What are The Natural Cannabinoids?
Natural Cannabinoids are cannabinoids which exist in nature. This series of posts will seek to cover all the natural cannabinoids. This will include every known compound that interacts directly with the human endocannabinoid system. Either by binding to known or presumed cannabinoid receptors or by otherwise affecting the expression of cannabinoid receptors or endogenous cannabinoid levels. There are over 113 cannabinoids in the cannabis plant alone. THC and CBD are only the two most common. We’re going to start with the original cannabinoid from which these and other cannabinoids are made. Cannabigerolic Acid, or CBGa
The specialized cells in our body originated from undifferentiated stem cells which became specialized as you developed. Natural Cannabinoids here, have something similar called Cannabigerolic Acid (CBGa). CBGa is the predecessor to the three major natural cannabinoids, CBDa, THCA and Cannabichromenic Acid (CBCa). Plants produce enzymes calls synthase; these enzymes catalyze the synthesis of CBGa, which is then converted into more complex products such as THC or CBD. Hemp produces high amounts of CBGa, as much as 94% of the total cannabinoids can be CBG. This may be because hemp lacks the genes which allow the synthesis of CBGa into the three major natural cannabinoids.
Preliminary research suggests that CBGa may be helpful for those with Intestinal disorders, Glaucoma, and may help with depression. It’s also been shown to inhibit tumor growth in vitro. CBGa is an antagonist at the CB1 receptor, meaning it lowers it’s activation potential. CB1 is also the receptor most associated with the intoxicating, euphoric effects of THC. Which is most common in marijuana strains. This suggests that is might counteract bad effects associated with THC. The effects of CBGa on the CB2 receptor are not known. One study from Italian researchers suggests that Cannabigerol has potent anti-inflammatory properties.
When stressed our brain releases a chemical called GABA which increases body tension and anxiety. It is part of our bodies ‘fight or flight’ response. GABA inhibitors reduce anxiety and muscle tension. CBG appears to lower GABA levels in the brain similar to CBD. Unfortunately, there is a lack of rigorously controlled clinical trials so we can say nothing about their effects on people.