What is CBDa and Why is it So Rare? - Research into cannabis and its compounds is still relatively young, but over the past ten years, we’ve developed a deeper understanding of one cannabinoid that proves even more powerful and efficient at supporting vital physiological functions and relief than the popular CBD. New studies continue to show that better extraction methods for hemp can produce a cannabinoid with astounding potential.
What is CBDa?
Researchers now suspect that there are hundreds of cannabinoids found in hemp. Cannabinoids are compounds that interact with our bodies’ endocannabinoid systems. Young hemp plants contain an abundance of a compound known as cannabigerolic acid (CBGa). Over time, CBGa is converted to CBDa and other naturally-occurring “precursor” compounds, so-called because they are typically converted into other compounds by the time they reach the end-user. CBDa has recently been receiving more attention from the scientific and medical communities due to the incredible potential it has for supporting various aspects of our health and wellness.
The most well-known cannabinoids are THC and CBD. THC is the psychoactive compound that medicinal and recreational users rely on to get high. CBD does not have a psychoactive effect but binds with the endocannabinoid system’s CB1 and CB2 receptors to support healthy sleep, pain relief, and other physiological functions. CBDa works differently. It interacts with the endocannabinoid system by blocking the cox-2 enzyme, and targeted by OTC and prescription pain relievers. While most studies so far have been preclinical and non-human, the results are getting attention, and CBDa is finally gaining recognition as an overlooked but powerful cannabinoid.
The FDA, before approving a prescription CBD product for the treatment of epilepsy, requested research into both CBD and CBDa. The resulting study showed that CBDa was even more effective. The pharmaceutical company that produces the prescription drug has since filed two CBDa medical patents, one for skin conditions and another for cancer. In an early study, CBDa seemed to support breast health.
A study done in 2008 showed promising results when applying CBDa reduces discomfort. A more recent study revealed that CBDa could affect serotonin-producing receptors, which indicates a potential for treating nausea and vomiting and supporting other serotonin-related functions like motor skills, sleep, digestion, and emotional balance.
Why It’s Hard to Come By
CBDa is converted to CBD when it’s exposed to heat or even too much sun in a process known as decarboxylation. It is a chemical reaction that releases carbon dioxide. Contrary to popular belief, CBD is actually not an abundantly naturally-occurring compound in the plant itself, while CBDa is highly prevalent until extraction. Common extraction processes involve the application of heat, destroying most, if not all, CBDa during manufacturing. Applying heat during use, like smoking, will also destroy any CBDa present, so CBDa is typically sold as a tincture and should be stored in a UV-proof bottle.
By using an innovative live extraction process to preserve the molecular structure of the hemp plant and its compounds, Nesa’s Hemp is able to create a hemp extract tincture that is rich with CBDa, as well as the full spectrum of compounds that are found naturally in cannabis, not just the “full” spectrum that is left over after extraction processes involving solvents, chemicals, and heat.