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If you’re new to the world of natural health and methods of relief, you might just have recently heard about what CBD is. But did you know that CBD has a precursor called CBD-A, which research suggests also has some pretty interesting effects on the body? CBD-A is a precursor to CBD, meaning it’s essentially one of the chemical building blocks that makes up CBD.
In the past it was considered to be inactive, but in the medical CBD there is a quiet buzz surrounding this much underappreciated compound.
Believe it or not, CBD is present on growing cannabis plants in only very small amounts. In growing plants, CBD exists as cannabidiolic acid (CBD-A). It isn’t until the plant is cut, dried, and heated that CBD is formed. CBD is a calming phytochemical that does not cause a psychotropic experience.
If you picked hemp straight from the plant, you’d find mostly CBD-A and very little CBD. That’s right, when you see pictures of hemp and cannabis plants growing in a field, they actually contain very little of the cannabinoids they are most known for. That’s because both CBD and THC require continued heat and/or ageing to be transformed from their acidic precursors. CBD-A is known as the acidic precursor to CBD, and when cannabis grows, it produces CBD-A and not CBD.
Science is discovering what now seems obvious. If you must heat, or smoke the plant in order to get to CBD, it makes sense to look at the CBD-A as its precursor.
Cannabinoids like THC and CBD, which have been studied over the past four decades, have long been thought of as the main therapeutic compounds in the cannabis plant. However, emerging pre-clinical evidence suggests that there may be some benefit to keeping the plant raw.
With the amount of emphasis that is placed on CBD, it may be surprising to learn that the raw hemp plant contains very little CBD. Instead, it contains an abundance of CBD-A. The ratio is about 95% CBD-A to 5% CBD at the highest.
So let’s take a look at some amazing facts about CBD-A that may make you reconsider which CBD product you buy in the future.
CBD-A is one of an estimated 113 compounds known as cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. Hemp flowers go through major transformations as they dry. In fresh flowers, the active components are found as acids. When Hemp is dried and heated, these acids break down into more famous compounds like THC and CBD. THC is the primary psychoactive in the cannabis plant.
Previously, it was thought that CBD-A was the inactive “cousin” to CBD. In fact, there is enough researched evidence that this so-called “inactive” cannabinoid is anything but lazy.
It also serves to reduce anxiety, inflammation, vomiting, tumor proliferation, and more. Unfortunately, the majority of cannabis research has focused on psychoactive THC or activated CBD, not CBD-A.
What is cannabidiolic acid (CBD-A)?
Cannabidiolic acid (CBD-A) is a chemical compound found in the resin glands (trichomes) of raw cannabis plants. In a natural state, the hemp plant contains over 85 active compounds called cannabinoids. These compounds are secreted in a sticky resin through the trichomes (glands) of the cannabis plant.
In this case, raw means unheated and uncured. Basically, raw cannabis is fresh flower and leaves trimmed directly from the plant. CBD-A is the precursor to the more widely known molecule cannabidiol (CBD). In fresh cannabis, it is estimated that 95 percent of the cannabinoid exists as THCA and only 5 percent as CBD. When CBD-A is aged and heated, it breaks down from its acid form and converts into CBD.
The process of converting CBD-A to CBD is called decarboxylation, or decarbing. Baking, lighting, or heating cannabis removes the acid group from CBD-A and transforms it into CBD. With heat and time, the acid group of the molecule degrades and what is left is what many refer to as “activated” CBD.
Here, “raw cannabis” refers to fresh leaves and flowers that have not been dried, cured, or heated.
What are the benefits of CBD-A?
Unfortunately, substantial research on CBD-A is lacking. However, preliminary research in the lab suggests that CBD-A may be helpful in four distinct therapeutic areas. These include:
1. Antibacterial ~ A study completed in 2000 notes that more CBD-A in a plant will lead to greater antimicrobial potency within the CBD that results after decarboxylation.
2. Inflammation ~ CBD-A can bring inflammation down. Laboratory research performed in cell cultures has found that CBD-A has potential anti-inflammatory properties. A 2008 experiment published in Drug Metabolism and Disposition has found that CBD-A is a selective COX-2 inhibitor.
