Header overlay

CBDA vs CBD: What Is The Difference?

CBDA vs CBD: What Is The Difference?

Many of you have heard of CBD - you may even use it.  Some of you might be aware of CBDA.  

But, most of you don’t know how these two cannabinoids are connected.  

That connection is what I will teach you about today.  Along with:

  • CBD Hemp and THC Marijuana 
  • Acidic cannabinoids.  Few have heard about them.  They are really promising and we should be consuming more of them.  
  • The potential benefits of CBDA and CBD and what really distinguishes these two. 

OK…get after it we shall  ⬇⬇⬇

CBDA vs CBD: the (2) cannabinoids that started the hemp revolution:

Let’s distinguish CBD hemp and THC marijunna

Yeah, I know, some of you already know the difference.  If so, go ahead and skip to the next section.  Otherwise here are the (3) main points to consider. 

  1. CBD is the predominant mainstream cannabinoid other than THC.  
  2. Genetics and cannabis breeding lowered THC and increased CBD in traditional marijuana varieties.  These new varieties have <0.3% THC and can have upwards of 30% CBD.    
  3. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp and opened the door for a tsunami of CBD products to flood the market. 

In 2022 you have hemp producers (<0.3%THC) and marijuana producers (>0.3%THC).  Hemp producers are often focused on the production of CBD while marijuana producers are trying to maximize THC


Now you’re informed of the two most common cannabinoids and their respective industry.  

CBD (and CBDa) started a fad.

As I'm sure you've guessed, after the farm bill passed it didn't take long for literal tons of CBD to hit the shelves.  

Why did it catch on with such velocity?  

Easy.  THC is everyone’s most favoritest cannabinoid. 

Uhhh...What does THC have to do with CBD bro? 

Let me put it to you like this.  

People knew THC was cool and fun.  So, maybe THC’s close cousin, that didn’t get them high could do a lot of other cool stuff? Possibly ease their anxiety, lessen their pain, and of course make them fly (kidding on that last one).  

Short story long, CBD becomes available by the ton (catching on?). Now, everyone and their dog (not kidding) can get their hands on CBD. 

OK…a lot of that you knew. Here’s what you (probably) didn’t.  

Every bit of CBD that you can find from gas station to pharmacy, started off as a different compound.  

CBDa - come on down!

Cannabinolic Acid, Raw CBD, the mother of CBD (whatever you like to call it).  

Yes. CBD (and THC) all started out in an acidic form.  The plant in its raw state contains only these acidic or “origin” cannabinoids.  And…wouldn’t you know it, these acidic based cannabinoids look like they may be capable of some pretty cool s%%t.  Get your scroll on to see, otherwise here’s something cool you’ll only find on lab reports…

How to convert CBDa to CBD. 

One thing I want to tell you and one I want to show you. 

Tell (how does CBDa convert to CBD):

I mentioned that all CBD starts off as CBDa.  Well then how does this conversion happen?  

Technically it’s through a process called decarboxylation.  

Really, it’s just applying heat for a sustained period of time.  🔥🔥🔥

For e.g., to convert the CBDA to CBD within hemp flower, heat the flower at about 250 deg F for ~2 hours. 

Congratulations.  You’ve now decarboxylated some cannabis…

Ok now let me show you something (this be the good stuff).

Say I have 1000mg of pure CBDa that I’d like to decarb (catch the lingo?) to CBD.  After I heat these 1000mg, how much CBD will I have? 


1000mg?  999mg? 900mg?

No, incorrect, and wrong.  

The answer is roughly 877mg.  

Oddly, specific…?  

I know.  It’s because there’s a formula for converting acidic cannabinoids.  I’m going to share it with you now. 

Total Potential CBD = CBD + (CBDa x 0.877)

(2) things to note from that formula.

The formula is for CBD, yet CBD is included in the formula - circular reference much? Right, here is the reason CBD is in the formula to begin with. 

In raw cannabis (usually) a very small amount of CBDa has already converted to CBD.  Thus, you need to take that into account when looking at your conversion.

Acidic cannabinoids (CBDa) are heavier than their neutral counterparts.  When I convert a gram of CBDa, the resulting CBD is about 12% lighter. That specific weight difference is reflected in the 0.877.  Or to put it clearly, CBD is about 12% lighter than CBDa.  

Alright that about covers our hemp, general cannabis, and CBD/CBDa presentation.  Shall we proceed?  

Good. On to…

The difference between CBDa vs CBD

A picture is worth a 1000 cannabinoids (or something like that).  Notice the difference between these two visuals?  Me neither.  But alas, they are the scientific representation of CBD and CBDa:

Now, please describe the structural and chemical differences between these two compounds…

Joking.  It’s hard to tell anything from the above.  

So then…

What really distinguishes these two? 

(3) quick differences.  Below we’ll get into some of the potential benefits of both CBD and CBDa.  

  1. CBDa absorbs 5-10x better than CBD.  
  2. CBDa does not appear to block the effects of THC 
  3. CBDa is the precursor to CBD.  Or all CBD was at one time CBDa.  

The potential CBD / CBDa benefit differences are coming up.  First though, let's do a lightning fast sidebar on acidic cannabinoids. 

Acidic cannabinoids and why I think we should be eating more of them…

  • Acidic cannabinoids are the raw version of better known neutral cannabinoids
  • Acidics are the most natural cannabinoids found in existence (absorbed better).
  • We’re finding a bevy of benefits that acidic cannabinoids can offer.  

