The cannabis plant is full of life-enhancing compounds called cannabinoids, and no one knows precisely how many there are; the number may be as high as over 140! We are still discovering more about cannabinoids and their uses every day.
One of these cannabinoids is cannabigerol acid, or CBGA. This non-psychoactive cannabinoid compound has many valuable properties and is one of the few cannabinoids that has received substantial scientific investigation. Here, we cover what you need to know about CBGA and share what we know about this unique compound.
CBGA’s Botanical Function
When a hemp plant starts growing, it only produces one cannabinoid: CBGA. All of the others are derived from this cannabinoid. CBGA is a precursor compound produced in the hemp plant’s trichomes. In the plant, it triggers targeted cell necrosis in the leaves, essentially telling them when to die so that the plant can put more energy towards the flower.
As a precursor compound, CBGA is a foundational compound of the cannabis flower’s other major compounds as a precursor compound. This means that it is at the top of the chain reaction that produces the three major cannabinoid lines: THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid), CBDA (cannabidiolic acid), and CBCA (cannabichromenic acid). These, in turn, become THC, CBD, and CBC. CBGA can also convert to CBG, but in most strains of cannabis, CBGA converts into THC or CBD. This has made CBGA extremely important in hemp research!
Most of what we know about CBGA comes from research on the compounds it turns into. In the 1960s, Israeli researchers isolated CBG; in the 1990s, Japanese researchers discovered that it came from CBGA. Since then, most CBGA research has focused on how to convert it to other cannabinoid compounds. Primarily, this involves synthesizing THCA (and often subsequently THC) for research and pharmaceutical purposes.
The ability to synthesize CBGA is important because it is difficult to keep intact. While CBGA is found in large quantities in young plants, exposure to heat immediately starts the chain reaction that converts it to another molecule. Additionally, most of the CBGA a cannabis plant makes over its life becomes THC or another compound through the plant’s own biological processes.
This has led to advanced research in biosynthesis, and as recently as 2019, researchers discovered how to synthesize CBGA and other cannabinoids in yeast. This means that research on this compound and what it can do will be much easier going forward, as the researchers are not limited to harvesting the minute quantities that the hemp plant naturally produces.
How Does CBGA Work?
CBGA, like all cannabinoids, acts by binding to the body’s endocannabinoid system. This system of receptors is dispersed all throughout the body and only activates in the presence of cannabinoids. When CBGA is converted to CBG, it binds to CB1 receptors that act directly on the brain and nervous system without having a psychoactive effect. CBGA on its own, binds to CB2 receptors, which are involved in the immune system and gastrointestinal system.
What Can CBGA Do For You?
Most of the existing research on CBGA focuses on its transformation to THCA, CBDA, or other cannabinoids. This means that most research on the benefits of CBGA is connected to its use after that transformation. But as we learn more about CBGA, researchers are finding that it has many potential benefits of its own.
One of the most recent findings is that CBGA, along with CBDA, may successfully prevent COVID-19 transmission and infection. The cannabinoids prevent infection by binding to the SARS-COV-2 spike protein. This prevents it from entering the cell and reduces the chance of infection. It also shows promise in preventing and treating new variants of COVID-19. While these are preliminary findings and substantial additional research and testing are necessary before truly being considered a treatment for COVID-19, this research is very promising.
In vitro studies of CBGA have found that the compound significantly inhibits the enzyme aldose reductase. This enzyme is a major contributor to oxidative stress that leads to heart problems, as well as other negative effects on the body. This research is valuable because synthetic inhibitor drugs have severe negative side effects for many patients. A plant-derived inhibitor drug based on CBGA could help millions of people who suffer from cardiovascular disease or cardiovascular symptoms of metabolic diseases like diabetes.
Rodent studies show that CBGA has a powerful positive effect on some of the metabolic receptors that trigger inflammation. Additionally, CBGA can also inhibit the action of cyclooxygenase enzymes, more commonly known as COX inhibitors. COX inhibitors reduce the production of prostaglandins, which are chemicals that the body produces to help reduce inflammation. By inhibiting the inhibitors, CBGA helps reduce inflammation and pain in the body.
CBGA is a potentially powerful anticonvulsant treatment for seizure disorders like epilepsy. Cannabis has been used to treat epilepsy for thousands of years, and today’s modern hemp-derived epilepsy treatments contain little to no THC. Instead, other cannabinoids are the primary focus. The best known and best understood is CBD, but minor cannabinoids like CBGA show a lot of promise in anticonvulsant research. CBGA has been found to react with numerous seizure-related receptors and is highly effective in certain induced seizure conditions in mice. This could translate into support for an increase in CBGA as a treatment for seizures in humans as well.
CBGA may also help patients with metabolic disorders due to its reaction with peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) that regulate metabolism. When PPARs do not function properly, people accumulate lipids excessively and develop metabolic diseases like diabetes and high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. One study shows that cannabinoid acids like CBGA are PPAR agonists, which means that they can help regulate PPAR expression. Another study found that cannabinoids positively regulate PPAR-associated genes that control lipid metabolism.
In addition to regulating PPAR activity, CBGA also has other regulatory properties. One of these is its ability to protect against the neurodegenerative effects of Huntington’s Disease. In this study, it was found that acidic precursors like CBGA are demonstrably more effective than their
subsequent cannabinoids. This was seen in both cell line studies and rodent studies and is a very promising line of research.
