CANNABIGEROLIC ACID (CBGA)

WHAT IS CANNABIGEROLIC ACID (CBGA)?

There are over 480 different compounds in the cannabis plant with more than 120 known as cannabinoids. These compounds are what gives the plant the therapeutic features that it has. The two most common cannabinoids are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is known for its psychoactive effects, while CBD is known for its modulatory effects. Apart from these two, we have other cannabinoids like cannabigerol acid (CBGA). CBGA is an antecedent of all other cannabinoids discovered in the cannabis plant. It is often time called the mother cannabinoid because no other cannabinoid will exist without some level of CBGA.

For more than 50 years, scientists have been aware of the compound cannabigerol (CBG) – it was first discovered by Israeli scientists. About 30 years later, Japanese scientists then discovered that CBGA was the precursor to CBG.

The formation of CBGA occurs when two organic compounds in the plant; geranyl pyrophosphate and olivetolic acid combine. This is an essential building block in the formation of other cannabinoids like CBDA, THCA, CBCA, and CBG.  

HOW DOES cbga WORK?

CBGA is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid just like CBD. While THC gives you trippy effects when taken, CBGA is like an antagonist that interferes with such effect. Just as it is with CBG, CBGA interacts with the endocannabinoid receptors to stimulate their response. It is important to note that these receptors are active players in regulating activities like mood, appetite, and response to pain. Since CBGA and CBD are both non-psychoactive, they have some similarities in their therapeutic activities.

POSSIBLE THERAPEUTIC BENEFITS of CBGA 

Even though there is very little medical research conducted in regards to CBGA, early studies give us hints on some of its potential applications in medicine.

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

A study done in 2013 showed that CBGA may be useful in the treatment of IBD. The study carried out on rats showed that CBGA was able to reduce the production of nitric oxide and oxidizing agents in the small intestine. It was also able to mitigate the severity of colitis in the rats that were induced with it.  

  • Colon Cancer

Researchers were able to look at the cytotoxic effects of CBGA extracted from cannabis. It was discovered that not only did it kill the cancer cells, it also helped hasted the death of cancer cells. This makes researchers believe that CBGA may be effective in treating cancer. 

  • Metabolic Disorders

A silico study carried out in 2019 showed that CBGA activated Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptors (PPARs), thereby stimulating the metabolism of lipid and reducing excessive accumulation. This study still requires animal and human trials.  

  • Cardiovascular Disease

In vitro study shows that CBGA inhibits enzyme aldose reductase, the main contributor to oxidative stress that leads to diabetic complications.

  • Huntington’s Disease

Huntington’s Disease is a progressive brain disorder that leads to the loss of cognition and movement. It is one of the degenerative diseases that researchers are hoping CBGA would have the potential in treating. A study carried out in 2015 shows that CBGA protects the neurons of nice that have Huntington’s disease. 

INTERESTING FACTS

  • CBGA is known as the mother of all phytocannabinoids. Without CBGA, no other cannabinoid would exist.
  • CBGA is an antecedent of all other cannabinoids discovered in the cannabis plant.

REFERENCES

  1. Smeriglio A, Giofrè SV, Galati EM, et al. Inhibition of aldose reductase activity by Cannabis sativa chemotypes extracts with high content of cannabidiol or cannabigerol. Fitoterapia. 2018;127:101-108. doi:10.1016/j.fitote.2018.02.002
  2. Nallathambi R, Mazuz M, Namdar D, et al. 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 and Distinct Gene Expression. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2018;3(1):120-135. Published 2018 Jun 1. doi:10.1089/can.2018.0010
  3. Borrelli F, Fasolino I, Romano B, et al. Beneficial effect of the non-psychotropic plant cannabinoid cannabigerol on experimental inflammatory bowel disease. Biochem Pharmacol. 2013;85(9):1306-1316. doi:10.1016/j.bcp.2013.01.017
  4. Valdeolivas S, Navarrete C, Cantarero I, Bellido ML, Muñoz E, Sagredo O. Neuroprotective properties of cannabigerol in Huntington’s disease: studies in R6/2 mice and 3-nitropropionate-lesioned mice. Neurotherapeutics. 2015;12(1):185-199. doi:10.1007/s13311-014-0304-z

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