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Beginner’s 101

What is CBDA?

By now you’ve probably heard of the cannabinoids CBD (Cannabidiol) and THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). You might have seen raw CBD oil formulas and thought, what is CBDa? If you’ve ever found yourself wondering what other cannabinoids are out there, and what they can do to enhance your daily wellness routine, this post is for you. 


For the past few years, the main players in the cannabinoid market have been CBD and THC–until now they have dominated the health wellness market. But the truth is CBD isn’t the only cannabinoid. In fact, there are over 80 others that all have distinctive properties of their own. 

That’s why in this guide we’re going to introduce you to another cannabinoid called CBDa, so you can see what other cannabinoids can do for you besides CBD.  

An introduction – What is CBDa?

First things first, let’s briefly introduce cannabinoids and your endocannabinoid system, so you know how it all works. The endocannabinoid system runs through your body’s central nervous system, gut, brain, and reproductive systems and is responsible for regulating balance in the body through a process called homeostasis. 

This system is fueled by cannabinoids, which can either be introduced externally through plants such as hemp or they can be produced internally by your body, which are called endocannabinoids.

These molecules interact with cell receptors found throughout your system, which use endocannabinoids to manage key bodily functions such as sleep, immunity, and pain.

What is the difference between CBD and CBDa

The hemp plant is an abundant source of cannabinoids, and CBD which is one of the most famous is known for its non-psychoactive properties. However, this is just one part of the plant, as hemp also contains many others including CBDa. 

CBDa is an acronym for cannabidiolic acid, which is the acidic precursor to CBD. In the plant’s early growing stages, cannabinoids start out in acidic form before converting into its neutral counterparts, for example, CBD and THC both start out as CBDa and THCa. This conversation stage happens through a process called decarboxylation.

This means in the early stages of the plant’s development there are much higher amounts of acidic compounds compared to in mature plants. The decarboxylation process is triggered by three components which are; UV light exposure, heat, and air.

This process generally happens naturally over time while the plant is still growing, but can also be recreated artificially in a laboratory. While decarboxylation does convert the majority of acidic compounds into neutral versions by the time the plant is ready to be harvested, there are some leftover in the mature plant, and this includes CBDa.  

What are the benefits of CBDa 

Everyone wants to get the most out of their CBD products, but many might not be aware that in the case of cannabinoids more is actually, more. CBDa is destroyed during decarboxylation, therefore it isn’t present in highly processed CBD products, where hemp has been further heated in the lab after being harvested. 

So, is CBDa even necessary? As we mentioned before cannabinoids are actually more beneficial in large numbers. Through a process called ‘the entourage effect’, multiple cannabinoids work in synergy with each other to increase each other’s effects. 

To date, there are very few scientific studies on the effects of CBDa on the body. Due to the instability of it converting into CBD, it hasn’t been as seriously considered as CBD for scientific investigation as of yet. 

However, there have been a few scientific observations, that CBDa does more than just interact with your cannabinoids receptor. Unlike CBD, CBDa has a higher binding affinity to serotonin receptors and displays similar effects as COX-2 inhibitors that enable NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).

Where to Find CBDa 

Endoca 3% CBD oil

The raw hemp plant is the most abundant source of CBDa. Therefore besides eating the plant in its raw form, raw CBD oil formulas are the next best source of CBDa. Raw hemp oil is not as common within the CBD industry, as heated (decarboxylated) versions are the industry standard. 

Very few CBD brands currently acknowledge the effects of CBDa and offer raw CBD + CBDa formulas as part of their product range. 

Raw CBD oil maintains many of the original cannabinoids, present in the natural plant. The recent popularity of whole foods as a source of nutrition has awakened the awareness of using less processing to ensure the natural goodness of the plant remains intact. 

In the case of hemp, keeping it as close to its raw form ensures a full spectrum of cannabinoids which allows you to benefit from the entourage effect.

Hemp is known as a superfood for its mirage of nutrient properties. As well as raw CBD oil formulas, juicing the raw hemp plant is also a source of adding CBDa. 

In Closing

While CBDa might not be as popular as CBD or THC it still has beneficial properties and contributes to the entourage effect. After all, CBD starts out as CBDa and converts through a process called decarboxylation. CBDa is more abundant in the raw hemp plants therefore raw formulas are the best option if you want to try CBDa. 

Jada Lynton

Jada Lynton is Content Manager at Endoca. She’s passionate about wellness and holistic health and is dedicated to producing cannabis education and wellness content that’s informative and accessible to all–whether you're a CBD expert or a newcomer. After a personal experience taking CBD for better health, she now continues to help spread the word about the effects of cannabis and cannabinoids.

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