The mainstream cannabis products sold today center around THC, CBD and to a lesser extent CBG.  Aaand you knew that (if you’ve been following along).  

What no one tells you is, THC, CBD and CBG were all converted from something else.  

What is that “something else”?  Their acidic versions.  So THC was at one time THCA.  CBD was at one time CBDA.  And CBG was at one time CBGA (everything was actually at one time CBGA - but that is for another day and another post).  

These "acidics" are cannabinoids in their natural, or "origin" state.  The plant has little, if any, converted cannabinoids (THC, CBD, and CBG) - only their acidic precursors.  

If raw cannabis contains only acidic cannabinoids, common sense says that these compounds are probably better for us.  In a canine study (dogs), scientists observed CBD vs CBDA (and THC vs THCA) absorption thru soft chews.  They found far more of the "acidics"  in serum analysis than the neutral counterparts. 

Translation:  The dogs took in much more CBDA than CBD...

Alright, I’m off my soapbox.  Let’s move on to:

A few possible benefits of CBD (we will do CBDa next).

Keep in mind that these are things observed in studies, not necessarily a statement of fact for your own therapeutic benefits.  

Anxiety and Depression: 

Routine CYA Disclaimer:  These are possible benefits.  i.e. CBD has not been green lit by the FDA to treat any of this yet (same goes for CBDa).  Actually that's not true.  They have approved CBD to treat a certain type of epilepsy (hello Epilodex).  

This study found certain THC/CBD combos had marked reductions in stress and anxiety.  Here is a summary of "what worked"

  • High CBD / Low THC -> reduced depression
  • High CBD / High THC -> lowered anxiety

One thing to note on depression.  

Depression tended to be "sticky" with cannabis use.  i.e. the right combination of THC and CBD eased depression short term, but did not completely erase it long term.  Common sense suggests that certain cannabinoids could be a great short term medicine. 


For centuries, cannabis has treated pain.  In fact, pain relief may be the most common use of the plant. That said, we still need to look at the current science. Here’s a summary of a study that showed great potential in pain relief.  

Use of CBD showed great promise in users ability to "deal" with pain. i.e. the pain was still there, but users were much better equipped to tolerate it.  

That's only CBD though.  In combination with THC (and other cannabinoids) there is a lot more to learn about cannabis and pain. 


It turns out CBD is actually great at treating certain types of epilepsy in children.  In fact the FDA has approved CBD for that purpose.  Epilodex is the name of the official FDA approved drug and lies at the heart of the CBD regulatory roadblocks.  Epilodex and CBD regs are for another post though...  


If CBD can help with pain, then it’s got a punchers chance against the opioid epidemic.  In 2021, there were close to 75,000 opioid related deaths.  But, putting a dent in the opioid crisis will need more than CBD.  If cannabis is going to do anything here, it needs recreational and medical to help fight.

OK…now do CBDa


Potential Benefits of CBDa

  • COVID 19 prevention (disease prevention);  CBDa, along with CBGa was the star of the recent OSU study that went viral. The study showed that these compounds prevented and alleviated symptoms of C19.  A lot more research is necessary, but this is promising. 
  • Nausea and Anxiety: This study showed CBDA to be effective in reducing acute nausea. For those of you who don't know what acute nausea means - it's like getting car sick, having a stomach bug, or being hungover. And this study showed that CBDa was excellent at binding to 5HT-3 receptors. These receptors are thought to help modulate both nausea and anxiety. 
  • Anti-inflammatory:  Cannabinoids in their raw state (acidic) could prove to be excellent anti-inflammatory molecules.  That is, CBDA looks like it may inhibit certain enzymes linked within inflammation. 
  • CBD vs CBDA: Which Is Right For Me?

    Now comes the big question - which right for me? CBD vs CBDA? To help you arrive at the answer, you gotta think about what they’re used for.

    As with all important questions in life, the answer is often and predictably:

    It depends.  

    What outcome are you hoping for? Is it based around less pain, or more sleep?  CBD may be the answer.  Nausea, anxiety, or inflammation? In that case CBDa may be the best choice.  

    What common sense tells me , is that for short term and medium term problems (right now to 3 months from now) - CBD get’s the nod.  i.e. it looks more like a medicinal than a supplemental.  CBDA - a more natural and absorbable compound - looks like it could be a great addition to a daily wellness routine.   To be clear, I’d look at CBD for something in a pinch and CBDa as something for long term nutrition and fitness.     

    Generally then, you’ll end up using both.  Cannabinoids working alone and together is likely what’s most beneficial to the body.  

    Aaand if want to maximize the effects...

    Try also consuming vitamins, minerals, flavonoids and terpenes found within cannabis.  

    Pretty tall order though, right?  Oh wait…you could just get it via Field Queen.  Whole leaf, cannabis flower in an easy to consume form.  You get all of that + many other cannabinoids (both acidic and neutral).  Come on, give us a try, you know you want to. 

    Final Thoughts On CBD vs CBDA

    Everything you ever wanted to know and then some about these two cannabinoids. 

    You’re welcome.  :) 

    Give Field Queen a try - you’ll get CBDa (25mg) and CBD (50mg) per tab.  Our raw cannabis powder is unlike anything you’ve experienced. Check it out and see the difference yourself!