Cannabinoids 101: Cannabigerol (CBG)

Since the Farm Bill federally legalized industrial hemp in 2018, the public has slowly become more acquainted with its associated compounds and potential benefits. As research of the more familiar cannabinoids like CBD and THC continues, we are also discovering, or rather re-discovering, the many other beneficial compounds found in the plant.

Although lesser-known, the minor cannabinoid, cannabigerol, or CBG, is a compound with an important role and some major benefits.

What is Cannabigerol?

CBG is a non-intoxicating compound in hemp and cannabis plants discovered in 1964 and often called the “mother cannabinoid.”  Its acid form, CBGA (cannabigerolic acid) is the precursor of the three main cannabinoid lines —  THCA, CBDA, and CBCA — which eventually become THC, CBD, and CBC through decarboxylation

Because of this, most strains have higher CBD/THC contents and lower ( usually less than 1%) CBG content. However, generally it seems that hemp strains with high CBD/low THC tend to contain more CBG.

cbg’s potential benefits

Like with most other cannabinoids, there isn’t a whole lot of research regarding CBG. Still, existing studies show some pretty amazing potential. As many now know, the body’s Endocannabinoid System (ECS) works to keep us balanced. Cannabinoids, like the better-known CBD and THC, each interact with our ECS in their own way to aid the body in maintaining that balance, known as ‘homeostasis.’

The way compound interacts with cannabinoid receptors suggests that:

  • Much like CBD, CBG may help with symptoms of anxiety
  • CBG may decrease the inflammation associated with inflammatory bowel disease and help support digestive health
  • CBG’s neuroprotectant properties could be considered for neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory diseases
  • It may act as an effective anti-bacterial against infections like MRSA
  • CBG’s ability to reduce intraocular pressure could potentially be used to treat glaucoma in the future
  • The chemical may block receptors that cause cancer cell growth, especially in colorectal cancer
  • CBG shows promise in helping treat bladder dysfunctions

Are there any side effects?

Unfortunately, with minimal research available it isn’t clear what the side effects of CBG are, if any. But, it has shown to be well tolerated by rats.

One thing to be on the look out for, however, is potential drug interactions. It’s believed that CBD may interact with medications that contain a grapefruit warning by affecting the level of those medications in the body.

It isn’t yet known whether or not CBG has the same affect, but because of its similarity to CBD it’s better to be safe now than sorry later. Always consult your primary care provider if you are on other medications before taking CBG (or other cannabinoids).

Preliminary studies on CBG have proven promising to say the least. And as more time and money is put toward cannabinoid research, it seems likely CBG will become a major focus of those efforts. With such a wide range of potential applications, it’s easy to see why!

 

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