It’s no secret that the cannabis plant’s most abundant cannabinoids—CBD and THC—are known for an astonishing amount of therapeutic benefits. One recent Forbes article designated 2018 “The Year of CBD,” with a tip of the hat to baby boomers as the health-hungry drivers of the cannabinoid’s demand. But did you know there are over 110 other known cannabinoids—some which may have benefits of their own to brag about? Cannabigerol (CBG) is one of those lesser known yet remarkable cannabinoids that has a secret life and stash of benefits you’re going to want to discover!
The Q&D Life Story of CBG
You know how parents sometimes don’t get the credit they deserve? While CBG is considered a minor cannabinoid, it’s actually the parent chemical to CBD and THC. Cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) is the first cannabinoid formed in cannabis plants. Through enzymatic actions, CBGA is transformed into CBDA, THCA or CBCA, thus giving life to all other cannabinoids.
That’s what’s so legit about cannabinoid science … it is science. We’re able to research, study, and learn about cannabinoids in order to discover how to use them for their therapeutic benefits. For an authentic glimpse into the world of cannabinoid science, check out this article about one of our partners at Ananda Hemp, Dr. Capano. She’s the first doctoral candidate of any discipline to focus on cannabinoid science.
CBG was only discovered as recently 1964, and the significant role CBGA plays in the cannabis plant wasn’t discovered until 1975. So, our scientific understanding of cannabis is still relatively new (even though humans have been using it for therapeutic benefits for centuries).
CBG belongs to the non-psychoactive group of cannabinoids—i.e., it won’t get you high. Additionally, this up-and-coming cannabinoid exists in industrial hemp in much higher levels than other strains of cannabis. And, as many people know by now, industrial hemp can’t get you high, either.
So What Does The CBG Cannabinoid Do?
One way CBG affects the body is by causing an increase in the anandamide levels. Anandamide is a cannabinoid that helps with the regulation of body functions. It occurs naturally in the body. Functions regulated by it include sleep, appetite, and memory. Anandamide, just like THC, acts on CB1 and CB2 receptors to produce its effects. (What are cannabinoid receptors?)
In the brain, CBG is thought to inhibit the uptake of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter responsible for reducing excitability. In one particular study, it was discovered that the effects of CBG on GABA were far greater than that of CBD and THC.
CBG is also known to antagonize the serotonin receptors, meaning it could help treat depression. Because of CBG’s ability to act on the nervous system without any accompanying psychotic effects, CBG has become an attractive subject for researchers.
The Many Therapeutic Uses of CBG
Stimulation of bone: Results from a 2007 study showed that CBG can stimulate the stem cells of bone marrow. Therefore, CBG could be helpful in healing fractures and forming new bone.
Slows the growth of tumors: A review article published in 2009 showed that CBG and other cannabinoids inhibited the growth and progression of various cancer cells and tumors.
Neuroprotective effects: A study conducted in 2015 on animal models of Huntington’s disease showed that CBG acted as a neuroprotectant.
Treatment for depression and anxiety: It has been proven that THC can have positive effects on patients suffering from depression. CBG has shown similar effects but without the accompanying psychotic effects that THC is known for. A 2016 report has suggested that CBG and other non-psychotic cannabinoids could effectively treat depression and anxiety.
Treatment of glaucoma: A study conducted in 1990 has shown that when treated with CBG, animals with glaucoma had a 2-3 times increase in their aqueous flow, which can relieve glaucoma.
Reduction of inflammation: CBG may reduce inflammation by acting on special molecules that trigger the inflammatory processes in many disease states such as cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and pain syndromes.
Other potential therapeutic benefits include:
- Treatment of overactive bladder
- Skin treatment
Lesser known cannabinoids, like CBG, CBN and THCV, are gathering momentum. Thankfully, we are starting to understand the urgency with which we need to fill the knowledge gaps in cannabinoid science. These natural compounds are too beneficial to ignore. CBD made intractable epilepsy in children treatable when nothing else could. And that’s just one of the multitudes of conditions it can treat.
CBG is a cannabinoid force that has been quietly waiting … waiting for us to discover—just like with CBD—its potential to change how we treat and prevent diseases and disorders.