CBD vs. CBDA. What's the Difference

CBD vs. CBDA: What’s The Difference?

Vitality CBD CBD Information

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex system that helps regulate and balance key functions in the body. Since this system plays an important role in our physical and mental health, it’s crucial that it reaches its full potential. There are different ways to accomplish this, with one of the popular methods stemming from the cannabis plant. The naturally occurring compounds in this plant, otherwise known as cannabinoids, interact with the ECS to help regulate the system.

The most popular cannabinoids are THC and CBD, but there are 113 known cannabinoids in the whole plant. Thanks to research that has uncovered the benefits of CBD and THC, researchers are investigating other cannabinoids such as CBDa. While CBDa and CBD are quite similar, they also have clear differences that we’ll discuss in this article.

CBD vs. CBDa

Chemical compositions of CBD and CBDa


CBD, or cannabidiol, is the second most prevalent active ingredient in cannabis. It’s non-intoxicating and is considered a safe, non-addictive substance. While it’s just one of the over 100 cannabinoids, it’s gained popularity thanks to its therapeutic properties. It’s been used for thousands of years, but has recently gained the attention of a bigger audience, leading to an increase in consumers seeking CBD-derived products as an alternative to pharmaceuticals.

There are 3 different types of CBD products: CBD isolate, broad spectrum, and full spectrum.  The difference between these groups are the compounds that are included in each product. While CBD isolate is pure CBD, broad spectrum products contain a range of naturally occurring compounds from the hemp plant, with the exception of THC. Full spectrum CBD contains the same compounds as broad spectrum, but includes THC to provide the user with all the benefits of the cannabis plant.

full spectrum, broad spectrum and isolate CBD

CBD offers a wide range of potential benefits, including:

The natural benefits that consumers receive from CBD is the reason that it remains in such high demand. To better understand how other cannabinoids compare, let’s take a look at CBDA.


As mentioned, CBDa is one of the many cannabinoids produced by the hemp and cannabis plant. It’s formed from CBGa, the “mother cannabinoid”. CBGa is the precursor to all of the plant-related cannabinoids, including CBD and THC.

While it derives from the same cannabinoid as two of the most popular hemp-derived products, most people are unaware of what it is because it’s not often consumed as is. Rather, CBDa is the raw, unheated precursor to CBD; it’s produced by the cannabis plant during its growth phase. It’s then converted to CBD by a process called thermal decarboxylation.

During this process, CBDa is heated, causing it to lose its acidic, or carboxyl group of atoms. This process can happen gradually over time when exposed to sunlight and air, or it can happen instantly by being smoked or vaporized. The reason why cannabis is put through this process is because it’s long been a belief that CBDa offers no benefits until it transforms into CBD. However, research now shows that CBDa has its own benefits.

The potential benefits of CBDa are very similar to those of CBD, including:

  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Reduces symptoms of anxiety & depression
  • Anti-nausea effects
  • Pain relief
  • Helps improve relaxation

CBD vs. CBDa: Which One Is Right For Me?

CBDa is still in the early stages of research but shows promising effects on our mental and physical health. Similar to CBD, consumers can purchase CBDa as oil, gel capsules, and edibles. However, since research is limited, companies that produce CBDa products may not be as regulated or aware of the proper production and handling of the product.

While we encourage consumers to find the right products for them, we also have to acknowledge the importance of finding a reliable and high-quality product. For now, Vitality will stick to what we know: organic CBD oil and CBD salves. Our full spectrum extraction offers the user access to a variety of potentiating cannabinoids and benefits.