CBG: The Mighty Minor Cannabinoid
The cannabis plant contains a multitude of varying compounds that interact with our bodies in equally varying ways – these compounds are called cannabinoids. (Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that interact with our endocannabinoid systems! For more on this, check out our previous blog post: shorturl.at/afAHV) Presently, over 100 cannabinoids have been identified and we’re just scratching the surface – CBG (cannabigerol) is one of those unique cannabinoids. Found to be in slightly lesser quantities than most, CBG is labeled as a “minor” cannabinoid, but plays a major role in the chemical breakdown of the three primaries, which are: tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, (THCA) cannabidiolic acid, (CBDA) and cannabichromenic acid (CBCA) Cannabigerol, in its acidic form, is known as CBGA or cannabigerolic acid. This acid is produced in the cannabis plants’ trichomes and triggers a process called necrosis; necrosis is a process by which the plant sheds its leaves naturally to allow for direct sunlight to penetrate its flowers. CBGA, in the latter stages of the chemical conversion process, becomes either CBD or THC. Prior to becoming CBD or THC, CBGA is broken down by the plant’s enzymes and that energy is then directed to one of the three major cannabinoid lines – THCA, CBDA, or CBCA. The acidic compounds are then exposed to heat or ultraviolet light, converting them into either THC or CBD.
Young Harvest to Budding Flower
We just learned that CBG (cannabigerol) in its acidic form, is the predecessor of the three major cannabinoids: THCA, CBDA, and CBCA. “CBGA serves as the precursor to most other cannabinoids and is converted to Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (Δ9-THCA), cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), and cannabichromenic acid.” (Nachnani, Raup-Konsavage, Vrana; 2021) THC and CBD are both derived from CBGA, which is the acidic form of CBG. In young cannabis plants, CBG is more actively present. Throughout the maturation process, most of it is converted naturally to either THC or CBD. Because of this dichotomy, CBG poses unique challenges while harvesting. Cannabis growers have begun experimenting with genetic manipulation to produce higher amounts of CBG. The strain Bediol is cross-bred to produce more CBG and has a 6.5% THC to 8% CBG ratio, giving its users a more relaxed and less euphoric high. Scientists estimate that 6 weeks into an 8 week flowering cycle, CBG is at its highest levels and therefore ready for optimal harvest.
Medicinal and Therapeutic Benefits of CBG
Our bodies house what’s called an endocannabinoid system (ECS) which continually balances our sense of homeostasis. If an injury or illness plagues the body, the ECS then activates and targets that specific area for remedy, like boosting our immune cells to combat a virus. Cannabinoids, like CBG, interact with our ECS systems in a variety of ways. Endocannabinoid receptors, which bond to cannabinoids, are prevalent in all tissue and biological structures. In reference to our eyes, CBG is thought to reduce fluid pressure, (aka: intraocular pressure) and can be utilized as a treatment for glaucoma. CBG also has neuroprotective properties.
In 2020, a case study was performed on mice that showcased CBG’s potential effectiveness in treating Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBS) and Huntington’s Disease; with respect to Huntington’s Disease, the findings in this study are evidentiary to CBG’s neuroprotective properties because it showed the regression of nerve-cell degeneration in the brain. “Studies indicate that CBG may have therapeutic potential in treating neurologic disorders (e.g., Huntington disease, Parkinson disease, and multiple sclerosis) and inflammatory bowel disease, as well as having antibacterial activity.” (Nachnani, Raup-Konsavage, Vrana; 2020) In a 2017 case study, THC was extracted from a sample containing CBG. The refined form of CBG was utilized as an appetite stimulant and was very effective. In cancer patients that suffer from cachexia, CBG can be utilized to boost appetite to increase weight and muscle gain. In reference to cancer, CBG was shown to block the receptors that produced cancer-riddled cells, which is exciting for its potentiality to help fight, or provide a cure for the disease.
CBG’s potentiality in the medical-verse is limitless; as further research is conducted and better extraction processes are created, scientists will be able to better understand how to utilize it to treat a myriad of ailments. “In conclusion, the results presented in this study reveal that the non-psychotropic phytocannabinoid, CBG, may exert beneficial actions with therapeutic potential via cannabinoid receptors.” (Navarro et al) CBG is non-psychoactive which means it won’t alter its users perception or mental processes. As opposed to its renowned counterpart, THC; it won’t produce the “high” that most attribute it to. CBG’s analgesic properties also give merit to its ability to treat pain. This mighty, minor cannabinoid has major potentiality for both medical and therapeutic applications.
- KE;, N. R. R.-K. W. M. V. (n.d.). The pharmacological case for Cannabigerol. The Journal of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics. Retrieved April 13, 2022, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33168643/
- Nachnani, R., Raup-Konsavage, W. M., & Vrana, K. E. (2021, February 1). The pharmacological case for Cannabigerol. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. Retrieved April 13, 2022, from https://jpet.aspetjournals.org/content/376/2/204
- Navarro, G., Varani, K., Reyes-Resina, I., Sánchez de Medina, V., Rivas-Santisteban, R., Sánchez-Carnerero Callado, C., Vincenzi, F., Casano, S., Ferreiro-Vera, C., Canela, E. I., Borea, P. A., Nadal, X., & Franco, R. (2018, June 21). Cannabigerol action at Cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors and at CB1-cb2 heteroreceptor complexes. Frontiers in pharmacology. Retrieved April 13, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6021502/