Did you know that the major known cannabinoid compounds of the cannabis plant, CBD (cannabidiol), CBC (cannabichromene), and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), those we are most familiar with, come from a compound called CBG cannabigerol? For those of you who do not know, what this means is that the chemistry of CBD, CBC and THC begins as CBG. So in essence, we can think of CBG as the ‘mother cannabinoid’.
More specifically, the chemistry of CBG begins as CBGa, cannabigerolic acid. CBGa is formed as the result of a combination of geranyl pyrophosphate and olivetolic acid. CBGa then breaks down via an enzymatic reaction with plant synthases (plant enzymes) into THCa, CBCa and CBDa. The acid forms of each cannabinoid break down further to the neutral form upon exposure to heat or ultraviolet light (also present in the sun’s rays). So the acid (‘a’ part) is lost through the process of decarboxylation (the loss of a molecule of carbon dioxide).
These cannabinoids hold therapeutic or medicinal properties that are becoming more and more widely known as research continues. Essentially, the therapeutic properties take effect when the body’s endocannabinoid system (network of receptors) receives the cannabinoids and healing is triggered to bring the body back to balance.
Thus far, from our research on cannabinoids, we know more about THC, in addition to its potential therapeutic properties, it is psychoactive. We know CBD has anti-inflammatory properties. As clinical human research trials on CBD progressed, interest in the other cannabinoids peaked.
During lock down amidst Covid-19, we have had plenty of time to sit with our scientists and discuss this compound, we also ran some trials which I think you will enjoy to learn about.
CBG is becoming more popular as it’s medical properties are starting to take the spotlight. And as it’s medical properties become more known, so do the reasons for it to be isolated by breeders through it’s growth. CBG has been tested to occur in higher percentages in industrial hemp plants as opposed to marijuana plants. The levels in industrial hemp plants can range up to 94% as opposed to under 10% in marijuana plants. A recessive gene in the industrial hemp plants restricts the plants from producing the synthases that break CBGa down to the other cannabinoids. So breeders can make use of this knowledge to produce more CBG. A strain called Bediol with greater CBG composition is already on the market.
Essentially, CBG is the ‘new kid on the medical cannabinoid block’ and the more you know about it’s potential medical benefits the cooler you are. So let’s get started…
So far, CBG has not been studied in any human clinical trials, but early studies show that CBG activates the CB1 receptors in the endocannabinoid system. This means that it influences parts of brain function, including counteracting the high you may receive from THC. CBG also affects the CB2 receptors which influence balance in the body. In regards to CBG’s specific actions on various brain and bodily functions, let’s take a look at the specific studies conducted.
In a 1975 study on rats by Banerjee et al., it was determined that CBG inhibits GABA uptake in the brain1. Reduced GABA uptake may result in a sense of calm as well as muscle relaxation. As pharmaceuticals are currently used to reduce GABA uptake to decrease anxiety, further clinical research may show CBG’s greater potential in reducing anxiety.
CBG was also highlighted in its potential as a neuroprotectant through a 2015 study by Valdeolivas et al2. This study specifically addressed using CBG to treat Huntington’s disease in mice. CBG was found to suppress expression of genes that increase degeneration in the brain.
CBG provided anti-oxidation and worked against neuroinflammation in a 2018 study on Parkinson’s disease in mice published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation3.
What we know about CBG’s positive affects on the brain is that it has potential in creating calm, which helps in the treatment of anxiety and depression and potentially in protecting against neurodegeneration for treatment of various brain diseases.
In a 1990 study on the eyes of cats with glaucoma, CBG showed therapeutic potential for treatment of glaucoma4. Upon chronic application of cannabigerol, pressure in the eye decreased and vasodilation occurred.
Cannabigerol may prove a huge potential benefit in its positive impact on inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that affects millions of people in North America. A 2013 study on mice in Biochem Pharmacology showed CBG provided anti-inflammatory response in three chemical reactions that occur specifically with colitis5,6. The highly confident conclusion stated that ‘CBG could be considered for clinical experimentation in IBD patients’.
In addition to the proximity of IBD in the body, cannabigerol may positively impact other areas of the colon. In a 2018 study on colorectal cancer, CBG showed powerful action in cytotoxic cell death of colon cancer cells7.
A unique study found that CBG may help through its anti-bacterial properties. A 2008 study on ‘MRSA’ staph infections concluded that where potentially fatal staphylococcus infections are resistant to being treated by methicillin, CBG may step up as a form of treatment8.
A 2018 study on diabetes, showed that CBGa plays a role in affecting an enzyme that majorly contributes to diabetic stress9.
As found in a 2006 study published in the Journal of Dermatology, CBG inhibits keratinocyte proliferation10. This aids in the treatment of skin conditions like psoriasis.
As we roll forward in the fascinating research of cannabinoids, cannabigerol is showing great promise to become a bigger player through its capacity for specific ‘roles in healing’. Only more research and time will tell. In the meantime, stay hemped!
Written by Ronnie Almani