Understanding Cannabigerolic Acid (CBGA)

Updated: Mar 11

Cannabigerolic acid, or CBGA, is the acidic precursor to cannabigerol (CBG). In plain English, this means that CBGA produces, or morphs into, CBG under the right environmental and chemical conditions. It was discovered in 1964 and Israeli researcher Raphael Mechoulam and his colleagues (the same scientist who famously first synthesized THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) during the same time period).

CBGA molecule


CBGA is a special acidic precursor in the overall scheme of the phytocannabinoids produced by cannabis/hemp/marijuana. Why is it special? Read on to become the smartest kid on the playground about one of the most underrated phytomolecules on earth.


CBGA is unique due to its role as a meta-acidic precursor and the fact that it produces the other major acidic precursors that then, in turn, synthesize the neutral ("active") versions of themselves.

CBGA is unique due to its role as a meta-acidic precursor and the fact that it produces the other major acidic precursors that then, in turn, synthesize the neutral ("active") versions of themselves of which patients and consumers are most aware.


Mother of All Cannabinoids

CBGA has been referred to as the "mother of all cannabinoids" because it yields three major cannabinoid acidic precursors:

  • Cannabichromenic Acid (CBCA): Produces its neutral isomer cannabichromene (CBC).

  • Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA): Produces its neutral isomer cannabidiol (CBD).

  • Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid (THCA): Metabolizes into the neutral isomer tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

The Research

A 2022 study entitled "Cannabinoids Block Cellular Entry of SARS-CoV-2 and the Emerging Variants" that was published int the Journal of Natural Products investigated the potential efficacy of the cannabinoid acidic precursors CBDA and CBGA.


The study's authors reported that both of these hemp-derived acidic precursors were equally efficacious and that they "prevented infection of human epithelial cells by a pseudovirus expressing the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and prevented entry of live SARS-CoV-2 into cells."


The researchers concluded that both cannabinoids may be beneficial therapeutic agents in the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 due to the fact that they are "orally bioavailable and [feature] a long history of safe human use."


The study's authors reported that both of these hemp-derived acidic precursors were equally efficacious and that both "prevented infection of human epithelial cells by a pseudovirus expressing the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and prevented entry of live SARS-CoV-2 into cells."

The study's authors were careful to state that these cannabinoids "have the potential to prevent as well as treat infection by SARS-CoV-2." Their inclusion of the term "potential" is very important and should be considered by readers who may be exposed to inflated claims in mass media and clickbait in social media.

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A 2021 study entitled "Cannabigerolic Acid Exhibits Divergent Effects on Seizures in Mouse Models of Epilepsy" that was published in the British Journal of Pharmacology explored the potential efficacy of CBGA for childhood epilepsy (Dravet syndrome). The scientists found CBGA to feature the "most potent and potentiated...anticonvulsant effects."


Although highly theoretical based on the fact that the test subjects were mice, not humans, the study noted that "cannabis has been used to treat epilepsy for millennia, with such use validated by regulatory approval of cannabidiol (CBD) for Dravet syndrome." The researchers investigated the cannabis plant "for phytocannabinoids with anticonvulsant effects against hyperthermia-induced seizures."


The scientists found CBGA to feature the "most potent and potentiated...anticonvulsant effects."

The study identified "three phytocannabinoids with novel anticonvulsant properties": CBGA, CBDVA, and CBGVA. CBDVA and CBGVA are both varin-specific acidic precursors. All varin cannabinoids feature their own acidic precursors. Thus, CBDVA molecularly morphs into CBDV (the varin version of CBD) and CBGVA produces CBGV, the varin version of CBG.


The researchers concluded that their data suggest that "CBGA, CBDVA, and CBGVA may contribute to the effects of cannabis-based products in childhood epilepsy," but stressed that additional research is necessary, including human clinical trials, "before CBD is superseded by another in this class."


A 2019 study entitled "Identification and Characterization of Phytocannabinoids as Novel Dual PPARα/γ Agonists” that was published in the journal Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA)—General Subjects analyzed the role of CBGA (as well as CBDA and CBG) in the modulation and control of metabolism, something of value to diseases such as diabetes and dyslipidemia (elevated lipid levels in the blood).


Concluded the preclinical study’s authors, "Our work broadens the activity spectrum of CBDA, CBGA, and CBG by providing evidence that these pCBs act as dual PPARα/γ agonists with the ability to modulate lipid metabolism."

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A 2018 study entitled "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" that was published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research investigated the therapeutic efficacy of CBGA for colon cancer.


Colorectal cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer mortality globally and the third most common cancer diagnosis. The study revealed that cannabis extracts containing CBGA "had cytotoxic activity on colon cancer cells." The research also revealed some of the underlying mechanisms behind this efficacy, including apoptosis and cell cycle arrest.


The study concluded that hemp compounds such as CBGA "interact synergistically for cytotoxic activity against colon cancer cells and induce cell cycle arrest, apoptotic cell death, and distinct gene expression."

The study concluded that hemp compounds such as CBGA "interact synergistically for cytotoxic activity against colon cancer cells and induce cell cycle arrest, apoptotic cell death, and distinct gene expression."


A 2018 study entitled "Inhibition of Aldose Reductase Activity by Cannabis Sativa Chemotypes Extracts with High Content of Cannabidiol or Cannabigerol" that was published in the journal Fitoterapia explored the ability of CBD and CBG and their respective acidic precursors (CBDA and CBGA) to effectively treat diabetes.

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The study found that hemp extracts containing "high content of non-psychotropic cannabinoids CBD/CBDA or CBG/CBGA significantly inhibit" diebetic complications. The research supported other studies by revealing that efficacy was highly dependent upon dose.


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