Believe it or not, there’s technically no CBD in raw hemp flowers. If manufacturers didn’t heat hemp flowers before extracting cannabinoids, then there wouldn’t be any CBD in the countless “hemp-infused” oils, topicals, and edibles on today’s market. In its natural state, hemp only produces acidic versions of cannabinoids like CBD. In fact, there’s a name for this CBD precursor: cannabidiolic acid (CBD-A). 

Although CBD and CBD-A are similar, they seem to have unique effects on the ECS. People new to hemp should recognize the subtle distinctions between CBD and CBD-A when shopping for products. While CBD-A has a lot of potential, there are a few reasons why it’s not as popular as traditional CBD oil.

What’s There To Say About CBD-A? — An Overview of CBD-A’s Chemistry  

As mentioned in the intro, CBD-A is an acidic version of the more commonly known CBD. In more scientific terms, CBD-A is a “non-decarboxylated” cannabinoid. Decarboxylation refers to deliberately heating a substance like CBD-A to change its chemical structure. Once extractors apply a certain level of heat for a specific time, they can transform CBD-A’s molecular organization to CBD. 

Since the cannabinoid extraction process requires heat and pressure, you usually won’t find CBD-A in CBD oils, tinctures, or gummies. However, CBD-A is on smokable hemp labels like flowers and pre-roll joints. It’s only after you apply heat with a match or a vaporizer that the CBD-A turns into CBD. 

Is CBD-A Less Potent Than CBD?

There’s less data on how CBD-A affects the human body, but most tests reveal it’s non-psychoactive. Many people believe CBD-A has a similarly indirect impact on the endocannabinoid system. However, anecdotal reports suggest CBD-A doesn’t have the same potency as CBD extracts. 

There may be some potential therapeutic uses for CBD-A, but doctors have very little evidence nowadays. For instance, a few preliminary trials suggest CBD-A may reduce nausea. However, until researchers invest more into understanding CBD-A’s potential, it may take a while before we learn the specific differences between CBD-A and CBD. 

How Do People Take CBD-A?

It’s far more challenging to find CBD-A products versus CBD. Since manufacturers heat hemp flowers during the extraction process, all CBD-A molecules naturally turn into CBD. The only place most people find CBD-A on their lab reports is on raw hemp flowers. 

Therefore, people curious about CBD-A tend to buy raw hemp and either eat it, juice it, or add it to a smoothie. These methods won’t apply heat to hemp trichomes, which means users will enjoy the max effects of CBD-A. However, since raw hemp flowers have a bitter taste profile, only the most dedicated cannabinoid fans tend to use these techniques. 

Search For CBD-A In Your Lab Test Results 

You won’t have to worry about finding CBD-A in a hemp company’s third-party lab results. However, fans of CBD hemp flowers and joints shouldn’t be alarmed if companies post their CBD levels as “CBD-A.” Once you heat these flowers, CBD-A molecules will instantly change into CBD. You’d only ingest CBD-A if you ate the hemp buds raw. 

If you’re still confused about CBD lab reports, we’d recommend starting with Real Tested CBD’s CBD oil reviews page. Here, you’ll find the most hyped hemp products with our unbiased lab reports. If you have more CBD-related questions, please follow this link

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