Cannabigerol or CBG is one of the more than 120 identified cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant1. CBG is the non-acidic form of cannabigerolic acid or the parent molecule from which other cannabinoids are synthesised. In other words, CBG is a minor constituent of cannabis.
What is CBG actually?
CBG, as a cannabinoid, means the substance that interacts with cannabinoid receptors in the human body. The two main cannabinoid receptors in the body are CB1 and CB2. CB1 is associated with the nervous system and CB2 refers to inflammation. These cannabinoids are significant parts of the body’s systems and regulate several functions like pain, appetite, etc. Plant-based cannabinoids affect the human body by interacting with CB1 and CB2 receptors.
At the same time, CBG is the precursor to the acidic forms of THC and CBD. It is often called “mother” or “stem cell” of cannabinoids. During growth most of CBG is converted into other cannabinoids, primary THC or CBD, leaving about 1 % of CBG in the plant2.
What is the difference between THC, CBD, and CBG?
The main difference between THC, CBD, and CBG is that while THC can make you high, CBD and CBG have no psychoactive effects.
There is very little research regarding the effects of CBG on humans, though interest is constantly growing. Many scientists consider that different non-psychoactive cannabinoids may have different medical uses.
How does CBG work?
Currently, we know about some aspects of CBG effects3. They are the following:
CBG interacts with CB1 and CB2 receptors resulting in inhibiting the psychoactive effects of THC.
CBG boosts anandamide and endocannabinoid that increases dopamine levels and responsible for regulating mood, sleep, and appetite.
CBG blocks serotonin receptors and, as a result, it potentially acts as an antidepressant.
What are the potential benefits of CBG use?
Some findings show that CBG possesses many potential benefits but all of this has to be proven in clinical trials. Anyway, CBG may contribute to:
- Glaucoma care and relief of intraocular pressure4. However, a patient should continue taking prescribed glaucoma medication, CBG can be used as an addition and after consulting the doctor.
- Antibacterial therapy. CBG has the potential to inhibit bacteria that are resistant to traditional antibiotics. For example, some findings showed CBG has some properties to help with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)5.
- Help with inflammatory bowel disease and colitis. Some trials on rats showed that the use of CBG is effective against inflammatory bowel disease and colitis6. This may lead to more extensive research concerning the management of abdominal pain, diarrhoea, poor appetite and weight loss.
- Inflammation management. Some findings showed that CBG shows significant promise for managing inflammation including that of the skin7. As it may reduce the skin inflammation, we can assume that CBG may be effective against eczema and psoriasis.
Why does CBG deserve more attention?
Because of its newly discovered uses, CBG deserves more attention among scientists. Also, further studies should be oriented towards a detailed explanation of how CBG makes a much more balanced effect of CBD and/or THC.
- El Sohly MA, Radwan MM, Gul W, Chandra S, Galal A. Phytochemistry of Cannabis sativa L. In: Kinghorn A., Falk H., Gibbons S., Kobayashi J. (Eds) Phytocannabinoids. Vol 103. Progress in the Chemistry of Organic Natural Products. Cham: Springer; 2017:1-36.
- Aizpurua-Olaizola O, Soydaner U, E. Öztürk, Schibano D, Simsir Y. Evolution of the Cannabinoid and Terpene Content during the Growth of Cannabis sativa Plants from Different Chemotypes. J Nat Prod. 2016;79(2):324-331. doi:10.1021/acs.jnatprod.5b00949
- de Meijer EPM, Hammond KM. The inheritance of chemical phenotype in Cannabis sativa L. (II): Cannabigerol predominant plants. Euphytica. 2005;145(1):189-198. doi:10.1007/s10681-005-1164-8
- Tomida I, Pertwee RG, Azuara-Blanco A. Cannabinoids and glaucoma. Br J Ophthalmol. 2004;88(5):708-713. doi:10.1136/bjo.2003.032250
- Appendino G, Gibbons S, Giana A, et al. Antibacterial cannabinoids from Cannabis sativa: a structure-activity study. J Nat Prod. 2008;71(8):1427-1430. doi:10.1021/np8002673
- Leinwand KL, Gerich ME, Hoffenberg EJ, Collins CB. Manipulation of the endocannabinoid system in colitis: A comprehensive review. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2017;23(2):192-199. doi:10.1097/MIB.0000000000001004
- Tóth KF, Ádám D, Bíró T, Oláh A. Cannabinoid Signaling in the Skin: Therapeutic Potential of the “C(ut)annabinoid” System. Molecules. 2019;24(5). doi:10.3390/molecules24050918