CBGA is one of the identified non-psychoactive cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Although we can say it is one of the minor compounds out of over a hundred compounds, it is a vital one. Research on CBGA has just recently started, but it is already showing great potential health benefits for cardiovascular diseases and seizures. Most importantly, groundbreaking research suggests that CBDA may be a ray of hope for those diagnosed with colon cancer.
WHAT IS CBGA?
Cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), aka the real “Mother of Phytocannabinoids,” is essentially the first compound you can find in hemp plants before they mature or undergo any processes. CBGA goes through a molecular reaction known as biosynthesis for it to break down into the three main acidic cannabinoids as the plant grows.
THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid)
CBDA (cannabidiolic acid)
CBNA (cannabinolic acid)
These acidic cannabinoids will go through a smoking or heating process called decarboxylation to be turned into the cannabinoids we love that you mostly see in your dispensaries or wellness shops. When the biosynthesis is complete, only a trace amount of cannabigerolic acid remains in the plant because it has been mostly converted.
This goes to say that all other cannabinoids may have some trace levels of CBG.
RESEARCH INTO CBGA
There are a few things to weigh before we get into the possible health benefits of CBGA.
Current CBGA research is still limited.
Acidic cannabinoids received less attention because they are molecularly unstable. The emphasis is on stable compounds such as CBD and THC because they are abundant and versatile. CBD molecules also last longer because they are less likely to cause an adverse reaction when processed, which is why they are found in everyday products such as creams, gummies, and lotions.
Researchers use lab-grade CBDA.
Lab-grade CBGA is not the same as the CBGA found naturally in cannabis. Cannabis contains trace amounts of CBGA, so for scientists to produce reliable results, they need to have a sufficient quantity of CBGA that can be helped with lab-made CBGAs.
Researchers use cell samples or animal models.
The benefits of newer cannabinoids are mostly based on what scientists have seen in their experiments. Since CBGA is still being studied, there are no solid facts about what it does to the human body. However, popular cannabinoids like CBD and CBG have their own established benefits because people have tried them and seen how they work.
Although research on this cannabinoid is sparse, what does it reveal about some of its potential benefits?
It wasn’t until medical professionals began using cannabinoids to treat seizures that the stigma against marijuana and hemp began to fade. As the number of studies on cannabinoids grows, it becomes clearer that, putting aside its psychoactive effects with the help of technology, we have definitely missed this stuff, which could have made a big difference in some health problems.
CBGA has its own way of helping the body, and here are some ways it may help you.
In 2019, a computer simulation (1) showed how CBGA affects metabolism and how it can speed up metabolism. By turning on PPAR (peroxisome proliferator receptors), CBGA speeds up lipid metabolism and stops too much fat from building up.
These receptors control the metabolism, but if they don’t work right, it can lead to diseases like diabetes, high cholesterol, or triglycerides. By turning on PPAR receptors, CBGA makes up for the malfunction and controls how much fat tissue is stored. If in vitro studies confirm CBGA’s effects, it could greatly help people with metabolic disorders.
Supports Cardiovascular Health
Increasing evidence suggests that phytocannabinoids can improve cardiovascular health by regulating the endocannabinoid system. CBDA and CBGA may help with heart problems like myocardial infarction (heart attack), atherosclerosis, arrhythmias, high blood pressure, and metabolic disorders.
Potential Cancer Treatment
Acidic cannabidiols such as CBDA and CBGA seem to have cell-killing activity. It has been shown that CBGA kills colon cancer cells (2), speeds up their early death, and stops their cycle. Even though more research is needed, researchers are hopeful that CBGA could kill colon cancer cells and stop precancerous growths from growing.
Reduce Epileptic Seizures
CBD is used extensively to reduce epileptic seizures, particularly in medications like Epidiolex (3). But since there haven’t been many in-depth studies, choosing CBD over other cannabinoids is more of an opinion.
Australian researchers, therefore, led a 2021 study of CBGA, CBD, CBG, and CBGV on seizures. The study showed that CBGA is much better than CBD or any other cannabinoid at stopping epileptic seizures, especially in children. Researchers are working hard to gather how to harness the benefits of CBGA and develop a medication that can help children with epileptic seizures.
