Cannabigerol: The Building Block
Author – Jon Russell
Edited by Noah Persin
Welcome back to the GreenSea “Understanding Cannabinoids” series. So far we’ve introduced you to the Endocannabinoid System and briefly touched on how the CB1 and CB2 receptors work in our bodies. Now let’s focus on the individual cannabinoids and how they work.
Most people are aware of THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis and the part that is responsible for that groovy “high” everyone digs. But where does it come from?
Cannabigerolic Acid (CBGa)
Cannabigerol acid, or CBGa, begins our journey along the cannabinoid map. We start here because it’s from this cannabinoid that THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD (cannabidiol), and CBC (cannabichromene) are all derived from. CBGa is the building block for the rest of the cannabinoids. In fact, CBGa is now referred to as the “stem-cell” cannabinoid.
The ability to produce CBGa is one of the many attributes that makes the cannabis plant fantastic and unique. Sadly, there is little known about this cannabinoid yet. But here’s what we do know:
- As cannabis (hemp or sativa) grows geranyl pyrophosphate (ger·a·nyl py·ro·phos·phate) combines with olivetolic acid to create a high concentration of CBGa
- During the cannabis lifecycle biosynthesis (the process of converting using enzymes, proteins and sugars in the body) occurs, converting most (if not all) of the CBGa into THCa, CBDa, or CBCa
- The remaining CBGa typically converts to THC during the curing process. If there is any left over it will convert to CBG when heat is applied
Sadly again, there has been very little clinical research into the medical applications of CBGa. New research is showing that it helps control “cell apoptosis”, also known as programmed cell death. This may mean that it can help prevent certain cancers that are thought to be caused by a defective apoptosis system. For now, we’ll have to wait for more info on how this cannabinoid helps us.
Conversion from CBGa into the other cannabinoids is automatic, which means it’s difficult to plan for or to find a high CBG strain. However, TGA Seeds claims to have a strain of Mickey Kush which has tested at 3.1% CBG. Industrial hemp strains have been shown to have a recessive gene that produces a higher amount of CBGa, potentially giving a source for CBG extractions. Hemp is currently a source for CBD only extractions.
While there hasn’t been much research on CBGa, there has been a bit on CBG itself. CBG is non-psychoactive and doesn’t give that groovy “high” feeling mentioned earlier in the article that’s normally associated with THC. As a matter of fact, research shows that it may control the high by blocking THC from binding to the CB1 receptor. This infers that it could potentially be used to regulate the high for someone who’s not feeling too groovy.
CBG is known to be an analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-depressant and has also shown to stimulate bone growth. Due to it’s ability to bond to the CB1 receptor it may be beneficial in treating paranoia and anxiety. CBG helps alleviate glaucoma symptoms by increasing the amount of fluid drainage from the eye. This helps relieve pressure in the eyeballs. CBG is also an anti-bacterial agent showing to be effective against MRSA.
CBGa is the first stop on the cannabinoid map and provides the building blocks that the rest of the cannabinoids are built on. From groovy highs to hundreds of medical treatments, they all stem from CBGa. CBG itself is a powerful cannabinoid that not only has many therapeutic abilities but has also shown an ability to strengthen the properties of the other cannabinoids.
Join us next week for our next in the “Understanding Cannabinoids” series. We’ll cover THCa and THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid. Stay connected for the next in our series by signing up for the newsletter below.