CBDA or cannabidiolic acid is a molecule naturally found in cannabis in hemp plants. It works with the endocannabinoid system to deliver CBD-like effects, such as helping users feel physically and mentally relaxed. Research suggests that CBDA may be more powerful than CBD in some ways. Importantly, CBDA is non-psychoactive and does not produce a high.
CBDA is often described as the “raw form of CBD” because it develops into CBD as the plant matures. When cannabis and hemp plants are young, they have high levels of CBDA, but as the plant grows and is cut and dried, a process called decarboxylation converts most of this CBDA into CBD.
Decarboxylation is the act of removing an acidic carboxyl group, and it happens by exposure to heat. CBDA can be converted to CBD very quickly, such as when hemp is smoked or vaporized, or much more slowly, such as when buds are left a warm room.
Because of how easily CBDA is changed into CBD, consumers are exposed to very little CBDA through traditional products. To reap the benefits of this cannabinoid, it must be extracted from plants and placed into products like oils, topicals, or juices that do not require heat to use.
To learn about other cannabinoids go to our Cannabis Hemp Dictionary page.