A growing body of research suggests cannabis’s effectiveness in minimizing seizure activity, but a recent study highlights the critical role the specific cannabinoid CBGA might play in treating some of the most debilitating forms of epilepsy. Researchers at The University of Sydney have identified several rare cannabinoids with anti-seizure properties by studying the effects of cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), cannabidivarinic acid (CBDVA), and cannabigerovarinic acid (CBGVA) on seizures induced in mice. They found that CBGA had the most powerful anti-convulsant effects of these three acidic cannabinoids found in raw cannabis.
The University of Sydney researchers will use this data to develop therapeutic cannabis treatments for Dravet Syndrome and other debilitating forms of epilepsy. Dravet Syndrome (previously called severe myoclonic epilepsy of infancy-SMEI) tends to start with a prolonged seizure in the first year of life, and thereafter patients experience constant seizures which hinder their cognitive and motor development. According to lead researcher Dr. Lyndsey Anderson, "...CBGA was more potent than CBD in reducing seizures triggered by a febrile event in a mouse model of Dravet syndrome. ...We also found CBGA to affect many epilepsy-relevant drug targets."
CBGA was especially effective under certain conditions, such as when CBGA was administered with clobazam. Dr. Anderson considers CBGA "the mother of all cannabinoids” because it is a precursor molecule to both CBD and THC.
Some other key findings of this study are critical for future research on cannabinoid therapy for epilepsies. CBD is a more versatile anticonvulsant for preventing a range of seizures, and higher doses of CBGA may have proconvulsant effects on other seizure types. Therefore, CBGA may only be successful with rare seizure disorders like Dravet Syndrome. These points of information show the nuances of researching CBGA effectiveness in epilepsy treatments. Future research will continue to explore the use of CBG use individually or with other cannabinoids to investigate how therapeutic cannabinoids can reduce seizure activity and provide neuroprotection in treatment of specific forms of epilepsy.