What is “Raw Cannabis”?
CBDA & THCA exhibit many of the same therapeutic benefits as THC & CBD, but without the intoxicating effects.
When we say raw cannabis, we’re referring to naturally occurring phytocannabinoids found in the living cannabis plant. Contrary to popular belief, cannabis doesn’t actually produce THC and CBD. Instead, it makes the acidic, or “raw”, precursors called THCA and CBDA. It was previously believed that until THCA and CBDA became “activated” by heating, it had no effect on the body. Now, however, we know better.
Studies show that the acidic cannabinoids CBDA & THCA have both high therapeutic value and superior bioavailability (Fig. 1, right). By using a full spectrum of cannabinoids that includes both the acidic and decarboxylated forms, Awakened formulas work better single-molecule, highly processed isolate- and distillate-based products.
To learn more about the raw cannabinoids, including what they do and how they do it, check out our blog post, “Meet the Raw Cannabinoids”.
Not only did maximum blood concentrations of THCA & CBDA exceed those of their decarboxylated counterparts, but the results also lasted significantly longer.
Bioavailability (n.) refers to how readily any active ingredient can be absorbed and used by the body. More specifically, it’s the amount of a given substance that actually enters the bloodstream once administered.
There are many different factors that can affect the bioavailability of a product, including the route of administration, the formulation, and individual differences in how our bodies process different drugs. For example, when a product is ingested sublingually, the blood vessels under the tongue rapidly draw cannabinoids into circulation. Whereas with an edible, the cannabinoids first have to pass through the liver, resulting in lower potency.
Recent research on the bioavailability of the raw and decarboxylated cannabinoids has found THCA to be more than 30x more bioavailable than THC and CBDA to be more than 18x more bioavailable than CBD (Fig. 2, left).
Illustration that we currently use on all of our packaging was drawn by Levi’s mom, Maui-based gyotaku artist Debra Lumpkins.
There are at least 113 cannabinoids in the living cannabis plant, each with its own unique chemical structure and function. The way in which these cannabinoids interact with and amplify one another is called the entourage effect. To put it simply, the more varied the cannabinoid content, the better a product tends to work.
That’s why all of our products feature a broad range of cannabinoids that includes CBDA, THCA, CBD, and THC among others
The flavour and aroma of cannabis are shaped by its terpenes, chemical molecules with medicinal properties of their own. Limonene, for example, is the terpene that gives lemons their bright, zesty scent, and is also responsible for the citrusy nose of strains like Sour Diesel. Limonene is shown to have antioxidant, antidepressant, and pain-relieving properties.
Flavonoids, like terpenes, also contribute to the medicinal properties of cannabis, and are largely responsible for the vibrant colours found on the buds and leaves. Quercetin is a flavonoid found in kale as well as cannabis, with potent anti-inflammatory, tumor-reducing, and anti-anxiety effects.
VITAMINS & MINERALS
Rich in vitamins C, B, A, & E, as well as calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium, the cannabis plant is a bonafide superfood. Just like with vegetables, consuming cannabis in its freshest, rawest state possible helps to preserve the most nutrients.
Levi Strom is CEO & Founder of Awakened Topicals & Tinctures and lives in Southern California.