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What are acid cannabinoids?

What does cannabinoids in acid form mean? If you get a poker face when you hear “acid cannabinoids,” you’re in the right place. It is actually very simple: the cannabis plant produces cannabinoids in the form of acids, which have no psychoactive effects. Then, by smoking or vaporizing the cannabis flowers These acidic cannabinoids are transformed by heat into the more active forms, such as THC or CBD.

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the study of acidic cannabinoids and their potential therapeutic applications. In this post, we explain what cannabinoids in acid form are, how they differ from active or neutral ones, and the potential they could offer.

What are cannabinoids in acid form?

Cannabinoids in acid form are the precursor substances of the cannabinoids we know, such as THC or CBD. The first cannabinoid acid discovered was CBDA (cannabidiolic acid), isolated in 1955 by Krejci and Santavy.

During plant growth, cannabinoids are synthesized in acid form, represented by an “A” at the end of the cannabinoid name. That is, the cannabis plant produces THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in the form of THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) and CBD in the form of CBDA (cannabidiolic acid).

For example, 95% of the CBD found in cannabis is in the form of cannabidiolic acid (CBDA).

Acid cannabinoids do not produce psychoactive effects and are less active than their neutral forms. Although they are generally considered biologically inactive, the truth is that more and more properties of these compounds are being discovered.

Chemical structure of acid cannabinoids

The chemical structure of acid cannabinoids is very similar to that of their neutral forms. The main difference lies in the presence of a carboxylic acid group (COOH) in the molecules. This chemical group is what gives cannabinoids their “acidic” nature.

Conversion of acidic cannabinoids to active or neutral cannabinoids

Acidic cannabinoids change to their active or neutral forms when heat is applied, in a process called decarboxylation also known as cannabinoid activation.

The oldest form of decarboxylation is smoking a joint, although there are other more modern methods, such as vaporizations. It is also produced during heat applied with cooking, for example when baking a marijuana brownie. To a lesser degree, this process also occurs naturally, through time, exposure to light and ambient heat.

Types of acid cannabinoids and their properties

THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid)

Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), also called delta-9-THCA, D9-THCA, is the precursor of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound in marijuana. the psychoactive compound in marijuana. Form A (THCA-A) and B have been described, the former being the most studied.

Unlike THC, THCA is not psychoactive, which is why it was initially thought not to be an active substance. But according to current studies, it may have anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, neuroprotective and antiproliferative properties. There is some controversy about its possible mechanism of action, as it was initially thought that acid cannabinoids did not bind to cannabinoid receptors, but it appears that THCA has an affinity for CB2 and especially CB1.

CBDA (cannabidiolic acid)

Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) is the acid cannabinoid precursor of cannabidiol. cannabidiol (CBD). CBDA has been the subject of research interest due to its potential therapeutic effects, including anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anxiolytic and antiproliferative properties.

CBGA (cannabigerolic acid)

Cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) is the precursor of cannabigerol (CBG). cannabigerol (CBG) . This cannabinoid is special because it is considered “the mother of all other cannabinoids” (or the father, depending on the author). From CBGA, the cannabis plant produces the cannabinoids THC, CBD and CBC in a chemical process known as cannabinoid biosynthesis.

CBCA (cannabichromenic acid)

Cannabichromenic acid (CBCA) is one of the main cannabinoids produced in cannabis, along with CBDA, THCA and CBGA. However, little is known about the properties of this cannabinoid, beyond it being the acidic form of cannabichromene (CBC) .

THCVA (tetrahydrocannabivarinic acid)

Tetrahydrocannabivarinic acid (THCVA) is the precursor of the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV). . Regarding its properties and potential therapeutic applications, knowledge about THCVA is much more limited compared to other cannabinoids and more study is still required to fully understand its properties and potential benefits.

CBNA (cannabinolic acid)

Cannabinolic acid (CBNA) is the acidic precursor form of the cannabinoid cannabinol (CBN). cannabinol (CBN) also known as the “sleep cannabinoid” because of its possible sedative effects. CBNA is produced from THCA. As in the previous cases, the available information is very scarce and its properties are not exactly known.

CBDVA (cannabidivarinic acid)

Cannabidivarinic acid (CBDVA) is the acidic form of the cannabinoid cannabidivarin (CBDV) which has similar properties to CBD, but has demonstrated a more effective potential for some of its properties.

Effects of cannabinoids in acidic form and their therapeutic potential

For a long time, pharmacological interest has focused on the study of neutral cannabinoids such as THC and CBD, which are considered the active forms and those with proven medical applications. However, acid cannabinoids appear to have other properties and therapeutic applications, which has led to a growing interest in the study of these compounds.

Hypothetically, the effects of these acidic compounds could interact with the other compounds in cannabis and complement the effect of the neutral cannabinoids, in what is known as the entourage effect of cannabis .

The two most studied acidic cannabinoids are CBDA and THCA, and in the fields where they are most promising are the following:

  • Anti-inflammatory properties: Both THCA and CBDA have shown potent anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Potential against nausea and vomiting: The reduction of nausea and vomiting is one of the most studied fields on CBDA, possibly because of its interaction with serotonin receptors.
  • Anti-epileptic potential: CBDA has been found to have anti-epileptic properties in combination with CBD, which could lead to the development of more effective treatments for certain types of epilepsy.
  • Potential for anxiety: CBD CBD has demonstrated anxiolytic effects in people with certain anxiety disorders and depression, and it is believed that CBDA may have a similar or complementary effect. But more research is needed to fully understand the therapeutic potential.

While promising results have been found in preliminary studies, more research is needed to fully understand the properties and potential medical applications of acid cannabinoids.

How to obtain cannabinoids in their acid form

Cannabis vaporizations

The vaporization of cannabis at low temperatures seems to be a good way to obtain cannabinoids in their acidic forms, in addition to the neutral ones. Since both cannabinoid forms could complement each other in their effects, it seems to be one of the most optimal ways to obtain the effects of these cannabinoids.

In a study comparing the THCA concentrations of three conventional methods of cannabis consumption: vaporization, combustion and extraction of cannabis, it was observed that plant extract has the highest amount of THCA, vapor has 5-10% of what would be found of THCA in the extract, and combustion identified no THCA at all.

Extrapolating these results to CBD, one of the ways to obtain CBDA would be to full-spectrum CBD oil and then vaporizations.

We hope you found this information about acid cannabinoids interesting. It’s amazing how much knowledge the one-story studio houses! As more research is conducted, we are likely to discover more properties of cannabinoids in acid form. We will be there to explain it to you. In the meantime, you can relax with the products from our CBD store :

We remind you that this is an informative article that is not intended to prevent, diagnose or treat any disease or symptom. Its content can complement, but never replace, the diagnosis or treatment of any disease or symptom. Cannactiva products are not medicines.


Andrea Rezes Esmeraldino
Cannabis researcher and trainer : Expert in CBD products of Cannactiva. With extensive experience in the cannabis world, Andrea is an expert in Cannactiva's CBD products. He deals every day [...]

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