The CBGA Guide: Mother Of All Cannabinoids

Everything about CBGA

Major cannabinoids like CBD and THC mesmerize with the wealth of benefits they offer. While that’s the case, there are other cannabinoids equally worthy of your attention. 

CBGA is one of the lesser-known compounds found in cannabis but is key to the existence of the cannabinoids you’ve come to love. As the main cannabinoid precursor, it’s difficult to overlook CBGA and the endless possibilities it offers. 

For today’s topic, dive deeper into understanding CBGA and learn how to harness its benefits for your cannabis experience. 

🔑 Key Takeaways

  • CBGA dubbed the “mother of cannabinoids” is key in the biosynthesis of several important cannabinoids like CBD and THC. 
  • Some of the pivotal roles of CBGA are the entourage effect, as a protectant to the cannabis plant, and other benefits humans might get from consumption.
  • CBGA’s bigger molecular structure (compared to THC and CBD) hinders it from binding to the ECS receptors which in turn makes it non-psychoactive
  • Apart from its low concentration level, CBGA only exists in fresh cannabis plants. Hence, CBGA’s consumption method of CBGA is mostly in raw form or in products specifically designed to contain the compound like CBGA oil. 
  • Dosing CBGA is similar to how you would normally dose CBD and other cannabinoids—start low and increase gradually as needed. 
  • The Super Glue cannabis strain currently holds the highest CBGA content at 22%.

What Is CBGA?

CBGA molecular structure

Cannabigerol (CBG) is a non-psychoactive compound discovered over 50 years ago. Israeli scientists were the first to isolate it but Japanese researchers were the ones who learned that its precursor is cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) in 1996.

On a chemical level, CBGA holds a unique position among the ranks of cannabis compounds. It’s the cannabinoid ancestor or the acidic precursor to the following cannabinoids:

CBDA, THCA, and CBCA initially exist in the resin glands of the flowering cannabis at 3-4 weeks. The moment the plants begin to get exposed to UV and oxidation, these compounds transform into the following cannabinoids leaving only 1% of CBGA: 

  • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
  • Cannabidiol (CBD)
  • Cannabichromene (CBC)

Cannabis farmers are trying to find ways to retain CBGA even during the maturity stage. They either select CBGA strains or cannabis with higher CBGA percentage for cross-breeding or calibrate extracting processes to include minor cannabinoids. 

What Are CBGA Effects?

Since CBGA is non-psychoactive, a person consuming it will not get high. However, it doesn’t mean that the compound has no impact on the human body. CBGA has several uses, not just in the wellness section. 

CBGA effecs

The Entourage Effect

CBGA’s contribution to the “entourage effect” is one of the main highlights of its uses. The entourage effect is a phenomenon where cannabinoids and terpenes synergistically help each other to create an even greater combined effect. 

The entourage effect gives cannabis a character when it comes to effects. A good example of this is when you take Delta-9 THC solely versus a mixture with hundreds of cannabinoids in it. 

Consuming pure Delta 9 would most likely get you high, but that’s it. Whereas, in taking a mixture of cannabinoids, you’re not just high, added factors like sleepiness, ravenous, calm, are added in the bag of effects. 

Ecological Functions

Cannabis evolved with CBGA for a reason. It serves as a pruner for the cannabis plant. Once it’s time to shed the unnecessary leaves, CBGA triggers cell death to complete the process. 

Cutting some of its leaves allows direct sunlight (energy) to hit buds and other important areas of the plant. 

Potential Benefits

While more digging is needed to verify CBGA’s potential benefits, several scientific researchers have made efforts to investigate its support for certain conditions. The amount of interest speaks volumes of how well-regarded CBGA is in the science community. 

How Does CBGA Work in the Body?

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a vast network of chemical signals and receptors (CB1 and CB2 types) spread throughout the body. They are mainly concentrated in the brain. 

CB1 receptors, which act like a traffic cop, control activities and levels of the brain’s neurotransmitters. Through this, the ECS can regulate or adjust processes in the body like hunger, sleep, or temperature. 

