What makes raw cannabinoids so special?

CBD info

All cannabinoids start out as an acidic compound.

With cannabinoid-derived products becoming very popular, it is hard to imagine that cannabinoids could exist unmodified inside a cannabis plant. If you were to reverse the extraction process, you would end up with a very healthy cannabis plant full of raw, acidic cannabinoids. Uninfluenced by heat, time, or exposure to the atmosphere, these acidic cannabinoids are the precursors to their activated counterparts.

When we say activated cannabinoids, we mean either THC or CBD. None of these cannabinoids have kept the “A” necessary for them to be acidic. Instead, after undergoing a process known as decarboxylation (applying heat to the cannabinoids), the volatile acid molecules are removed. In the case of the cannabinoids mentioned above, if you reverse the decarboxylation process, you will end up with THCA and CBDA.

The “A” makes a big difference

The easiest way to access acidic cannabinoids is to eat the raw cannabis plant. The juice from the leaves, flowers, and even the stems provides a large amount of acidic THC (THCA) and acidic CBD (CBDA). Considering that both CBD and THC have been at the forefront of research and general consumer interest, you may be wondering where raw cannabinoids fit.

Like their activated counterparts, acidic cannabinoids are starting to gain a lot of recognition. For starters, acidic cannabinoids are not psychoactive. Although THCA shares some attributes with THC, it is not going to get you high. Therefore, there is the possibility of retaining some of the therapeutic benefits without psychoactive side effects. Preliminary studies show that, in some cases, cannabinoids in their acid form could be beneficial in and of themselves.

The most common acid cannabinoids

We’ve mentioned THCA and CBDA, but these aren’t the only acidic cannabinoids out there. If you dig deep into the contents of a cannabis plant, you’ll also find CBGA, CBCA, and many, many more. This wide variety of acidic cannabinoids differs in their interactions, and can change depending on the individual cannabis plant species. C. indica, C. sativa, and C. ruderalis will have different ratios of the cannabinoids we mentioned above.

Activated versus non-activated cannabinoids

The next logical question is: which are better: activated or non-activated (acid) cannabinoids? There is a common misconception that activated cannabinoids are stronger and more effective than their non-activated counterparts. The reality is that, although activated cannabinoids may be more potent, they have other types of applications. There are several studies in favor of the use of non-activated cannabinoids because they have minimal side effects and can be consumed regularly. In their acid form, cannabinoids have different therapeutic applications, although it is true that less is known about their abilities.

Fortunately, the lack of information on these crude compounds is changing. Studies are beginning to show that non-activated cannabinoids, such as THCA and CBDA, may have exceptional uses. In some cases, they might be more suitable than activated as a treatment option. The next time you read about CBD, think about its acidic precursor, CBDA. Without raw cannabinoids, we wouldn’t have the hundreds of variations that exist within a cannabis plant.

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