HOW DOES CBGA WORK IN THE BODY?
The human body responds to CBGA by activating the receptors in the endocannabinoid system. These receptors can be activated by certain molecules, called cannabinoids, to produce specific effects on the body.
Research shows that when CBGA is changed into CBG, it binds to CB1 receptors. The brain and central nervous system feel the effects of these right away. Despite this, it is not psychoactive.
CBGA also binds to CB2 receptors, which are found in the immune and digestive systems. CBGA, on the other hand, stops COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes and prostaglandin from being made. This gives it pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties.
THE KEY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CBG AND CBGA
CBGA and CBG have an almost identical molecular structure, with one exception. CBG does not have the carboxyl group that CBGA has. This carboxyl group is present in acidic cannabinoids, which gives the compound its mild acidity and distinguishes it from neutral cannabinoids like CBD and CBG.
CBGA VS CBG
CBGA and CBG interact with the same points in the body, but they affect the endocannabinoid system differently, so their effects vary. However, more research into CBG and CBGA is necessary before we can presume the impact of this interaction. The following compares the two in terms of their therapeutic effects.
Both CBGA and CBG:
- promote healthy metabolism
- have anti-fungal properties
- help to reduce inflammation
CBGA, on the other hand, not only reduces swelling but also lessens pain.
CBG may help with bone growth, while CBGA is found to improve cardiovascular health.
CBGA is the most potent cannabinoid to date in preventing hypothermia-induced and spontaneous seizures.
CBDA, CBGA, and CBG all have a distinct effect on cancer cells, causing them to “kill themselves.” However, CBG may be more effective in inhibiting cancer cells because it is more stable, making it a better long-term alternative cure. Researchers are still attempting to validate the efficacy of using both CBGA and CBG for cancer treatment.
CBGA VS CBDA
When discovering newer cannabinoids, especially those that seem to share similar benefits, we tend to look for any difference they may have. Of course.
CBDA and CBGA share the same potential benefits as mentioned above. Both are being eyed for their therapeutic properties in certain cancers, seizures, metabolism, and heart health.
CBGA AND CBDA ON COVID19
Researchers at Oregon State University have found that cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) and cannabidiolic acid can prevent the virus that causes COVID-19 from entering human cells.
These cannabinoid compounds, as the finding shows, work the same way as COVID-19 vaccines and antibody therapy in treating COVID. According to researchers, they “bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, blocking a critical step in the process the virus uses to infect people.”
WHAT EFFECT DOES CBGA HAVE ON THE BODY?
According to some research, CBGA may make the body more favorable to other cannabinoids while also assisting the body in its processing. CBGA has also been shown to have analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anti-proliferative properties.
CAN CBGA MAKE YOU HIGH?
Many cannabis users are worried about the psychoactive effects. And rightfully so. The great news is that CBGA, like CBG, will not get you high. Some CBGA users report that they feel an improvement in their overall mood and an increase in appetite.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON CBGA
The challenge with these lesser-known cannabinoids is that there aren’t enough of them to make a difference. However, as technology evolves, we will have easier access to more of them. And as we continue to study them, we realize how pivotal it is to keep going.
So far, the evidence suggests that we should use CBGA to the greatest extent possible — even if we don’t have conclusive evidence yet, we can still reap its benefits for the time being.
1 D’Aniello E, Fellous T, Iannotti F, Gentile A, Allarà M, Balestrieri F, Gray R, Amodeo P, Vitale RM, Di Marzo V. (2019.01.002). Identification and characterization of phytocannabinoids as novel dual PPARα/γ agonists by a computational and in vitro experimental approach. Science Direct. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0304416519300029
2 Nallathambi R, Mazuz M, Namdar D, Shik M, Namintzer D, Vinayaka AC, Ion A, Faigenboim A, Nasser A, Laish I, Konikoff FM, Koltai H. (2018, June 1). 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. National Library of Medicine. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29992185/
3 FDA News Release. (2018, June 25). FDA Approves First Drug Comprised of an Active Ingredient Derived from Marijuana to Treat Rare, Severe Forms of Epilepsy. U.S. FOOD & DRUG ADMINISTRATION. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-first-drug-comprised-active-ingredient-derived-marijuana-treat-rare-severe-forms