What is CBGA and CBG?
Most people are familiar with CBD or THC, but the second most common cannabinoid in cannabis sativa is cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) or cannabigerol (CBG). When referring to hemp CBGA is usually second to CBDA while in marijuana CBGA is second to THCA typically. There are exceptions to this as there are “hemp” strains with CBGA as its most abundant cannabinoid. We will explain why CBGA is so abundant in cannabis plants further illuminating its importance to the plant. CBGA has been reported to provide numerous health benefits in the scientific literature; protection against COVID-19 being but one recent study, it is time to learn more about this overlooked cannabinoid.
Why is there so much CBGA?
Cannabis sativa has long been utilized by humans dating back at least until the end of the last ice age. In this process the plant was spread all over the world, producing an incredibly varied plant that produces a wide array of chemicals. Cannabinoids are produced by the plant as a chemical warfare against harm from grazing, virus, bacteria or fungus. The plants have evolved biochemical process to produce these chemicals which are called pathways. So when looking at the pathway for cannabinoids you will discover that to make either CBDA or THCA, the plant has to produce CBGA first. Since CBGA is second to both in hemp and marijuana, this is a reflection of both CBDA and THCA being made from the CBGA.
Why are there both CBG and CBGA?
All cannabis varieties naturally produce what is called the acid version of cannabinoids. The plant does not make say THC, CBD or CBG naturally and is a result of a chemical reaction. This reaction is called decarboxylation and can occur through heat or sunlight primarily. This process almost is complete once the temperature attains around 230 degrees Fahrenheit.
In the instance of THCA, it has to be decarboxylated to THC to feel its effects when taken as an edible. When vaporized or smoked THCA is instantly decarboxylated once it obtains 230 degrees. This is not true for CBGA. There seems to be some unique benefits from either version even as an edible. So typically the ratio of CBGA:CBG is very high sometimes being 10:1.￼
Chemical structure of CBGA and CBG. During decarboxylation the “COOH” is released with carbon dioxide.
Is CBGA/CBG psychoactive?
CBGA and CBG are often referred to as non-psychoactive in their effects, while this is generally true it is not the full story. CBGA/CBG has been noted to add to the entourage effect in cannabis flower, often said to lend to a more energetic effect. In a recent study CBG was found to significantly modulate CB2 receptor, while much weaker at CB1 receptor, there was a slight effect but is more likely to potentiate THC at the receptor. CB1 receptor being the commonly held “psychoactive” component, minimal action there does not necessarily make CBG psychoactive but seems to have a positive contributing effect. While strong action is indicated at CB2 similar to CBDA/CBD, there are some unique benefits to CBGA/CBG.
What will CBGA/CBG do for me?
CBGA/CBG offer similar general benefits similar to CBDA/CBD, this includes the following properties; anti-anxiety, anti-convulsant, anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea, metabolism support, cardiovascular health and protection against COVID being an impressive quick list. This is not the only way to look at CBGA/CBG as it is found to have a synergistic effect with other cannabinoids including THC. We will discuss some specific benefits below attributed to CBGA.
CBGA and anticonvulsive properties.
CBGA has recently been the subject of numerous clinical studies on the phytocannabinoids amazing anti-convulsive properties. In one study where CBGA, CBDVA and CBGVA all cannabinoids noted for their anticonvulsant potential, were tested and compared for this property. CBGA was noted as being the most potent of the group for its anticonvulsive properties suggesting more efficacy than CBD. CBGA in another study was shown to affect certain epilepsy-relevant drug targets in vitro, warranting further characterization of its anticonvulsant potential. CBGA has been found to potentiate the anticonvulsant effects of clobazam in certain seizures. The mounting evidence indicates that CBGA has powerful anticonvulsant properties and exhibits multimodal activity having interactions also with certain epilepsy-relevant drug targets
CBGA and metabolic function.
CBGA has been the subject of ongoing research demonstrating that CBGA has powerful effects on certain metabolic functions. One study was conducted on aldose reductase (ALR2) an enzyme, often a problem in people suffering from diabetes complications. CBGA was found to significantly inhibit ALR2 activity acting as an inhibitor to the enzyme. PPARα/γ agonists have long been developed to treat metabolic diseases, CBGA in studies have shown to also be an agonist at the receptor aiding with the ability to modulate lipid metabolism. Consequently, dual PPARα/γ agonists such as CBGA are thought to enhance therapeutic potential, simultaneously regulating hyperglycemic systems.
CBGA and neuroprotectivity
Through several modes of action CBGA has shown that it exhibits or has the potential for neuroprotectivity. There is evidence that CBGA along with a couple of other cannabinoids increased the number of viable bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMMSC), which help with immunomodulation and neuroprotection in the treatment of multiple sclerosis and other neuroimmunological/neurodegenerative diseases. CBGA has been found to be potent desensitizers of TRP channels. TRP channels are involved in a wide range of neurological disorders, although their direct connection to neuroprotection is not fully understood yet. TRPA1 channel activation in Alzheimer's disease is thought to have a pivotal role in regulating astrocyte-mediated inflammation. TRPV1 channel activity is thought to be causative in epilepsy, neuronal excitability and synaptic transmission. CBGA interactions at TRP channels may improve neurological symptoms from conditions that involve these channels in their pathophysiology.
CBGA and Colon Cancer
CBGA has been shown to be cytotoxic to cancer cells, specifically colon cancer. In a study of the synergistic interaction between cannabinoids, it was found that CBGA and THCA interact together in fighting against colon cancer cells. The two cannabinoids working together were found to stop cancer cell growth and quickened the length of time required for the cancer cells death.
As can be seen by this discussion CBGA and CBG are very similar cannabinoids that not only add to other cannabinoids, but they also have some very unique attributes on their own. CBGA/CBG potentiates other cannabinoids by differing means but contribute greatly to the entourage effect. Generally you can feel many positive effects from CBGA/CBG which often is described as many of the attributes of CBDA/CBD but with a more energetic side to it. It is an integral ingredient in preparing effective mixes, whatever their final purpose.