Cannabis has been used to battle against disease throughout history, with the component cannabidiol (CBD) becoming an accepted treatment for many disorders including epilepsy, anxiety, and more. However, cannabis contains many other cannabinoids which have not yet been thoroughly researched for their potential uses in medicine.
Recently, a laboratory from the University of Sydney set out to investigate some other chemicals derived from cannabis: cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), cannabidivarinic acid (CBDVA), and cannabigerovarinic acid (CBGVA). They tested these compounds on mice with a form of childhood epilepsy named Dravet syndrome, comparing the rates of seizures in treated and untreated individuals.
All compounds tested were effective in seizure prevention, the most potent being CBGA. This compound was even more successful than CBD against heat-induced seizures, as lower doses of the drug were needed. This molecule has never been identified before as a possible treatment, though is rarely found in cannabis-based medications.
This discovery is not as simple as just replacing CBD with CBGA in cannabinoid therapeutics. The same study found at higher concentrations it also spontaneously provoked seizures, speaking to the complexity of compound interactions that make up cannabis. These findings support the “entourage effect” theory, which states cannabis’ therapeutic effect and safety is heightened when the whole plant is used rather than its isolated constituents.
Further research from this lab is being carried out to investigate how combining different cannabis-derived compounds may heighten its efficacy and safety.
Source Study: British Pharmacological Society – Cannabigerolic acid, a major biosynthetic precursor molecule in cannabis, exhibits divergent effects on seizures in mouse models of epilepsy