Exploring CBGa (cannabigerol), aka the Mother Cannabinoid

All about the CBGa or cannabigerol: the mysterious component THC and CBD cannot live without. Here are benefits, medicinal qualities and how to consume it

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The chemical compounds in marijuana plants are called cannabinoids or CBGa. Along with CBGa, cannabis contains a variety of organic molecules that contribute to the plant’s therapeutic effects.

The two strongest cannabinoids in cannabis plants are CBD and THC. But without cannabigerol acid (CBGa), THC and CBD would not be present. They are all dependent on each other to provide effects when consumed. CBGa operates as a precursor to producing different cannabinoids such as THC and CBD. 

Studies conducted on CBGa suggest it provides treatment for various symptoms. 

What is CBGa? 

When two organic compounds in a marijuana plant called olivetolic acid and geranyl pyrophosphate combine, they form cannabigerol. 

Think of cannabigerol as a stepping stone for the creation of common cannabinoids THCA, CBDA, CBC and CBG.

The theory of cannabinoids as an effective treatment for common symptoms is due to the public’s attitude change towards medical marijuana. Less than 50 years ago, cannabis was illegal and labelled as a gateway drug. Now it is a commercial product used for therapeutic treatment. 

But manufacturing cannabinoids on a global scale is costly and ineffective. Researchers are interested in tackling CBGa’s biosynthetic position to create natural cannabinoids through growing and extracting marijuana plants. Based on a German study from Dortmund University, researchers were able to copy the natural synthesis of cannabinoids in yeast. Once the researchers found out how to synthesize CBGa from geranyl diphosphate and olivetolic acid, THCa was created. For the complete study, check out the Journal of Biotechnology. 

Scientists from the University of California elaborated on this research in a 2019 Nature Publication. The team also confirmed they were able to produce cannabinoids in yeast. 

In sum, CBGa is a springboard for creating THCa. One cannot exist without the other. Recent studies provide evidence that relatively sustainable mechanisms can produce natural and synthetic cannabinoids for symptom treatment.

Ways to consume CBGa 

The most common way to consume CBGa is to ingest raw hemp. Rah hemp is fresh Cannabis sativa containing very little THC. The more freshly harvested, the higher the levels of CBGa. 

Regular exposure to light, heat, the oxidation process and decarboxylation synthesize activates acidic forms of cannabinoids. The longer marijuana plants are exposed to these variables, the more CBG and CBN will exist and less CBGa. On the other hand, hemp contains more CBGa over cannabis strains with high levels of THC. 

It’s essential to understand that more research needs to be done on the risks, benefits and ways of consuming CBGa. Before consuming hemp or committing to cannabis treatment, consult with your doctor or medical marijuana professional.  

CBGa’s benefits

Recent studies have shown CBGa can help treat an array of medical symptoms. It’s important to note that the following research studies are the first in the sector and might be anecdotal. Not all studies can be considered scientific proof; they are merely a framework or foundation for future studies. 

Before consuming CBGa for therapeutic use, always consult with a medical practitioner or a family doctor. 

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and CBGa

Researchers conducted a study in 2013 in which they induced colitis in mice and then reviewed the effect of CBG on extracted intestinal cells from the mice subjects. 

The study showed that CBG had a positive effect on the mice’s colitis. It decreased nitric oxide production, alleviated the severity of the colitis and diminished the production of oxidizing agents in the small intestine of the mice. 

These CBG benefits led scientists to their recommendation of CBG for further clinical studies with people suffering from IBD. 

CBGA and diabetes

Recent studies found that CBGa has the possibility to treat diabetes. The enzyme aldose reductase (ALR2) has been recognized as the main contributor to the oxidative stress that leads to complications in diabetes such as cardiovascular disease. 

Diabetic patients are at high risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. Therefore if it can prevent diabetic symptoms this would be positive for the medical marijuana sector. 

In 2018, researchers in Italy conducted a study where they found that plant extracts of marijuana containing a large number of cannabinoids can be used to treat diabetic patients. 

CBGa and metabolic disorders

Researchers have found that CBGa could benefit nuclear peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) in regulating metabolism. When PPAR functioning is disrupted it can cause the onset of metabolic diseases such as diabetes and dyslipidemia. A 2019 study published in Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA)- General Subjects showed that CBGa activated PPAR’s by stimulating lipid metabolism and decreasing lipid accumulation. 

CBGa and colon cancer cells 

One of the most dominant forms of cancer is colorectal cancer. A 2018 study published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research claimed that CBGa might provide therapeutic effects in locating colon cancer cells. The researchers found that cannabis compounds were active in cytotoxic activity on colon cancer cells by producing apoptosis or specific cell death. 

These compounds were observed to be active on adenomatous polyps. If left untreated it can turn into carcinomas. Evidence reveals that cannabis compounds such as CBGa could be used as chemopreventive agents for preventing the progression of neoplastic polyps. 

CBGa is a neuroprotectant 

Neuroinflammation occurs when the nervous tissue experiences inflammation. It can start in response to a variety of ailments such as infections, autoimmunity, toxic metabolites and brain injury. 

When neuroinflammation spreads it can implicate schizophrenia, autism, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. A 2018 study in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences claimed that CBG decreased inflammation, oxidative stress and the spread of problematic proteins caused by neuroinflammation. The study’s conclusion stated that “the neuroprotective effects of CBG may be a potential treatment against neuroinflammation and oxidative stress.” An additional 2018 research study published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation confirmed the evidence and concluded that the anti-oxidative movements of CBGa exhibited preventative effects from the neurodegeneration inflicted in Parkinson’s disease.

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