Cannabinoids: What is the Difference Between CBD & CBDa?

The amazing thing about Cannabinoids, is that they come in lots of weird shapes and sizes, and each have their own range of amazing benefits. While CBD has taken the spotlight, there are more than 113 other Cannabinoids that you should give some credit.

Today’s topic of conversation is: What is the difference between CBD & CBDa? If you look at a lab-report for CBD products, you will always see lots of seemingly very random chemicals like CBDa, CBDv, THCa, THCv, CBG and CBGa. All of these Cannabinoids are superheroes in their own right. But today, our question is What is CBDa? It seems to be popping up in all of the CBD products that are either the most popular, or more effective.

What is CBDa?

In the very simplest of terms, CBDa is the acid precursor of CBD and is found abundantly in the raw cannabis flower, or the leaves. CBD is created in the plant during a process of synthesis or decarboxylation (where the carbon atoms are removed from the compound). This process is triggered by the plant being exposed to a lot of sunlight, as the plant ages or when it is burnt. So if you got a nice CBDa rich hemp flower, and started to smoke it, then you are turning all of those CBDa molecules into CBD before they enter your body.

So, in essence, it is the ‘raw’ version of CBD. This is why you can find plenty of CBD oils that are classed as Raw- because they contain a high- medium percentage of CBDa. It seems as though these ‘raw’ or ‘whole plant’ CBD tinctures are taking over the market by storm. While science is yet to understand exactly why, the addition of CBDa to an oil clearly has a huge impact.


The biggest difference between CBD & CBDa is simply that we know a hell of a lot more about CBD, than we do about it’s acid precursor. If you scower the internet (like we have), you will see lots of theories about what makes the two different. In actual science, we simply don’t know; scientists don’t even know for sure whether CBDa attaches itself to a cannabinoid receptor at all.

One theory suggests that CBDa attaches itself more actively to the CB1 Receptor while CBD bounces between the two. The idea is that the two cannabinoids together have more coverage over the two types of receptors. Another says that CBDa has a more sedating effect, or cures god-knows-what. In short, a lot of this can be put down to speculation or taken from research that isn’t yet complete. All we can really say is that CBDa works- somehow- how do you know? Take a Raw CBD oil and find out!

Where to find Raw CBDa rich Products

You thankfully do not need to look very far- we have more than a few suggestions for you on our website. Whether you choose CBDiablo or Loveburgh, or a paste or oil, you can be sure that we recommend trusted suppliers and trusted retailers 🙂

Harry <3


Harry is the primary writer at CBD Bible. He has been writing about CBD for more than 5 years and has had his writing featured on a number of high-profile publications. Find him on Twitter @CBDBibleUK