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Cannabinoid Clinic: CBCVA

Welcome to Cannabinoid Clinic, an education project powered by Higher Learning LV. This series provides cannabis and hemp industry professionals with easily digested cannabinoid profiles that ask little of your time—but provide plenty of science-based information.


There are two categories of cannabinoids: Phytocannabinoids and endocannabinoids. Phytocannabinoids are those produced by cannabis/marijuana/hemp, while endocannabinoids are made by the human body. This series covers both.

CBCVA molecular structure


What is CBCVA?

Cannabichromevarinic acid (CBCVA) is a minor cannabinoid and the acidic precursor to the varin cannabinoid cannabichromevarin (CBCV). Like all other varin-specific acidic precursors in hemp and cannabis, it is created by a universal acidic precursor, cannabigerovarinic acid (CBGVA).


"CBCVA conveys no psychotropic effects and features an acceptable safety profile."

Like its neutral analog cannabichromene (CBC) and varin version CBCV, CBCVA conveys no psychotropic effects and features an acceptable safety profile. The same cannot be said for all varin cannabinoids, however, as THCV conveys psychoactivity, particularly at strong doses.


CBCVA Fast Facts

  • Role: Results from CBGVA

  • Biosynthetic pathway: CBGVA > CBCVA > CBCV

  • Psychoactivity: Nonpsychoactive

  • Acidic precursor: CBGVA

  • Boiling point: 853° F

  • Primary medical benefits: Anticancer, anticonvulsant (epilepsy)


CBCVA Medicinal Benefits

CBCVA has demonstrated anticancer and anticonvulsant properties, making it of potential therapeutic value for hundreds of millions of people. Like most minor and varin cannabinoids, a small volume of peer-reviewed research studies exists relative to major cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).


A November 2019 study entitled "Cannabinoids as Anticancer Therapeutic Agent" that was published in the journal Cell Cycle described "the activity of cannabinoids on the cellular level" and "comprehensively summarized the activity of all groups of cannabinoids on various cancers." The study's authors also proposed several potential mechanisms of action to explain the positive efficacy against cancer that was observed.

Biosynthetic pathways of common cannabinoids


The study reported that "some plants have an active alternative pathway that generates an almost mirror image of major cannabinoids from divarinic acid instead of olivetolic acid, starting from the precursor CBGA variant (CBGVA) instead of CBGA and downstream molecules, including CBCA (CBCVA), CBDA (CBDVA), and THCA (THCVA) variants, and other compounds."


The researchers concluded that cannabinoids such as CBCVA and others feature "great promise" for the treatment of cancer.

The researchers concluded that cannabinoids such as CBCVA and others feature "great promise" for the treatment of cancer. "Although the exact mechanism is not understood, in some models, cannabinoids have been shown to decrease cancer cell growth and invasion, and similar effects have been observed in mouse models," reported the study's authors. They noted that "more research is necessary to investigate whether there is a role for cannabinoids in treatment of cancer in humans."


A January 2021 study entitled "Cannabichromene, Related Phytocannabinoids, and 5-Fluoro-cannabichromene Have Anticonvulsant Properties in a Mouse Model of Dravet Syndrome" that was published in the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience examined the anticonvulsant potential of "CBC, cannabichromenic acid (CBCA), cannabichromevarin (CBCV), and cannabichromevarinic acid (CBCVA)" in mice.

CBCVA biosynthetic pathway


The study reported that all of the cannabinoids it analyzed "within the CBC series were readily absorbed and showed substantial brain penetration." More pertinent to the goal of the study, "anticonvulsant efficacy was evident with CBC, CBCA, and CBCVA. The study revealed that CBC had greater brain penetration than the other cannabinoids, but that its anticonvulsant effect was the same.


The researchers concluded that CBCVA, CBC, and CBCA "are anticonvulsant in a model of intractable pediatric epilepsy" and that they might "constitute part of the mechanism through which artisanal cannabis oils are anticonvulsant in patients."


The researchers concluded that CBCVA, CBC, and CBCA "are anticonvulsant in a model of intractable pediatric epilepsy."

A November 2022 study entitled "The Anticonvulsant Phytocannabinoids CBGVA and CBDVA Inhibit Recombinant T-type Channels" that was published in the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology investigated whether "anticonvulsant phytocannabinoids affect T-type calcium channels, which are known to modulate neuronal excitability, and may be relevant to the anti-seizure effects of this class of compounds."


The research reported that it found "found cannabichromenic acid (CBCA), cannabichrovarinic acid (CBCVA), cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), cannabigerovarinic acid (CBGVA), and cannabidivarinic acid (CBDVA) were all anticonvulsant against hyperthermia-induced seizures."


How to Get CBCVA

Like other minor cannabinoids, CBCVA is rare as a primary ingredient in commercial cannabis and hemp products. Because it is an acidic precursor, it cannot be consumed via a consumption avenue involving heat, such as smoking or vaporization. This is because heat causes the molecule to undergo decarboxylation and transmogrify into CBCV, its downstream varin sibling.


"Because CBCVA is an acidic precursor, it cannot be consumed via a consumption avenue involving heat, such as smoking or vaporization."

Those seeking loose-leaf flower rich in CBCVA to create edibles should attempt to find hemp and cannabis cultivars ("strains") rich in CBC. Depending on the point in the plant's lifecycle when it is harvested, such cultivars typically feature more CBCVA than others.

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