CSG MedLab

28 February 2019

What is CBG? – A scientific update

A scientific summary of what we know about CBG so far

By Fran Cà

A simplified summary of CBG (Cannabigerol)

For the full and scientific summary, scroll down.

CBG is a non-psychoactive compound that is produced by the reaction of CBGa with UV light, heat or oxygen. Even though CBG is considered one of the major cannabinoids, dried cannabis flowers only contain about 0.03 to 1.15% of this compound. Because of its many medicinal benefits, some breeders are now developing specialized strains with higher concentrations of CBG.

CBG has many health benefits

CBG may be the next big thing in medicinal cannabis, like CBD is now. According to studies done so far, CBG’s potential medicinal benefits are:

– CBG acts as an antioxidant
– It can reduce inflammation in the body, as well as on the surface of our skin
– It has anti-bacterial properties, especially with MRSA (an antibiotic-resistant bacteria, mostly found in hospitals)
– It may be able to help against the skin disease psoriasis
– It reduces pain
– It reduces depression and anxiety
– It helps to protect against cell damage
– It helps to regulate our metabolism
– It can help to stimulate appetite
– It may reduce certain types of diabetes and insulin resistance
– It helps to relax our muscles (even more than THC and CBD)
– It has potential (according to early studies) as a medicine against skin- and breast cancer

The beneficial effects of CBG are even stronger when combined with the terpenes phytol, linalool, caryophyllene oxide, limonene, and pinene.

A scientific summary of Cannabigerol (CBG)

Cannabigerol (CBG) is one of the major phytocannabinoids in cannabis, with a pharmacological profile relatively similar to THC and CBD. In raw plants, its acidic form, cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), is most abundant, and when exposed to high temperatures (e.g. after smoking or baking) or UV lights, CBGA is converted to CBG in a reaction called decarboxylation (1).

CBG only found in small amounts

Usually, CBG is only present in small amounts (approximately 0.03-1.15% of dry weight), but recently breeders have selected cannabis chemotypes that express a majority of their phytocannabinoid content as CBG.

Medicinal benefits of CBG

Similarly to CBD, CBG is non-psychotropic, and exhibits a therapeutic potential as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, anti-erythemic (2), anti-bacterial (particularly against Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus – MRSA) and as an antipsoriatic agent (3). CBG has also shown to have analgesic as well as neuroprotective properties (4), as it binds to- and activates a group of receptor proteins called “Peroxisome Proliferator-activated Receptor” (PPARs)(5), which modulate gene expression (6) in response to environmental and dietary factors in the control of metabolic functions. CBG may also have a potential role against certain types of diabetes and insulin resistance (7).

It has muscle relaxant properties (stronger than that observed for THC and CBD) via gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)(8) uptake inhibition.

According to literature, CBG proved to be effective against epithelioid carcinoma (9), and the second most effective phytocannabinoid (after CBD), against breast cancer.
Evidence from laboratory experiments show CBG to behave as a potent a2-adrenoceptor agonist (10), thus exhibiting a significant analgesic effect (11).
Cannabigerol also shows an antidepressant activity by blocking serotonin 5-hydroxytryptamine 1A receptors (5HT1A), which are highly active in brain regions implicated with depression.
Last but not least, CBG acts as an appetite stimulant, predominantly via stimulation of appetitive phase feeding behaviors.

CBG’s Entourage Effect with other cannabis compounds

CBG’s pharmacological activity is enhanced by the effect of the other cannabinoids and terpenes in cannabis, with an overall synergistic effect called entourage effect. Among all terpenes, phytol, linalool, caryophyllene oxide, limonene and pinene seem to play the most central role in aiding CBG’s medical activities.

Definitions:

(1) Decarboxylation: Involves the loss of a carbon dioxide molecule from the acidic precursor to form the neutral cannabinoid.

(2) Anti-erythemic: The ability to relieve erythema (abnormal redness of the skin or mucous membranes due to capillary congestion (as in inflammation))

(3) Antipsoriatic: Directed against psoriasis. Sunlight is antipsoriatic, as are several drugs.

(4) Neuroprotective: Protective action against nerve damage.

(5) Peroxisome Proliferator-activated Receptor (PPARs): A group of receptor proteins playing an essential role in the regulation of cellular differentiation, development, and metabolism and tumorigenesis (the formation or production of tumors) of higher organisms. The activation of PPAR receptors determine neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, metabolic, anti-tumor, gastrointestinal, and cardiovascular effects.

(6) Gene expression: A process by which the codes into your DNA are translated into products such as proteins.

(7) Insulin Resistance: When cells in your muscles, fat, and liver don’t respond well to insulin (a hormone that helps the glucose in your blood to be converted into energy) and can’t properly absorb glucose from your blood.

(8) Gamma-aminobutyric Acid (GABA): A neurotransmitter in the brain. When inhibited, it determines muscle relaxation and anti-anxiety effects.

(9) Epithelioid Carcinoma: Cancer of the soft tissue under the skin of a finger, hand, forearm, lower leg, or foot.

(10) a2-Adrenoceptor Agonist: Receptors located mainly in the central nervous system (CNS). If activated, they affect sedation, muscle relaxation and analgesia.

(11) Analgesic effect: Pain-relieving effect.

Bibliography:

Borrelli F, et al. Biochem Pharmacol. 2013;85(9):1306-16.

Cascio MG, et al. Br J Pharmacol. 2010;159(1):129-41.

Flemming T et al. ChemInform 39(29) 2008. DOI: 10.1002/chin.200829262

Gugliandolo A, et al. Int J Mol Sci. 2018;19(7). pii: E1992.

Halent. Cannabinoids primer. Available at www.Halent.com

Navarro G, et al. Front Pharmacol. 2018;9:632.

O’Sullivan SE. Br J Pharmacol. 2016; 173(12): 1899–1910.

Russo EB. Br J Pharmacol. 2011;163(7):1344-64

Post author
Fran Ca
Fran Cà is Coffeeshop Guru's in-house medicinal cannabis expert and all-around science nerd. She scours the latest research papers with pin-point precision to keep you up-to-date on the most recent developments and thrilling discoveries surrounding the awesome power of cannabis.
See more from Fran Ca

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