Simply explained, COX-2 is an enzyme that plays a role in the development of pro-inflammatory compounds called prostaglandins. This enzyme is a target of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), like aspirin and ibuprofen.
Inflammation is a natural and important response to stress, injury, and illness. However, chronic inflammation is painful and can be detrimental to health. Arthritis is one example of a chronic inflammatory condition.
The 2008 research discovered that naturally occurring CBD-A selectively blocked the COX-2 enzyme, reducing its ability to synthesize pro-inflammatory compounds. The researchers found that CBD-A was more successful than its counterpart, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA).
3. Nausea & vomiting ~ This is one case where CBD-A may be more powerful than CBD.
A 2012 study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology has found that CBD-A treatment reduces nausea behaviors in rodents. The study also found that the cannabinoid reduced vomiting in shrews. When compared to activated CBD, the researchers found that CBD-A was actually more powerful in quieting an upset stomach.
While CBD-A is not believed to activate the endocannabinoid system in the same way as CBD, preliminary research in academic journals suggests CBD-A may have anti-inflammatory effects, could reduce nausea, and may have other benefits too.
4. Anti-cancer ~ Research from 2012 has found that CBD-A effectively halted migration in breast cancer cells cultured outside of the body. While experiments conducted in petri dishes are no comparison to clinical human trials, the cannabinoid did show some positive effects against a highly invasive form of breast cancer.
Specifically, the CBD-A treatment seemed to prevent the migration of breast cancer cells. In theory, a therapy that stops cancer cell migration would prevent the disease from spreading to other parts of the body.
Cell culture research from 2014 had similar findings, suggesting that treatment with raw CBD-A altered the expression of genes associated with invasive breast cancer metastasis. The cannabinoid also down-regulated the enzyme COX-2, which can amplify breast cancer migration.
5. Psychosis ~ Could CBD-A help people with psychiatric challenges?
As with almost all cannabis research, high-quality studies on CBD-A for anxiety are sorely needed. However, one biopharmaceutical company already has a patent on CBD-A for the potential treatment of psychotic disorders.
Britain’s GW Pharmaceuticals included CBD-A into a patent on the use of cannabinoids in conjunction with antipsychotic medications. The patent also included the cannabinoids CBD, THCV, THCVA, CBC, CBCA, CBG, and CBGA.
Bioavailability / Potency
It is fair to ask what is the advantage of CBD-A having better potency vs. CBD? Many people misunderstand the pharmacological term potency. Having higher potency does not mean that it necessarily works better, but rather that it exerts its effect at a lower dose. So why would it matter that you could give CBD-A at a lower dose if it is doing the same thing as CBD?
CBD-A and CBD Work Well Together
As more research is carried out into CBD-A, it is becoming apparent that less of the cannabinoid is needed to get a therapeutic effect compared to its decarboxylated cousin. The suggestion being that by combining the two compounds, patients can take a smaller dose and may also benefit from a more rapid onset of effects.
Clinical studies have shown that CBD has an acute anti-anxiety effect (i.e. after a single dose), but the dose needs to be relatively high – around 300 mg. If results from animals translate to humans, we could potentially be using low milligram (or even sub-milligram) doses of CBD-A. Obviously the appropriate dose would need to be confirmed in clinical trials, but let’s assume that CBD-A works at 1 mg.
· This would potentially be much less expensive (300 mg doses of CBD are cost prohibitive for most people)
· Oral absorption would potentially be more rapid and consistent (CBD quickly reaches solubility limitations in gastric fluid that can slow absorption)
· Lower doses make it more amenable to alternative routes of administration (e.g. sublingual). This may be especially important for nausea/vomiting.
Right now, the market is flooded with CBD-only preparations. Not surprising, considering it is the subject of far greater research. But my firm staunchly believes that the future actually lies in extractions that combine CBD and CBD-A together.
