Updated: Mar 13, 2020
When I finished my book at the end of 2019, there were 104 cannabinoids. As I write this post, I found recent reports identifying 113 cannabinoids. That’s how fast things change in the world of cannabis.
CBG seems to be on deck as the next cannabinoid to earn some well deserved notoriety. CBG is the abbreviation for cannabigerol. It is a “minor” cannabinoid found in hemp and cannabis, meaning it is not found in high concentrations like the cannabinoid THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the one most people think about when referring to cannabis.
CBG is the precursor or “parent” compound to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). CBG was first discovered and isolated by Israeli scientists Ralph Mechoulam, the “godfather” of cannabis research, and Yehiel Gaoni in the 1960’s. CBG, like all cannabinoids, presents in the plant as the acid form of the molecule, CBGA (cannabigerolic acid). As heat and light are applied to the CBGA molecule during a process called decarboxylation, CBG is synthesized.
CBGA is one of the first cannabinoids formed within the trichomes of the cannabis plant. As the plant grows and the flowers mature, enzymes degrade CBGA into (THCA) tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (CBDA) cannabidiolic acid, and (CBCA) cannabichromenic acid. Most cannabis strains contain high amounts of THC and CBD (up to 33%) with concentrations of CBG typically under 1%. Breeders are currently developing strains with higher concentrations of CBG. Hemptown USA (HemptownUSA.com), for instance, is currently developing a strain that has concentrations above 10%.
Low levels of CBG can equate to high costs for consumers. Extraction techniques are expensive and therapies are cost prohibitive for most patients. Still, companies are already looking to tap into the emerging CBG market.
James Rowland is the CEO of Steve’s Goods, a Colorado based brand that specializes in producing CBG goods. “We have personally administered CBG to thousands of people at over 50 events. It's the most requested product on our website and we provide education to thousands of receptive people both in person and online every month.”¹
All cannabinoids interact with the CB1 or CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid receptor system. The relationship between cannabinoid and receptor create the physiological response.
Cannabigerol (CBG) has been shown to offer substantial benefits for irritable bowel disease (IBD). A recent study out of Italy shows that CBG produced both preventative and curative effects for patients with IBD. That’s right. They used a word rarely heard in healthcare—curative. CBG reduced the signs of colon injury, decreased inflammatory cytokines, and decreased nitrite production without the negative side effects produced by pharmaceutical agents.²
CBG has been shown to increase anandamidelevels, the body’s natural “bliss” molecule, as well as act as a GABA re-uptake inhibitor. CBG, like THC ad CBD, is a potent neuroprotectant and may help to combat certain cancers. It has anti-bacterial properties with the ability to combat hospital acquired MRSA and flesh eating bacteria.
Get to know the next super star cannabinoid. CBG, like CBD, does not cause intoxication. Also like CBD, it may improve the tolerability of THC by decreasing the well known THC induced-euphoria.
1. Why CBG (Cannabigerol) Is One Of The Most Expensive Cannabinoids To Produce. forbes.com, Forbes, 2020. https://www.forbes.com/sites/janellelassalle/2019/09/11/why-cbg-cannabigerol-expensive-produce/#2d41516a2f77)
2. Borrelli F, Fasolino I, Romano B,Capasso R, Maireelo F, Coppola D, Orlando P, Battista G, Pagano E, Di Marzo V, Izzo A. “Beneficial effect of the non-psycho- tropic plant cannabinoid cannabigerol on experimental inflammatory bowel disease.” Biochemical Pharmacology,85 (2013) 1306-1316.