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CBDA (Cannabidiolic Acid) Cannabinoid Guide

CBDA (Cannabidiolic Acid) Header
This post is part of a series on cannabis compounds. For more information and a listing of all other cannabinoids, see our Cannabis Compounds overview.

When discussing cannabis, the activated compounds like THC and CBD steal the show. What is not widely known is that these compounds are derived from precursor compounds that grow on the cannabis plant. For example, CBD is found as CBDA in the hemp plant.

As cannabis grows, CBGA biosynthesizes into three main cannabinoids: THCA, CBCA, and CBDA. These molecules are known as 'raw' or 'non-activated' cannabinoids. Not until these molecules undergo a heating process called decarboxylation do they transform into their well-known 'active' forms: THC, CBD, and CBC.

As time passes and investigations into the cannabis plant continue, the acid-form chemical precursor to CBD has begun to show extreme promise. Cannabidiolic Acid also known as CBDA is a naturally occurring phytocannabinoid abundant in high-CBD hemp and marijuana strains.

Cannabidiolic Acid Molecule

Activity: Non-psychoactive
Formula: C22H30O4 
Molecular Mass: 358.2144 g/mol 
Boiling Point: 120+ °C (248 °F)


Comparing CBD vs CBDA

Simply put, CBDA is the parent of CBD.

So why all the fuss about raw cannabinoids like Cannabidiolic Acid? Well, it turns out that these compounds provide unique and synergistic benefits to their heated forms. Specific to CBDA, the great promise and positive initial results have led to a fair amount of initial research on the compound.

The positive signs provided by these studies have been strong enough that many companies are providing either raw extractions or blending these raw extracts with the more common decarboxylated extracts. I.E. raw CBDA formulas, or CBD+CBDA blends. The result is a range of products that provide additional, specific benefits to the user.

Where Can You Find CBDA?

Just like all the other raw cannabinoids, CBDA is found in mature hemp or marijuana that is ready for harvest. Despite this compound being extremely abundant in the plants used to create the CBD-rich products on the market today, finding CBDA can be tough. This is because the vast majority of extractors decarboxylate, or heat, the extracted cannabinoids in order to activate them.

While you could simply eat cannabis to ingest this compound, most of the time that isn't a great option. Most companies creating a CBDA-rich product use a low-temperature juicing process to extract these raw compounds. As an example, hemp would be cold-pressed much like vegetable juice. The resulting liquid/extract is then sold directly or commonly blended with a heated extract.

A blended product containing raw and activated cannabinoids, as opposed to simply activated cannabinoids, has the potential to unlock an even higher level of the entourage effect. This could explain why products containing 1:1 CBDA to CBD are becoming more popular.

Here at Big Sky Botanicals, look to our full-spectrum softgels or tinctures which contain the highest level of CBDA across our entire product line. These products also contain trace levels of many other helpful cannabinoids that enable the entourage effect.

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