The endocannabinoid system inside a human anatomy

THC and CBD bind effortlessly with ECS receptors, especially with CB1 receptors. This affinity helps them bequeath their effects on humans and animals. 

CBGA and other acidic cannabinoids have slightly larger molecules compared to their decarboxylated counterparts (e.g., CBD and THC). Hence, they have difficulty binding with ECS receptors. 

Compounds like CBGA might not interact directly with the ECS but they can peripherally affect the system in other receptor activities such as serotonin 5-HT1A receptors. Also, CBGA’s lack of interaction with ECS is a blessing in disguise as it prevents a multitude of side effects. 

CBGA has lesser scientific literature compared to THC and CBD. Much of what experts know about CBGA’s behavior inside the body at a molecular level is from existing research.

Comparing CBGA With Other Cannabinoids

Cut through the haze of the differences between selected cannabinoids in this section. Learn what sets CBGA apart from cannabinoids, CBD, THC, CBG, and CBDA. 


CBN or cannabinol is referred to as the sleepy cannabinoid. Opposite to CBGA, CBN forms later in the cannabis plant’s life cycle. One of its unique traits is it’s a product of THC degradation. 

Unlike CBGA, CBN can bind with CB1 receptors and can give you a mild high which others interpret as a feeling that lulls you to sleep. On the other side, CBGA is non-psychoactive and is naturally abundant in the plant during the early weeks of hemp cultivation. 

💁🏻‍♀️ Helpful Article

CBN has a reputation for relaxing consumers. The compound is also market-heavy on being a sleepy cannabinoid. But what is the science behind CBN’s sleepy reputation? Is there some truth to it? Find out here


THC and CBGA are both found in cannabis plants but they serve different purposes and have distinct effects. One of their main differences is that CBGA is non-psychoactive while THC is the main psychoactive component of the cannabis plants. 

It goes to follow that THC binds well with the CB1 receptors of the brain while CBGA has no binding affinity to any of the ECS receptors. 


CBGA and CBDA are both precursor compounds and play important roles in the biosynthetic pathways of cannabinoids. If heat is applied, CBGA breaks down into CBG and other forms of cannabinoids while CBDA turns into CBD only. 

💁🏻‍♀️ Helpful Article

They may sound similar but CBG and CBD have more than one difference. Some of the variances to note are their interaction with the ECS and effects. 


CBGA and CBG differ mainly in form and function. The difference between CBG and CBGA in form is that CBGA is the precursor of CBG. This chemical conversion which typically involves heat is where CBGA loses a carboxyl group. 

Function-wise, CBGA is often referred to as the mother of cannabinoids as the key precursor to several important cannabinoids. Meanwhile, CBG, as one of the cannabinoids with a finalized molecular version, is touted for its participation in the entourage effect. 

To summarize the differences between cannabinoids, here’s a comparison chart:

SourceEarly weeks of the cannabis plant’s lifeFormed later in the cannabis plant’s life cycleFormed through decarboxylation. May occur at the middle and latter cultivation stagesVegetative phaseVegetative phase
Psychoactive propertiesNon-psychoactiveMildly psychoactiveMain psychoactive cannabinoidNon-psychoactiveNon-psychoactive
Affinity to receptorsNoneBinds with CB1 receptorsBinds with CB1 receptorsNoneNone
Role in the biosynthetic pathwayPrecursor to several cannabinoidsN/AN/APrecursor to CBDN/A
FunctionOften referred to as the mother of cannabinoidsPopular for its relaxing effectsInduces the majority of high felt by cannabis consumersThe direct precursor to CBDContributes to the theory of the entourage effect

How to Enjoy the Benefits of CBGA?

The realistic application of CBGA to date is channeled through CBG—the non-enzymatic decarboxylated version of CBGA. So, there’s only a little information about the actual usage of CBGA. To give you inspiration on how to insert CBGA into your routine, here’s how to enjoy its benefits. 

