Difference in Heated and Raw Cannabidiol: Decarb CBDa into CBD

Difference in Heated and Raw Cannabidiol: Decarb CBDa into CBD

The truth about the CBD industry is that it is a lot more complex than one initially believes. When you begin digging, you can end up finding more questions than answers. For example, let’s say that you have logged onto the computer and are shopping around for a CBD tincture oil that may be able to help you with your chronic pain. You are going through flavors, sizes, and doses when you come across the word “raw”.

For most people, that’s a game changer. There’s raw CBD? What’s the difference between raw CBD and regular CBD? Is there even a difference? This can definitely be confusing and we want to make sure that you become more educated about the subject. 

turning CBDa to CBD

What’s Raw CBD?

To put it simply, raw CBD is a direct extract of the hemp plant that has not gone through any additional processes before being added to products. Some argue that this makes a difference.

To get a clear idea of what raw CBD is, we can easily point to milk as an example. There is some milk on the market that is homogenized and there are other offers out there that are non-homogenized. The process of homogenization doesn’t make too much of a difference in the end product except for the fact that homogenized milk won’t have cream rising to the surface and non-homogenized milk will.

There is also pasteurized and unpasteurized milk, which may be an even better example. Milk that is pasteurized is heated so that it gets rid of some of the different negative components. Milk that is unpasteurized contains everything that comes from the cow and some believe that it is better to leave the milk unpasteurized so that it contains all of its previous contents such as vitamin and minerals.

In a similar fashion, the difference between raw CBD and the CBD that doesn’t state its rawness is a process known as decarboxylation, which we will cover later on in this article. 

What is CBDa?

In raw CBD products, there is the presence of an additional substance known as CBDa. CBDa (Cannabidiolic acid) is very similar in structure to CBD but contains carbon dioxide and hydrogen. Both of which are often removed when the substance is exposed to the sun, heat, or when it is burned while the plant is being smoked.

Many believe that this raw CBD contains similar benefits and that is necessary to keep this substance preserved in order to reap these benefits. However, there is even less research about CBDa than there is about CBD.

What’s Heated CBD?

As we stated in the previous paragraph, CBDa becomes CBD when it is applied to heat. Heated CBD is simply CBD that has been activated so that it can become more bioavailable for the user. This is why the majority of the products on the market contain regular CBD and why many continue to put out these activated substances rather than raw ones (although plenty of raw products are available for purchase).

To better understand the significance of this, take a moment to think about how we use marijuana buds. If we eat a marijuana bud straight from the flower, we aren’t going to get much benefit unless we eat a lot. It is when we smoke it and inhale the smoke that we receive the benefits. This is because THC, formerly THCa prior to being heated (cured), can only be activated through heating so that it can interact in our system and produce the desired effects. Basically, heated CBD is like cannabis, we get most of the benefits when we heat it up and then put it in our system. The heating process that CBDa goes through is what we will cover in the next section.

Decarboxylation into CBD

Those who make CBD products use a process known as decarboxylation in order to transform CBDa into CBD. In order to achieve this, manufacturers will use a variety of heating or drying methods to get rid of the acidic aspect. This strips the CBDa of its additional chemicals in order to make it active CBD that the user can take later on.

You can even put your own CBD through decarboxylation by heating up raw CBD by either direct sunlight or by putting it in an oven. Basically, decarboxylation requires heat and this is what transforms CBDa to CBD.

curing marijuana


Let’s summarize everything we’ve learned up to this point. When there are no additional processes added to the CBD oil after it is extracted from the plant, we end up with a solution that contains CBDa. This is a compound with extra elements that makes it acidic and not very usable since the ingredients are not yet active. Put through a process known as decarboxylation, the CBDa loses those acidic elements and becomes active CBD, which can then be used and will interact with the body as desired. Raw CBD is simply CBD that has not yet been activated. It may have its benefits but we are not yet sure as to whether or not it is better over its activated form.


This difference brings us to our most important question. Should you choose raw CBD or products with activated CBD? The truth is that it depends entirely on preference. If you prefer raw CBD products or feel as though they do more for you, use them. If you like activated products and reap more benefits from those, go with them instead. The CBD industry is still in its infancy, which means experimenting is a must. Based on what you feel when you take certain products, the product that you should go with is the one that does the most for you.