CBDA: A Cannabinoid Acid with Therapeutic Promise
The cannabis plant has over 100 cannabinoids with many of them yet to be fully comprehended as research has not been carried out sufficiently on them. CBDA (cannabidiolic acid) is a cannabinoid that has shown considerable prospects in terms of possible therapeutic benefits it has to offer.
CBDA (cannabidiolic acid) is a cannabinoid acid that results from the reaction of CBGA (cannabigerolic acid). CBGA commonly referred to as the ‘mother of all cannabinoids’, is the precursor to not only CBDA but also cannabichromenic acid (CBCA) and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) which are the major precursor compounds to other cannabinoids. CBDA can be gotten in CBD rich industrial fiber hemp plants in large quantities. It converts into the active cannabinoid, CBD (Cannabidiol) as a result of the introduction of heat to the acid through processes like smoking, cooking, or vaping. This is because CBDA is a precursor to CBD similar to CBGA and it converts into its active counterpart due to the heat exposure. This process known as decarboxylation causes a loss of the acidic carboxyl to leave behind the resulting cannabinoids like CBD.
CBDA is mainly found in raw cannabis flower or leaf juice and extracts that have not been exposed to heat. It could also be found in unorthodox consumption methods of consumption such as tinctures or topical creams. Some individuals have even started a trend of consuming raw cannabis juice which is an effective means of getting it in large amounts.
CBDA and its Potential Benefits
Previously, the acidic forms of cannabinoids such as CBDA, CBGA, or THCA were thought to be pharmacologically inactive and unable to affect the body’s endocannabinoid system like their decarboxylated counterparts. So they were not researched or looked into for any possible use, unlike the decarboxylated forms. However, due to the ever increasing scope and works of research being conducted in the industry recent studies and scientific research carried out in an attempt to look into the possibilities that could be offered by the CBDA showed some promise regarding what it has to offer, some of which include:
It has been found that CBDA has the potential to cause a reduction in the inflammation by obstructing the movement of enzymes that speed up the reaction process. It does this by targeting the COX-2 enzymes which are proteins responsible for inflammation and suppressing their actions just as the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) do.
As confirmed in the Drug Metabolism and Disposition Journal, it is said that the carboxylic acid contained in the CBDA molecules carry out the obstruction of the COX-2 enzymes carefully. This allows it to give a reaction identical to that of NSAIDs in the relief of pain and inflammation.
Studies are beginning to indicate that CBDA may join other cannabinoids such as CBD and THC in decreasing vomiting and nausea induced by chemotherapy in cancer patients. This submission was a result of tests carried out on rats and shrews which were published in the British Journal of Pharmacology. CBDA increases the activity of serotonin receptors in the body to achieve this and this allows it to have a significantly higher potency rate than CBD in decreasing nausea.
CBD is quite widely acknowledged with its ability to cause a reduction in the number of seizures suffered by patients with epileptic conditions, even those like Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome which are treatment-resistant forms of epilepsy. This has led to its approval to be used in the treatment of these conditions by the FDA.
CBDA has also shown great prospects through the display of anti-seizure activity as buttressed in a paper published in Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience journal. This paper posits that through interaction with serotonin receptors, CBDA can achieve this effect.
Though cannabinoids are not able to cure cancer, few of them contain molecules which are quite effective in inhibiting the spread of cancer. According to a paper published in the Toxicology letters journal, it was found that some molecules contained in CBDA were able to hamper the spread of cancer cells which means there is some possibility that it might have more therapeutic benefits to offer in the future.
Despite these encouraging reports, we are still unable to get concrete results regarding the effect of CBDA on the human body. The CBDA compound gradually decarboxylates at room temperature even when heat has not been applied to it which makes it an unstable cannabinoid. This has prevented it from being given appropriate consideration for it to be used as a viable clinical treatment. However, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, who was responsible for the synthesis of CBD and THC has also announced at CannMed conference in 2019 that he and a group of other scientists have found a means of stabilizing CBDA to allow it retain its therapeutic potential. Nevertheless, there is still a considerable need for further research and high-quality clinical trials to help in really understanding the extent of its effect on the human body.