Additionally, CBGA may protect against the neurotoxicity that stems from the stress of oxidation particles, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), and rotenone, which causes mitochondrial dysfunction. In this in vitro study, a high concentration of CBGA dramatically reduced the rotenone-induced neurotoxicity. CBGA is also shown to prevent the formation of superoxide radicals, which eventually reduces oxidative conditions that lead to neural degeneration. In other words, it’s a powerful antioxidant that can help protect your cognitive function as you age.
Colorectal Cancer Treatment
While it is important to note that the research is in very early stages, CBGA may one day be a vital treatment for patients with colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer and is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death, so additional therapies and treatments will save many lives. As we mentioned previously, CBGA has cytotoxic or cell-killing effects that tell the plant to redirect energy to the flower instead of the leaves. Its primary job is to tell cells when to die. The effect may not be limited to cells in the hemp plant.
Research shows that these cytotoxic effects also have an effect on colon cancer cells. In experiments on colon cancer cell lines, CBGA killed colon cancer cells, sped up early cancer cell death, and stopped the cancer cell cycle. Additionally, the research is encouraging in regards to preventing the growth and spread of cancerous polyps, which grow into potentially lethal carcinomas.
How To Get CBGA
CBGA is found in all varieties of the hemp plant, including hemp plants that produce low amounts of THC. This means that it’s legal in all 50 states! While CBGA is not mentioned specifically by name in the 2018 Farm Bill or other cannabis laws, it can be derived from hemp plants that contain virtually no THC. Additionally, CBGA is not psychoactive, so it is generally treated with the same considerations as other non-psychoactive cannabinoids. Since CBGA is completely legal, it can be found in a number of locations. Hemp shops and CBD retailers will likely carry CBGA products, as will shops that cater to specialty health concerns and wellness, such as Myriam’s Hemp. Be sure to specify that you are looking for CBGA and not the more commonly-known CBG, as the two have different effects!
How To Take CBGA
If you’re interested in trying CBGA, there are several different ways you can consume it. Remember, CBGA is very susceptible to heat, and as soon as it is exposed to heat, it begins the reaction that changes it into another cannabinoid, typically CBG. That means you probably won’t have much luck consuming it through any leaf-based method, as most of those involve heat.
Even if you keep the temperature low, the drying and curing process itself can also have an effect on the amount of CBGA available to consume. Smoking, vaping, or baking into food will transform your CBGA into CBG, so those routes just are not ideal if you want the full CBGA benefits. And while CBG is helpful in and of itself, it provides different benefits than CBGA!
Tinctures, on the other hand, are a much more reliable way to take CBGA. CBGA can be synthesized in a lab and distilled into a tincture that you can take just like any other cannabinoid tincture. When you choose a CBGA tincture, you should make sure to choose one from a company that is transparent about lab testing and one that uses all-natural ingredients for your safety.
You should also know that cannabinoid precursors, including CBGA, are not present in all types of tinctures. A CBG tincture is not going to contain CBGA. A broad or full spectrum tincture may contain CBGA, along with many other cannabinoids, to enhance the entourage effect.
If you’re looking for specific CBGA responses, however, your best bet is to choose a full spectrum CBGA tincture with a higher concentration of CBGA compared to the other cannabinoids to allow the cannabinoid to shine through. In the coming weeks, we will be releasing our own all-natural CBGA tincture for healthful relief.
Buy CBGA at Myriam’s Hemp
At Myriam’s Hemp, our goal is to share useful information that will help you make the most of your cannabinoid experience. We believe in our products and want to help you take control of your health by offering premium hemp products. We provide hope to those who are suffering from diseases that can have a significantly negative impact on everyday life.
Our cannabinoid products are created with quality at the forefront, and we are constantly striving to enhance our offerings. Our online store features a variety of CBD, CBG, CBN, CBDA, and soon, CBGA products that may provide you with the relief you’re looking for and help you to manage your health without total reliance on traditional pharmaceuticals. Shop Myriam’s Hemp online and order your cannabinoid products today.
- Cannabigerol acid
- Cannabis sativa: Interdisciplinary Strategies and Avenues for Medical and Commercial Progression Outside of CBD and THC
- Complete biosynthesis of cannabinoids and their unnatural analogs in yeast
- Cannabinoids Block Cellular Entry of SARS-CoV-2 and the Emerging Variants
- Inhibition of aldose reductase activity by Cannabis sativa chemotypes extracts with high content of cannabidiol or cannabigerol
- Effects of cannabinoids and cannabinoid-enriched Cannabis extracts on TRP channels and endocannabinoid metabolic enzymes
- Evaluation of the Cyclooxygenase Inhibiting Effects of Six Major Cannabinoids Isolated from Cannabis sativa
- Cannabis and epilepsy: An ancient treatment returns to the fore
- Cannabigerol acid, a major biosynthetic precursor molecule in cannabis, exhibits divergent effects on seizures in mouse models of epilepsy
- Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid is a potent PPARγ agonist with neuroprotective activity
- A Comparative In Vitro Study of the Neuroprotective Effect Induced by Cannabidiol, Cannabigerol, and Their Respective Acid Forms: Relevance of the 5-HT 1A Receptors
- CBG, CBD, Δ9-THC, CBN, CBGA, CBDA, and Δ9-THCA as antioxidant agents and their intervention abilities in antioxidant action
- Identification of Synergistic Interaction Between Cannabis-Derived Compounds for Cytotoxic Activity in Colorectal Cancer Cell Lines and Colon Polyps That Induces Apoptosis-Related Cell Death and Distinct Gene Expression