Hailed as the new CBD, another cannabinoid has been making headlines recently. Cannabigerol, CBG for short, is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that is present in very low levels in most strains of cannabis. That’s because CBG is widely regarded as a precursor to more popular cannabinoids since it’s acidic form, CBG-A, breaks down when heated and becomes THC and CBD, as well as CBG and CBC (cannabichromene).
Considered a minor cannabinoid, CBG mostly lays dormant and unaffecting in strains. However, growers are starting to genetically experiment, manipulating and cross-breeding plants to produce strains with higher CBG yields. Furthermore, they have begun to pinpoint optimum extraction times—about six to eight weeks into the flowering cycle—so they can extract higher amounts of the cannabinoid from the plant.
With advancements in cross-breeding and extracting, many medical marijuana companies are beginning to introduce CBG-heavy strains into the market due to their therapeutic potential.
CBG’s Therapeutic Benefits
Much like CBD, CBG interacts with the endocannabinoid system, binding to the CB1 and CBD2 receptors that are located all over the body. However, research seems to indicate that CBG may be more impactful on the cannabinoid receptors in the brain than CBD is. CBG directly binds to the CB1 and CB2 receptors, and therefore will have more of an effect on the body.
CBG also helps to alleviate some of THC’s psychoactive effects and is said to be just as effective at triggering the “entourage effect,” which we discussed in our last blog.
Here are a few conditions and symptoms that the use of CBG may benefit:
There are a plethora of cannabinoid receptors in the eye, and since cannabis is a vasodilator it is one of the most popularly cited qualifying conditions for certification. As more research comes out, though, it seems CBG may be the reason marijuana is so effective at treating intraocular pressure.
A 2015 study in which CBG was used on mice with Huntington’s Disease showed that the cannabinoid worked to protect neurons in the brain. Huntington’s causes nerve cell degeneration in the brain.
The use of cannabis to treat skin infections dates back to the 1950s but, at the time, doctors and scientists were mostly unaware of the chemical composition of the plant. In recent studies, researchers have seen evidence that CBG may be incredibly effective as an antibacterial substance. Even more interesting is that CBG was effective at battling methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a microbial infection that is resistant to a myriad of drugs.
In 2014, researchers studying color cancer in rats found evidence that the use of CBG was linked to a reduction in the growth of cancer cells and tumors. This is due to the cannabinoid blocking receptors that cause cancer cell growth.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
In another experiment on mice, a 2013 study demonstrated that CBG could reduce inflammation linked to inflammatory bowel disease. Researchers involved concluded that the cannabinoid should be considered in clinical experimentation for IBD patients.
Whereas the use of CBD alongside THC may help to reduce excess hunger (which can be vital for patients who don’t use MMJ to treat low appetite), CBG will further stimulate appetite. This discovery, documented in a 2016 study on rats, may be a game-changer for individuals battling HIV or cancer.
Researchers examining how five different cannabinoids affected the bladder in a 2015 study discovered that CBG could be an effective treatment for bladder dysfunctions.
While CBG is just now becoming popular, the above studies indicate that the cannabinoid possesses massive therapeutic potential. However, it’s important to note that due to the difficult and time-consuming methods being used to extract CBG, this cannabinoid will be significantly more difficult to get your hands on, not to mention more expensive.
Hopefully scientific advancement will help to further improve the extraction process so more patients can start integrating this cannabinoid into their medical marijuana treatment.