis and how to use CBD (and its raw precursor, CBDA) for optimal healthy living.
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Article Citations:

[1] Pellesi, Lanfranco, et al. ” European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 74.11 (2018): 1427-1436.

[2] Anderson, Lyndsey L., et al. Journal of natural products 82.11 (2019): 3047-3055.

[3] Rock, Erin M., et al. Psychopharmacology 235.11 (2018): 3259-3271.

[4] Rock, E. M., et al. British Journal of Pharmacology 169.3 (2013): 685-692.

[5] Rock, Erin M., et al. Psychopharmacology 234.14 (2017): 2207-2217