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Cannabinoid Clinic: CBGVA

Updated: Dec 29, 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.

CBGVA molecular structure


What is CBGVA?

Cannabigerovarinic acid (CBGVA) is a varin-specific acidic precursor. However, unlike other varin-specific acidic precursors—such as CBCVA, CBDVA, and THCVA—CBGVA is a "meta" acidic precursor that is responsible for creating all other varin-specific acidic precursors in the plant (including those listed above).


CBGVA is a "meta" acidic precursor that is responsible for creating all other varin-specific acidic precursors.

This minor cannabinoid was first isolated in 1977 by Japanese researchers. The neutral version of this cannabinoid, cannabigerol (CBG), was discovered in 1964 by pioneering cannabis researcher Dr. Raphael Mechoulam in Israel. While not as commercialized as cannabidiol (CBD) or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBG is rapidly gaining in popularity as wellness professionals, patients, and consumers learn about this increasingly favored non-psychoactive cannabinoid.


Thus, just as the acidic precursor CBGA is considered the "mother of all cannabinoids" (all except the varins) and to act as a "stem cell" in the hemp and cannabis plants, CBGVA could be considered the mother of all varin cannabinoids, including CBCV, CBDV, CBGV, and THCV.


CBGVA Fast Facts

  • Role: Source of all varin cannabinoids

  • Biosynthetic pathway: CBGVA > CBDVA; CBCVA; THCVA

  • Psychoactivity: Nonpsychoactive

  • Acidic precursor: n/a

  • Boiling point: 957° F

  • Primary medical benefits: Anticonvulsant (epilepsy)

Phytocannabinoid acidic precursors



CBGVA Medicinal Benefits

Like most minor cannabinoids and varins, relatively little peer-reviewed scientific research has been conducted involving CBGVA. The studies that have occurred indicate that this pivotal cannabinoid may provide anticonvulsive properties that may make it of value to those suffering epilepsy and other seizure disorders.


"Like most minor cannabinoids and varins, relatively little peer-reviewed scientific research has been conducted involving CBGVA."

The 2014 book Handbook of Cannabis by Roger G. Pertwee reported that "CBGA and CBGVA are classified as true cannabinoids and form the substrates for a number of enzymatic conversions into cannabinoid end products."


An August 2018 study entitled "Chemometric Analysis of Cannabinoids: Chemotaxonomy and Domestication Syndrome" that was published in the journal Scientific Reports analyzed 11 known cannabinoids and an untargeted metabolomics approach to identify 21 unknown cannabinoids."


The study reported that CBGVA "appears to be a branch point for allocation of resources in cannabis between THCV and CBDVA, indicating that the enzyme activity or the resource allocation mechanism for production of THCV was lost in the breeding process of [some] strains."

Biosynthetic pathway of CBGVA


Interestingly, the study concluded that "the domestication of the cannabis germplasm has resulted in a loss of the CBDA pathway in some strains and reallocation of resources between CBDA and THCA pathways in others." The study's authors lamented the current state of marijuana genetics, observing that "the impact of domestication is a lack of chemical diversity and loss of biodiversity in modern cannabis strains."


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 explored "whether anticonvulsant phytocannabinoids...may be relevant to the anti-seizure effects of this class of compounds."


"The anticonvulsant phytocannabinoids cannabigerovarinic acid (CBGVA) and cannabidivarinic acid (CBDVA) had the greatest magnitudes of effect."

The study reported that "the anticonvulsant phytocannabinoids cannabigerovarinic acid (CBGVA) and cannabidivarinic acid (CBDVA) had the greatest magnitudes of effect." Both cannabinoids were found to bind with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) receptor GPR55. The researchers concluded that both CBGVA and CBDVA "should be further investigated to develop novel therapeutics for treating diseases" such as epilepsy and other seizure disorders.


How to Get CBGVA

Like many minor cannabinoids, particularly varin versions, products featuring CBGVA are rare. Cultivars ("strains") of the plant offering this cannabinoid are said to be Asian landrace cultivars. However, even in these cultivars, the volume of CBGVA typically never exceeds one percent.

Because it is a volatile acidic precursor that converts to its varin version when heat is applied, vaping and smoking are not viable means of consuming this cannabinoid. Legitimate consumption avenues include sublingual tinctures and edibles such as gummies—but such products are extremely rare and typically not widely distributed.


Full-spectrum (also called "whole plant") hemp products, depending on the exact cultivar(s) from which they are formulated or produced, are more likely to contain CBGV and CBGVA.


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