CBDa Vs. CBD – What’s the Difference?


CBDa Vs. CBD – What’s the Difference?

In less than a decade, CBD has taken the world by storm. The nonintoxicating and potential medicinal properties have allowed people of all walks of life to enjoy cannabis products. Only a few years ago, we never thought that our Grandmas would be taking cannabis extracts before bed each night. CBD has made this a reality. As the industry matures, we are learning that CBD and THC aren’t the only beneficial compounds the diverse plant has to offer. Other cannabinoids such as CBDa, are gaining the attention of enthusiasts for their potential medicinal properties.

Scientists and cannabis researchers believe there is substantial evidence to suggest that a full-plant profile (full spectrum CBD) has more medicinal potential than isolated cannabinoids. A full range of cannabinoids and terpenes appears to deliver more benefits as well as a more constant dosing response. Meaning when taking CBD alone, there may be a decrease in benefits as the dosage is increased.

The role of other cannabinoids like CBDa in full spectrum products isn’t fully understood. However, the industry is in agreement that taking CBD along with as much of the original plant compounds as possible will deliver an elevated experience. Unfortunately, cannabis prohibition has suppressed research.

2021 is sure to shine a light on areas of the cannabis industry like lesser-known cannabinoids that have lacked adequate research funding. It’s been a long time coming but now is better than never.

Understanding CBDa, where it comes from, and the potential benefits are vital in becoming an educated cannabis consumer. Obtaining a firm grasp on CBD is a great place to start in understanding CBDa.


What is CBD?

The cannabis plant is made up of over 100 known chemical compounds called cannabinoids. Scientists have successfully separated each of these compounds from the original plant. CBD and THC are the most well-known cannabinoids.

CBD or cannabinol has gained recent popularity because it doesn’t get you high and is believed to have medical benefits. Much is yet to be learned about this cannabinoid, but the research we do have, along with anecdotal testimony is looking promising. We predict some major new CBD research to come out in 2021, stay tuned!

THC and CBD are very similar chemically. Their molecular makeup is the same, they are just structured differently. This may seem insignificant, but it makes a world of difference to the user.

The reason CBD doesn’t get you high is because of its molecular structure. It doesn’t fit into the receptor that releases the flood of dopamine and serotonin that THC does. Instead, CBD needs to be taken consistently, overtime for users to benefit. Because CBD doesn’t administer an instantaneous effect, it can turn first-time users off.

We suggest our customers take full-spectrum products every day for at least two weeks to make a fair assessment if CBD has the potential to improve their lives.

Not all CBD is the same. Three major types of CBD are found in products.

Types of CBD

  • Full Spectrum – This is the full plant extract we have been talking about. Full-spectrum products contain all the cannabinoids and terpenes from the original plant. The main thing that separates full spectrum from the other types of CBD products is THC content. There will be amounts of THC in true full-spectrum products.
  • Broad Spectrum – CBD users who want the full plant experience, but are turned off by THC, prefer broad spectrum. This type of extract contains other cannabinoids and terpenes without the THC.
  • Isolate CBD – Pure cannabidiol. CBD is isolated from all other compounds found in the plant. This method of extraction is far less complicated resulting in lower costs.
Isolate Broad Spectrum Full Spectrum Infographic

In the beginning stages of the CBD industry, many believed that taking isolate CBD was the most beneficial. This is how other drugs are researched and dosed. Cannabis seems to be different in this aspect. The belief that CBD along with other cannabinoids and terpenes delivers an increase in benefits offers challenges to researchers and manufacturers. As we continue to further understand this relationship it’s important to recognize the different types of CBD.

The small amounts of THC in full-spectrum products may seem insignificant. However, even in minor quantities, THC is believed to help CBD deliver more benefits.

If you are concerned with failing a drug test, it is best to stay away from full-spectrum products. The amounts are small but, can build up in your system if you take them consistently.

What are the Benefits of CBD?

CBD has gained so much attention from cannabis researchers because of its relationship with our endocannabinoid system. This is a complex network within our bodies that is believed to regulate functions such as mood, appetite, pain, inflammation, and the sleep-wake cycle.

