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What is CBG (cannabigerol) and What is its Health Benefits?

 

Most people have heard of the cannabinoid called CBD (cannabidiol), but what is CBG (cannabigerol)?  CBG has been receiving much more attention in recent years for its’ potential health benefits.  Similar to CBD, CBG is one of the many cannabinoids found in the hemp plant but in much smaller amounts than CBD. 

Since the signing of the 2018 Farm Bill legalizing hemp products in all 50 states, we have seen an explosion in popularity of hemp-derived cannabinoids, mainly CBD, and for good reason.  CBD has been shown to have numerous health benefits including acting as an anti-inflammatory, reducing pain, helping with anxiety and depression, treating insomnia, among many other benefits.  What most people don’t know is that CBD is just one of many cannabinoid compounds found in the hemp plant.

Recently another cannabinoid, CBG (cannabigerol), has been gaining more attention.  There have been few studies on CBG but recent research on this cannabinoid has been very promising.   CBG is often considered to be the ‘stem cell’ or 'the mother’ of all cannabinoids since it is the precursor to the other three major cannabinoids:  THC, CBD, and CBC.   CBG is non-psychoactive and also interacts with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the body.  There is a very small amount of CBG in the hemp plant, typically less than 1% which is why it is so expensive and why it may not be as popular as CBD.  This is changing however with many hemp plant breeders and manufacturers producing strains of hemp that is higher in CBG, as well as harvesting the hemp plant earlier since younger plants contain higher concentrations of cannabigerol. 

So what exactly are the benefits of CBG and how does it differentiate from the other cannabinoids?   Although many of the benefits of CBD and CBG tend to overlap, particularly when it comes to its pain reducing and anti-inflammatory properties, recent studies have shown CBG to have many other benefits that warrants further research into its use in treating a wide variety of conditions.  These conditions may include autoimmune disorders, colitis, cancer, chronic illnesses, and neurodegeneration.   CBG has been found to (potentially) have the following benefits:

  • May help with colitis and inflammatory bowel disease. A study conducted on mice in 2013 appears to show CBG significantly reduced inflammation associated with inflammatory bowel disease thereby reducing the effects of colitis. (Borrelli, 2013)  CB2 receptors are found in abundance in the gastrointestinal tract and CBG primarily binds with CB2 receptors.  
  • Colon Cancer. A 2014 study found CBG to selectively block the growth of colorectal cancer cells, slowing the progression of colon cancer. (Borrelli, 2014)
  • Inhibits GABA Reuptake. CBG appears to inhibit the brain’s uptake of GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid) which can potentially decrease anxiety, lead to muscle relaxation, tension relief, and induce a sense of calm in the brain and body.  (Banerjee, 1975) For this reason, CBG has the potential to be a potent treatment for anxiety, chronic pain, and insomnia.
  • Has antibacterial properties, particularly against MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus). All cannabinoids have some antibacterial properties (Farha, 2020); however CBG in particular appears to have very strong antibacterial properties against MRSA and can be a very good treatment option against this difficult to treat bacterial infection.  Cannabinoids in general can inhibit the ability of this bacterium to form biofilms and eradicate preformed biofilms; however CBG in particular appears to act through targeting MRSA’s cytoplasmic membrane. (Farha, 2020)
  • Relieves intraocular pressure and may treat glaucoma. A few studies have found that CBG has vasodilating effects and may have therapeutic potential to treat glaucoma by lowering ocular tension without producing any toxicity or side effects.  (Colasanti, 1984)
  • Can help with bladder dysfunctions. A 2015 study concluded that CBG shows promise in treating bladder dysfunctions by reducing contractions in the human bladder.  (Pagano, 2015)
  • May help with neurodegenerative diseases and Huntington’s Disease. CBG has neuroprotective properties and has been shown in a 2015 study to normalize the expression of abnormal genes that are linked to brain degeneration.  (Valdeolivas, 2015)
  • Potential treatment for skin disorders. Used topically, CBG has strong anti-inflammatory properties and has an ability to inhibit keratinocyte proliferation making it a potential treatment for skin disorders such as psoriasis and eczema. (Wilkinson, 2007) Due to its anti-inflammatory properties along with its interaction with CB1 and CB2 receptors, CBG can also be used topically for pain relief especially when combined with CBD.

While more research and studies need to be conducted on CBG along with the other cannabinoids, CBG is becoming more popular and is proving to be a valuable cannabinoid with many health benefits.  Products containing CBG can now be more readily found than just a couple years ago.  Most full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD products contain small amounts of CBG, however the amount of cannabigerol may be too little to exert any of its health benefits.  Combining both cannabinoids in therapeutic concentrations seem to be more effective and offers a more potent entourage effect. 

At Longevity CBD, our Pure Relief product combines both CBD and CBG for a synergistic effect with benefits derived from both cannabinoids.

 

References:

ACS Infect. 2020 Mar 13; 6(3); 33 338-346.  Uncovering the Hidden Antibiotic Potential of Cannabis. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32017534/

Biochem Pharmacol. 2013 May 1; 85(9):1306-16 Beneficial effect of the non-psychotropic plant cannabinoid cannabigerol on experimental inflammatory bowel disease. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23415610/

Carcinogenesis. 2014 Dec; 35(12): 2787-97.  Colon carcinogenesis is inhibited by the TRPM8 antagonist cannabigerol, a Cannabis derived non-psychotropic cannabinoid.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25269802/

Exp Eye Res. 1984 Sep; 39(3):251-9.  Intraocular pressure, ocular toxicity, and neurotoxicity after administration of cannabinol or cannabigerol.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/6499952/

J Dermatol Sci. 2007 Feb; 45(2): 87-92.  Cannabinoids inhibit human keratinocyte proliferation through a non-CB1/CB2 mechanism and have a potential therapeutic value in the treatment of psoriasis. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17157480/

J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 1975 Jul; 194(1): 74-81. Cannabinoids: influence on neurotransmitter uptake in rat brain synaptosomes. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/168349/

Nat Prod Commun. 2015 Jun; 10(6):1009-12. Effect of non-pyschotropic Plant-derived Cannabinoids on bladder contractility: Focus on Cannabigerol.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26197538/

Neurotherapeutics. 2015 Jan; 12(1):185-99. Neuroprotective properties of cannabigerol in Huntington’s disease.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25252936/

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