Cultures and economies have been farming industrial hemp for thousands of years. As a multi-purpose crop, it has been valued for its fiber. But, it is also the “original” cannabis, so to speak. What we know as “industrial” hemp is a branch of the cannabis sativa family differentiated by its heavy concentration of CBD. And, because of that lack of THC, industrial hemp and its derivatives are legal in all states and most countries……
CBD and CBD-A cannot promise to cure ailments. But science and history support the perceived relief from dozens of medical problems as the result of using CBD. With the best information at hand, you can choose or combine your therapies using CBD and CBD-A. And, to the extent possible, you can advocate for new and relevant research.
Like so many aspects of hemp, we expect to see more CBD-A research in the future. As more research is conducted on CBD-A, we predict to see a greater emphasis on this cannabinoid.
CBD Oil is a tincture which is one of the most common and best methods to take CBD. A tincture uses a carrier oil which is then mixed with the CBD oil. This creates a product that is easy to use. It is taken under the tongue, sublingual, so it absorbs quickly into the blood steam via the mucus membrane and blood vessels under the tongue.
CBD is infused into oil-based solutions, where it binds with fat molecules your body is already prone to breaking down. Once the CBD is evenly distributed throughout the oil, it is possible to evenly measure consistent amounts of CBD that your body can process. This way you count the drops that is taken, finding the right dosage for you.
If the CBD oil was not mixed with a carrier oil, it would be a thick sticky pasty substance that would stick to your teeth and be harder for most people to consume. Not to mention the taste is unbearable for many people.
Bioavailability, or how readily the body can absorb the oil, is the biggest concern when determining the best carrier oil. CBD’s bioavailability is largely determined by the types of fat molecules contained in the carrier oil. There are many different types of fat and the way they vary on a molecular level affects how well it can transport CBD into your system. Besides bioavailability, individual differences between oils such as flavor, consistency, and cost may affect their viability as carrier oils.
Hemp Seed Oil
It’s worth pointing out that the hemp plant actually produces a super high-quality essential oil from its seeds, that, in addition to being filled with therapeutic CBD, is chock-full of other beneficial health supplements like phytonutrients, hytocannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.
So you might be wondering, then, why do some manufacturers use a “carrier” oil if the hemp plant itself produces a good oil?
Well, that’s actually a very good question for if you are going to be using a full-spectrum hemp extract, then why not just use the actual hemp seed oil itself as a carrier for the CBD?
Well, as it turns out coconut oil has some specific properties that many doctors and scientists believe aids in overall absorption and metabolism. This fractionated oil is called MCT oil.
Fractionated Coconut Oil (MCT Oil)
There’s a lot of misunderstanding about MCT oil, so we’ll try and be as clear as possible here when describing why it’s used in CBD oil.
Coconut Oil has little to no flavor, which makes it a great choice for making tinctures. Additionally, it is thinner than most oils, making it easy to dispense and measure. Coconut oil has natural anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial properties.
“MCT” itself is actually a natural extract from raw coconut oil, and it stands for medium chain triglycerides. Coconut oil has both “medium chain” and “long chain” triglycerides as part of its natural molecular componentry, but as we just mentioned there have been numerous studies that show MCT to be superior in terms of the efficiency of digestion. As such, a lot of health supplements (medicinal CBD tinctures included) have started infusing their products in MCT oils to try and market them as having “improved absorption,” or something of a similar sort.
But here’s the catch; separating the “MCT’s” from the “LCT’S” is not an easy process. In fact, it’s a very, very , very difficult process that involves highly technical instruments and a massive degree of chemical expertise. It’s assumed, in fact, that a decent majority of products labeled “MCT oil” are simply fractionated coconut oils. This doesn’t necessarily imply a good or a “bad” thing, it just simply just means that you may not be getting exactly what you think you’re getting when you see a label marked “MCT.”
Palm oil can also be used to make MCT oil, just like coconut oil. That is because MCT oil is a somewhat general term which refers to the type of fat molecules in an oil, not the natural source of the oil. This is an important distinction because palm oil’s manufacturing process is often connected to deforestation, animal cruelty, and climate change. For this reason, it is suggested to use MCT oil which originates from coconuts, or other sustainable and eco-friendly sources.
Olive oil has a light fruity taste, which may be noticeable in some tinctures. Additionally, olive oil tends to be thicker, which may affect the measuring process. Monounsaturated fats are the premier fat molecules in olive oil, generally in the form of oleic acid. These larger fat molecules require more processing which may reduce the amount of CBD your body absorbs. However, oleic acid may help reduce inflammation and is packed with antioxidants.
