CSG MedLab

11 March 2019

What is CBGA? – A scientific update

A scientific summary of what we know about CBGA so far

By Fran Cà

A simplified summary of CBGA (Cannabigerolic acid)

For the full and scientific summary, scroll down.

CBGA is the ‘Origin’ compound of all other cannabinoids. It is the starting point for (and can be converted into) all other cannabinoids, like for instance THC, CBD, or CBG through what is called biosynthesis.

CBGA is where it all begins

The trichomes of young, developing cannabis flowers almost only contain CBGA in the beginning. Over time and as the plant grows, CBGA is converted (biosynthesis) into all the other major cannabinoids through a reaction process called “decarboxylation”. After harvest and curing, the cannabis flowers only contain less than 2% of the original amount of CBGA. 

CBGA itself, originates from two distinct compounds: olivetolic acid (OLA) and geranyl diphosphate (GPP), through a reaction caused by the enzyme prenyltransferase (CBGAS).

Medicinal benefits of CBGA

Besides producing all other cannabinoids we find in the cannabis flower, CBGA also has medicinal benefits, such as:

– Pain reduction.

– Inflammation reduction.

– Working together with THCA and several terpenes, CBGA is believed to be a potential medicine against Colon cancer.

A scientific summary of Cannabigerolic acid (CBGA)

CBGA is the parent-compound of all other major cannabinoids

CBGA represents the crucial ingredient from which all the main chemical components of cannabis originate: it is the precursor of cannabigerol (CBG), as well as the precursor of the three major acidic cannabinoids (THCA, CBDA, CBCA). Consequently, the three main active components of this extraordinary medicinal plant (THC, CBD and CBC), all derive from the CBGA through a break down reaction.

Cannabinoid synthases

This reaction is known as decarboxylation, which involves the loss of a carbon dioxide [CO2] molecule caused by heat or UV light, mediated by the enzymes (called synthases) cannabidiolic acid synthase [CBDAS], tetrahydrocannabinolic acid synthase [THCAS] and cannabichromenic acid synthase [CBCAS] respectively.

CBGA itself, originates from two distinct compounds: olivetolic acid (OLA) and geranyl diphosphate (GPP), through a condensation reaction mediated by the enzyme prenyltransferase (CBGAS), which is mainly expressed in glandular trichomes of the young female flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant. Raw plants, at early stages of development, may exhibit a significant amount of CBGA, however, at harvest this amount is reduced to less than 2%.

Medicinal benefits of CBGA

While most research (to date) has been focused on the role of this compound as a central precursor for cannabinoid biosynthesis, evidence suggests that CBGA may have analgesic, anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties.

A recent laboratory study highlights an entourage effect with THCA and CBGA + minute amounts of other cannabinoids and terpenes against colon cancer cells. Research also suggests that this synergistic interaction between these unrefined compounds is more effective then when these isolated compounds are administered on their own.

CBGA is also able to induce cell death in both plant and insect cells suggesting a role in defending the plant against predators. Such property is potentiated (entourage effect) by the effect of a terpene called Caryophyllene Oxide .

Medical use of raw, unheated Cannabis preparations rich in CBGA with a limited psychoactive effect, may be a suitable therapeutic aid in relieving symptoms of pain and inflammation associated with multiple conditions.

Bibliography:

● Alaoui MA, et al. Bioinformation. 2014;10(1):33-8.
● Carvalho Â, et al. FEMS Yeast Res. 2017;17(4).
● Cannabinoids primer. Available at www.Halent.com
● Fellermeier M, et al. Eur. J. Biochem. 2001; 268, 1596-1604
● Moreno-Sanz G. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2016;1(1):124-130
● Nallathambi R, et al. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2017;2(1):167-182.
● Nallathambi R, et al. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2018;3(1):120-135.
● Russo EB. Br J Pharmacol. 2011;163(7):1344-64
● Soderstrom K et al. Front Pharmacol. 2017;8:720.

Post author
Fran Ca
Fran Cà is Coffeeshop Guru's in-house medicinal cannabis expert and all-around science nerd. She scours the latest research papers with pin-point precision to keep you up-to-date on the most recent developments and thrilling discoveries surrounding the awesome power of cannabis.
See more from Fran Ca

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