Cannabidiolic acid, often abbreviated as CBDa, is a lesser-known cannabinoid produced by cannabis plants (hemp and marijuana). This cannabinoid has drawn increased attention in recent years, with multiple studies providing evidence of its therapeutic potential. Like its active form CBD, CBDa does not cause intoxicating effects. It interacts with our body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) by inhibiting C0X-2 enzymes, which are considered the best target for anti-inflammatory drugs. CBDa also has a high binding affinity for serotonin receptors, allowing it to influence everything from your mood, memory, learning, cognition, and even nausea and vomiting.
CBDa isolate may be an ideal option for those looking to experience the medicinal benefits of cannabis without the intoxication of marijuana. Though research into its possible effects is still in its early stages, preliminary evidence suggests that it can offer more potent benefits than CBD. Researchers are investigating how CBDa may be used in the treatment of chronic pain, inflammation, anxiety, seizures, and specific types of cancer.
A 2008 study investigated CBDa’s potential as an anti-inflammatory agent. The researchers studied CBDa’s COX-2 inhibitor properties by comparing its molecular structure with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) widely used to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. They noticed that their chemical structures are notably similar, and both can inhibit COX-2 receptors effectively. The findings of this preliminary study show promise of CBDa as a potent anti-inflammatory option.
CBDa studies are still ongoing; however, the results gathered so far show promise of CBDa as an effective treatment for various conditions. For instance, scientists have found evidence that CBDa’s binding affinity for the 5-HT serotonin receptors is 100 times more powerful than CBD. These findings show that this cannabinoid may be a potent treatment for nausea and vomiting.
Here are other science-backed benefits of CBDa:
Several studies show that CBDa has potent anti-inflammatory effects due to its ability to act as a COX-2 inhibitor. Cyclooxygenases, including COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes, play different roles. While COX-2 induces inflammation, COX-1 is responsible for maintaining your stomach and intestinal lining.
NSAIDs such as ibuprofen produce pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects by inhibiting the COX-2 and COX-1 effects. However, long-term consumption of these drugs has been linked to adverse effects such as drowsiness, headaches, indigestion, and damage to the gastrointestinal tract.
Hence, scientists are looking at the potential of CBDa as a selective COX-2 inhibitor that does not inhibit COX-1 receptors. This way, CBDa relieves inflammation without the risk of side effects such as damage to the stomach and intestinal lining.
A preliminary study looked at the downregulation of COX-2 enzymes by CBDa in human breast cancer cells. The researchers found that CBDa helped curb the spread of specific types of breast cancer cells where COX-2 concentration was higher than average.
During the study, the researchers observed that CBDa inhibited COX-2 enzymes while reducing the efficacy of the Id-1 protein, which has been found to induce cancer cell growth and promote its survival. CBDa was also shown to boost SHARP1 expression, which inhibits the aggressiveness of breast cancer metastasis.
Though CBDa’s anti-tumor effects are promising, it’s important to note that more studies are still needed in this area.
Early studies have found that CBD may be an effective treatment for various types of epilepsy and may decrease seizure frequency. Interestingly, there is data indicating that CBD’s acidic precursor CBDa has the potential to reduce seizure frequency and severity in some people.
Because it has higher bioavailability and fast-acting effects, studies found that lower CBDa doses were required to be effective, hence a reduced risk of side effects. In fact, CBDa provided more potent anti-seizure effects than CBD in some cases.