See an updated version of this post on The Leaf Online, Cannabinoid Profile – CBGa!
Molecular Mass: 360.48708 g/mol
Decarboxylation Point: ????
Boiling Point: ????
Cannabigerolic acid (CBGa) is formed when geranyl pyrophosphate combines with olivetolic acid within the cannabis plant. It is thanks to CBGa that all other medicinal effects of cannabis are possible. Cannabigerolic acid (CBGa) can be thought of as the stem cell cannabinoid, which becomes THCa/THC, CBDa/CBD, CBCa/CBC, and CBG. It does this through different types of biosynthesis, where chemicals combine to form new compounds, examples being the THC biosynthase and the CBD biosynthase. During these different chemical processes the acid grou Hemp species of cannabis have higher amounts of CBG due to a recessive trait, which may imply higher amounts of CBGa present in those strains as well.
Analgesic – Relieves pain.
Antibacterial – Slows bacterial growth.
Anti-inflammatory – Reduces inflammation systemically.
Anti-Proliferative – Inhibits cancer cell growth through apoptosis.
Currently Being Studied For
Cannabinoid Biosynthase: Nearly all current research on CBGa focuses solely on its role in the biosynthesis of other cannabinoids. Virtually no money is going to study its analgesic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-proliferative properties.
We learned in 2005 that the enzyme controlling the conversion of CBGa into THCa and further THC is held within the trichomes of the plant. This makes sense, as the trichomes have long been known to be the home of THC. Sirikantaramas did a follow up study on his 2005 research which showed they could grow THCa in a laboratory using a yeast culture as a host. If you want to know more about the THCa synthase, which is the first biosynthase to see any major study, you can look at this 2009 literature review profiling it. It wasn’t until 2014 that any of this research turned back to focus on CBGa again, when Alaoui et Al (2014) identified how and where CBGa binding happened, then explored how it was converted into THCa. Their research could be key to better understanding how THCa production happens and thus how much THCa will be resulting in the plant material.
Cancer: While there are no current studies being done on CBGa for it’s abilities to help with cancer it has been shown to be an anti-proliferative just like CBG, THC, and CBD. CBGa encourages apoptosis, which is programmed cell death. Defective apoptosis is believed to be a major reason for the formation and progression of cancer, one obvious solution to a person having depressed levels of apoptosis is to stimulate that bodily response. Cannabinoids appear to stimulate apoptosis in previously unknown ways posing a novel way to mitigate and potentially cure cancer. While this much is known about CBGa more research should be done.
*Note: Decarboyxlation – A chemical reaction that removes a carboxyl group and releases CO2, often triggered by heat.