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Cannabinoid Clinic: CBGA

Updated: Dec 7, 2022

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.

CBGA molecular structure


What is CBGA?

Cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) has been dubbed the "mother of all cannabinoids" by researchers and journalists based on the pivotal and important role that it plays in the production of all major cannabinoids (and many minor ones). CBGA is a minor cannabinoid and an acidic precursor, meaning that it is responsible for manufacturing another cannabinoid that plays an important role in the plant.


CBGA has been dubbed the "mother of all cannabinoids" based on the pivotal role it plays in the production of all major cannabinoids.

CBGA results in not only its downstream isomer, cannabigerol (CBG), but arguably more importantly, it produces the acidic precursors for other major cannabinoids. For example, CBGA produces CBCA, CBDA, and THCA. These acidic precursors, under the right environmental conditions (things like UV light, oxygen, or heat), morph into cannabichromene (CBC), cannabidiol (CBD), and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).


CBGA Fast Facts

  • Role: Produces CBG, CBCA, CBDA, THCA

  • Biosynthetic pathway: CBGA > CBG; CBGA > CBCA; CBDA; THCA

  • Psychoactivity: Non-psychoactive

  • Acidic precursor: n/a

  • Boiling point: n/a

  • Primary medical benefits: Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticonvulsant


CBGA biosynthetic pathway


CBGA Medicinal Benefits

The primary potential medicinal benefits offered by CBGA include anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticonvulsant properties. This cannabinoid, like many others, may be an effective ingredient in the treatment of epilepsy and conditions based in inflammation.


"Potential medicinal benefits offered by CBGA include anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticonvulsant properties."

A July 2021 study entitled "CBG, CBD, Δ9-THC, CBN, CBGA, CBDA, and Δ9-THCA as Antioxidant Agents and Their Intervention Abilities in Antioxidant Action" that was published in the journal Fitoterapia explored the potential antioxidant characteristics of common phytocannabinoids, including CBGA.


"The growing popularity of supplements containing cannabinoids, mainly cannabinoid oils (e.g. CBD oil and CBG oil), in the self-medication of humans and the increased interest in these compounds in different preclinical and clinical trials stimulates research to investigate the bioactive properties of individual cannabinoids, including their antioxidant activities," observed the study.

The research concluded that its data "prove that all the examined cannabinoids—CBG, CBD, Δ9-THC, CBN, CBGA CBDA and Δ9-THCA—exhibit antioxidant activity." It explained that "the intensity of these activities for individual cannabinoids is not the same," but that it is roughly comparable to that of E vitamin.


An August 2021 study entitled "Cannabigerolic Acid, a Major Biosynthetic Precursor Molecule in Cannabis, Exhibits Divergent Effects on Seizures in Mouse Models of Epilepsy" that was published in the British Journal of Pharmacology explored "the cannabis plant for phytocannabinoids with anticonvulsant effects against hyperthermia-induced seizures." It found the "most promising" to be CBGA.


"We identified three phytocannabinoids with novel anticonvulsant properties: CBGA, cannabidivarinic acid (CBDVA), and cannabigerovarinic acid (CBGVA)."

"The initial screen identified three phytocannabinoids with novel anticonvulsant properties: CBGA, cannabidivarinic acid (CBDVA), and cannabigerovarinic acid (CBGVA)," reported the study's authors. They found CBGA to be the most potent of the three. This cannabinoid was found to bind with "numerous epilepsy-relevant targets, including GPR55, TRPV1 channels, and GABAA receptors."


The researchers concluded that the results of their scientific investigation "suggest that CBGA, CBDVA, and CBGVA may contribute to the effects of cannabis-based products in childhood epilepsy." However, the study noted that further research is necessary before "CBD is superseded" by CBGA as a top anti-epileptic treatment produced by hemp and cannabis.


How to Get CBGA

Like other acidic precursors, CBGA cannot be consumed via smoking or vaporization due to the fact that the heat will cause the chemical reaction called decarboxylation that converts this cannabinoid into CBG.


"CBGA cannot be consumed by smoking or vaporization because the heat will cause the chemical reaction called decarboxylation that converts this cannabinoid into CBG."

Thus, products such as tinctures (both oil-based and alcohol-based) and edibles must be employed to ensure that the CBGA does not undergo molecular conversion to CBG prior to ingestion.


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