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Cannabidiolic acid (CBDa) is the natural form of CBD made by hemp plants. If you’re looking for the most natural, unprocessed CBD possible, raw CBDa products are your best bet.
Unfortunately, finding safe and effective CBDa oil isn’t easy. Many products contain little CBDa or simply aren’t strong enough.
We compared over 15 CBDa products from different brands based on their third-party lab test results, hemp quality, potency, customer reviews, price, and other criteria.
Here’s our review of the best CBDa oils, capsules, and topicals, plus a guide to everything you need to know about CBD’s “parent molecule.”
Table of Contents
Best CBDa Oil, Capsules, and Topicals
- Best Overall: Endoca Raw CBD Oil | full review
- Best Capsules: Upstate Elevator Raw CBD+CBDa Capsules | full review
- Best Topical: Hemplucid CBDa Body Cream | full review
- Terpenes: aromatic plant compounds with a wide variety of beneficial properties (1).
- Minor cannabinoids: CBN, CBG, and other beneficial cannabinoids found in smaller amounts than CBD. For hemp, THC can also count as a minor cannabinoid.
- Hemp: non-intoxicating cannabis variety with high CBD and low THC levels (less than 0.3%).
- Full-spectrum: whole-plant hemp extract containing multiple cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. This form of CBD is about 4 times more potent than pure CBD (2).
- Broad-spectrum: whole-plant hemp extract similar to full-spectrum CBD, but with THC removed (may contain trace amounts).
- CBD isolate: pure CBD with all other hemp compounds removed.
Endoca Raw CBD Oil (Best Overall)
|CBD+CBDa Potency||30-300 mg/ml|
|Total CBD+CBDa||300-4500 mg|
|Cost per mg||€0.05-0.08|
|Third-Party Tests||View report|
Use coupon code BESTCBD10 for 10% off
- Multiple strengths and sizes
- High-quality Danish hemp source
- Strong hemp flavor
The raw full-spectrum CBD oil from Endoca is our top pick. This full-spectrum, unprocessed tincture contains about 15–20% CBDa, with a total of 300-4500 mg of CBD+CBDa.
You can choose from multiple bottle volumes and three strengths: medium (30 mg/ml), strong (150 mg/ml), and very strong (300 mg/ml). This CBD oil costs €0.05-0.08 per mg of CBD depending on the strength and volume, which is considered about average.
We recommend going with the 150 mg/ml potency in a 30 ml bottle for the best savings.
Founded in 2010, Endoca is one of the oldest and most respected CBD brands in the world. Its products are sourced from organic Danish hemp grown in partnership with local farmers.
They’re tested both in-house and through a third-party laboratory, with the results available on Endoca’s website.
Upstate Elevator Raw CBD+CBDa Capsules (Best Capsules)
|CBD+CBDa Potency||100 mg|
|Total CBD+CBDa||200-3000 mg|
|Cost per mg||$0.03-05|
|Third-Party Test||View report|
Use coupon code upstate10 for 10% off
- Exceptionally low price
- High potency
- USDA organic certification
If you’re looking for CBDa capsules, we recommend Vermont’s Upstate Elevator Supply Co. Its raw capsules have a high potency of 100 mg CBD/CBDa, with about 20-25% CBDa.
More importantly, they’re certified organic by the USDA and sourced from organic hemp cultivars bred specifically for Vermont. The price is also low; only $0.03-0.05 per mg of CBD.
If you’re looking for CBD capsules that are as close to natural as possible, this is the product for you. They’re also a good option for people who prefer high CBD dosages since you’re getting 100 mg of CBD+CBDa per capsule.
Upstate Elevator is a reputable CBD company based in Vermont.
Hemplucid Full-Spectrum CBDA Body Cream (Best Topical)
|CBD+CBDa Potency||17 mg/ml|
|Total CBD+CBDa||1000 mg|
|Cost per mg||$0.06|
|Third-Party Tests||View report|
- Very high CBDa levels
- USDA-certified organic hemp
Hemplucid’s full-spectrum CBDa body cream is one of the only CBD topicals with a serious amount of CBDa. In fact, it contains slightly over 50% CBDa, which is the highest concentration we’ve seen.
Each 2oz (59 ml) jar has 1000 mg of CBD+CBDa with standard skincare ingredients like chamomile extract, vitamin E, and aloe vera. It costs $0.06 per mg of CBD/CBDa, which is quite affordable for such a difficult-to-find product.
Hemplucid’s products are fully tested for potency and purity. They’re made from USDA-certified organic hemp cultivated in Colorado.
What is CBDa?
Cannabidiolic acid (CBDa) is a cannabinoid found in cannabis plants. It’s best known as the precursor of CBD. That’s a fancy scientific way of saying it’s the “parent molecule” of CBD.
Cannabis plants don’t directly produce CBD and other cannabinoids. Instead, they create cannabinoid acids such as CBDa and THCa.
It’s only when these acids are exposed to heat and sunlight that they undergo what’s called decarboxylation and convert into CBD and other cannabinoids we’re familiar with (3).