Similar to olive oil, avocado oil has high concentrations of oleic acid, however, it is much thicker. Avocado oil has a nutty taste and can be added to CBD oils to increase the viscosity. Avocado oil is often chosen for topical applications due to its slow drying time and abundance of vitamins A, D, & E. One downside of Avocado oil is that it is one of the more expensive oils on this list.
Grape Seed Oil
Grape seed oil is thin and has a wine-like aroma. It is isn’t very greasy, so grape seed oil is often incorporated into skin and hair products. Unfortunately, grape seed oil primarily consists of polyunsaturated fats which doesn’t make it the best carrier oil for CBD.
Grape seed oil is a very inexpensive carrier oil. More than likely, if you run across a CBD oil using grape seed oil as the carrier, the company is charging market price for an inferior product.
You can expect the best CBD oils to be made with one of these carrier oils: Coconut oil, MCT oil (this is just a natural fractionated version of coconut oil), Olive oil, or Raw Hemp Seed oil.
If the product that you’re using has anything else in the ingredients other than these things (and possibly some natural flavoring if you’re using a flavored oil tincture), then it’s advised you shop around for something else, because it’s probably not a truly “pure” cannabis product.
The main thing is that you’re using a quality-grade product that’s been extracted using super critical CO2 methods, and contains no added chemicals, thinning agents, heavy metals, pesticides, or fertilizers.
Mark Twain once said, “There are lies, damned lies and statistics.”
That quote could have been written about the many CBD Myths that are circulated in the press and social media. Here are the facts!
~ CBD is “pot” and will get you high! Myth! CBD oil is from the hemp plant, NOT from it’s cousin the “marijuana” plant. Why is this important? Hemp is bred to increase the quality and concentration of the Cannabidiols (CBD), terpenes, and other useful bioflavonoids instead of the psychoactive THC molecule.
~ CBD is GOOD, THC is BAD! Myth! Both are useful, but for most, even a “pure” CBD oil can have tremendous health benefits as a daily supplement. THC has many potential advantages, but I would like to stick with the more mainstream CBD products.
~ CBD is illegal! Myth! Hemp-derived CBD with less than 0.3 mg% is legal to purchase and use in all 50 states.*
~ Isolates of Cannabidiol (CBD in its purest form) are better than “Full-Spectrum” CBD products. Myth! Many of the terpenes and bioflavonoids that accompany CBD in a full-spectrum product provide an amazing, rich, and healthful plant-derived supplement that an isolate cannot deliver.
~ CBD is safe in children! Truth! Studies of children given even high dose CBD oil (with THC even) show no appreciable toxicity in several clinical studies. The relatively small serving sizes in CBD products are exceedingly safe (again, you must be certain that the manufacturer of your product has reliable and independently verified analysis of contents before trusting it with your child). Although it is a supplement, I would discuss the use of the product with a CBD literate health care provider. Be aware, though, most health care providers may not know as much as you do after reading this post. We have a long way to go in Medicine before embracing naturopathic and holistic alternatives as the rule and not the exception.
~ More CBD is better! Myth! Actually, in many ways, smaller servings can achieve many of the positive health results as high-dose oils. Each individual may have different needs and deficiencies and using a premium product may be a more affordable value than you think.
~ CBD is toxic! Myth! A review of 132 studies showed an incredible safety profile, even at high doses.***
~ I will test positive on drug tests for marijuana! Myth! “Pure” CBD products contain no measurable THC, the psychoactive component tested in drug screens. Further, the 0.3mg% products have such small amounts that they are nearly impossible to measure with modern screens. One caveat though, you must know and trust the product you are using! It’s wild in the CBD space and there are no guarantees that what is labeled on the bottle is what you are actually getting in reality.
