What is CBG?

CBG, The New Frontier of Cannabis.

The “Mother of all Cannabinoids” or, the “Rolls Royce of Cannabinoids”, Cannabigerol, or CBG has amassed quite a collection of pseudonyms as it has increased in popularity and use. Cannabinoids have two forms, the acidic state and the functional, or active state. The acidic state of CBG is cannabigerolic acid (CBGA). CBGA is the precursor for other cannabinoids like, CBD and THC. This means that all CBD and THC acidic molecules (CBDA,THCA) start out as CBGA,  hence the name mother of all cannabinoids.  These acidic cannabinoids are then converted to their functional or active state through a process called decarboxylation. This process is done through heat. Consumer products with the exception of isolates and cannabis flower, have already undergone the process of decarboxylation so you will always receive an active product.

Without CBG, the many (over 116 known today) other cannabinoids we know and love so much would not exist. As CBG is synthesized into CBD, THC, or CBC the quantity of CBG begins to go down. Because of this, cannabis strains typically contain very little CBG, less than 1 percent (1%) by weight, making it one of the most expensive cannabinoids; the Rolls Royce of the bunch. As we have seen many times in the cannabis industry, scientists and specialist plant breeders are working to cultivate new strains that will have higher concentrations of CBG at maturity to meet the growing demand.

CBG, unlike CBD, interacts directly with the endocannabinoid receptors found throughout our body. CBG has been shown to interact directly with CB1 and CB2 receptors, similar to THC, but without the psychoactive effects of THC. Through interactions with the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), specifically with the CB1 and CB2 receptors, CBG produces similar effects as it’s more well-known counterparts. It has shown to be a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. These characteristics have amazing potential when included improperly formulated consumer goods. One study by the Department of Physiology and the Department of Immunology by the University of Debrecen[1], observes CBG’s interactions on the ECS’s influence the sebaceous glands in the skin. This can result in the homeostatic production of lipid-rich sebum which contributes to the protection and integrity of the skin, natural moisture balance. This indirectly can improve dry skin and promote wound healing.

Recent research done by the Department of Pharmacology at Penn State College of Medicine[2] has also found that CBG is unique and also has a high affinity to alpha-2 adrenoceptors and 5-HT receptors. CBG is an Apha2-agonist meaning it acts with the parasympathetic nervous system by modulating the neurotransmitters at the synapsis. The implications of CBG activity at alpha-2 receptors can have an effect on high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome and other cardiovascular issues.

The Serotonin 5-HT Receptor plays an important role in maintaining homeostatic and neurological functions. CBG has been reported to have neuroprotective effects against oxidative neurotoxicity through the 5-HT receptor. This links CBG to having therapeutic potential for the treatment of neurological disorders such as Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. More research is needed to fully understand the impact of CBG on these neurological disorders, but preliminary research and studies are promising and may have a profound effect for the millions of adults who face an increased likelihood of developing one of these disorders as they get older. 

As we age our digestive systems also becomes more at risk for disease. CBG has started to be looked at as a therapeutic for gastrointestinal diseases such as colorectal cancer and colitis. Treatment with CBG increased the rate of tissue recovery in the colon and reduced the inflammation. It was also found that CBG reduced tumor formation in colorectal cancer. Interestingly, unlike CBG, CBD on its own did not induce any significant changes. This expands on the argument that not all cannabinoids are therapeutically identical, and more research needs to constantly be done.

Unlike CBD and THC, Cannabigerol (CBG) is in its infancy stage for therapeutic benefit research. What has been studied and shown thus far is promising. The applications are revolutionary, but they will rely on addition research, studies in addition to anecdotal experience, to truly understand how CBG can be used effectively. What can be guaranteed is that CBG use is on the rise and we will only continue to learn more, grow more and use more.

References

  1. Tóth, K. F., Ádám, D., Bíró, T., & Oláh, A. (2019). Cannabinoid Signaling in the Skin:

Therapeutic Potential of the "C(ut)annabinoid" System. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 24(5),918. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24050918https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/

pmc/articles/PMC6429381/

  1. Nachnani, R., Raup-Konsavage, W. M., & Vrana, K. E. (2020). Potential Clinical Uses of CBG.

Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics JPET-MR-2020-000340; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1124/jpet.120.000340