Understanding CBDA

Updated: Mar 11

Isolated and identified in 1955, cannabidiolic acid, or CBDA, was the earliest discovered cannabinoid acid from the cannabis/hemp/marijuana plant species. It is the acidic precursor of cannabidiol (CBD) and provides a variety of medicinal benefits, most prominent of which in the research literature is a reduction of nausea.


The Research

A 2022 study entitled "Cannabinoids Block Cellular Entry of SARS-CoV-2 and the Emerging Variants" that was published int the Journal of Natural Products investigated the potential efficacy of the cannabinoid acidic precursors CBDA and CBGA.


The study's authors reported that both of these hemp-derived acidic precursors were equally efficacious and that they "prevented infection of human epithelial cells by a pseudovirus expressing the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and prevented entry of live SARS-CoV-2 into cells."


The researchers concluded that both cannabinoids may be beneficial therapeutic agents in the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 due to the fact that they are "orally bioavailable and [feature] a long history of safe human use."


The study's authors reported that both of these hemp-derived acidic precursors were equally efficacious and that both "prevented infection of human epithelial cells by a pseudovirus expressing the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and prevented entry of live SARS-CoV-2 into cells."

The study's authors were careful to state that these cannabinoids "have the potential to prevent as well as treat infection by SARS-CoV-2." Their inclusion of the term "potential" is very important and should be considered by readers who may be exposed to inflated claims in mass media and clickbait in social media.


A 2018 study entitled "Effect of Cannabidiolic Acid and ∆ 9-Tetrahydrocannabinol on Inflammatory Pain" that was published in the peer-reviewed journal Psychopharmacology explored the "anti-inflammatory and anti-hyperalgesia effects of CBD's potent acidic precursor, cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), in a rodent model of carrageenan-induced acute inflammation."

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The study reported that CBDA "produced dose-dependent anti-hyperalgesia and anti-inflammatory effects." It found that both CBDA and THC reduced inflammation. The researchers found that a dose of CBDA too weak to cause improvement that was combined with a dose of THC also too weak to cause improvement "produced an anti-hyperalgesia effect and reduced inflammation."


The scientists concluded that "CBDA or THC alone, as well as very low doses of combined CBDA and THC, has anti-inflammatory and anti-hyperalgesia effects in this animal model of acute inflammation."


A 2016 study entitled "Effect of Combined Oral Doses of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA) on Acute and Anticipatory Nausea" that was published in the journal Psychopharmacology investigated the ability of CBDA and THC to reduce nausea.


The study found that both of these cannabinoids were effective in reducing nausea in rodent test subjects and that they "significantly suppressed acute nausea." The study also noted that the response benefit was dependent on dose and that "higher individual doses of both THC and CBDA were maximally effective."


The study’s authors concluded, "Oral administration of subthreshold doses of THC and CBDA may be an effective new treatment for acute nausea and anticipatory nausea and appetite enhancement in chemotherapy patients."


The study’s authors concluded, "Oral administration of subthreshold doses of THC and CBDA may be an effective new treatment for acute nausea and anticipatory nausea and appetite enhancement in chemotherapy patients."

A 2013 study entitled "Effect of Low Doses of Cannabidiolic Acid on Nausea" that was published in the British Journal of Pharmacology was conducted "to determine the minimal dose of cannabidiolic acid (CBDA ) that effectively reduces nausea."

The researchers reported that CBDA was effective in reducing nausea in rodent subjects, even at low doses. The study's authors explored the ability of CBDA to provide efficacy in tandem with other drugs (ondansetron) to "more effectively treat acute nausea in chemotherapy patients."


The study noted that CBDA is "a highly potent treatment for acute nausea." It also provided an interesting and important fact regarding the difference between CBD and CBDA. "The data collected here demonstrate that the effective doses of CBDA, which attenuate...nausea, are approximately 1000 times lower than those of CBD."




The study also revealed that the "dose–response curve for the anti‐emetic (antinausea) effect of CBDA" is not biphasic. The response curve for its analog sibling CBD, however, is biphasic.


The report noted the "narrow range of CBD efficacy" and how it limits the clinical use of the phytocannabinoid in the treatment of nausea, especially for chemotherapy patients. "Therefore, CBDA may be more desirable than CBD as an anti‐emetic/anti‐nausea agent," concluded the study's authors.

Citing other studies, this research noted "an important dual role for CBDA in cancer treatment, acting not only to reduce the symptoms of nausea and vomiting, but also to actually reduce cancer cell migration, an important factor in cancer metastasis."


A 2012 study entitled "Cannabidiolic Acid is an Inhibitor of Breast Cancer Cell Migration" that was published in the journal Toxicology Letters investigated the efficacy of CBDA for cancer.


The study reported, "It is well-established that THC, the major psychoactive constituent in the medicinal/drug-type variety of the cannabis plant, displays a number of biological activities, including anti-atherosclerotic, anti-proliferative, and endocrine disrupting properties," adding that "there is also growing experimental evidence suggesting that cannabidiol (CBD), found principally in the fiber-type of cannabis, also possesses biological activities."


The study's authors noted that "In fresh plants, the concentrations of neutral cannabinoids, including CBD, are much lower than those of cannabinoid acids." The researchers concluded that "CBDA is an inhibitor of highly aggressive human breast cancer cell migration."


The study reported that "RhoA activators [such as CBDA] may represent useful pharmaceutical approaches for inhibiting cancer cell migration." The scientists concluded that their study data "support the view that CBDA is a biologically active component of the fiber-type cannabis plant with potential utility as an effective [cancer] anti-migration agent."


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