In This Article

As the most abundant cannabinoid found in hemp, CBD continues to increase in popularity, but interest in other cannabinoids is also growing steadily.

As you may already know, legal USA-grown hemp plants will always contain 0.3% or less delta-9 THC, the cannabinoid responsible for the cannabis “high”. But there are over 100 other cannabinoids that can be found in hemp, in varying quantities depending on the strain.

You may have noticed that our White CBG flower strain has a particularly high CBGA content and we often have customers ask us what it is. So, in this article we’re going to take a closer look at the CBGA compound answering questions like:

In this article we’ll teach you:

  • What is CBGA?
  • How is CBGA made?
  • What is the difference between CBG and CBGA?
  • How do I Convert CBGA to CBG?
  • What is CBGA good for?

What is CBGA?

CBGA, or cannabigerolic acid, was first isolated from the plant by Israeli researchers back in the 1960s, but it wasn’t until 1996 that a team of Japanese scientists discovered that CBGA is the acidic precursor to CBG.

As CBG is already known as the stem cell or mother cannabinoid, CBGA is actually an acidic precursor to all other cannabinoids in cannabis and hemp and for that reason, is sometimes dubbed as the “Grandaddy” of all cannabinoids.

Within the plant, CBGA plays an essential and protective role helping the plant maintain optimal health as it is responsible for triggering plant cell necrosis to facilitate natural leaf pruning. By helping the plant rid itself of damaged, dead, and dying cells, CBGA allows the plant to focus more energy on the flower.

CBGA tends to be found more abundantly in hemp strains over other cannabis strains because it is a recessive trait that doesn’t appear in other strains as frequently.

White CBG Flower

How is CBGA made?

CBGA is produced within the resinous trichomes of the plant. These are the tiny glands that coat the plant’s leaves and flowers that make the buds look like they’re coated in crystals. The trichomes produce chemicals such as cannabinoids and terpenes to help protect the plant from predators, mold, and microbes.

CBGA starts life as hexanoic acid, a short-chain fatty acid, and following an enzymatic reaction, converts to olivetolic acid. Olivetolic acid then reacts with geranyl diphosphate and then the CBGA synthase enzyme converts it into CBGA.

CBGA effects

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the effects of CBGA are similar to that of CBG, so you can expect to feel an improvement in your overall mood and it may potentially also help to increase your appetite.


Although the research into CBGA is much more limited, it is already apparent that CBGA and CBD have many similarities. They are both non-intoxicating, federally legal cannabinoids found in hemp. They have also both demonstrated an ability to inhibit the intoxicating effects of THC and may help to improve mood.

The effects of smokable CBG is quite different from the feeling of smoking CBD hemp flower though. It creates a more focused and mellow effect and has an earthier flavor profile.

Cannabinoid Chart

What is the difference between CBG and CBGA?

The CBGA compound consists of a ring of carbon atoms attached to two long carbon chains, two oxygen atoms, and a carboxyl group. It’s this carboxyl group that makes the compound mildly acidic and differentiates it from CBG, which has the exact same chemical structure, but without the carboxyl group.

CBGA is converted into CBG when it is exposed to UV light and/or heat, but it can also transform into THCA, CBDA, or CBCA, due to enzymatic reactions within the plant. For example, when exposed to THCA synthase, CBGA will transform into THCA.

How do I convert CBGA to CBG?

You can convert CBGA into CBG in the same way you convert CBDA to CBD.

When CBGA is heated to 230 degrees Fahrenheit it decarboxylates (thereby losing its carboxyl group of atoms) and transforms into CBG. The decarbing process happens naturally when you smoke your CBD or CBG flower buds, but you can also learn how to make CBD edibles (or CBG edibles) with your flower by decarbing it in the oven first.

If you want the decarbing process to be more of an exact science, then you can also buy special decarbing devices that heat up your premium flower to an exact temperature. Ardant Cannabis calculates the potential CBG that can be produced from CBGA by multiplying the amount of CBGA by 0.87. They have conducted several experiments that demonstrate extremely successful CBGA to CBG conversion using their decarboxylation machines.

Cannabinoids in hemp

What is CBGA good for?

Like other cannabinoids, it’s thought that the CBGA cannabinoid is able to exert influence in our bodies by interacting with our endocannabinoid systems, a vast network of chemical receptors found in our brains and bodies.

However, while the body of research into the potential health benefits of major cannabinoids such as CBD and THC is vast and compelling, research into the benefits of minor cannabinoids, like CBGA, is still in its infancy.

Some scientists are particularly interested in CBGA’s role as a natural inhibitor, expediting the death of damaged and diseased cells, but CBGA has gained the most attention due to its ability to transform into THCA and CBDA.

In fact, much of the recent research into the compound has been targeted in this direction as scientists are keen to produce cannabinoids from non-plant sources for the mass production of pharmaceutical-grade cannabinoids.

If you want to learn more about other cannabinoids, including CBG, then you can check some of our other blog articles, such as;


About Green Unicorn Farms

Green Unicorn Farms writes about anything hemp and CBD related with the goal of inspiring and education curious readers. Our in-house hemp flower experts with a wealth of experience in the CBD and hemp world is here to help 24/7.