Cannabigerol (CBG) may have been discovered around the same time as Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but the latter phytocannabinoid got all the attention at the time. As one of the first phytocannabinoids to develop in a young cannabis plant, CBG holds a special place among the around 130 phytocannabinoids researchers have identified so far. It’s now being studied for its unique role and the therapeutic potential it holds on its own.
What is CBG, and why is it so important?
CBG forms very early in the life of a cannabis plant as cannabigerolic acid (CBGA). For a brief moment, it makes up the majority of the phytocannabinoid content in the plant, but it soon after converts into the acidic versions of many other cannabinoids found in cannabis. Once a plant reaches maturity and is harvested, CBG typically only makes up <1% of the overall cannabinoid content of cannabis flower. Heat, either due to the environment or during consumption, converts these phytocannabinoids into the active form that interacts with the endocannabinoid system.
CBG is unique in that it is believed to influence both CB1 and CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system. This has an impact on several systems in the body, including the central nervous system and the immune system. Importantly, CBG does not produce the same “heady” effect as THC, keeping consumers clear-headed.
What are the benefits of CBG?
Although CBG was discovered at the same time as THC, nowhere near as much is known about this cannabinoid. Animal studies show promise for CBG’s numerous therapeutic benefits. More research is needed to know whether and how CBG works for humans, but initial studies have yielded some interesting data on many symptoms and conditions.
- Those with IBD and similar painful bowel conditions may benefit from CBG. A 2013 study published in Biochemical Pharmacology observed CBG’s impact on inflammation in the GI system of mice.
- Staph infections, which are often drug-resistant, may respond to CBG. A 2008 study published in Journal of Natural Products discovered that CBG kills staph infections, suggesting that CBG may be anti-bacterial. CBG may also kill drug-resistant MRSA.
- CBG may be helpful for glaucoma. A 2009 study in the Journal of Ocular Pharmacology found that CBG helped reduce eye pressure in cats with glaucoma.
- CBG may reduce the growth rate of cancerous cells. A 2014 study published in Carcinogenesis discovered that CBG reduced cancerous colon cancer cells and tumors in rats. These potential anti-tumor properties have been examined in other cannabinoids as well, raising questions about how the entourage effect may boost these effects.
- CBG’s neuroprotective properties may affect the progression of Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other similar illnesses. A 2015 study in Neurotherapeutics found that CBG slowed the progression of Huntington’s disease by combating never cell degeneration.
Available CBG products
CBG can be found in many cannabis strains (also known as cultivars), and some cultivars have higher amounts of CBG than others. If a cultivar contains 1% or higher CBG, it’s considered high in that phytocannabinoid. Check the label of your cannabis flower for more detail.
CBG can also be extracted and used as an ingredient in manufactured cannabis products. CBG isolate, which is a nearly pure, odorless, and tasteless form of the phytocannabinoid, and distillate, which is concentrated CBG that also contains other phytocannabinoids, can be mixed into other products like tinctures, capsules, vape cartridges, and edibles. However, standalone CBG products can be hard to find.
To determine the amount of CBG in a cannabis product, ask a Trulieve associate or visit the Trulieve website to view the lab test results for your product, which will list the amount of CBG or CBGA the product contains.
Learning more about the mother of all cannabinoids
CBG’s placement in the world of phytocannabinoids is a unique one. As the origin of all phytocannabinoids in the plant, CBG may be first to develop in a young cannabis plant, but ironically was not the first to be researched. However, as studies evolve about this phytocannabinoids potential, we are learning more about how CBG, even in small amounts, can alter the cannabis experience.