Cannabigerol (CBG) was first discovered by scientists in 1964 as a component of hashish. It was later discovered in 1975 that CBGA (Cannabigerolic acid) is the first cannabinoid formed in plants; cannabis’ first expression. CBGA is then transformed into CBDA, THCA or CBCA by enzymatic actions. The cannabis plant is unique because of its ability to produce the Cannabigerolic acid.
Cannabigerol serves as a precursor to the three major cannabinoids – tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, cannabinolic acid, and cannabichromenic acid. The cannabis plant contains synthases, its natural enzymes, which degrade the CBGA and channel it toward the desired branch.
CBG belongs to the non-psychoactive group of cannabinoids. Research into its medical properties is currently ongoing. Though it has not been studied as intensively as the other cannabinoids like CBD or THC, results obtained so far from studies suggest that it is enriched with loads of health benefits for the consumer.
Laboratory analysis has found that CBG exists in industrial hemp in much higher levels than other strains of cannabis. Research has shown that this may be caused by a recessive gene. The theory is that the plants prevent the formation of one of the cannabinoid synthases.
Effects of Cannabigerol
Cannabigerol does not get the user high. It is non-psychoactive. Nevertheless, it does help to create a synergy by balancing the effects of THC with other cannabinoids.
In general, cannabinoids exert their effects by contacting their own receptors which are present all over the body.
There are two kinds of cannabinoid receptors – CB1 and CB2. CBG acts on both receptors. However, its effect on both receptors is extremely weak when compared to the effect of THC.
CBG affects the body by causing an increase in the anandamide levels. Anandamide is a cannabinoid that helps in the regulation of body functions. It occurs naturally in the body. Functions regulated by this include sleep, appetite, and memory. Anandamide, just like THC, acts on CB1 and CB2 receptors to produce its effects.
In the brain, CBG inhibits the uptake of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), an inhibitory neurotransmitter responsible for reducing excitability. In a particular study, it was discovered that the effects of CBG on GABA was far greater than that of CBD and THC.
CBG is also known to antagonize the serotonin receptors, meaning it may have a role to play in the treatment of depression.
Because of its ability to act on the nervous system without any accompanying psychotic effects, the benefits and medical usage of CBG has aroused great interest.
Stimulation of bone healing and formation: The effects of CBG on bone formation were investigated in a 2007 study. Results showed that CBG can stimulate the stem cells of the bone marrow through the CB2 receptor. The idea is that CBG may be helpful in the formation of new bones and healing of fractures.
Slows the growth of tumors: A review article published in 2009 showed that CBG and other cannabinoids inhibited the growth and progression of various cancer cells and tumors. By retarding the growth of tumors, these cannabinoids could prolong the life of cancer patients.
Neuroprotective effects: A study conducted in 2015 on animal models of Huntington’s disease showed that CBG served effectively as a neuroprotectant. Movement and recovery in Huntington-afflicted mice were improved significantly when treated with CBG. Neurons were also protected from degeneration.
Studies have also shown that it has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. The use of CBG for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases should be subjected to further research.
Treatment for depression and anxiety: It has been proven that THC can have positive effects on patients suffering from depression. CBG has shown similar effects but without the accompanying psychotic effects that THC is known for. A 2016 report has suggested that CBG and other non-psychotic cannabinoids could effectively treat depression and anxiety.
Treatment of glaucoma: A study conducted in 1990 has shown that when treated with CBG, animals with glaucoma had a 2-3 times increase in their aqueous flow. An increase in aqueous flow can minimize the intraocular pressure thus relieving glaucoma.
Reduction of inflammation: CBG reduces inflammation by acting on special molecules that trigger the inflammatory processes in many disease states such as cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and pain syndromes.
Studies have shown that CBG can act as an inhibitor for COX-2, an enzyme that causes pain and swelling.
Other therapeutic benefits include:
- Treatment of overactive bladder
- Skin treatment
The Bottom Line
Specific cannabinoids have shown promising results in research to have therapeutic effects on very specific conditions. CBG is a cannabinoid with particular medical properties that have beneficial effects on a variety of diseases and disorders. It is apparent that with more research, development, and education, cannabinoids such as CBG, could offer safer, more natural disease-targeted alternatives to conventional treatments. Additionally, their value as a preventative supplement could have a significant impact on the future of degenerative diseases.
ChemIDplus Chemical Information Classification
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