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is made up of three main components:

  1. Endocannabinoids – these naturally occurring neurotransmitters are chemical compounds that closely resemble cannabinoids. Our bodies naturally produce them. They react with the receptors throughout the body that regulate major bodily functions and reactions.
  2. Endocannabinoid Receptors – There are two types of known endocannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2. The receptors are primarily located in the brain are CB1. CB2 receptors are mostly found on white blood cells throughout other parts of the body. The activation of CB1 is what produces the high from THC use. CBD is believed to have an indirect effect on CB1 receptors.
  3. Enzymes – Experts believe that CBD has the potential to activate the ECS indirectly through the inhibition of enzymes. In laymen’s terms, CBD stops enzymes that slow the production of endocannabinoids, in turn creating a healthy ECS and a wide array of potential benefits

Much is still unknown about this complex network. However, the ECS is real. Endocannabinoids have been recreated in labs and receptors have been cloned. This is why scientists are so excited about the future of CBD. We are just scratching the surface.

Besides treating epilepsy, the benefits of CBD haven’t been definitively established. The lack of clinical research trials is due to prohibition, let’s hope that moving forward we will be able to further understand exactly how CBD can regulate the ECS to deliver real benefits to users.

What is CBDa and Where Does it Come From?

All cannabinoids start as CBGa. As a cannabis plant develops, it changes over time. CBGa is synthesized into other cannabinoids such as CBDa and THCa. Certain strains contain different amounts of plant enzymes that convert CBGa into more or fewer precursor compounds. CBGa is known as the ‘mother of all cannabinoids.’

Once CBGa has converted into CBDa during the plant lifecycle it can then be decarboxylated into CBD. The two cannabinoids are the same thing, one has been manipulated. By adding heat, CBDa is converted to CBD. This process is done by several methods.

This process can be confusing for people how don’t have a degree in botany or chemistry. A great way to understand decarboxylation is to think of dry marijuana flower; weed that was grown to get its users high. The flower that is broken up and rolled into joints contains THCa. It is up to the user to activate or decarboxylate the THCa themselves. Once the joint is lit, THCa converts to THC, is inhaled, and goes to work on the endocannabinoid receptors.

Everyone knows that eating a nug of weed won’t get you high, but most people don’t know that by lighting the flower on fire, they are decarboxylating a chemical compound. Edibles must contain THC to be effective because users don’t light their 100mg chocolate truffles on fire before eating them. The THCa must be activated before being infused into the food product.

CBD extracts like CBD oil are manufactured in a similar way as edibles. The CBDa is converted into CBD and then added to carrier oil. This allows users to consume activated cannabidiol.

Why Would We Want CBDa? – What are the Benefits? Are There Any?

People go through a lot of trouble to activate CBDa into CBD. Doesn’t that mean CBDa is useless? Before 2008, most researchers had the same train of thought. CBDa isn’t worth spending minimal research dollars and time on because it doesn’t affect the ECS, or so they thought. So, most research was geared toward CBD and THC. In 2008, researchers noticed that CBDa closely resembles common anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The team of researchers decided to entertain this idea and reported that CBDa demonstrated the same COX-2 inhibitor behavior as these drugs used to decrease inflammation.

Further research into CBDa has suggested that it has the potential to treat nausea and anxiety. A Canadian scientist found that CBDa was a thousand times more effective at binding to a specific serotonin receptor than CBD when administered with another anti-nausea drug OND, commonly given to chemotherapy patients.

We currently don’t have enough research into CBD and everyone and their grandma has heard of it or is an active user. CBDa is even further away from doctors prescribing the cannabinoid. Hopefully, that will change shortly, for now, we can only go off the limited available research.

Can CBDa Make Me High?

No. CBDa will not make you high. THC is the only known cannabinoid to have this effect. The research on the high created by THC is quite extensive. This has been the main focus of most world governments, attempting to prove THC is a dangerous drug. After decades of wasted research dollars and time, we have known that THC isn’t a dangerous drug and isn’t capable of killing users.

This aspect of cannabis is clear. We know that THC is the compound in cannabis that creates the notorious high. CBD and CBDa don’t bind with the CB1 receptors that release the dopamine and serotonin that give the euphoric feeling after smoking marijuana.

