Cheef Botanicals

CBDa vs CBD [Similarities + Differences EXPLAINED]

There seem to always be discoveries in the world of CBD, whether it be potential benefits or new cannabinoids found in hemp. But did you know that there are over 100 different cannabinoids that can be extracted from the cannabis plant? One of these cannabinoids you may or may not be familiar with is CBDa. But what is the difference between CBDa vs CBD?


CBDa stands for “cannabidiolic acid.” It is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that is related to CBD but contains different properties. The main difference between CBD and CBDa is that CBDa is an acid, and it is essentially the raw form of CBD. As we continue, we will take a closer look at cannabidiolic acid, some of its benefits, and the difference between CBDa vs. CBD.



What is CBDa?

CBDa is like CBD’s parent. If CBD is a batch of cookies, CBDa is the cookie dough it was made from. When hemp is exposed to sunlight or heat, decarboxylation takes place. This process is when the carboxyl group (the acidic portion of the compound) is removed, converting CBDa to CBD. In other words, cannabidiolic acid is the raw or the beginning form of CBD before it is converted into the cannabinoid we know and love.


Is CBDa the Same as CBD?

Although CBDa and CBD (cannabidiol) are different cannabinoids, they’re similar in that CBDa is the raw form of CBD. Without CBDa, CBD would not exist. CBDa is simply the precursor chemical to cannabidiol before it is heated up.



cbd oil with empty tinctures and hemp seeds



What Are the Benefits of CBDa? 

Research has suggested that CBDa could inhibit COX-2, which is an enzyme that can cause discomfort. Some of the benefits provided by CBDa are similar to CBD. These may include a boost to your sleep, appetite, digestion, and focus!


CBDa also interacts with 5-HT receptors, which affect the serotonin levels of the body. The production of serotonin affects the body’s overall well-being.



What is CBD?

Before outlining the differences between CBDA vs. CBD, let’s take a closer look at the cannabinoid in more detail. Cannabidiol, known as CBD, is a chemical compound found in the Sativa cannabis plant. Making up about 40% of the hemp plant’s composition, CBD is just one of more than 100 different cannabinoids extracted from the hemp plant.


Just like CBDa, CBD also has a wide range of benefits, including:

  • Sleep improvement
  • Mood enhancer
  • Appetite promotion
  • Muscle relief
  • And many more! 


CBD works when the molecules interact with the endocannabinoid system. The molecules activate the cannabinoid receptors and promote the body’s sense of homeostasis (internal balance). And because CBD does not contain any THC, you will not experience any psychoactive effects. Over the years, CBD has become drastically more creative, and you can find products such as:


  • Oils
  • Lotions
  • Edibles
  • Bath bombs
  • Hand sanitizer


There has been far more research done on CBD and its effects, so incorporating these products into your daily routine has become incredibly popular.



What Are the Benefits of CBD?

As mentioned, there has been far more research determining the benefits of CBD than CBDa. Here are some of CBD’s most prominent benefits. 


Soothes Nervous Feelings 

Feeling nervous every once in a while is normal. But if you want to find a product that can ease those racing thoughts, CBD may be able to help you do just that. 


CBD might improve your overall mood, soothe jitters, and promote tranquility. Like CBDa, studies suggest that CBD interacts with the body’s serotonin receptors to assist our overall well-being.


Relieves Soreness

Sometimes we can go a little too hard at the gym and feel some tension — CBD can help with that. CBD is excellent at helping reduce swelling and aches. Products such as CBD balms and lotions can be applied directly to the skin and target irritation as it arises.


Boosts Skin Radiance 

Research has shown that CBD products can also promote and nourish the skin. Products like CBD topicals can soothe blemishes and rejuvenate the skin. The reason this happens is that cannabidiol has properties that combat swelling.


Stimulates Appetite & Eases Digestion

If you have a difficult time eating or keeping down food, CBD may be able to offer a helping hand. CBD might soothe an upset stomach and other tummy troubles while encouraging the body to eat more. By incorporating cannabidiol into your diet, you can stimulate your appetite and regulate the amount of food you eat daily. 


Promotes Natural Sleep

Sleep is crucial to our body’s health and state of being. But sometimes, it can be a bit of a challenge to get some shut-eye. CBD promotes relaxation and calms the mind, helping your body realize that it is time for a good night’s sleep!



What Are the Differences with CBDa Vs CBD?

Despite some overlap between CBDa and CBD, there are a few key differences between the two cannabinoids.



One of the main differences between cannabidiol and cannabidiolic acid is their formation. Essentially, CBDa is the raw, acidic form of CBD. Even before we get CBDa, there is CBGa (cannabigerolic acid). CBGa is the “mother of all cannabinoids,” as it turns into CBDa, THCa, and many others. 


From this point, CBDa then converts into CBD through a heating process (~270°F) known as decarboxylation. After this occurs, we are then left with the beneficial and beautiful CBD compound!



Because CBDa is the raw acidic form of CBD, there are different ways to consume it. While the CBD compound can be consumed through such products as oils, capsules, and gummies, consuming CBDa is different.


The most common way to consume CBDa is through oils and capsules. People sometimes prefer not to heat their CBDa so that nothing is lost in the decarboxylation process. CBDa can have a bitter taste, so adding a bit of sugar or sweetener can make it easier to swallow.



Although research is still looking into the full benefits of CBDa, one thing is clear: it is more potent than CBD. CBD and CBDa share some similar benefits. Since cannabidiolic acid is slightly more effective, you can get the relief CBD provides with the potency of CBDa. The benefits include:


  • Soothed stomach
  • Uplifted feelings
  • Reduced swelling



CBD products are far more common to find than CBD. The demand for CBD is much more significant because of the amount of research that has been conducted on the compound, making it more reliable and sought after. 


However, the market for CBDa products is slowly increasing, finding its way into oils and capsules. So if you find that it’s a bit tough to find CBDa products near you, keep trying! We’re confident that pretty soon, they’ll be everywhere.



person using a cbd oil dropper bottle



How They Work

One of the biggest differences between CBD and CBDa is how they interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS maintains the body’s sense of homeostasis by regulating sleep, appetite, mood, and more.


CBD and CBDa interact with the ECS by boosting certain cannabinoid receptors of the body. The receptors that each compound interacts with are rather different.


CBD indirectly supports serotonin, adenosine, and vanilloid receptors. When these receptors are promoted, they can assist one’s mood, reduce nervous feelings, and combat muscle or joint soreness. In contrast, CBDa blocks the activation of COX-2. COX-2 can cause swelling, so this is how CBDa combats swelling.



Can I Find CBDa in CBD Products?

Yes, there can be trace amounts of CBDa in some CBD products. Depending on how the CBD product is used (heated, swallowed, rubbed on, etc.), there can be varying levels of CBDa in certain cannabidiol products.


Additionally, CBDa might be found in these products if the manufacturer did not heat the hemp plant before processing. This will naturally leave some CBDa in the final product.



Final Thoughts – CBDa Vs. CBD

Now that you know the difference between CBDa vs. CBD, you may be wondering which one is better. That all depends on the type of benefits you seek and what method of consumption you prefer. Though, for most people, CBD is the preferable choice.


If you enjoy smoking a flower or eating edibles, CBD is ideal for you. And if you want a bit more potent effects and do not mind a naturally bitter taste, CBDa oil is the way to go. Either way, CBDa and CBD both encourage many benefits that can help bring you a sense of relief in your daily routine.