The Potential Health-boosting Properties of CBGa
When it comes to cannabinoids, you can find quite literally hundreds to choose from. While CBD and THC tend to lead the popularity race, you might want to take a look at lesser-known cannabinoids like CBGa, the acidic form of CBG. This compound holds some impressive potential health-boosting properties!
What is CBGa?
CBGa, or cannabigerolic acid, is the acidic form of the cannabinoid cannabigerol (CBG). CBG is a minor cannabinoid that has some impressive health benefits, including reducing inflammation, providing protection for the brain, acting as an antibacterial and potentially even slowing down cancer cell growth (1, 2, 3, 4).
But CBGa is slightly different from CBG. CBGa is actually the precursor to CBG. Most cannabinoids have an acidic precursor form that’s then transformed into the cannabinoids that we’re more familiar with. The ‘a’ in CBGa represents its acidic form. With the application of heat, CBGa loses its acidic structure and transforms into cannabigerol, or CBG.
Because of its different acidic structure, you can expect slightly different results from CBGa than from CBG.
What are the benefits of CBGa?
CBGa is not as well understood as some other cannabinoids or acidic precursors, so more research is needed before we can fully understand the potential therapeutic effects of this compound. But the research that’s currently available tells us that this small acidic cannabinoid holds some exciting and impressive properties.
Among the most impressive benefits we see in CBGa is its ability to reduce inflammation. Prostaglandins are a compound in the body that cause inflammation and CBGa reduces inflammation by blocking the effects of these inflammatory compounds (5).
Cannabinoids like CBD are now well-known for their anti-seizure compounds and it seems that CBGa may also be able to help. A 2021 study investigated the effects of multiple acidic cannabinoid precursors (including CBGa) on mice with epilepsy. The study found that CBGa acted as an anticonvulsant and improved the effects of the epilepsy medicine clobazam. CBGa’s effects on reducing seizure frequency in the mice was so impressive that the study’s authors concluded that CBGa could be used as a lead compound in future antiseizure medication development (6).
While these results are impressive, it’s important to note that this was a mouse model study and further human trials are needed before we can make definitive conclusions about the anticonvulsive nature of CBGa.
CBGa also possibly works to desensitize TRPV3 and TRPV4 channels. This is important as these channels play a role in various gastrointestinal illnesses. While more research is needed to fully understand the effects of CBGa, this study highlights the potential of CBD as a treatment for gastrointestinal illnesses (7).
How do you take CBGa?
What not to do
If you’re interested in adding CBGa into your routine then the first thing you need to know is to never heat your CBGa when consuming it. As mentioned, CBGa is the precursor to CBG, and heating CBGa causes it to lose its acidic form (decarboxylase) and converts it to CBG. This means that if you want to consume CBGa and not CBG, you need to keep your CBGa away from heat.
Keeping CBGa away from heat means that certain consumption methods aren’t available. Smoking, vaping, and cooking are, obviously, off limits.
How to consume CBGa
Some ways to consume CBGa without it decarboxylating include eating the plant material raw, using it in a topical product, or by turning it into a non-heated edible such as a butter or smoothie.
How to source CBGa
CBGa is not quite as popular as other cannabinoids like CBD or THC, so it can be a little harder to source. If your local dispensary or online cannabinoid store doesn’t stock CBGa extract, the easiest option is to find a cannabis strain high in CBGa. The strain Sour Diesel, for example, is reported to contain high levels of the cannabinoid precursor.
Possible side effects
CBG is not a psychotropic cannabinoid, meaning that it doesn’t cause the high that you typically see with cannabis use. As the precursor to CBG, you don’t have to worry about any intoxicating side effects when consuming CBGa.
Currently not enough research about CBGa has been conducted to have any real insight into its potential side effects. Anecdotally though, people do report diarrhea as a side effect of large amounts of CBG, so CBGa may carry a similar side effect.
While there are no specific side effects to conclusively report on, that does not mean they don’t exist. It’s important to monitor how you feel after consuming CBGa and be sure to contact your doctor if you experience any side effects that worry you. For mild side effects, just be sure to cease using CBGa and contact your doctor if they don’t disappear on their own.
What other minor cannabinoids should I know about?
If CBGa has you excited about the other potential health benefits hiding in other lesser-known cannabinoids, you’ll find a lot out there to explore!
Health benefits from minor cannabinoids that you might not have heard of include:
- CBC (cannabichromene) has shown promise as a pain reliever, antidepressant, and cognitive booster (8, 9, 10).
- THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin) may contribute to diabetes management and reduce inflammation (11, 12).
- CBN – (cannabinol) may reduce pain and inflammation (13, 14).
The bottom line
While we still have a lot more to learn about CBGa, this cannabinoid precursor has shown a lot of potential, particularly in the management of inflammation, seizures and gastrointestinal issues.
**Standard Disclaimer: CBD is not FDA-approved. We make no such claims that using our products will guarantee relief. Moreover, research regarding CBD is still ongoing and in the early stages.**