CANNABIGEROL (CBG)

WHAT IS CBG?

Cannabigerol (CBG) is a minor constituent of the cannabis plant. Although it is often referred to as a minor cannabinoid, it is the non-acidic form of the cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), the parent molecule from where all other cannabinoids are made. This is why CBG is often referred to as the mother of cannabinoids. CBG occurs in minute quantities in adult cannabis plants since CBGA is converted to other forms of cannabinoids like cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Only about 1% of the total concentration of CBGA gets converted to CBG. 

CBG was discovered by Yehiel Gaoni and Raphael Mechoulam[1] in 1964 as a powerful, yet a non-intoxicating member of the cannabinoid family. The group of researchers isolated the compound from Hashish, a resin from an active flowering marijuana plant.

During the flowering cycle, CBGA is either converted into tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) and cannabidiolic acids (CBDA), which are precursors for the famous THC and CBD. The remaining CBGA (about 1%) is later converted into CBG via the decarboxylation (removal of carbon) from the acidic group.

Although most cannabis plants contain a little to no CBG, this narrative is about to change soon as growers are working towards making a CBG-heavy strain. This interest arose from the recent research works exposing the therapeutic potentials of the cannabinoid.

HOW DOES CBG WORK?

Just like every other member of the cannabinoid family, CBG interacts with the endocannabinoid receptors (both CB1 and CB2) to stimulate their response. It is pertinent to note that these receptors play an active role in regulating cognitive activities like appetite, pain response, mood, and internal balance.

Information from recent findings shows how CBG has a strong affinity for CB2 receptors. The CB2 receptors are expressed in the immune system, where they play regulatory roles in how our immune system responds to diseases. Although the mode of activity is still unknown, there are speculations from researchers on how CBG may interact with the cannabinoid receptors differently. Since CBG and CBD are both non-psychoactive, they share some similarities in their therapeutic activities.

POSSIBLE THERAPEUTIC BENEFITS of CBG

The possible research interests in the therapeutic benefits of CBG started recently. Some of the possible therapeutic benefits of CBG as reported from the research include but are not limited to the following

  1. Anti-inflammatory properties

The interaction between CBG and the CB2 receptors is a good indicator of how it can modulate the immune cells’ activities. Research shows that CBG has better anti-inflammatory properties when compared with CBD. This potential therapeutic benefit has been tested on subjects with inflammatory bowel diseases[2] with an excellent result.

  • Antibacterial properties

There are reports on how CBG can exhibit an excellent antibacterial activity[3] against drug-resistant MRSA. There is also evidence of how it can prevent the formation of biofilms. Biofilms are communities of microorganisms that allow them to attach to surfaces and resist the power of antibiotics. CBG’s antibacterial activity proceeds by targeting the cell membrane of the bacterial species.

  • Eye care

There are reports on how CBG can play an active role in the treatment of glaucoma[4]. Although the research was carried out on lab animals, researchers are confident CBG may produce a similar effect on humans.

  • Pain relief

A 2010 study on mouse brain membranes shows how CBG can act as an alpha-2-adrenoceptor agonist. This means CBG can control pain sensation in rats. Further research reported how CBG could serve as a more potent analgesic[5] than THC.

  • Relief for neurodegenerative diseases

There are reports on how CBG can provide relief in neurodegenerative conditions like Huntington’s disease[6]. CBG can protect neurons and prevent the establishment of inflammatory diseases.

INTERESTING FACTS

  1. CBG has a slight affinity for CB1 receptors, which is approximately equal to that of CBD.
  2. It is the mother of all cannabinoids and is non-psychoactive.
  3. CBG is a minor cannabinoid and may be absent in the list of banned substances in most countries. However, it is important you understand the local laws guiding the use of hemp products before trying one.


 References

[1] Gaoni, Y., & Mechoulam, R. (1964). Isolation, Structure, and Partial Synthesis of an Active Constituent of Hashish. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 86(8), 1646–1647. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1021/ja01062a046 

[2] Borrelli, F., Fasolino, I., Romano, B., Capasso, R., Maiello, F., Coppola, D., … Izzo, A. A. (2013). Beneficial effect of the non-psychotropic plant cannabinoid cannabigerol on experimental inflammatory bowel disease. Biochemical Pharmacology, 85(9), 1306–1316

[3] Maya A. Farha, Omar M. El-Halfawy, Robert T. Gale, Craig R. MacNair, Lindsey A. Carfrae, Xiong Zhang, Nicholas G. Jentsch, Jakob Magolan, Eric D. Brown. Uncovering the Hidden Antibiotic Potential of CannabisACS Infectious Diseases, 2020; DOI: 10.1021/acsinfecdis.9b00419

[4] COLASANTI, B. K. (1990). A Comparison of the Ocular and Central Effects of Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol and Cannabigerol. Journal of Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 6(4), 259–269. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1089/jop.1990.6.259

[5] Banerjee SP, Snyder SH, Mechoulam R. Cannabinoids: influence on neurotransmitter uptake in rat brain synaptosomes. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 1975;194(1):74-81.

[6] Valdeolivas S, Navarrete C, Cantarero I, Bellido ML, Muñoz E, Sagredo O. Neuroprotective properties of cannabigerol in Huntington’s disease: studies in R6/2 mice and 3-nitropropionate-lesioned mice. Neurotherapeutics. 2015;12(1):185-199. doi:10.1007/s13311-014-0304-z

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