~ CBD has been clinically proven to support the reduction of anxiety, depression, social anxiety, autism, ADHD/OCD, and mood disorders. Truth! Though more research is needed to fine tune the use of CBD in many pathologies, it is clearly of significant benefit in the studies to date. Long term data has constantly shown safety in the chronic use of these products, even in children.** ***
~ CBD can support many natural and healthy functions in the body! Truth! Inflammation, digestive health, anxiety, sleep disorders, mood stabilization, enhanced immunity, and cosmetic benefits can be supported naturally and safely by regularly supplementing with CBD products, especially the full-spectrum compounds.
~ All CBD products are the same! BIG MYTH! This is the important take away here! I think we can agree that CBD based health supplements are going to be transformational in our health and wellness quests, but caveat emptor (let the buyer beware)!
Clearly, with all the thousands of products representing the CBD movement, there are all sorts of incentives to cut corners, misrepresent the product, and even commit outright fraud! So, as I have warned before, quality and trust in your product are essential. Only do business with reputable companies, companies that can show independently validated tests insuring purity, concentration, and quality. Hemp is a plant that is extremely good at “bioaccumulation.” What this means is the plant will concentrate both the good components in soil, but also toxins and pollutants. Plants grown in many parts of the country may have been exposed to fields which previously grew crops like tobacco, GMO corn, soy, wheat, etc. These crops can leave toxic residues like nicatinamides, dioxins, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides in the soil just waiting for the hemp plant to concentrate in the same plant tissues in which you are deriving your CBD products.
Further, how the product is produced is critically important. Many companies try to reduce costs by cutting corners on extracting the oils from the plant. Premium and quality oils are manufactured using expensive extraction techniques that eliminate any residual solvents, heavy metals, toxins, or THC in the “pure” labeled compounds. Earl Mindell gives a useful outline of how to judge a quality CBD product in his book, Healing With Hemp CBD Oil: A Simple Guide to Using Powerful and Proven Health Benefits of CBD, Oct 17, 2017, by Earl Mindell (highly recommended).
“Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.” ~ Mark Twain
* So is CBD legal? If we’re talking about hemp-derived CBD, then the answer is yes. Now, the keyword here is “hemp-derived.” Because CBD from hemp has no psychoactive effects, the purchase, sales, or possession of hemp CBD products are completely legal in all 50 States. Because hemp is sometimes confused with the marijuana plant, there is still some stigma towards hemp-derived CBD, but from a legal perspective, hemp-derived CBD is completely legal and enjoys the rights of any other legal product.
**The comprehensive review of 132 original studies by Bergamaschi et al. describes the safety profile of CBD, mentioning several properties: catalepsy is not induced and physiological parameters are not altered (heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature). Moreover, psychological and psychomotor functions are not adversely affected. The same holds true for gastrointestinal transit, food intake, and absence of toxicity for nontransformed cells. Chronic use and high doses of up to 1500 mg per day have been repeatedly shown to be well tolerated by humans.
***This review could substantiate and expand the findings of Bergamashi et al. about CBD favorable safety profile,” Kerstin and Franjo after building on studies showing the safety profile since the original 2012 Bergamashi review.
~ Stephen O’Connor, Emergency Services at Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center, CBD-Rich Hemp Oil Educator and Entrepreneur
Even though my main focus is health and wellness, I do like to use beauty products as well. Of course these products have to be healthy as our skin absorbs whatever we put on them.
I saw the Lash and Brow Growth Serum, a non-CBD product, and thought I would try it. I have used different brands of lash and brow growth products in the past with little to no results. I ordered it and kept an open mind with no expectations. I did not take ‘before’ pictures because, well, honestly … I wasn’t really sure if there were going to be any noticeable results.
Wow, oh wow, was I ever surprised to see the results! My eyelashes were getting longer and my eyebrows were filling in nicely. My lashes and brows felt softer and look healthier than ever before!
Another bonus was that I discovered was that mascara went on easier too. I am greatly impressed and now have a new favorite beauty product. I feel that my list of favorite beauty products will grow as I continue to use the CBD and non-CBD Beauty Products by CTFO.
Aging, Looking and Feeling Old is a Choice… and I choose not to subscribe to those outdated and useless aspects of thinking.
If you are interested in the Lash and Brow Growth Serum, click HERE
~ Rev. Tiffany White Sage Woman
CTFO: Changing the Future Outcome of Health and Wealth!