What is CBDa? | Living Matrix

What is CBDa?


Have you ever seen CBDa mentioned and wondered – what is CBDa? If you’re new to medical cannabis or hemp, this may not be something you’ve ventured into researching yet. You’re probably just grasping the concept of CBD. In this guide, we’ll help you understand what is CBDa and how it becomes CBD.

What is CBDa?

Cannabidiolic acid (CBDa) is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid that is present in both cannabis and hemp plants. It is non-intoxicating just like CBD.  The resinous glands, or trichomes, of these plants is where you can find this cannabinoid.

CBDa remains inactive until activated by heat. But, once the cannabinoid is “activated” it converts to CBD in a process called decarboxylation.

CBDa is present in raw hemp and cannabis plants that have not been harvested and haven’t started to be processed yet.

How do you Activate CBDa?

During the process of decarboxylation, CBDa is activated and begins to convert to CBD. Heating CBDa activates it. As heat is applied, acid molecules of cannabinoids break down and begin to convert the compounds.

In order for CBDa to convert to CBD, it must be heated to a temperature of 270 degrees Fahrenheit.

When hemp and cannabis plants are harvested, some decarboxylation occurs naturally as the plants dry and cure.

What Happens to Hemp and Cannabis Plants Upon Harvest?

When hemp and cannabis plants grow, they’re taking in water and food from the soil. Upon harvesting, the plants are essentially shocked and they enter survival mode. The goal of the plants is to retain as many nutrients as possible. So, the plants will sweat when they’re trimmed.

The atmospheric pressure the plants experience does cause a chemical change where the acids within the plant begin to break down.

Is CBDa like CBD?

Part of answering the question what is CBDa is also explaining how it’s similar to its activated version – CBD. It’s thought that CBDa and CBD work in very similar ways in the body. Since CBD is essentially CBDa before heating and processing, this makes sense.

The main difference is that CBDa is incapable of stimulating the body’s endocannabinoid system the way that CBD does. Both CBDa and CBD are non-intoxicating cannabinoids.

CBDa is shown to have these properties:

  • Antioxidant
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-nausea
  • Analgesic
  • Antimicrobial
  • Antibacterial
  • Anti-proliferative

These properties are beneficial in supporting healthy responses in the body. It also indicates that CBDa does work similarly to CBD in the body.


CBDa is less bioavailable than CBD simply because it’s been activated and CBDa is rarely harvested alone. Bioavailability refers to the amount of a compound that enters the body’s circulation pattern (bloodstream). Dose does play a role in the bioavailability of cannabinoids.

CBDa can be extracted alone but isn’t known to be as strong as its activated counterpart CBD. If you are able to obtain isolated CBDa, you’ll likely need a much bigger dose.

There isn’t much research on CBDa because the focus is more on CBD.

Closing Thoughts

What is CBDa? It’s a valuable cannabinoid that works similarly to CBD in the body. It’s the inactive form of CBD that is also non-intoxicating. As soon as a hemp or cannabis plant is harvested, the amount of available CBDa starts to slowly decrease due to natural processes.

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