What is CBG, and what are the benefits of this cannabinoid?
By now, most people familiar with cannabis have heard of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) and their effects. But did you know that there are many similar compounds in cannabis? A less known cannabinoid called cannabigerol (CBG), although not present in large quantities in most strains, is still worth studying for some reasons.
How the CBG is made
CBG is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid, which means that it does not produce the “highs” that are synonyms of THC. Because it is present at low levels (usually below 1%) in most cannabis strains, CBG is considered a minor cannabinoid. Surprisingly, however, THC and CBD begin as CBG: it is the chemical parent of THC and CBD
Plant-specific enzymes break the CBGA and “direct” it to one of the three lines. Acids are exposed to ultraviolet light or heat, and voila, they become the cannabinoids we know: THC and CBD. In most strains, CBGA is immediately converted to THCA or CBDA. Thus, more THC means less CBG and CBD (and vice versa) by nature of how these compounds are synthesised. To obtain higher yields of CBG, farmers are experimenting with genetic manipulation and plant breeding. For example, Grace’s Grass crossing strains to produce higher CBG content. Scientists can also extract more elevated levels of CBG from budding plants by identifying the optimal extraction time, about six weeks into an eight-week flowering cycle. A medicinal strain called Bediol is produced in this way by the Dutch company Bedrocan BV Medicabababis.
Potential medical benefits of CBG
The integrated endocannabinoid system of the human body (eCS) works to keep the body in its balanced state of homeostasis. While there are specific details on how cannabinoids work, in general, the endocannabinoid system performs several specific functions for each area of the body. For example, at an injury site, eCS can help regulate immune cells to limit inflammation.
It has been discovered that CBG acts on particular physiological systems and problems, and the results for medicinal use are promising:
- Endocannabinoid receptors are prevalent in ocular structures and, interestingly, CBG is considered particularly effective in treating glaucoma because it reduces intraocular pressure.
- In animal experiments involving mice, CBG was found to be effective in reducing inflammation characteristic of inflammatory bowel disease.
- In a 2015 study, CBG was shown to protect neurons in mice with Huntington’s disease.
- CBG is showing great promise as a cancer fighter. In particular, CBG has been shown to block receptors that cause cancer cell growth.
- European research shows that it is an active antibacterial agent, in particular against microbial resistant strains that are resistant to methicillin.
- In a study that examined the effects of five different cannabinoids on bladder contractions, it was the best to inhibit muscle contractions.
Scientists are excited about these initial CBG results and are promoting future research with CBG for the treatment of multiple diseases. Since it is not psychotropic, CBG has a promising wide range of potential applications not only for the problems mentioned above but also as an analgesic, therapy for psoriasis and as an antidepressant.