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Decoding CBGA: The Keystone Cannabinoid Powering Cannabis Evolution

Updated: Feb 22



Artistic display of cannabis research surrounding CBGa.

CBGA, or Cannabigerolic acid, serves a multi-faceted role within the cannabis plant. It plays a pivotal protective role in the life of the cannabis plant. Produced in the plant's trichomes, CBGA is responsible for inducing targeted plant cell necrosis, a process that facilitates natural leaf pruning. This self-regulation allows the plant to optimize its energy and resources, ensuring that a maximum amount is directed towards flourishing its flower.


Cannabis' intrinsic chemistry is a testament to nature's wonders. The plant produces CBGA for its benefit, yet intriguingly, humans also have their version of cannabinoids, known as endocannabinoids. The parallel between these organic compounds and our physiological systems is genuinely astonishing.


A few years ago, when CBGa was considered a 'minor cannabinoid. I made the statement, "I like to do major things with minor cannabinoids," in a 2019 Symposium quote that got moved into articles, memes, and more over the next few years. But I had also stepped up as the Researcher OG to call CBGa 'The Mother Major' and boldly tell the world it was the 'rising star' of the Entourage Effect caused by cannabinoids and terpenes. 


But, in my private research, I've found it's so much more than this - endocannabinoids and cannabinoids also interact and create an Entourage. I made the Endocannabinoid Balance Control concept or ECS Balance Control early in 2020. In a press release over three years ago, I stated that the cannabinoid had remarkable capabilities. She's a bit tricky to keep stable and requires education for the world and the market, so we have yet to see the products so many expected, but I'm looking to change that. 


Illustration of a microscope, imposed on a cannabis plant.

Labeling CBGA as the "grandfather" of cannabinoids is no exaggeration. It holds a paramount position in the biosynthesis pathway of cannabis. CBGA acts as a precursor molecule, setting off a cascade reaction that culminates in the formation of three primary cannabinoid lines:



These acids transform into THC, CBD, and CBC upon decarboxylation. While CBGA can also be converted to CBG, it's more common to find it metamorphosing into THC or CBD in most cannabis strains.


Recent research sheds light on the potential therapeutic properties of CBGA. For diabetic patients, CBGA might offer a reprieve from the various complications associated with the condition, including cardiovascular diseases. Laboratory studies have indicated that CBGA can substantially inhibit aldose reductase, an enzyme that intensifies oxidative stress, which can trigger heart issues and other complications.


In a groundbreaking 2019 in silico study, the spotlight was on CBGA's potential in modulating metabolism. The study focused on how CBGA interacts with peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) – regulators of metabolism. When PPARs malfunction, metabolic disorders like diabetes and dyslipidemia (elevated cholesterol or triglycerides) arise. The findings revealed CBGA's promising capability to activate PPAR receptors, promoting lipid metabolism while diminishing lipid accumulation.


A photograph of Mike Robinson at Ridley-Tree Cancer Center.

In January 2022, an instrumental study by Oregon State University further magnified CBGA's potential by demonstrating its ability to impede virus replication in human cells in vitro. However, as with all scientific discoveries, it's imperative to approach findings cautiously. Comprehensive research is paramount to truly understand the depth, breadth, and implications of CBGA consumption and its myriad abilities.


To recap some of CBGa's many potentials being researched: 


Anti-inflammatory properties: Some cannabinoids are known for their anti-inflammatory effects, and preliminary evidence suggests that CBGA might also possess such properties.


Neuroprotective effects: There is interest in cannabinoids' potential to protect nerve cells from damage or degeneration, which can be especially relevant for diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.



Appetite stimulant: While THC is famous for inducing the "munchies", other cannabinoids like CBGA are also being explored for their potential role in stimulating appetite, which could benefit patients who suffer from conditions that suppress appetite or cause weight loss.


Anti-tumor properties: As you mentioned, there's evidence that CBGA might have cytotoxic effects on specific cancer cells. Its potential role in cancer therapy is a significant area of interest.


Glaucoma: Cannabinoids, in general, have been studied for their potential to reduce intraocular pressure, a key concern in glaucoma. CBGA might also play a role in this therapeutic area.



Potential in skin therapies: The anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties of CBGA suggest potential applications in skincare, possibly in treating conditions like acne or psoriasis.


It's crucial to understand that while the potential of CBGA is exciting, rigorous scientific studies, including controlled clinical trials, are essential to establish its efficacy and therapeutic dosages for various conditions. As research progresses and the medicinal cannabis industry grows, we will likely learn more about CBGA and its therapeutic applications. 


 

A photograph of Mike Robinson the author of this article.

References:


Van Breemen RB, Muchiri RN, Bates TA, Weinstein JB, Leier HC, Farley S, Tafesse FG. Cannabinoids Block Cellular Entry of SARS-CoV-2 and the Emerging Variants. J Nat Prod. 2022 Jan 28;85(1):176-184. doi: 10.1021/acs.jnatprod.1c00946. Epub 2022 Jan 10. PMID: 35007072; PMCID: PMC8768006.


S. Deiana, Chapter 99 - Potential Medical Uses of Cannabigerol: A Brief Overview,

Editor(s): V.R. Preedy, Handbook of Cannabis and Related Pathologies,

Academic Press, 2017, Pages 958-967, ISBN 9780128007563,


Walsh KB, McKinney AE, Holmes AE. Minor Cannabinoids: Biosynthesis, Molecular Pharmacology and Potential Therapeutic Uses. Front Pharmacol. 2021 Nov 29;12:777804. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2021.777804. PMID: 34916950; PMCID: PMC8669157.


Lah TT, Majc B, Novak M, Sušnik A, Breznik B, Porčnik A, Bošnjak R, Sadikov A, Malavolta M, Halilčević S, Mlakar J, Zomer R. The Cytotoxic Effects of Cannabidiol and Cannabigerol on Glioblastoma Stem Cells May Mostly Involve GPR55 and TRPV1 Signalling. Cancers (Basel). 2022 Nov 30;14(23):5918. doi: 10.3390/cancers14235918. PMID: 36497400; PMCID: PMC9738061.


Passani A, Posarelli C, Sframeli AT, Perciballi L, Pellegrini M, Guidi G, Figus M. Cannabinoids in Glaucoma Patients: The Never-Ending Story. J Clin Med. 2020 Dec 8;9(12):3978. doi: 10.3390/jcm9123978. PMID: 33302608; PMCID: PMC7763320.


Iannotti FA, Vitale RM. The Endocannabinoid System and PPARs: Focus on Their Signalling Crosstalk, Action and Transcriptional Regulation. Cells. 2021 Mar 7;10(3):586. doi: 10.3390/cells10030586. PMID: 33799988; PMCID: PMC8001692.



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