Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds that are naturally found in the cannabis plant. While tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are perhaps the two most well-known compounds, others exist that have health uses still being researched and understood. One cannabinoid known to have potential health benefits is Cannabigerol (CBG).CBG is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid (meaning it will not get you “high”) and is actually a precursor to three other major cannabinoids, including THC and CBD. That is, the cannabis plant has natural enzymes that break down CBG to make tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) andcannabidiolic acid (CBDA), which then become THC and CBD when exposed to heat. In the flowering cycle; it typically takes around 6 – 8 weeks for the conversion process from CBG to THCA and CBDA to take place. Due to its role as a precursor to other cannabinoids, CBG generally exists in low concentrations. CBG is also found primarily in strains of cannabis that have an especially low concentration of THC, and/or strains that are particularly high in CBD. In fact, CBG actually acts as a buffer to the psychoactive effects induced by THC. CBG, therefore, plays a critical role in monitoring the potency of THC in many strains of cannabis. Despite constantly being overlooked by THC and CBD, CBG is thought to possess a range of health uses and benefits. Furthermore, research on CBG is still in its infancy, and it is, therefore, possible that there are additional health benefits that are yet to be discovered.
To understand how CBG works, one must first understand the endocannabinoid system. Our bodies are equipped with what is referred to as an endocannabinoid system, which is a network of receptors that are activated by cannabinoids such as THC, CBD, and/or CBG. There are two types of these receptors, CBD1 and CBD2. Each receptor is found in different parts of the body and is responsible for regulating or stimulating certain bodily functions. CBD1 receptors are found primarily in the brain and nervous system and are associated with regulating mood, emotion, movement, and coordination. Conversely, CBD2 receptors are primarily found in immune cells throughout the body and are associated with pain and inflammation relief. CBG binds primarily with CBD2 receptors, which in turn dictates CBG’s medicinal uses. For one, CBG is thought to have anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing properties. A study involving mice found that CBG was effective in combating the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease. CBG is also thought to be useful in treating glaucoma, fostering neuron health, and acting as an anti-bacterial agent. There are several cannabinoid receptors in the eye, and CBG has been shown to reduce intraocular pressure which in turn helps combat glaucoma. A 2015 study found that CBG helped protect neurons in mice and prevent the deterioration of nerve cells in the brain. Other research shows that CBG has anti-bacterial properties. When tested against the notorious staphylococcus aureus bacterium, CBG exhibited strong anti-bacterial effects.
Considering future research will only continue to reveal the possible benefits of CBG, the potential of CBG is extremely promising.