CBGA is the mother cannabinoid in the cannabis plant’s life cycle, the precursor to CBDA, CBCA, and THCA. None of the so-called acidic cannabinoids from hemp are scheduled as a controlled substance.
For this reason, harvesting hemp very early yields higher levels of CBGA and CBG compared to later in the plant’s life when there are lesser amounts unless the cultivar has been genetically programmed to in effect stop the transformation CBGA into later developing cannabinoids during the plant’s maturation. Studying the biological and chemical processes in the hemp plant also shows that decarboxylated versions of the acidics like CBGA and CBDA and CBCA transform into CBG, CBD and CBC. In the case of CBCA, the cannabinoid can continue to change – first into CBC, then CBL and then CBT in the olivetol series. CBCA predominates in young plants and typically declines with aging of the plant.
While not readily commercially available, the acidic precursors of CBD, CBC, and CBG are becoming increasingly popular in the formulation of heath and wellness products. During processing, the acidic cannabinoids transform into neutral forms by decarboxylation (high temperatures). In order to conserve these acids, a very careful temperature- controlled extraction process needs to be applied. Cold solvent extraction, such as cryo ethanol, allows for the conservation of the acids.
Science studies are now reporting therapeutic benefits of the acids that are superior to their neutral counterparts and forward-thinking consumers and consumer product companies are seeking reliable supply chains for highly concentrated CBDA (cannabidiolic acid), CBGA (cannabigerol acid), and CBCA (cannabichromenic acid) extracts.
Therapeutic Potential of CBDA, CBGA, CBCA
The acidic cannabinoids are still very underexplored and more scientific research is imperative to determine their full therapeutic potential. One report identified the need to reduce nausea and vomiting in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. For example, CBD has been shown to reduce anticipated nausea in the animal model, but CBD was not nearly as effective as CBDA (Hyperlink 1), highlighting a unique therapeutic potential for this cannabinoid that is activating a receptor in the body that has been known for its therapeutic potential. (Hyperlink 2) CBDA and CBGA may also potentially play a role in controlling diabetes by inhibiting the activity of enzymes that are involved in diabetes. (Hyperlink 3) In fact, this inhibition of this enzyme is greater for the acids than for the neutral cannabinoids.
CBGA and CBDA have also been reported to have cytotoxic activity against colon cancer. (Hyperlink 4) It is anticipated that more and more scientists and researchers will examine the health and wellness benefits of the acidic cannabinoid precursors and their neutral counterparts in unique ratios and formulations resulting in a rapid demand for these molecules in the supply chain market.
- Hyperlink 1: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3596650/
- Hyperlink 2: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC446220/
- Hyperlink 3: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29427593
- Hyperlink 4: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29992185
All studies reported here have been published in the scientific peer-reviewed literature. From our survey and in our judgement, the articles cited are recent and relevant to the potential health and wellness benefits of rare cannabinoids but does not include all literature that exists. It must be noted that most clinical trials have been performed on the animal model or in vitro on cells. More research is required including human trials to demonstrate and understand efficacy, serving and dosing sizes, potential side effects, effects on at-risk populations, and drug interactions related to the use of minor cannabinoids.