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CBD vs. CBDa: What’s the Difference?

Cannabidiol (CBD), the popular non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant, has been gaining a lot of attention in recent years due to its tremendous therapeutic properties. Studies have proven that this chemical compound can have a significant positive impact on many functions of the human body, including metabolism, mood, appetite, sleep, pain tolerance, and more. It is the second-most prominent cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant, after its contrasting psychoactive component, THC. Before processing, CBD is referred to as CBDa, and must undergo the process of decarboxylation before officially becoming refined and processed CBD.

With CBD becoming the most promising cannabinoid for medical research, CBDa has been overlooked in the past. Recently, a new trend of “juicing” raw cannabis has brought CBDa back into the spotlight. Although CBD is derived from CBDa, there is a common misconception that they are the same chemical compound. In actuality, they differ from each other in a number of ways including chemical composition, working mechanism and health benefits.

If they are in fact two different chemical compounds, how does CBDa become CBD?

First, let us explain exactly what CBDa is, then what CBD is, as their own separate elements.

Found in fresh cannabis plants, CBDa is the acidic forerunner to CBD. It has healing properties of its own, and is often processed to maximize these benefits. CBDa will naturally become CBD as it undergoes degradation over time, but can be transformed more quickly through decarboxylation. The process of decarboxylation is the act of heating cannabis materials through cooking, vaporizing or smoking. Depending on the amount of time the heat is applied, decarboxylation may turn CBDa into CBD. Because of this, the resultant chemical compound may still contain a trace amount of CBDa.

Differences Between CBDa and CBD

Chemical Composition

The chemical formulas for CBD and CBDa are C₂₁H₃₀O₂ and C₂₂H₃₀O₄ respectively. The cannabinoid has a more simple chemical composition because of the absence of a carboxylic acid group that is removed during the decarboxylation process. The removal of the carboxyl group turns the inactive components in CBDa into active components, unlocking additional therapeutic properties.

Working Mechanism

  • Both CBD and CBDa have a positive impact on the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which serves to regulate balance in immune response, cellular communication, metabolism, mood, and other bodily functions. While they do not interact directly with the main receptors of the ECS, they can both activate and inhibit other receptors to keep the body healthy.
  • In terms of “working mechanisms,” the main difference between CBD and CBDa lies in the types of receptors they influence:
    • CBD is known to react with adenosine, serotonin and vanilloid receptors to mediate pain, inflammation, anxiety, depression and other conditions.
    • CBD also inhibits the CPR55 receptor to improve bone density, blood pressure, and cancer-fighting abilities.
    • CBDa works by blocking the activities of receptors responsible for causing inflammation, such as COX-1 and COX-2. By doing so, CBDa can reduce seizures, inflammation, and symptoms of diseases.

Researchers have found that CBD and CBDa provide the best results when they work together. This is especially true if the condition results from the improper regulation of multiple systems in the body. In addition to this, recent studies showed that CBDa can enhance the potency of CBD, allowing users to take smaller amounts while retaining the same level of effectiveness.

Health Benefits of CBD and CBDa

Both CBD and CBDa are suitable for healthcare use because they are non-psychoactive, meaning they do not make their users feel “high.” While they have several similar health benefits, these compounds are not entirely the same in terms of therapeutic effects. The process of decarboxylation activates certain dormant medicinal properties of CBDa, but it also results in the loss of beneficial cannabis oils called terpenes. Therefore, CBD does provide a wider range of health benefits but it does not offer as many terpene-related benefits as CBDa.

To date, CBD has been more extensively studied than CBDa. Researchers have found that CBD can help improve the general well-being of an individual, and is said to alleviate many health problems, including:

  • Inflammation
  • Pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Sleeping Difficulty
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Epilepsy
  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Stroke
  • Cancer
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Acne
  • Addiction

CBDa has gotten significantly less attention from research in comparison to CBD. Because of this, CBDa’s true potential is relatively unknown. However, experts have discovered that it can help treat a number of health conditions so far (Note: some are similar to those of CBD) including:

  • Bacterial Infection
  • Pain
  • Inflammation
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Seizure
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Anxiety
  • Psychotic Disorders

Despite their differences, both CBD and CBDa can be extremely beneficial to anyone’s health. Whether you wish to use these powerful compounds to treat a specific condition or to improve general health, it is important that you select products that are effective and safe.


  • CBD is a substance with a curative effect that can be used for a variety of unwanted symptoms.
  • CBDa is a strong variant of CBD containing heightened value which results in a strengthened effect.
  • CBD and CBDa are beneficial compounds by themselves and when working together.
  • CBD and CBDa contain no psychoactive substances, and therefore have no mind-altering effects.

Daintri’s focus is on health and wellness. We curate only the best of the best CBD products to help you live your healthiest life. Daintri offers a wide variety of CBD products for all types of consumers including CBD oiltincturesediblesvapesbeauty productspet products and more. If there are any questions about products, manufacturing processes or extraction methods, please let us know. We are on a mission to help as many people as possible with their health ailments.



*To view Daintri’s sources for this and all Education Center articles, click here.

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