Cannabigerol (CBG) is gaining a lot of interest as we look beyond THC and CBD, the main cannabinoids in cannabis. CBG is the non-acidic form of cannabigerolic acid (CBG-A), which is the ‘parent’ cannabinoid in cannabis, from which the other cannabinoids are derived. Unfortunately, because of this, CBG is not present in any great amounts in most stains of cannabis or hemp as it is used by the plant in the formation of the other cannabinoids; most notably THC, CBD, and CBC.
CBG is similar to CBD in that they are both not psychotropic, which means they are non-intoxicating and don’t alter one’s state of mind in a manner that would inhibit daily function or mental clarity; however, they are known to relieve depression, anxiety and stress, and as such may improve one’s state of mind as a result. At this time scientific studies and clinical trials involving CBG are very limited.
What we do know about CBG:
- CBG interacts with the mammalian endocannabinoid system and activates the CB1 receptors in a manner analogous to CBD
- CBG is a GABA reuptake inhibitor
- CBG has anti-inflammatory properties
- CBG has neuroprotective properties
- CBG has anti-bacterial properties
- CBG is an anti-proliferant
All of this bodes well for the future for CBG and its ability to act on specific conditions. Some early evidence highlights the following:
- Like THC, CBG has been found to be effective in treating glaucoma by reducing intraocular pressure, without the psychotropic effects of THC; CBD does not appear to have this same property.
- Like CBD, CBG may be effective in counteracting the intoxicating effects of THC, as it activates the CB1 receptors in the brain.
- CBG has been found to decrease inflammation characteristic of inflammatory bowel disease and colitis. Inflammation appears to be a major target for a number of the cannabinoids.
- CBG has shown great promise as an antiproliferant, blocking receptors that cause cancer cell growth. In one study of note it was shown to inhibit the growth of colorectal cancer cells.
- CBG has demonstrated anti-bacterial properties, most specifically against some drug resistant strains of staphylococcus.
- CBG appears to be an appetite stimulant that might be beneficial in treating cachexia, a muscle wasting and weight loss disorder in late stage cancer and other diseases. Note that other cannabinoids such as THCV, are appetite suppressants and this highlights that the entourage effect, which is touted by many in relation to cannabis and its medicinal benefits, can be counter productive, with one cannabinoid offsetting other’s benefits.
- In a test of a group of cannabinoids, CBG tested best at inhibiting muscle contractions associated with bladder disorders.
- As a GABA reuptake inhibitor, CBG may lead to muscle relaxation, relieving tension and providing a sensation of calm in the brain and body. This decreased anxiety is a highly sought-after benefit attributed to some other cannabinoids.
- CBG’s neuroprotective properties may help in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington’s Disease normalizing the expression of abnormal genes linked to brain degeneration.
- Topically, it has shown benefits as a therapy for psoriasis, eczema and other skin disorders.
In short, if even a few of these promising benefits prove out, CBG will be an extremely valuable cannabinoid and could rival or surpass CBD. This is further helped by the fact that in the past 2 years efforts to develop high CBG strains of hemp have been quite successful and we are now seeing a range of finished products containing high levels of CBG, becoming available.