CBG is the building block for many compounds in cannabis, including THC and CBD.
Cannabinoids are the active chemicals found in cannabis.
They respond specifically to the cannabis plant and are known to affect the human body in many ways.
While you may have heard of cannabinoids like THC and CBD, many don’t realize how important CBG is.
In fact, THC, CBD and many other cannabinoids all start out as CBG. CBG is non-psychoactive and can be considered the “stem cell” or “parent” of other cannabinoids.
After synthesis, CBG is rapidly converted into other cannabinoids through natural processes occurring in the cannabis plant.
This explains the low CBG content of most cannabis varieties.
What are CBG and CBGA?
(CBG) is a type of cannabinoid discovered in the 1960s along with Cannabidiol (CBD), Cannabichromine (CBC), Cannabidivarin (CBDV) and Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV).
After their discovery, further studies were conducted to understand the biology of the marijuana plant. In 1975, researchers isolated cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), the acidic version of CBG.
The researchers found that CBGA is broken down by the plant’s natural enzymes into other acidic cannabinoids, namely THCA, CBDA and CBCA.
These acids are then converted to THC, CBD and CBC when the plant is heated or matured (also known as decarboxylation).
In other words, CBG is derived from CBGA, which is necessary for the production of all other cannabinoids.
However, CBG is not found in high concentrations in most species. Some cannabis species may have a higher CBG content, but in general, most cannabis plants contain less than 1% CBG.
Growers interested in producing cannabis varieties with higher CBG content can try to extract CBG from flowering plants when they are 6 weeks old or experiment with crossbreeding to produce a higher CBG species.
CBG is important because of its numerous health benefits, especially for people with disorders affecting the central nervous system, including neurological diseases, skin disorders, chronic pain and others.
Effects of CBG
CBG is non-psychoactive, which means it cannot get you “high”.
However, CBG may help to balance the effects of THC and other cannabinoids by promoting synergy.
CBG can also directly affect the body in many ways.
In general, cannabinoids act by interacting with cannabinoid receptors, which are found throughout the human body.
CBG acts on both cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) as a partial agonist.
However, the effect of CBG on CB1 and CB2 receptors is very weak compared to THC.
CBG can also affect the body by increasing anandamide levels. Anandamide is a natural cannabinoid that helps regulate many biological functions, including appetite, sleep and memory. Like THC, anandamide acts on CB1 and CB2 receptors to produce its effects.
CBG also inhibits the uptake of GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid), a brain chemical that regulates neuronal activity.The effect of CBG on GABA uptake was found to be greater than both THC and CBD in one study.
CBG has also been shown to block serotonin receptors, suggesting a role for the treatment of depression.
Since CBG can act on the central nervous system without causing “highs”, the potential benefits and medical uses of CBG have attracted considerable interest.
Benefits and uses
The medical benefits of CBG are still being researched, but the list so far is impressive and growing.
It is important to note that most of the evidence comes from preclinical studies, which means that the safety and effectiveness of CBG has not yet been proven in humans. That said, studies on CBG have revealed a wide range of potential benefits.
Stimulates bone formation and healing.
In a 2007 study, the effects of CBG and other cannabinoids on bone marrow cultures were investigated.
The results showed that they could stimulate bone marrow stem cells indirectly through the CB2 receptor.
This suggests that CBG and other cannabinoids may help in the healing of bone fractures by promoting the growth and formation of new bone.
It inhibits the growth of the tumor.
In a 2009 review article, CBD, CBG and CBC along with other cannabinoids were reported to slow the progression and growth of various tumours and cancer cells.
By slowing tumor growth, these cannabinoids could extend the lives of people fighting cancer.
Antifungal and antibacterial treatment.
The antifungal and antimicrobial properties of various cannabinoids, including CBG, are currently under investigation.
CBG was shown to be particularly effective against MRSA in a 2008 study.
MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is a highly prevalent antibiotic-resistant bacterium.
It relieves pain.
CBG and other cannabinoids are known to have analgesic effects in various conditions, including pain caused by multiple sclerosis and cancer.
According to the 2008 review article, clinical trials have shown that synthetic cannabinoids are well tolerated and effective and may have an additional analgesic effect when combined with other pharmaceuticals for pain treatment.
Cannabinoids such as CBG have the potential to reduce inflammation by targeting specific molecules responsible for inflammation in various diseases, including pain syndromes, cancer and even inflammatory bowel disease.
For example, studies show that CBG may act as a COX-2 inhibitor, similar to commonly used pharmaceuticals called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Hyperactive bladder treatment.
Cannabis and cannabinoid preparations have been used to treat various bladder dysfunctions.
In a 2015 study, researchers examined the effects of CBG and other cannabinoids on experimentally induced bladder contractions.
CBG and THCV were found to have the greatest ability to reduce bladder contractions.
Psoriasis and skin treatment.
CBG and other cannabinoids could help treat various skin disorders, due to the presence of cannabinoid receptors in the skin.
In a 2007 study, CBG was shown to inhibit keratinocyte proliferation, suggesting a role for CBG in the treatment of psoriasis.
Treatment for glaucoma.
In a 1990 study, treatment with THC and CBG increased the aqueous flow by two to three times in animal models of glaucoma. Increased aqueous flow can help reduce intraocular pressure in glaucoma cases.
Depression and anxiety treatment.
It is known that THC can help patients suffering from depression and anxiety. CBG has been found to have similar effects but without causing the “high” that THC is known for.
A report in 2016 suggests that non-psychoactive cannabinoids such as CBG could be a potential alternative for the treatment of anxiety and depression.
In a 2015 study in animal models of Huntington’s disease, CBG was found to be “highly active as a neuroprotectant.”
CBG treatment improved movement and recovery in Huntington’s disease mice and protected neurons from degeneration.
CBG also showed potential anti-inflammatory and antioxidanteffects .
The researchers concluded that CBG should be further studied as a treatment for neurodegenerative disorders.