Many of us are already familiar with the most common cannabinoids – tetrahydrocannabinol, or delta-9 THC, and cannabidiol, or CBD – but there are many other cannabinoids present in the plant as well. These other cannabinoids often appear in the test results of our cured flower and vape cartridges, and they will soon be listed on our packaging alongside THC and CBD. In preparation for this exciting change, we are creating a series of articles educating our patients about the many therapeutic benefits of these lesser-known cannabinoids.
What is CBG?
CBG is actually a precursor chemical of THC and CBD and is often described as the “mother of all cannabinoids”. This is because cannabis plants produce cannabigerolic acid (CBGa), which is then directed by enzymes to convert to the acids CBDa, CBCa or THCa. When these acids are “activated” through decarboxylation (exposure to light or heat), they convert to their non-acidic forms – THC, CBD, and CBC.
The remaining CBGa leftover after decarboxylation is what converts to CBG, so CBG tends to be more abundant in hemp than in high-THC cannabis. High-CBG strains are being created by cross-breeding strains which lack the enzymes to convert CBG to other compounds.
One of the unusual things about cannabinoids is they depend on endocannabinoid receptors that have different functions in different parts of the body. This means that each cannabinoid will have a very specific function in each part of the body.
For example, CBG has powerful effects as an anti-inflammatory and vasodilator. Research shows that it may be an effective treatment for glaucoma because it reduces intraocular pressure. Likewise, research indicates that it can reduce the inflammation caused by inflammatory bowel disease.
CBG also works as a neuroprotective and anti-proliferative. In a 2015 study, CBG was found to protect neurons in mice with Huntington’s disease, helping to prevent nerve cell degeneration. Research also indicates that CBG may prevent cancer – one study found that it inhibits the growth of colorectal cancer cells in mice, effectively slowing the growth of the cancer. CBG is also believed to strengthen bones because research shows that bone formation is regulated by the CB1 receptor, and CBG acts as a low-affinity antagonist at the CB1 receptor.
There is also evidence from European research that of the 5 major cannabinoids – CBD, CBC, CBG, THC, and CBN – CBG has the most potent anti-bacterial properties and is particularly effective against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Lastly, research has identified CBG as a possible appetite stimulant, making it a possible treatment option for cachexia or wasting syndrome associated with late stage cancer.
CBG has an extremely low boiling point of 52˚C/126˚F. The best way to take advantage of its benefits is by using a customizable temperature vaporizer such as the Argo. (For more information, see WikiLeaf’s Customize Your High By Controlling Your Vaporizer Temperature).
Cannabis Products Containing CBG
According to our most recent test results, our strain with the highest level of CBG is Dancehall. (Many of our flower and concentrate products will soon be labeled with CBG content as well.) You can also look for full spectrum hemp products that list CBG, such as Charlotte’s Web Hemp Oil, CBD Living gummies and Endoca capsules (available at Ceres Natural Remedies).