Just like CBD, CBDa is a non-intoxicating compound with many potential health benefits.
CBDa is usually sold in “raw” CBD products, so-called because they don’t go through additional processing to convert CBDa into CBD.
Why Choose Raw CBDa Products Over Regular CBD?
Raw, CBDa-rich products are ideal for people who want to use hemp in the most natural, unadulterated form possible.
They don’t undergo heating or any other processing and maintain the full spectrum of hemp’s beneficial compounds as they exist in nature. Besides, you’re still getting all the benefits of CBD, just with the added benefits of CBDa.
CBDa Health Benefits
Research studies suggest that CBDa has a wide range of potential health benefits. Here are some of the key findings:
- A 2008 study confirmed that CBDa has anti-inflammatory properties similar to other cannabinoids (4)
- A 2013 study in animals reported that CBDa reduces nausea and vomiting in rats (5)
- A 2018 study found that CBDa improved depression in rats, leading the researchers to conclude that it may be a “candidate for a future antidepressant medication” (6)
- Many of CBDa’s effects are the result of its strong interaction with the brain’s serotonin receptors, suggesting it could be even more effective than CBD for certain cfonditions, such as seizures and depression (7)
Although more research is needed, this evidence highlights that CBDa is a beneficial cannabinoid that may even be more useful than CBD in certain cases.
Important Considerations for Buying CBDa Products
Shopping for CBD can get confusing. Here are some considerations to keep in mind to help you choose the best CBDa product.
Where to Buy Raw CBDa Products
It’s always best to buy CBDa products online rather than in physical stores. This allows you to look at third-party lab test reports to verify that the product contains the right levels of CBDa, which is impossible to confirm when you’re buying in person.
Look for Third-Party Tested Brands
All of the brands recommended here order third-party tests. That means an independent laboratory tested their products to verify their potency (levels of CBDa and other cannabinoids) and purity (lack of pesticides, residual solvents, and other potential contaminants).
Third-party testing is the most important factor when buying any type of cannabinoid-rich hemp product. Since there’s very little regulation of the CBD industry, these tests are the only thing that protects you from low-quality products that contain little or no CBD at all.
In the case of CBDa, third-party tests are even more important because some products contain very small amounts of this cannabinoid.
Check the Hemp Source
How and where the hemp was grown also has a big effect on product quality. That’s why you should only choose companies that source organically-grown hemp from high-quality sources. In the United States, the best sources of hemp are Colorado, Oregon, and Kentucky.
European countries are an even better source because their hemp farming industry is mature and has been continuously operating for hundreds of years.
Top-tier companies will always clearly state where and how their hemp is sourced.
Check the Extraction Process
The extraction process refers to the method used to isolate CBD and other beneficial compounds from hemp plant material. Currently, the two cleanest, most effective methods are CO2 and ethanol extraction.
Similar to the hemp source, information about the extraction process should be clearly stated on the company’s website.
How Much Should CBDa Cost?
Most raw CBDa products have the same or a slightly higher price than regular full-spectrum CBD products. That’s because the only difference between the two is that the hemp extract used for regular products is heated to decarboxylate and convert the CBDa into CBD.
The bottom line: Don’t get tricked into buying expensive CBDa oil products. They should cost about the same as regular full-spectrum CBD.
- Russo, Ethan B. “Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid‐terpenoid entourage effects.” British journal of pharmacology 163.7 (2011): 1344-1364.
- Pamplona, Fabricio A., Lorenzo Rolim da Silva, and Ana Carolina Coan. “Potential clinical benefits of CBD-rich cannabis extracts over purified CBD in treatment-resistant epilepsy: observational data meta-analysis.” Frontiers in neurology 9 (2018): 759.
- Tahir, M. Nazir, et al. “The biosynthesis of the cannabinoids.” Journal of cannabis research 3.1 (2021): 1-12.
- Takeda, Shuso, et al. “Cannabidiolic acid as a selective cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitory component in cannabis.” Drug Metabolism and Disposition 36.9 (2008): 1917-1921.
- Bolognini, D., et al. “Cannabidiolic acid prevents vomiting in S uncus murinus and nausea‐induced behaviour in rats by enhancing 5‐HT1A receptor activation.” British journal of pharmacology 168.6 (2013): 1456-1470.
- Hen-Shoval, D., et al. “Acute oral cannabidiolic acid methyl ester reduces depression-like behavior in two genetic animal models of depression.” Behavioural brain research 351 (2018): 1-3.
- Russo, Ethan B. “Cannabis therapeutics and the future of neurology.” Frontiers in integrative neuroscience 12 (2018): 51.
Gleb is a freelance writer from Vancouver, Canada specializing in CBD and cannabis. He’s read thousands of studies on CBD and other supplements, helping him translate complex science into plain language. Gleb has tried and reviewed dozens of CBD brands and products, written third-party testing reports, and knows the CBD industry inside and out. When not writing, he likes to kickbox, travel, and tell everyone how awesome intermittent fasting is.