Cannabigerol (CBG) is one of 100s of cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Read below to find out about the discovery, use, and future of CBG.
So Many Cannabinoids…
With over 110 cannabinoids in marijuana, it’s about time that we start learning about the others besides THC and CBD. As lab testing becomes more popular, more unique strains with larger amounts of different cannabinoids will be found. Cannabigerol (CBG) is one of the next most important cannabinoids, yet we still are learning about its effects and therapeutic uses.
What if the next big strain to be discovered was high in CBG? Read below to find an in-depth review of cannabigerol and learn if CBG is right for you!
Discovering the Abilities of CBG
Cannabigerol is a cannabinoid that naturally occurs in the marijuana plant. Industrial hemp contains higher concentrations of CBG than the typical high-THC marijuana plant. By the time most strains are cultivated, they will have trace amounts of CBG, somewhere below 1%.
Cannabigerol was first discovered in 1964 with many other cannabinoids in marijuana. Once its 3D structure was established, this helped scientists learn more about how the different cannabinoids are related.
In 1975, researchers figured out that CBGA is the precursor to nearly all of the cannabinoids in cannabis. Once CBGA is burned at a high enough temperature, it will degrade into CBG.
Some suggest that growers looking to cultivate more CBG and less THC would let the buds mature about 3/4 of the typical time, as more of the precursor CBGA will remain. High Times makes the case that this is not necessarily true, however.
It was not until the 1990’s that we discovered our body has an endocannabinoid system, which helps regulate our sense of pain, mood, appetite, and more. As we continue to learn more about how this endocannabinoid system works, we will be able to find suitable strains of cannabis that are optimized for specific therapeutic benefits.
While the cannabinoids in marijuana interact with this endocannabinoid system, we are also starting to learn that many cannabinoids bind to other receptors as well. For example, in our article discussing the properties of CBD, we cite scientific papers that show CBD gains many of its anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-anxiety properties from binding to other receptors besides the CB1 or CB2 receptors.
Cannabigerol is no exception, as it binds to multiple types of receptors. Cannabigerol blocks the CB1 receptor and activates the CB2 receptor. Opposite to CBD, Cannabigerol also blocks the 5HT(1A) receptor, which regulates serotonin levels.
Cannabigerol has also been shown to activate the TRPA1, TRPV1, and TRPV2 receptors.
Cannabigerol also is an agonist for the alpha-2-adrenoceptor, which helps suppress another neurotransmitter called norepinephrine. This may give Cannabigerol muscle relaxation and analgesic properties through effects in the central nervous system.
Many of the popular cannabinoids, including Cannabigerol, have been found to be inhibitors of the enzymes COX-1 and COX-2. This one of many mechanisms that gives cannabis anti-inflammatory properties.
While Cannabigerol is technically classified as a cannabinoid, we see that it has a myriad of regulatory abilities through interacting with many receptors outside the endocannabinoid system as well.
Effects of Cannabigerol
Cannabigerol is typically considered to be non-psychoactive. While it remains unclear if anyone has ever tried a very high dose of pure Cannabigerol to confirm this, hemp oil does contain decent amounts of Cannabigerol with no reported psychoactive effects. To make things more complicated, THC and other cannabinoids interact, which leads to new properties that would not necessarily be seen with one cannabinoid.
Cannabigerol and all of the cannabinoids are considered to be very safe. While it is unclear what the exact LD50 (the dosage where 50% of people die) of CBG is, it is significantly higher than nicotine.
While CBG does interact with the CB1 and CB2 receptors, it also interacts with many other receptors as well.
As a CB1 antagonist, Cannabigerol potentially will negate some of the effects of THC. Some recreational users may not like this, as it could lead to less of a high. Others may prefer this, as it could take away some of the anxiety and paranoia associated with high-THC strains. The exact ways that THC and CBG interact are not fully understood, however.
Cannabigerol can also interact with properties of CBD, as it has been shown that CBG takes away some of the anti-vomiting effects of CBD, due to its reverse action on the 5HT(1A) receptor.
High Times determined that a temperature above 392 F (200 C) was needed to vaporize CBG.
Medical Uses of CBG
A wide variety of central nervous system diseases, including epilepsy, bipolar disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease, are affected by cannabinoids such as CBG. CBG has also been shown to suppress immune responses.
