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Exploring Raw Cannabinoids – What is CBDa and What Can it Do For You?

Written by Alexandra Hicks

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the most beneficial and widely used cannabinoids in cannabis, but where exactly does it come from and what is it good for?

As mentioned above, most people are familiar with the cannabis plant’s predominant cannabinoids, THC and of course, CBD. In recent months, we’ve been covering the benefits of some lesser known compounds like CBG, CBN, and terpenes as well. But very few people have heard of CBDa and even less are familiar with its therapeutic value and how it can be used.

Simply explained, CBDa (cannabidiolic acid) is CBD’s precursor. It’s found on the stems, leaves and flowers of certain strains of raw cannabis before any type of heat is applied. In fresh plants – as in, not dried, cured, or heated – the compounds and cannabinoids are found as acids, there is actually very little CBD in fresh plants. Heat will break down the CBDa into CBD in a process called decarboxylation, when it loses its carboxyl acid group.

Until now, the focal point of most cannabis research has been on activated CBD rather than raw CBDa. Luckily there are a few preliminary studies centered around three major areas of medical interest: nausea and vomiting, inflammation, and cancer.

Delving Deeper into the Benefits of CBDa

HempLucid 1000mg CBDa Cream

HempLucid 1000mg CBDa Cream

Inflammation – A small experiment published in Drug Metabolism and Disposition in 2008 discovered that CBDa can possibly be used to inhibit COX-2, an enzyme that ultimately leads to inflammation by aiding in the development of prostaglandins. The study actually found that CBDa is more effective at blocking this enzyme than THC. For reference, COX-2 is the enzyme that’s attacked by common non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and aspirin. A well known chronic inflammatory condition is arthritis, which affects approximately 350 million people worldwide.

Nausea and Vomiting – In 2012, a study was published in the British Journal of Pharmacology highlighting the effects CBDa on nausea. The research was conducted on rats, but it did show that raw cannabis juice was particularly helpful in relieving symptoms of an upset stomach and it reduced active vomiting spells. According to this publication, CBDa was even more effective than CBD on this front.

Breast Cancer – Another study conducted in 2012 and published in Science Direct found that CBDa effectively interrupted the migration patterns of certain cancer cells, specifically, the highly aggressive mda-mb-231 breast cancer cells. Although the experiments were done on cells cultured in petri dishes as opposed to those growing in the human body, it’s promising none-the-less. These results were echoed by a similar study in 2014.

How to Utilize this Cannabinoid


CBDa is becoming more prominent in the medical cannabis community

To reiterate, CBDa is only found in raw hemp or cannabis material that’s grown as high-CBD strains and hasn’t been exposed to heat yet. While it’s not as common as CBD and THC products, you can find some tinctures and oils that incorporate extracted CBDa.

Aside from that, the easiest way to get your dose of CBDa is through your diet. Taking the raw plants and making juice, smoothies, salads, and sauces is very effective. Basically, they can be used the same as any other leafy green vegetable like spinach, kale, and collards. They can also be chopped up and used as an herb similar to parsley, oregano, or basil, which would add rich flavor and valuable nutrients to any dish. Store them like any other salad-type vegetable, in a crisper in the refrigerator.

Final Thoughts

While research is still in its early stages, studies show that there are many potential benefits to using CBDa which brings an entirely new focus on consuming the cannabis plant in its raw form. Have you used raw hemp or tried raw cannabis juicing? What about smoothies or salads? If so, we’d love to hear how it has worked out for you. Drop us a line in the comment section!


Affiliate relationship: Some of the companies listed here have agreed to support CBD Testers by donating a portion of the sales coming from us, for the development and maintenance of our site. Thank you!

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1 Comment

  • Live this excellent easy to follow description of such an amazing product. It’s too bad no one is promoting raw cannabis but that may be due the lack of money coming in if people don’t buy the processed oil. I’ve been wanting to know about these lesser cbd’s and now maybe I will on this site. Thank you for writing this. I’m just beginning a new website as I am in training to be a cannabis health coach and this is the news I hope to share.

About the author

Alexandra Hicks

Managing editor at Cannadelics and U.S based journalist, helping spread the word about the many benefits of using cannabis and psychedelics.