The surest way to take the most CBGA content is to consume young hemp in raw form. Yes, no cooking, smoking, or any activity that involves heat. However, eating hemp is easier said than done because it’s not particularly pleasing to the palate but there are workarounds. Here are some examples: 

  • Use cryogenic hemp extract rich in CBGA and combine it with simple carrier oils like MCT. 
  • Juice cannabis using freshly harvested plants. Combine it with honey or sugar to lessen the bitter taste. 

Second, consider purchasing from companies that intentionally add CBGA-rich extract to their products. Examples of these are CBGA capsules, balms, tinctures, lotions, etc. 

🗒️ Note

CBGA-rich products are limited, at the moment, but they might boom soon as interest in the compound increases. So far, most CBGA-rich products are full-spectrum combined with other cannabinoids. 

Tips to Maximize CBGA Benefits

Cannabinoids affect users differently. The effects of CBGA on you will not be the same for others even at the same dosage and consumption method. With cannabinoids, careful experimentation of dosage and methods of intake are practiced so consumers can arrive at their desired results. 

To guide you in your quest to determine what consumption method works, here are some tips:

1. Take CBGA products with a light meal

CBGA is a fat-soluble compound. It dissolves in fats and oils. When you consume a light meal containing healthy fats, it increases the absorption rate of CBGA into your bloodstream. 

A heavy meal might lead to a slower absorption rate, affecting the overall CBGA experience. 

2. Consume CBGA daily

Consumers need to understand that it takes time for cannabinoids’ effects to kick in. Additionally, the period it takes for CBGA to produce effects varies from one user to another. Factors like body weight, metabolism, and tolerance should be accounted for. 

Taking CBGA is a long-term commitment done regularly at the same dose. Consistent dosing maintains the level of cannabinoids in your system. This gives a baseline that allows you to observe how your body responds to the dose over time. 

3. Make sure you’re only taking fresh CBGA products

Another thing to be aware of when consuming raw hemp is that CBGA tends to have a shorter shelf life and is sensitive to UV rays and oxidation. 

So, look for sealed and freshly harvested cannabis flowers. They have the highest amount of CBGA. Poorly packaged and old cannabis flowers may have been exposed to heat, light, and oxygen already. 

How to Correctly Dose CBGA?

Before learning the ideal starting CBGA dose, there are golden rules about dosing guidelines to keep in mind:

At its core, dosage guidelines often say that it’s best to always start low. After that, increase gradually until you reach a dosage point where the product is working wonderfully well for you but with fewer side effects. 

Second, always follow the unique dosage guidelines printed on the CBGA manufacturer’s pamphlet located inside the packaging. Cannabis products have their quirks and there’s no better judge of that than the team who created them. 

At this junction, learn the basic CBGA dosage guidelines for beginners. Now, there are two main ways to dose CBGA: inhalation and the oral method. 

Inhalation Method

One of the biggest perks of smoking cannabis is the fast onset of effects which you will feel within 5-15 minutes. Once inhaled, cannabinoids get absorbed into the bloodstream via the lungs. 

The standard dose of smoking or vaping dry flower is around 0.25-0 oz. If you will observe, most pre-rolls sold typically contain below 0.25 oz of weed.

🗒️ Note

During the inhalation method, some of the CBGA cannabinoids will chemically change into CBG due to heat emitted during the smoking process. Hence, what you’re going to absorb is not CBGA but its decarboxylated form. 

Oral/sublingual Method

In the oral method, 10 to 20mg of CBGA tincture per day is the best starting point in general. So, if a bottle has 30ml of 600mg of CBGA, and you take 20mg per day, the product will be empty after a month. 

What Cannabis Strains Are High in CBG?

Cannabis will have the highest level of CBGA when it’s young. The earliest week to harvest is the 7th week. By this time most of the CBGA have already converted into other compounds. Being the closest to CBGA in effects and structure, CBG-rich strains are the next best thing to try. 

