Although THC and CBD often steal the limelight in the world of medical cannabis, there are many other cannabinoids and terpenes in the cannabis plant which play a role in the health and wellness benefits of cannabis. This cannabinoid in particular, cannabigerol (CBG, or CBGA in its acidic form), is my favorite of the lesser known cannabinoids.
As the parent cannabinoid of THC and CBD, this non-psychoactive compound is usually found in very small amounts in most cannabis plants but is quite prevalent in hemp strains. First discovered and isolated in 1975, this tiny molecule carries a ton of potential. As a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, CBG produces none of the typical effects of cannabis, but CBG can kill or slow bacterial growth, reduce inflammation (especially when consumed raw!), inhibit cell growth in tumors and cancer cells, as well as, promote bone growth. As an antibacterial, CBG, is considered stronger than even THC and CBD against bacteria, mycobacteria and fungi.
CBG – Cannabis Benefits Galore
Cannabigerol (CBG) works with the other cannabinoids such as THC and CBD synergistically to produce therapeutic effects. This is called the Entourage Effect. CBG is a CB1 antagonist, which means like CBD, it can help to counteract the paranoia, anxiety or other negative side effects of cannabis. In addition, CBG also inhibits the uptake of GABA which can further reduce anxiety and relieve muscle tension.
A study from Italy published in May 2013 in the journal of Biological Psychology shows cannabigerol (CBG) has strong anti-inflammatory properties which could help treat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). CBG is also effective in the treatment of glaucoma, increasing fluid drainage and reducing eye pressure. Cannabigerol also expresses anti-depressant qualities blocking serotonin receptors, and may even inhibit tumor growth in certain cancers.
CBG also affects the body by increasing anandamide levels. Anandamide is a cannabinoid naturally produced by your body. This “endo”-cannabinoid helps regulate many biological functions, like appetite, sleep and memory. Anandamide, also called “The Bliss Molecule”, resembles THC, acting on the same CB1 and CB2 receptors to produce similar effects.
Links to Published Research on Cannabigerol
Multiple studies have shown this cannabinoid has broad range of medical potential:
- Slows cancer growth.(1) This review from 2009 shows CBG, and many other cannabinoids are potential anti-proliferatives.
- Potent anti-fungal and anti-bacterial.(2) This study from 2008 published in the Journal of Natural Products showed CBG had potent activity against MRSA, a resistant form of staph infection.
- Relieves pain better than opiates(3) – according to this study published in 2008 in Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
- Reduces inflammation(4) – This study from 2011, shows CBG may work even better than CBD for reducing inflammation.
- Treats anxiety and depression.(5) A review published in 2016 in Trends in Pharmacological Sciences, refers to CBG as “the neglected phytocannabinoid,” citing a study using CBG as an antidepressant in mice.
- Potential for neurodegenerative disorders.(6) Again, this study involving mice, showed CBG had significant impact on nerve pain and damage.
- Non-psychotropic plant cannabinoids: new therapeutic opportunities from an ancient herb. Izzo, Angelo A. et al. 10, October 2009, Trends in Pharmacological Sciences, Vol. 30.
- Antibacterial Cannabinoids from Cannabis sativa: A Structure−Activity Study. Appendio, Giovanni et al. 8, August 6, 2008, Journal of Natural Products, Vol. 71.
- Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain. Russo, Ethan. 1, February 2008, Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management , Vol. 4.
- Evaluation of the Cyclooxygenase Inhibiting Effects of Six Major Cannabinoids Isolated from Cannabis sativa. Ruhaak, Lucia Renee. 5, May 1, 2011, Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, Vol. 34.
- Beyond Cannabis: Plants and the Endocannabinoid System. Russo, Ethan. May 2016, Trends in Pharmacological Sciences.
- Neuroprotective properties of cannabigerol in Huntington’s disease: studies in R6/2 mice and 3-nitropropionate-lesioned mice.