There is still much to learn about CBDa, we may be years from fully understanding the effects of CBDa. Chemists have only recently found a cost-effective way to extract the cannabinoid for commercial use. CBDa oil is available to purchase but not as readily available as CBD.

The side-effects of CBDa aren’t understood. We are still early in our understanding of the cannabinoid. CBD is tolerated well in humans even in extremely high doses. CBDa hasn’t been tested on the scale that CBD has, like all cannabis products, it is wise to start with a small dose and work your way up to larger amounts.

Is CBDa Better Than CBD?

According to researchers from Guelph, Canada, CBDa is a thousand times as effective at binding to a specific cannabinoid receptor than its predecessor. It is worth noting that this study was done on rat models, not human subjects. This is the scientific process, we aren’t aware of any studies backing these finding that has been done on people, let alone hundreds if not thousands that are needed for definitive data.

For now, the answer is we don’t know. The research done by the Canadians is interesting. CBD’s role in the ECS is believed to be indirect, if research proves that CBDa can bind with a receptor it would quickly emerge as one of the most popular and sought-after cannabinoids.

Other cannabinoids, such as CBG, have shown evidence to suggest that they could have a direct effect on the ECS. More research is needed, but if we find that a cannabinoid can bind directly with endocannabinoid receptors without creating a high, CBD may have to move over.

Inhibiting enzymes that stop the creation of endocannabinoids is great and all but explaining this phenomenon to a first-time user isn’t easy. Also, directing users to have to take CBD over extended periods to feel results is not ideal. Maybe the future will bring a cannabis extract that can instantaneously provide felt benefits, only time will tell.

Is CBDa in CBD Oil?

CBD oil does contain CBDa if it is a true full spectrum. During the manufacturing process, complex CO2 extraction methods are used to save the most cannabinoids possible while keeping the THC levels under the allotted amount.

This is an area where CBD companies separate themselves. Because of lax regulations, any company can claim they have full-spectrum oil. If they don’t have high total cannabinoid content, they are selling isolate.

When buying any CBD product, make sure to look at the 3rd party lab tests before making a purchase. All legit CBD companies will have these readily available for their customers to view online. Each batch should be tested. Transparency is very important to us, you can view our lab tests here.

You may have heard that it is necessary to check lab tests to be sure you are buying CBD. Many retailers try to pass off hemp seed oil as CBD oil. These companies are easy to spot, if it seems too good to be true, 3000mg of CBD for $15, it is. It is also important to check cannabinoid potency tests when purchasing full-spectrum products. You want a product with significant amounts of cannabinoids and terpenes to deliver the sought out ‘entourage effect.’

Reading a lab test or COA can be confusing. Taking the time to understand what you are paying for is extremely important. To experience CBD with the maximum potential benefits, users need a cannabinoid and terpene-rich full-spectrum product.

The Future of CBDa

The future of the cannabis industry as a whole is promising. We are so excited to see what new legislation, research, and innovations 2021 will bring. Unfortunately, we are far behind where we should be. CBD was discovered in 1940 and we still are just beginning to learn how beneficial it can be.

The stigma created around marijuana and THC is slowly but surely wearing off. Even boomers are beginning to change their minds about CBD, especially once they discover that they have the most to gain by using CBD products.

CBD has a long way to go and CBDa has even further. Thankfully, we are allowed to buy cannabis products safely from our homes, without the concerns of getting goods confiscated, paying fines, or going to jail.

The future of the CBD industry is expanding past the traditional ideas we have about medicine.

Cannabis seems to be most beneficial when taken with all its natural properties. This is very different from how we have viewed drug dosing and research in the past. It will undoubtedly take years before we fully understand the best way to take cannabis.

We are confident that the future includes lesser-known cannabinoids like CBDa. It is unclear how popular CBDa oil and other CBDa products will become and how beneficial the cannabinoid will prove to be after large-scale clinical research.

Our full spectrum products contain a wide array of cannabinoids including, CBDa. Be sure to check out our lab tests here. At Bespoke Extracts, we are dedicated to providing our customers with safe products of the highest quality.

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