CBG may well be the next cannabinoid to become the focus of medical cannabis research, as initial studies find a wealth of potential. We take a closer look at what CBD is, and what this potential may be.
Cannabis is gradually being accepted in parts of the western world after a period of vilification and prohibition. With this acceptance comes an opening to allow scientists to research the cannabis plant and gain a deeper understanding of the compounds produced within it. One chemical, a cannabinoid called cannabigerol (CBG), is an example of an untapped potential waiting to be unleashed when research in the area of medicine and breeding really takes off.
So far, several cannabinoids such as THC and CBD have been discovered and rather well researched. These two now well-known cannabinoids have been shown to have profound medicinal effects. Due to their value, breeders have put in the work to produce strains that are particularly high in either cannabinoid in order to provide medicine or recreational buds that appeal to customers who can benefit off of them. Now that research is allowing for a greater understanding of CBG, breeders are starting to take note and work towards similar scenarios with CBG heavy cannabis strains.
THE MOTHER OF ALL CANNABINOIDS
Although CBG is classed as a minor cannabinoid, it in fact plays a rather major role within the cannabis plant. CBG exists in the form of cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) in cannabis plants and serves as the foundational precursor to the three main branches of cannabinoids, which are tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), and cannabichromenic acid (CBCA). This transformation takes place due to specific enzymes known as synthases that direct CBGA towards a specific outcome.
When heat is applied to CBGA, THCA, CBDA and CBCA through the mechanism of smoking or cooking, a process called decarboxylation occurs that causes their chemical structures to lose a carbon group. These cannabinoids are then changed in the neutral forms of CBG, THC, CBD and CBC and become active.
When smoking a strain high in CBGA, the conversion of it into CBG would allow the user to obtain a dose of the cannabinoid. However, because CBGA is the mother of all cannabinoids, it is often converted into another form by the synthases within plants before ingestion of the buds takes place. Thanks to an increasing understanding of cannabis science, and the genes that can cause the creation of above average amounts of CBGA, breeders have the tools to start enhancing their strains with this cannabinoid.
CBG HAS MEDICINAL POTENTIAL
CBG appears to have the potential to join the ranks of well-known cannabinoids when it comes to medicinal application. Research is proving CBG to have a role to play in numerous diseases and disorders.
CBG has been found to activate the CB1 receptors of the endocannabinoid system and therefore impacts the central nervous system. This effect may help to reduce some of the less desirable consequences associated with smoking too THC-rich cannabis, such as paranoia. CBG has also been identified to influence the CB2 receptor; however, its mechanism of action here is not yet well understood.
Researcher Ethan B Russo published a paper in the British Journal of Pharmacology that takes an in-depth look at the effects of phytocannabinoids and terpenoids, their medicinal qualities and how they may work together to generate more powerful effects.
Russo states that CBG has antifungal properties, pain killing properties and has been shown to exhibit antidepressant qualities also. CBG may also have a role to play in psoriasis and MRSA. CBG may also be able to tackle anxiety and muscular tension due to its ability at inhibiting the uptake of a brain chemical called GABA.
Russo points out that CBG may work in synergy with other components of the cannabis plant such as the terpenoids phytol, linalool, caryophyllene oxide and limonene.
Research published in Neurotherapeutics: the journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics tested the neuroprotective properties of CBG against Huntington’s disease in mice. Huntington’s disease is a brain disorder that causes uncontrolled movements, emotional problems and loss of cognition over time. The researchers observed promising results and concluded that the work opens up research avenues to explore the effects of CBG either alone or in combination with other phytocannabinoids or therapies when it comes to the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.
A 2009 study demonstrated that CBG can decrease intraocular pressure and may, therefore, have a use in glaucoma.
CBG has also been found to have neurogenic properties, making it a very rare chemical that may stimulate the growth of new brain cells.
THE FUTURE OF CBG
As the research of this interesting phytocannabinoid continues to blossom and breeders continue to create strains with larger quantities of the molecule, CBG will, without a doubt, be awarded its rightful place among the pantheon of healing cannabinoids. As cannabis medicine evolves over time, it will be interesting the see CBG play a role as an individual cannabinoid, as well as in synergy with other components of the cannabis plants that are showing vast potentials such as cannabinoids and terpenoids.