More specifically, a study demonstrated that Cannabigerol may be effective for Huntington’s disease. Another study notes that Cannabigerol may have promising applications for treating multiple sclerosis.
As we learn more, specific cannabinoids will be identified as more effective than others for certain conditions. CBD may have more anti-epileptic effects than CBG, for example.
The federal government’s marijuana research facility has known for some time now that CBG has antimicrobial and antifungal properties. Antibacterial effects have also been displayed in all of the main cannabinoids.
More recent research also suggests that CBG has analgesic and antidepressant properties, potentially providing painkilling and mood leveling effects.
A study found that Cannabigerol helps inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells. This research also confirms that Cannabigerol has many methods of interaction, also binding to the many receptors previously discussed. Cannabigerol’s ability to block TRPM8 is what gives Cannabigerol anti-cancer properties, and this same mechanism has also been shown to help with prostate cancer.
Another study suggests that CBD is more effective than CBG for treating breast cancer. Yet another points out CBG’s antitumor activity on skin cancer cells. It seems clear that Cannabigerol could help with many different forms of cancer.
A study compared many different treatment options for their abilities to kill a specific type of cancer cell. Out of all that were tested, CBG was the most successful at reducing cancer cell growth. This highlights that much more research should be done to investigate the effectiveness of cannabinoids for cancer. While we have previously shown that current research suggests using THC and CBD in tandem for treating cancer, perhaps Cannabigerol should also be combined as well.
Cannabigerol has numerous medical applications, yet more research is needed to fully understand the effects of CBG.
Cannabigerol specifically has been shown to have beneficial effects for inflammatory bowel disease and colitis. These anti-inflammatory effects were primarily a result of CBG’s action on the CB2 receptor.
Many cannabinoids, including Cannabigerol, might help with treating psoriasis, which is an inflammatory disease that causes a buildup in skin cells. Remarkably, all of the cannabinoids studied had this effect, even when the CB1 and CB2 receptors were blocked, suggesting that another unknown mechanism is responsible for these properties.
While it is well known that THC helps with ocular pressure and glaucoma, research suggests that Cannabigerol may be better, as it has less instances of rapid eye movement sleep episodes.
Cannabigerol may also have applications for patients with OCD. Cannabigerol has also been found to be the most effective cannabinoid for treating bladder dysfunctions, as it was shown to decrease bladder contractions.
As we see, the potential of CBG-based medicine could be huge. With so many medical uses, it is no surprise that the pharmaceutical company GW has patented CBG.
Strains with CBG
Nearly all strains sold today will have trace amounts of Cannabigerol, but will primarily contain THC or CBD. As we learn more about the specific benefits of Cannabigerol over the other cannabinoids, this could motivate the production of high-CBG strains and products.
Many try to sell hemp oil online as either having high amounts of CBD or CBG. As we have mentioned, hemp oil contains higher CBD/THC and CBG/THC ratios than typical cannabis, yet legal hemp oil can only derive the oil from the stalk or seeds of the plant, not the flower. This leads to very low cannabinoid levels, as low as 0.0025% CBD!
As many desperate patients are in need for high-CBD or high-CBG medication with no access, we find dozens of websites attempting to sell hemp oil as a high-CBD product. None of these legal hemp oils will have a high enough dose of cannabinoids to be medicinally relevant, so keep this in mind if you or a loved one is considering using hemp oil to treat a specific ailment.
While no high-CBG strains are readily available on today’s market, they do exist and could have beneficial medical effects.
While not many strains with high CBG contents are commonly cultivated and produced, it does not mean that they do not exist. Typically, cannabis is separated into three separate chemotypes, which are essentially high THC, high CBD, and roughly equal levels of THC and CBD. A fourth chemotype high in CBG and low in THC was discussed in a 1987 research paper, implying that high-CBG strains exist.
TGA Genetics has a variety of novelty strains, and it appears that they used to carry a sativa-dominant strain called Mickey Kush, which had about 2% CBG.
Production of high-CBG oil has been claimed on the internet to treat epilepsy, but the manufacturer’s website does not state that their products contain Cannabigerol.
As we can see, a lot of misinformation about the cannabinoids is being spread, especially since we still don’t fully understand how all of these cannabinoids interact with each other. If anything can be learned, we see that Cannabigerol and the other cannabinoids have a wide variety of medicinal uses that should be further explored.