CBDa, or cannabidiolic acid, is a natural cannabinoid found in living hemp plants. This incredible compound has shown promise in many preliminary studies that support its use as a powerful wellness tool.
Researchers have found that this precursor to CBD has great potential in health conditions, including nausea, anxiety, inflammation, and more. In some cases, it also seems that CBDa is more potent than CBD or cannabidiol.
New research shows that CBDa may also be an effective weapon in the ongoing fight against SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 infections.
What is CBDa?
CBDa is a natural cannabinoid that forms during the hemp plant's growth cycle. It's one of more than 120 different cannabinoids found in this versatile plant and is the parent of CBD.
In living, vital hemp, cannabinoids exist in acidic forms. Cannabigerolic acid (CBGa) is the parent compound of all other cannabinoids, including THCa, CBCa, and CBDa. If the plant material is dried or heated, it undergoes a process called decarboxylation, and the cannabinoids lose their acidic groups. For example, CBDa decarboxylates to form CBD.
Because these acidic forms are parent compounds, they may have many of the same potential benefits as their neutral counterparts. However, scientists are finding that CBGa and CBDa may be more effective in some applications and have some unique effects.
Hemp oil extract benefits in COVID-19
Some exciting research on CBDa comes from a recent study published in the Journal of Natural Products. Researchers found that CBGa and CBDa may prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection.
The research consisted of in-vitro experiments using cell cultures in a laboratory. The scientists found that CBGa and CBDa bind to the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2. The spike is the same part of the virus that COVID-19 vaccines target, and it's how the virus enters cells.
Without the spike protein, SARS-CoV-2 can't bind to the human cell surface receptor — the ACE2 enzyme — that's abundant on the outer surface of cells in the lungs and other organs
If the virus cannot enter cells, it cannot cause COVID-19 infection.
The lead author noted that these acidic hemp cannabinoids act as cell entry inhibitors that could be used to prevent and shorten COVID-19 infections.
Although we need further research to confirm these effects, the researchers considered that these safe and effective hemp compounds could be developed into drugs to prevent or treat COVID-19.
Furthermore, the study's lead author noted that these hemp phytochemicals could block emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants, a primary concern of governments, public health officials, and clinicians.
The study data showed that the hemp compounds were effective against variant B.1.1.7, first detected in the United Kingdom, and variant B.1.351, first detected in South Africa. These variants are known for evading antibodies developed against early SARS-CoV-2 lineages.
The researchers concluded that treatment with CBGa and CBDa could create a far more challenging environment for SARS-CoV-2 and that these hemp acids are a potential new avenue for preventing and treating the disease.
Why CBGa and CBDa?
Interestingly, the researchers used the acidic precursors to CBD rather than CBD. So why was this?
Before beginning their research, the scientists used a unique technique called magnetic microbead affinity selection screening (MagMASS) to find out which cannabinoids had the greatest affinity for the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.
They found that those with the highest affinities were CBGa, THCa, and CBDa. Although THC has potential, it also has intoxicating properties and is a controlled substance. Conversely, CBGa and CBDa have high bioavailability and a long history of safe human use, making them ideal candidates for further research and development.
Other hemp oil extract benefits
CBDa is showing promise in several other areas of health and well-being, and research is beginning to recognize the hemp oil extract benefits.
Although CBD and CBDa share some properties, CBDa has some that are unique. For example, even though both hemp substances have anti-inflammatory properties, they likely act through different mechanisms. Scientists think that CBDa decreases the activity of the COX-2 enzyme that drives inflammation.
As we move toward a greater understanding of the healing potential of hemp oil extract benefits, we'll likely see CBDa appearing more and more in successful research underpinning the development of new well-being therapies.