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Cannabinoid Clinic: CBDVA

Updated: Dec 29, 2022

Welcome to Cannabinoid Clinic, an education project powered by Higher Learning LV. This series provides cannabis and hemp industry professionals with easily digested cannabinoid profiles that ask little of your time—but provide plenty of science-based information.


There are two categories of cannabinoids: Phytocannabinoids and endocannabinoids. Phytocannabinoids are those produced by cannabis/marijuana/hemp, while endocannabinoids are made by the human body. This series covers both.

CBDVA molecular structure


What is CBDVA?

Cannabidivarinic acid (CBDVA) is a specialized minor cannabinoid that serves as the acidic precursor that morphs into the varin cannabinoid CBDV under the right environmental conditions. This molecule belongs to a small family of closely related cannabinoids that includes cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA).


"CBDVA has demonstrated anticonvulsant efficacy that may make it of value in the treatment of epilepsy, particularly childhood Dravet syndrome."

CBDVA was discovered in 1977 by Japanese researchers (along with the other varin-specific acidic precursors, THCVA and CBGVA). This cannabinoid has demonstrated anticonvulsant efficacy that may make it of value in the treatment of epilepsy, particularly childhood Dravet syndrome.


CBDVA Fast Facts

  • Role: Results from CBGVA

  • Biosynthetic pathway: CBGVA > CBDVA > CBDV

  • Psychoactivity: Nonpsychoactive

  • Acidic precursor: CBGVA

  • Boiling point: 950° F

  • Primary medical benefits: Anticonvulsant, neuroprotective


CBDVA Medicinal Benefits

Little research has involved CBDVA since its discovery in 1977. A 1988 study entitled "A Review of Medicinal Plants Showing Anticonvulsant Activity" that was published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology explored the potential anticonvulsant activity of a number of cannabinoids, including CBGVA and their potential use in the treatment of epilepsy.


An August 2021 study entitled "Cannabigerolic Acid, a Major Biosynthetic Precursor Molecule in Cannabis, Exhibits Divergent Effects on Seizures in Mouse Models of Epilepsy" that was published in the British Journal of Pharmacology investigated "the cannabis plant for phytocannabinoids with anticonvulsant effects against hyperthermia-induced seizures."


"CBGA, CBDVA, and CBGVA may contribute to the effects of cannabis-based products in childhood epilepsy."

Reported the study: "Cannabis has been used to treat epilepsy for millennia, with such use validated by regulatory approval of cannabidiol (CBD) for Dravet syndrome. Unregulated artisanal cannabis-based products used to treat children with intractable epilepsies often contain relatively low doses of CBD but are enriched in other phytocannabinoids. This raises the possibility that other cannabis constituents might have anticonvulsant properties."


The study's authors concluded that their results "suggest that CBGA, CBDVA, and CBGVA may contribute to the effects of cannabis-based products in childhood epilepsy" and that these cannabinoids "have anticonvulsant potential and could be lead compounds for drug development programs." It noted, however, that "several liabilities would need to be overcome before CBD is superseded by another in this class."

A September 2021 study entitled "An Evaluation of Understudied Phytocannabinoids and Their Effects in Two Neuronal Models" that was published in the journal Molecules "tested a panel of five phytocannabinoids—cannabichromene (CBC), cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), cannabidivarin (CBDV), cannabidivarinic acid (CBDVA), and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) in two neuronal models."


The scientists reported that CBDVA "has received little attention until recently" and that this cannabinoid features "a high oral bioavailability" and that it also features "poor brain penetration."


A November 2022 study entitled "The Anticonvulsant P)hytocannabinoids CBGVA and CBDVA Inhibit Recombinant T-type Channels" that was published in the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology had the goal of investigating "whether anticonvulsant phytocannabinoids affect T-type calcium channels, which are known to modulate neuronal excitability, and may be relevant to the anti-seizure effects of this class of compounds."


"CBDVA should be further investigated to develop novel therapeutics for treating diseases such as epilepsy and seizure disorders."

The study reported: "CBD has been clinically approved for intractable epilepsies, offering hope that novel anticonvulsants in the phytocannabinoid class might be developed. Looking beyond CBD, we have recently reported that a series of biosynthetic precursor molecules found in cannabis display anticonvulsant properties."


The study revealed that the varin-specific acidic precursors CBDVA and CBGVA displayed the "greatest magnitudes of effect" in terms of anticonvulsant properties and potential value to epilepsy patients. The research concluded that its findings "show that CBGVA and CBDVA inhibit T-type calcium channels and GPR55. These compounds should be further investigated to develop novel therapeutics for treating diseases associated with dysfunctional T-type channel activity, [such as epilepsy and seizure disorders]."


How to Get CBDVA

Like other minor cannabinoids, CBDVA is not readily available in the form of consumer products, although a few have appeared in certain markets. Because it is an acidic precursor, the application of heat during smoking or vaporization will result in the molecule transmogrifying into its child, CBDV. Thus, ingested products such as sublingual tinctures and edibles are the only valid consumption avenues for this cannabinoid.


"Because it is an acidic precursor, the application of heat during smoking or vaporization will result in the molecule transmogrifying into its child, CBDV."

Most cannabis cultivars ("strains") lack this cannabinoid, but some may offer up to about one percent CBDVA. Some patients and consumers employ the strategy of locating a hemp or cannabis cultivar that is rich in CBDV and then juicing the leaves.


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