Here are the top 8 CBG strains with the highest record content of CBG starting with the lowest percentage within the bunch: 

bt27qHBIhMYj1tMxB8 hWhite CBG Strain – 10% CBG
Type: Hybrid
Taste and smell: Crisp lemon 
Effects: Uplifting without being groggy
Best for: Unwinding by the end of the day
Average price per gram: $10Verdict:

The White CBG strain is the cultivar for you if you want to achieve calm without being groggy. Best enjoyed for relaxing by the end of your shift, you’ll enjoy the sweet citrus-like flavor and smell of this strain.
K 9zHmYNttt8fSDXpIf9jU63NFJsDYapKmh3QI7nIMEtMxJV6T47D2YBu77bvDqAdHBsQgmuRDGM48iA0XC0fPXZaqD tSoJLjvfR2YOt12E86s9SoLe3DsShrnWELGyDITarfDWlNCD XWo8dEI9XcWhite Whale – 14% CBG
Type: Hybrid
Taste and smell: Citrus, floral, and sour
Effects: Focused, creative, and uplifted
Best for: Days you need bursts of inspiration
Average price per gram: $10-$15Verdict:

With OG Kush as its parent strain, White Whale has been developed over the last few years by breeders interested in increasing the content level of CBG. True enough, its 14% CBG level is an added boost to its already rich and floral flavor. 
Mufgg5mP6lIgFzZx7isiaFbD 6SdfDviVodOBTFG5VDlpV2hmWv9cRt160 fJ1NnOTHmRvuPbkczjUzF 8GNS DTR3LDs74UkaUoqLHyMU43zw5k4JhZsAnHjp4Jpn2m1jR7au7Ej4jv4Uj4tJ1FZ4sWhite Widow – 15% CBG
Type: Hybrid
Taste and smell: Woody, spicy, and herbal
Effects: Vibrant and energizing
Best for: Busy day
Average price per gram: $8-$12Verdict:

The White Widow strain is an award-winning cannabis hybrid that leaves you feeling energized. Thanks to its 15% CBG content, there will be enough motivation to last you the whole day. 
sV1vD34a9dfD 0yNr55V2I1khEPO 7p0oAXH9 9zRAHguyeDQNVNzM76458QPkY1JF6THZn0YH5WmPFMZdrit4BoZH7o3icmB7hqIKHyFDDqcMiEiFqTOEu RXgNLjrQvOhwwMnIan5SMqNcEOpQC2QMadras CBG – 15% CBG
Type: Sativa
Taste and smell: Citrus and cranberry
Effects: Balanced and uplifting experience
Best for: An energizing day without getting overstimulated
Average price per gram: $10Verdict:

Madras’s 15% CBG and citrusy aroma profile offer a balanced and uplifting experience any consumer would want to have. It’s perfect for those who want to get energized minus the anxiety spikes. 
TiYR L2VS0G39 YOgNuifxAH6WHC4B1htCntXkt3AF5vLUSz1Dmh9TvedKnwrgV6r1 0zYXEXiGeplgdNLtTNbExzTKjmLiM9G4aQGP9YF khTdLRr13ZAa11kP5KzJl5Jgafd4LkqW6EPBqk1qNIESour G CBG – 15% CBG
Type: Sativa
Taste and smell: Diesel and grapefruit
Effects: Boost of energy and focus
Best for: Morning meditation
Average price per gram: $10Verdict:

Sour G CBG has buds thick in resin-dripping trichomes with a smell and taste reminiscent of diesel and grapefruit. As a sativa, the mood-boosting effect of Sour G makes it a popular choice among consumers who want to brighten the start of their day. 
vUEs0FcWyA8F46PJHL15SLjhy jXeZtGNFE7hGkT LU4JALTkPNLqOq1RNd i8wKCLvKV8pKCYkBldDyaLemon Diesel – 15% CBG
Type: Hybrid
Taste and smell: Sweet and citrusy
Effects: Tranquil body buzz
Best for: Any time of the day
Average price per gram: $10Verdict:

