While there’s mounting evidence of Cannabidiol (CBD) being an effective alternative therapy for canine conditions like separation anxiety, arthritis and cancer, it might be surprising to learn that the raw hemp plant actually contains very little CBD.
In it’s natural state, the raw hemp plant is composed of 95% CBDA (Cannabidiolic Acid) and only about 5% is in the form of CBD (Cannabidiol).
What is CBDA?
The hemp plant contains over 85 active compounds called cannabinoids. One of the more significant cannabinoids is Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA), the molecular precursor to the more well-known compound, Cannabidiol (CBD).
When the hemp plant is processed, cannabinoids can be changed or removed. The final hemp product can contain a single cannabinoid molecule (CBD isolate) or all the available cannabinoids (full-spectrum), depending on how it is manufactured.
Levels of cannabinoids will vary slightly between each crop as well as each individual hemp plant—even those that are grown right next to one another will result in different amounts of cannabinoids. Environmental factors such as light, heat and air can also affect which and how much of each cannabinoid is present in the plant ‘trichomes’ (resin glands) before final extraction.
Until recently, CBD has been viewed as the more important cannabinoid and manufacturers have intentionally converted CBDA into CBD to expose it’s diverse therapeutic benefits.
Through a process called decarboxylation, the raw plant form of CBDA is heated and the acidic form is converted to CBD — a process known as “decarbing”. Decarboxylation is a chemical reaction where a carboxyl group (-COOH) is removed and carbon dioxide is released. In less rigid scientific terms, CBDA is ‘converted’ into CBD. What is left is referred to as ‘activated’ CBD. Cannabinoids in their acidic-form had previously been considered ‘inactive’.
Today, most commercially available CBD products are decarbed and contain little or no CBDA. That’s unfortunate because science is now discovering that the acid-form of CBD, Cannabidiolic Acid, possesses significant medical benefits and healing qualities in it’s own right.
With so much emphasis being placed on the research and commercial development of CBD, little was known about the potential therapeutic benefits of it’s chemical precursor, Cannabididiolic Acid. Though quality research on CBDA is sparse, some scientists are looking into the therapeutic potential of this predominant cannabinoid and finding abundant health benefits to comfort and care for our canine companions.
CBDA (like CBD), is non-intoxicating and non-psychoactive so it won’t get your dog ‘high’ and doesn’t produce side-effects or negative symptoms associated with Canine Ataxia–a serious condition caused by a dog consuming too much THC.
According to current published research, many conditions that respond well to CBD may also respond to CBDA. And thanks to it’s natural anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, analgesic effects, CBDA in raw hemp provides an array of medical applications to support dogs with cancer, epilepsy & pain associated with osteoarthritis, hip-dysplasia or degenerative-joint-disease (DJD).
Is Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA) a Substitute for NSAIDS?
While there have been no human or animal studies that examine CBDA as a treatment for arthritis or inflammatory conditions, laboratory research in cell cultures has discovered that CBDA seems to work in a remarkably similar way to common non-steroidal-anti-inflammatory-drugs like Aspirin, Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen–but without the increased risks of peptic ulceration or kidney damage associated with the use of NSAIDS.
Studies suggest that CBDA may NOT interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS); but rather, CBDA affects other non-endocannabinoid receptors and enzymes. Researchers speculate that the analgesic, anti-inflammatory effects of CBDA are based on the way it interacts with an enzyme called COX-2.
There are two types of cyclooxygenase (COX-2) enzymes, COX-1 and COX-2. Both enzymes produce prostaglandins that promote inflammation, pain, and fever but it’s the COX-2 enzyme that is the primary target site for anti-inflammatory drugs and the recent focal point of research into CBDA as a preferable pain-management therapy.
While NSAIDs block the COX-2 enzymes and reduce production of pro-inflammatory prostaglandins, CBDA can also perform this chemical interference but do so without the negative side-effects associated with prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications (OTC).
Interestingly, the researchers found that CBDA seemed to effect the COX enzyme while other cannabinoids, like psychoactive THC, was a much less potent inhibitor of COX-2 enzyme.
Similarly, these lines of evidence suggest that naturally occurring CBDA in hemp is a selective inhibitor for COX-2 and worth further investigation as a natural pain relief alternative for dogs at risk of harmful side effects from NSAIDS.
Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA) is a selective inhibitor for COX-2 and a potential natural treatment alternative for pain management where the use of NSAIDS may not be well tolerated.
While clinical research is still in it’s infancy regarding the potential therapeutic effects of Cannabidiolic Acid, CBDA from natural, full-spectrum hemp is thought to provide the following medicinal benefits:
- Anti-inflammatory – Reduces systemic inflammation, effective for conditions like arthritis and Crohn’s Disease.
- Anti-proliferative – Prevents cancer cells from spreading. CBDA (along with CBD, THC, and THCA), has proven to be an effective anti-tumor treatment–in some cases cannabinoids “re-program” cancer cells to kill themselves, causing tumors to shrink.
- Analgesic / Anti-cancer – CBDA shows dual inhibitory effects on COX-2 through down-regulation and enzyme inhibition, and may possess the ability to suppress genes that are positively involved in the metastasis of cancer cells in vitro.
- Anti-oxidant – cannabinoids are neuroprotectants, preventing oxidation damage to neurons exposed to toxic levels of the neurotransmitter, glutamate.
- Antibacterial – Slows bacterial growth, aiding in the fight against bacterial conditions such as pneumonia, meningitis, ear infections, strep throat and food borne poisoning.
- Anti-emetic – CBDA activates the serotonin 5-HT1A receptor commonly associated with regulating mood and anxiety. This brain receptor also plays a part in reducing or eliminating feelings of nausea and vomiting.
CBDA Oil Benefits – A Natural Holistic Approach
Hemp (a variety of Cannabis Sativa) is unique in the plant kingdom due to its ability to produce cannabinoids like cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), as well as the more illustrious compounds cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
While CBD (the non-acidic form of cannabidiol) has received a great deal of attention and praise for it’s ability to positively affect the health and well being of our dogs, more research is necessary to learn if CBDA can offer better relief for chronic pain or neurological disorders in dogs than currently available prescription or OTC medications.
Preliminary findings indicate CBDA likely holds significant potential for the effective relief of painful canine conditions and offers pet-parents a viable option to NSAID analgesics.
If you’re looking for a healthy, all-natural way to reduce pain and inflammation, without adverse drug side-effects, then Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA) from raw, unprocessed hemp may be just what you’re seeking to comfort your ailing pet.