There’s so much we don’t know about cannabinoids and CBD oil.
These plant compounds are found in the cannabis plant, and there are more than 100 different variations – that we know of.
Perhaps the most famous is THC, followed closely by CBD, the primary component in CBD oil.
CBGa is another cannabinoid that is growing in popularity.
But what is CBGa?
CBGa is otherwise known as cannabigerolic acid, which is the acidic form of cannabigerol or CBG.
CBGa is the precursor to all cannabinoids, which means it will eventually convert into THC or CBD.
What's in this Guide?
How Was CBGa Discovered?
Israeli researchers were the first to discover CBGa, but it wasn’t until 30 years later that a Japanese team discovered it was the precursor to all cannabinoids.
Why is this important?
Knowing that CBGa can be modified to become either CBD or THC opens up a world of possibilities for the sustainable production of cannabinoids for research.
This could optimise production and reduce many of the variables that occur when cultivating hemp.
So far, researchers have found a way to consistently replicate THCa from CBGa in a species of yeast called Pichia pastoris.
And other teams have published work on the complete synthesis of cannabinoids from yeast derivatives.
For the average CBD user, this isn’t very exciting. But for anyone interested in the research and development of this sector, it’s a huge step forward for cannabinoid research.
What is CBGa?
Since all cannabinoids start life as CBGa, we know that CBGa is found in higher concentrations in young plants. As the plants mature, CBGa is converted into THCa, CBDa and other cannabinoids.
CBGa is produced in the cannabis plant’s trichomes. It actually performs a crucial task for the plant.
CBGa triggers something called plant cell necrosis in the leaves, which is like a natural form of pruning. This process helps to direct energy reserves towards the flowers as they mature.
In the vast majority of cannabis strains, this CBGa then converts into either CBD or THC. In some cases, CBGa converts into CBG, but this is not common.
For this reason, CBGa is considered to be the grandfather of all cannabinoids. Since all cannabinoids start life as CBGa, this can help us to gain a better understanding of where cannabinoids come from and how they might be used for health and wellbeing.
What Are The Benefits Of CBGa?
Research into the benefits of CBGa is still in its early stages, but the breadth of this research is certainly promising. CBGa is not only the subject of studies for human health; it is also of interest to the cosmetic, veterinary and food industries.
CBGa could offer anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and pain relief properties.
In addition, CBGa could also be used as an appetite stimulant.
CBGa has also been the subject of studies into the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease.
For example, CBGa was found to inhibit the synthesis of the enzyme aldose reductase.
This is a significant contributor to oxidative stress that leads to many heart problems.
A 2019 in silico study (computer simulation) found that CBG could help to treat metabolic disorders, including type 2 diabetes and dyslipidemia. CBG is thought to activate PPAR receptors, which do not function correctly in individuals with certain metabolic disorders.
CBGa might also offer some benefits for patients with colorectal cancer. CBGa was found to have cytotoxic effects on colon cancer cells.
It not only prompted early cell death but also arrested the cancer cell cycle. CBGa was also effective in preventing the growth of polyps.
In 2015, a study in mice with Huntington’s disease found that CBG offered neuroprotective benefits.
According to the study, these results “open new research avenues for the use of CBG, alone or in combination with other phytocannabinoids or therapies, for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as HD.”
And finally, CBG could also show promise for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease.
A 2013 study in mice given colitis found that symptoms were reduced when given CBG.
Which Is Better, CBGa Or THC?
Interest in CBGa is on the rise, but it still isn’t widely available.
What we know so far is that CBG could function a lot more like THC but without the psychoactive effects.
We know that THC may be used for pain relief and as an appetite stimulant, but CBG could offer similar benefits without the associated side effects, or the “high”.
This could pave the way for an alternative to medical cannabis that would not lead to any mind-altering side effects.
Which Is Better, CBGa Or CBD?
CBGa is converted to CBG through a process called decarboxylation. When heated to 110° C, it releases the carboxyl group at the end of the molecule, and it is no longer considered an acid.
Only after this process has taken place can a cannabinoid interact with the ECS.
The way these two cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid system is very different.
While CBD has a low affinity for cannabinoid receptors and interacts indirectly, CBG is thought to bind directly with CB1 and CB2 receptors.
More research is needed to understand how CBG could be used as a daily supplement alongside CBD.
As interest in cannabinoids grows, we expect to see more niche products cropping up.
There has been a distinct lack of human trials to date, so we also don’t know if there is the potential for CBG to interact with other medications. Companies selling CBG oil will often state that it offers a more powerful effect than CBD.
At the moment, we don’t have definitive evidence that this is the case.
If you are curious about this cannabinoid, you can expect to pay more than the average CBD product. This is because CBG is available in much lower concentrations in the industrial hemp plant.
Therefore, more raw materials are needed to produce CBG oil than CBD oil.
As with any cannabinoid product, it’s vital to source it from reputable sources and request a certificate of analysis so you know exactly what you are getting.
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