As an iconic hybrid strain, Lemon Diesel with 15% CBG makes this classic strain even better than its parent strain. True to its name, Lemon Diesel has a citrusy and sweet flavor due to terpenes also present in citrus fruit rinds. 
6fwAYqrYMNuFSFwyEflEUNCaqG SFPM4eFkcnZEuOk5vC2RN8qa0VG 1MllVGOuKZVkwq tVKQTll5CCOmG kswGMG1gIzZk7rnRqBiKVCAccBkcNy5G0RZc8ljhCca60usKRHL6 aDOYRyQZJ1POQ8Jack Frost – 18% CBG
Type: Hybrid
Taste and smell: Citrus with notes of chamomile
Effects: Uplifting and focused
Best for: Any time of the day
Average price per gram: $15-$30Verdict:

Jack Frost is bred specifically for high levels of CBG. It’s famous for its calming minus the typical high users get from traditional high-THC weed. 
9NwmJJw2xLLKB0b CmZ3vJz54eTO 9Z2cerj5JzIe7FCqKIywuLV2aMOlelDK snvFqHQEgQZtlvPT7w7y8jQazn7Eqfr61NvGu2aOcnkO3D6ibOnKFs5LLGYQD4Mqf7ZUtPSJDKZ8zSsFuphFDSaz4Super Glue – 22% CBG
Type: Hybrid
Taste and smell: Earthy, piney, and hoppy
Effects: Relaxed, euphoric, and happy
Best for: Social gatherings
Average price per gram:$15-$20Verdict:

Super Glue has the highest CBG content level at 22%. This strain has an exceptionally smooth vapor without any hints of spiciness. The high CBG content makes Super Glue particularly relaxing.

Final Thoughts 

CBGA may not gain as much interest as major cannabinoids, but the compound proves to be important in many ways. For one, it’s the precursor to many acidic compounds that cascade to different potent cannabinoids like THC and CBD. 

Are you keen to explore CBGA’s better half? While there are few CBGA products in the market, CBG is readily available in various forms and types. Introducing, The Hemp Doctor’s THC-free High Octane CBD/CBG/CBN Tincture

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Each bottle of the THC-free lemon-flavored tincture contains 1500mg worth of cannabinoid-rich CBG, CBN, and CBD combination. Simple and easy, it can be taken sublingually day or night based on preference. Try it now and discover the delights of CBG right at your fingertips. 


Is there a CBGA high?

No. CBGA isolate can’t give you intoxicating effects. However, CBGA products with full-spectrum formulation may offer feelings of high as they include traces of THC. 

What is the molecular CBGA structure?

CBGA is a dihydroxybenzoic and olivetolic acid in which the hydrogen is substituted with the geranyl group. Here’s the molecular structure imagery of CBGA: 


Is CBGA in CBD oil?

Most likely, there will be no CBGA in a CBD oil product. There is a chance for CBGA to exist in full spectrum type of CBD oil but it’s too low to even give off effects. 

How do you extract CBGA?

The first step for extracting acidic cannabinoids like CBGA involves freezing hemp immediately after harvest to preserve the cannabinoids. Cultivators skip the curing and drying process as this may strip the plant of its acidic compounds. 

Then, the CBGA is extracted using any of the following methods: CO2, hydrocarbon, or ethanol. In any of these processes, exposure to heat is minimized to prevent the process of decarboxylation. 

How to get CBG from CBGA?

The most natural way to transform CBGA into CBG is to apply enough heat or light to kickstart the process of decarboxylation. 

What are the potential risks of CBGA?

The biggest concern right now for cannabinoids like CBGA is the variance in manufacturing procedures between cannabis brands. If the process isn’t thorough, there could be some irritants left in the finished products. For this reason, look for COAs or certificates of analysis for each batch sample to make sure you’re only taking the clean stuff.

Do CBGA gummies make you sleepy?

One of the potential side effects of CBGA gummies or any cannabis products is drowsiness. Certain cannabis strains rich in CBGA may tend to make you feel sleepy. However, there is no research pointing to the direct relationship between CBGA and sleep. 

What is CBGA used for?

As a precursor to several cannabinoids, CBGA in fresh cannabis flower is considered a valuable compound worthy of research for possible product developments in the future.